If one thing characterises a coworking space, it’s the community which is created inside it and around it. One of the biggest challenges, also one of the biggest opportunities, is knowing how to extract coworkers’ talent, experiences and stories and turn them into a source to attract new members, encourage your community to grow and provide added value to existing members. In other words, devise an effective marketing and communication strategy.
But how? You will need to design content plan which takes into account:
Objectives, resources and timing
If the content is king, for a coworking space, it is the backbone – the nucleus around which everything turns. For this reason, it is essential to clearly define:
- Your objectives (both general and specific for each phase or time period).
- The resources you’ll need both in terms of your team/collaborators and logistics/technologies.
- The places where you plan to launch: be realistic without losing your dose of ambition. Actions should be concrete, measurable and analysed properly to avoid wandering off course or coming to a standstill.
A coworking is: community (online and offline) + the physical space
Above all, communication has to speak about the community, in order to immerse them and gain their loyalty and trust. Create regular and diverse content to attract new members, collaborators and sponsors. Every action and change in the space is content and an opportunity to communicate.
Types of content
Interviews, articles, photos… which show off the talent of the members and the projects they are developing.
Stories and anecdotes
Experiences of the community in your space.
Events and workshops… This is one of the best ways of attracting new coworkers, as well as fostering loyalty and contributing something to the community. Another way of attracting new members and generating content that requires less effort is to collaborate with established external communities and organise their meetups and activities.
It’s worth distinguishing between two types of events:
- Those designed to bring together experiences and knowledge, and create networking opportunities around the world between companies and entrepreneurs. Events that provide practical knowledge in specific areas (photography, marketing and social networks, programming etc.). These events might satisfy the needs of a few individuals, or the entire community. It is very important to have expert collaborators with experience in these areas.
- Social events to strengthen friendships between members.
Focus on themes of interest for entrepreneurial coworkers, freelance professionals, startups or small companies that have been recently founded (programmes/grants for freelancers, funding rounds for entrepreneurs and startups, resources for working with a team, events and conferences etc.)
Channels of online communication
Before choosing which channels you want to utilise, it’s important to analyse your audience and followers (without losing sight of your most direct competition).
Website and blog
Although social networks are fundamental to communication and marketing strategy, what is even more important is your website and blog.
Your website is the landing site and shop window for your coworking, where people can look at the prices, services and general information, as well as get to know the community and the professional profiles in your community.
The blog is also, however, the base from which you can communicate. It represents the voice and soul of coworking, where readers can get to know your members, their projects, relationships and experiences in the space, new features, promotions, events…
Your blog content should be the principal source of material that feeds into your social networking channels.
Main social networks for coworking spaces
Social networks are an excellent opportunity to promote your coworking space and create a community online, but can also be an area of weakness if you fail to clearly define the purpose of each channel and keep them active, unified and up-to-date.
Create a Facebook page boost visibility, reach out to new users and invigorate your online community. Communicate everything which is happening in your space: what members are doing, new features, interesting news and the events you are organising.
A closed, private or secret group on Facebook for your coworkers and ex-members will make them interact, connect and collaborate easily. They can publish their projects or professional profiles, look for collaborators in the group, ask for help or advice on any doubts, offer recommendations, or organise amongst themselves interesting leisure activities for the group. Moreover, it will help you to listen to and get to know your community better, as well as the needs of your members. A good alternative to a closed group on Facebook is Slack.
As well as improving your corporate/professional position and helping you to expand your network of collaborators, Twitter is an ideal communication tool for events and activities.
When linked to Facebook, Instagram can help you to generate more exposure for your images and publications and represents another channel for communicating ‘live’ moments and events that are happening in the community. Instagram is a social network where you can strengthen your branding. It’s important to choose high-quality, creative images, that have their own signature style.
Tone and finding your own style
Each coworking is its own world. No two same spaces exist, because no two same communities exist. Therefore the tone and style of the message should identify the style of the team that manages the space and the community’s own unique personality and identity.
The differentiating factor of a coworking should never be its space itself, but its community – the members that give it life and its raison d’etre. When the coworkers are given more prominence, the community feels more special and united. This reflects well on the coworking itself, both in branding and emotional terms.
Although you might have high-quality, diverse and original content, you will need to invest in advertising campaigns and work on good positioning in search engines in order to achieve real results. For searches, you will have to decide what kind of campaign you want to launch, its content, duration and target audience.
Remember that it’s not the same to promote a post or event on Facebook as paying to position your website higher in Google search results. If what you really need is web conversion (to get coworkers), investing in Facebook will do little or nothing at all. You should work on the SEO of your website (both internally and externally) to please Google and ensure your website appears at one of the top positions in the search results. Even better, launch a search engine marketing campaign (SEM), for example, Google Adwords.
On the other hand, if you are organising activity and your aim is to increase visibility and interaction with the community, or you are researching potential markets, yes, it could be a good option to promote a post with information about your event on Facebook.
Again, the first thing to do is to clearly define your objectives before making any decisions.
The newsletter is an effective marketing tool if you have qualified subscribers. A good database is a key to achieving specific objectives throughout different campaigns, as is selecting the correct audience for each campaign through lists and segmentation.
Email campaigns work as a promotion: offers of your services or products, promoting your members as well as all the activities organised in your space.
You can also use newsletters internally as a way to announce new features or points of interest about the space to your members.