A Survival Guide for Coworking Conferences: A Workspace Operator’s Playbook

Over the last five years, I’ve been to eight coworking conferences and dozens of coworking-related events, meetups and retreats. I’ve covered these events for various publications, I’ve given presentations, moderated panels, participated in unconference sessions, created content for the events, set up tables and even re-potted centerpiece plants for one.

Coworking conferences provide resources for operators and valuable insight into the workspace industry. They also serve to strengthen and grow the community of coworking space operators, which is remarkably close-knit. Flexspace operators, workspace owners and community managers, industry service providers and coworking movement pioneers all gather at these events to share ideas, resources and best practices.

Here are my best tips for surviving–and thriving–at a coworking conference.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Opening Session

Before the Conference

Know who will be there

Take a look ahead of time at the people attending the conference. It’s challenging, in a sea full of people all wearing little badges, to know who is who. Take time to get a sense of who will be there and who you’d like to connect with. 

Make contact ahead of time

Reach out to people and let them know you’re interested in connecting. Give them some context about why you’re interested in talking with them.

Schedule must-have meetings in advance

Don’t wait until the conference to try to schedule time with someone. Set up a coffee, breakfast or meeting in advance of the conference.

Set your intentions

What will make the conference a great success for you? What would you like to learn? Who would you like to connect with? What would you like to leave with? Get clear about your intentions in advance.

Bring business cards

I find that the only time people ask for my business card is when I don’t have them. Be sure to bring some cards along so you’re prepared when the moment comes.

Get social in advance

Before the event, get active on social media using the event hashtags. Mention that you’ll be attending, connect with other attendees, and start conversations around hot topics. This will help you make connections and generate interest in the event.

During the Conference

Be human

No one wants to be spammed at a conference. Show up as you, be real, focus on making genuine connections.

GCUC2016_JamieRussoBeckyandLD_2

Ride the social momentum

Once the event has started, take advantage of the social media momentum. People will be using the event hashtag to share quotes, thoughts, feedback and photos. Join the conversations. Twitter and Instagram are particularly good platforms for conferences.

Participate

Don’t be a conference wallflower. Get in there and participate. Introduce yourself to people, share generously of your experience and ideas, and take part in as much of the event as you can.

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Global Workspace Association Conference

Ask questions

Now is not the time to sit back and pretend you know everything. Now is the time to ask questions, keep an open mind and learn. Everyone there has something to teach you, even if they’re a brand new space operator. Plan to leave the conference knowing more than you did when you arrived.

Take notes

You think you’ll remember everything you’re hearing and experiencing, but you won’t. Take notes throughout the conference. When you get home, you’ll be glad to have a record of highpoints, things to research, and people to connect with. Most venues have wifi access, but don’t count on it. Have an offline option on your laptop, or keep it simple and just take a notebook.

Talk to vendors

Now is the time to learn about all the products and services available to level-up your coworking space and operations. Get to know the vendors, ask them questions about what they offer, and don’t worry about being sold at. I know many of the coworking conference vendors and most of them are in this business because they truly believe in coworking and they want you to succeed.

CloudVO Booth at Global Coworking Unconference Conference Denver

Don’t try to do everything

If you race around trying to do everything, you’ll likely miss the most valuable things. Go to the panels and presentations that most resonate with you. You can’t take it all in, so don’t try. If you’re in the middle of an engaging, important conversation, then by all means, continue it. Don’t rush off to the next thing if you’re making a great connection.

Be present

Conferences can be exhausting. Do your best to be present in whatever you’re doing, whether that’s listening to a presentation, having lunch with colleagues, or making new connections at a happy hour.

Charge up

Access to power is almost always an issue at conferences. Charge up your devices, use power when you have access to it—even if you’re not particularly low at the time. If you tend to use your gadgets a lot at events, bring a portable charger.

Take care of yourself

At some point during every conference, I burn out. It’s hard to be mentally, physically and emotionally present for days on-end. When this happens, I usually go outside and walk around for a bit. Be sure to take care of yourself during the conference. Don’t worry about missing out on a panel, or skipping a group lunch. Take time to refresh and decompress. Doing so will improve your whole conference experience.

Connect with industry leaders

Conferences are one of the best ways to connect with industry leaders. Workspace pioneers, visionaries and game-changers are all there to connect, learn and share. Take advantage of the easy access you’ll have to speakers, sponsors, industry insiders and your workspace colleagues.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Panel Discussion New York 2018

After the Conference

Get organized

After the conference, take time to organize your contacts and todos. Who do you need to reach out to? What do you need to research? Which items do you need to take action on? 

Be speedy

Follow-up with people within a few days. This keeps the conversation fresh and, let’s face it, if you don’t connect within a few days, you’re probably not going to reach out at all.

Implement what you’ve learned

Hopefully you’re now full of ideas and insights. How will you implement and incorporate them into what you’re doing? Create clear strategies to put your conference experience into action.

Share your experience

What were your big takeaways from the conference? What was your experience? What went well? What would you like to see in the future? Share your thoughts and ideas in a blog post, on social media, or in online groups. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s takeaways and your insights help conference producers make improvements for the next one.

Cat Johnson is a writer, teacher and content strategist. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

CloudVO is looking forward to seeing you at the 2019 Global Workspace Association Conference on September 18th in Washington, D.C. Let us know of any conference tips you would like to share!


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


Partnering with Your Local Small Business Development Center: an Overview for Coworking Space Operators

In the past week, I’ve watched a dozen or so people come into NextSpace Santa Cruz to meet with Keith Holtaway, business advisor for the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Keith is a celebrated local businessman, an award-winning consultant and mentor, and a longtime member of the NextSpace community, Keith has a desk here where he meets with SBDC clients all week long. He’s available to offer advice and business mentorship to members and the local community, at large. I’ve personally met with Keith three times in the last year or so as I’ve grown my business.

coworking and sbdc

Coworking and the SBDC

Partnering with the local SBDC is a no-brainer for coworking spaces. It benefits spaces, members, the local community and the SBDC. 

“The SBDC fits within the culture of coworking, which is communities that are here not just to better themselves, but to better their neighbor,” says Brandon Napoli, director of the Santa Cruz SBDC. “The SBDC is a cornerstone of that foundation. We help business owners become more entrepreneurial. That’s really what the SBDC is aiming for.”

Napoli stresses that having a network of other entrepreneurs, service providers and supporters is essential to creating a thriving business.

“There’s a need to be part of a village as a business owner,” he adds, “not just a frontiers person, when it comes to creating your own business.”


In-house Strategy and Success

Through partnerships with the SBDC, coworking spaces have a stream of local professionals and business owners coming into the space, members have in-house business mentorship, the extended community has access to (oftentimes free) business consulting and professional workspace, and the SBDC positions itself in the heart of the professional ecosystem.

Partnering with a coworking space also gives the SBDC a place to have events, and to stay current with local business trends, challenges and opportunities.

Cloud VO Partner NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Partners with SBDC

“Partnership with a coworking space puts the SBDC advisor/mentor in the middle of the target market in a way that allows for trust to develop between potential clients and the advisor over a period of time,” says Holtaway. “It also allows for the SBDC to understand emerging businesses before they become more mainstream. In other words, the SBDC is on the ground floor of new stuff that is getting ready to launch.”

NextSpace Santa Cruz Senior Community Manager Maya Delano stresses that the vision for a coworking space and the SBDC is aligned: to help people succeed in work and life. She describes SBDC partnership as enabling spaces to serve as business incubators without being incubators.

“All these SBDC resources are housed under our roof,” she says. “We have informational materials in the space and we mention that we have an on-site SBDC advisor during tours.”

Delano adds that the partnership brings a fresh audience of business owners—and prospective business owners—into the space and introduces new people to the idea of flexible workspace.

“This benefits members at all stages of running a business, from needing basic business mentorship, to launching a startup, to getting a loan and beyond.”

Win Win Win

Since providing business advice to members is not a service generally offered in coworking spaces, SBDC partnerships allow a space to differentiate and provide a valuable community service at little cost to them. A partnership may be as simple as an open coworking membership, or it may include a dedicated desk, meeting room hours, or office space.

Services offered by an SBDC depends on the location, but they usually have a wide range of offerings, including technical services and access to a team of advisors who, as Holtaway explains, “can take care of almost any business need.”

“Such a service would be very expensive to engage for both the coworking space and the member,” he says. “For smaller coworking spaces, it would be a feature that would allow them to compete with larger coworking spaces that have a large marketing budget. There are also approximately 1,200 SBDC centers throughout the U.S. so finding one would not be difficult. Since SBDCs operate on a tight operations budget, offering low or no cost space would be very attractive to them, as well.”

Small Business Development Centers across the United States

Creating an SBDC Partnership

For coworking space operators interested in partnering with the local SBDC, Napoli advises having a clear understanding of how the needs of the coworking space align with the goals of the SBDC.

“If the need of the coworking space is to bring in new blood, host more events, fill office space, and increase retention of members,” he says, “align that with the focus of the SBDC, and with who the SBDC is serving and willing to serve.”

Napoli stresses that it’s vitally important for SBDCs to understand the local business environment and stay relevant to local business owners. 

“An SBDC that’s focused on the future of work is an SBDC that knows the trends of the workplace,” he says. “An SBDC needs to move from the corner office in its host institution into becoming a cornerstone of the ecosystem serving business owners.”

Coworking and Small Business Development Center Partnership for Members

What partnerships have you formed within your local business community that align with your coworking space? We’d love to hear from you.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


8 Ways Coworking Communities Can Make Positive Local Impact

Coworking spaces are nicely positioned to make a positive impact on members. From helping people level up their business to creating communities of mutual support and friendship, coworking can be a game-changer.

Spaces and communities can also make an impact on their broader local community. From supporting local organizations to partnering with neighborhood businesses, here are eight ways your coworking community can make a positive local impact.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Carebags for the homeless 2019

1. Support Neighborhood Businesses

Get to know your neighbors and find ways to support them.

“Relationships are everything,” says NextSpace San Jose Community Manager Julie Kodama. “It’s so important to be engaged with the community. Whether that’s checking out the new cookie shop or doing group lunches at local restaurants. There’s a reason when the mayor came to speak here all the food was donated from local eateries.”

Kodama explains that when daypassers come into NextSpace, she can recommend places to eat and they’re all places she and the community have been. Kodama then turns to neighboring businesses when she throws an event, needs catering, coffee or anything else in her space.

“If they’re good, and you continue to patronize them, you will build up a relationship.”

2. Be a Connector

The best community managers are excellent connectors. They know which members they should introduce, who is looking for help and who is expanding or seeking new opportunities. They also know of interesting events, opportunities and more.

Extend the natural connecting you do as community managers into your larger community. Look for ways to connect people, organizations, schools, businesses and community leaders.

3. Support Local Organizations

One great way to make a positive impact locally is to support organizations that are already making a positive impact. You can do this by inviting them to come tell your community about their work, hosting an event in your space, offering free or reduced memberships, giving them discounted meeting room space, and mentioning them on social media or in your newsletter.

Tip: All Good Work connects nonprofit social impact organizations with donated workspace. The organization is currently in New York City and Silicon Valley.

Urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose
Through the All Good Work Foundation, urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose.

4. Participate in Food and Clothing Drives

During the holiday season, local food banks, shelters and other organizations do food drives, clothing drives, toy drives etc. These drives are easy ways to give back as a community and make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Look for ways throughout the year to participate in drives. For instance, does your community host book drives, or back-to-school drives, or drives to send local high schoolers to prom? Do a little research to find out. You may be able, as a community, to do some off-season good work.

5. Get Involved with Mentor Programs

Presumably your coworking space is full of programmers, writers, designers, photographers, financial planners, developers, artists, attorneys, etc. Can you help pair these folks up with local young people looking for mentorship opportunities?

Find existing mentor organizations to partner with to bring a mentoring program into your space. If necessary or preferable, start one of your own.

6. Create Local Partnerships

Beyond simply supporting neighborhood businesses, find ways to partner with these businesses. Doing so has the potential to help both of you.

When the NextSpace San Jose kitchen was out of commission, a local coffee shop sold them big pourers of coffee at a huge discount because we had a good relationship with them.

“When someone wants to grab a fancy coffee,” says Kodama, “of course I send them there.”

7. Support Local Initiatives

NextSpace San Jose fills Care Bags for local homeless. The bags are filled with everyday essentials, such as socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, snack bars and hygiene items. What local initiatives could your members easily participate in? Ask around and get creative.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Care bags for the homeless member event

8. Provide a Platform for Community Discussions

Coworking spaces are home to a variety of professions, opinions, cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. Your space can be a place to further community discussions and dialogue in a supportive, respectful environment.

For instance, the mayor of San Jose has visited NextSpace San Jose numerous times for events and conversations. The goal was to have conversations about issues that affect all local residents.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Event Mayor Sam Liccardo group discussion
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a group discussion at NextSpace Coworking San Jose.

Beyond being a place to support your members, your space can be a place to make a positive impact in your larger community. What do you do to make an impact? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


Instagram Stories: an Introduction for Coworking Space Operators

Instagram Stories are temporary posts—photos, graphics or videos—that have a 24 hour lifespan and play in the sequence they were added.

They take some getting used to, but Stories can be a fun, effective way to drive traffic, sales and membership sign-ups in your coworking space.

You can add as many Stories as you like to your Instagram, and use them to target new audiences and generate leads to your coworking space.

You can also add calls to action (CTAs) in Stories, which can be especially useful for workspace promotions or highlighting new posts and content about your space.

CloudVO Tips on Instagram Stories for Coworking Operators

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Stories can be used to capture behind-the-scenes content that doesn’t have to be as high quality as regular Instagram posts. Because Stories disappear after 24 hours, they tend to be more in-the-moment and timely. They can, however, be used very effectively to market upcoming events and promotions.

One of the benefits of Stories is that the most recent ones appear in the top of your followers’ app, directly below the Instagram logo. So, unlike posts in your feed, which may or may not be seen depending on the platform’s algorithm, Stories are always there.

Using Stories to market your workspace takes consistency. Post regularly—even daily—to stay in front of your followers. If you have too many Stories, however followers will just tap through to the next account. We suggest doing 5 or 6, with no more than 10.

Posting frequently ensures that you’ll end up in the top five or six Stories, where you have a better chance of your followers seeing your content than they will in a post.

Link to Your Content

Once you have momentum with your Stories, link people back to your profile and, eventually, to your content, website or landing page.

If you have over 10,000 Instagram followers, viewers can “Swipe Up” to see more information or an outside link. However, if you have fewer than 10,000 followers, best practice is to link viewers back to your Instagram profile where they can click a link in your bio.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Space Operators Link to your content

You can share other Instagram Stories onto your Story, if the other account is public. Tagging other Instagram accounts in your Stories is ideal for collaborations as you can easily share each other’s Stories, posts and information.

Stories include fun additions, such as the ability to ask questions, conduct polls, and add text and stickers to edit images on-the-go. Hashtags in Stories allow you to extend your reach and make your Story discoverable to anyone following specific hashtags, including #coworking #coworkingspace #coworkinglife and over one hundred more.

Highlights

While Instagram Stories only have a 24 hour life, you can add any Story to your Instagram Highlights, which are the circles between your Stories and your feed.

Highlights are curated collections of Instagram Stories that your followers can tap into and watch any time they like. They live permanently on your profile and are a fun way to group your best Stories thematically.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Operators Highlights

To create a cohesive brand experience, create thumbnail images or graphics for your Highlights.

Instagram Stories Tools

Stories have built-in tools, including GIFs and stickers, and there are plenty of apps to help you level-up your Instagram Stories game. Here are some of our favorites:

Livestream: You can stream video to your audience as part of your Stories. If you do livestreams consistently, consider posting them to your Instagram TV (IGTV). (IGTV best practices will be shared in a future post).

Boomerang: Boomerang is a fun, built-in tool that creates mini-videos that loop back and forth.

Superzoom: Superzoom is what it sounds like—a tool that lets you zoom in on an image. It also includes numerous effects so you can let your creativity play.

Rewind: Rewind is a tool that rewinds video footage to provide a special effect.

Unfold: This tool provides templates for Instagram Stories

Inshot: Inshot is a video editor and photo editor created for Stories

Canva: Canva is an easy to use image editing tool, with templates and graphics for Stories.

Pro Tips for Creating Instagram Stories

  • Add text to your photos
  • Play with size and color
  • Tag people in your Stories using an @ mention
  • Draw on your photos using different pen styles
  • Use stickers. You can access them by swiping up
  • Add your location
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Create polls
  • Ask questions
  • Swipe right or left to apply different filters to your Story
  • Add additional images to your story. Pick the image you want to use, pinch it to make smaller, copy the image then paste it into your story.
  • Check performance by swiping up while viewing your story. You’ll see how many people have viewed it. You’ll also see the results if anyone took the poll or answered the question
  • Add music to your Stories. You can find this option in the sticker pop-up
  • Post anytime of day, whenever something interesting is happening
  • Use the built-in emoji slider tool to get feedback from followers
  • Use the built-in countdown timer to promote an upcoming event or launch

Be Strategic

As with all your marketing, be strategic about how you use Instagram Stories. Plan it out and create a schedule that’s realistic and focused. If you post a lot of Stories all at once, your followers will expect that trend to continue.

That said, Stories are a somewhat informal way to share your brand, company, community and values. If you’re creating Stories in real time to share with your followers, don’t think about it too much, just share.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Space Operators Share Special Events

A Landing Page for your Brand

Instagram is like a landing page for your brand and Stories can be an important part of developing and sharing your brand identity and creating a cohesive experience for your followers.

Instagram Stories has its own culture and norms. Spend time researching how other brands and workspaces use Stories and start experimenting with your own Stories. It’s a powerful tool for expanding your reach and showcasing your community and brand.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Space Operators Showcase your brand

On May 29, CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel is co-hosting, along with Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, a virtual training on using Instagram to market your coworking space. Register here: Instagram Marketing: an Introduction for Coworking Spaces


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Update Your Coworking Space Website

As the workspace industry continues its remarkable growth, potential members have an increasing number of spaces to choose from. So it’s essential that your website catch—and keep—the attention of people browsing for coworking space, meeting rooms, a virtual office, mail services, event space etc.

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website

If potential members encounter a website that is slow, sluggish, non-intuitive, confusing to navigate or lacking essential functionality, they will leave and move on to another one.

It’s easy to set-it-and-forget-it when it comes to your workspace website, but it’s important to revisit and update it regularly to turn casual web searchers into leads, customers and members. Here are six telltale signs that it’s time to update your workspace website.

1. Pages Load Slowly

You have a few seconds to catch peoples’ attention with your website. Searchers have lots of options and will take any excuse to click away from your site.

If your pages take more than three seconds to load then your website speed is an issue. As CloudVO Marketing Manager Kim Seipel explains, “Users expect fast loading times when it comes to websites. If your pages take too long to load, it creates a poor user experience and a bad first impression for your brand.”

Seipel adds, “Most users will simply give up, move on to the next site, and probably never come back.”

In July of 2018, Google’s algorithm changed so that slow-loading mobile sites would suffer the consequences. It was a call for action for quite some time before last year, however, Google officially decided to use loading speed as a metric for mobile search result rankings last summer.

2. Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly

It’s no longer acceptable to have a website that renders well on a desktop or laptop, but falls apart (or becomes a user nightmare) on mobile. Many people use mobile devices to research, shop and purchase workspace offerings, so your website has to serve them.

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website and make mobile friendly

Make sure your site is mobile responsive, meaning that it will detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

“A mobile responsive site will look just as good on a smartphone as it does on a desktop,” says Seipel. “People need to be able to use their fingers to scroll, move from page to page, and easily access buttons, links and calls-to-action from their mobile device. Google also now indexes the mobile version of any website and uses those metrics to rank your site, so it’s a must.”

Google suggests the following steps:

1. Visit Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. This page offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as using software or a third-party developer.

2. Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several landing pages and see exactly how Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.

3. Use Webmaster Tools to generate a Mobile Usability Report, which helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.

3. Your Website Lacks Visual Appeal

Website first impressions should be high priority. Visitors to your website are making snap judgements about your space and brand from what they see on your site.

Photos and images of your space and community should be high-resolution and reflect your workspace brand. Include a variety of images and be sure to include people in them. Visitors to your website want to see the space in use to see if it’s the right place for them.

Use images to break up large amounts of website copy, and make sure your text is easy to read and your site navigation intuitive. Site visitors should easily be able to identify all the services you offer without too many clicks. For instance, if you offer coworking memberships, virtual office plans, meeting rooms, and private office space, have separate areas on your home page for each service, with buttons that allow the user to quickly access the information they’re looking for.

CloudVO Blog How Coworking Spaces Can Redefine Marketing Strategy Partner YourOffice

4. Your Website is Not Optimized for SEO

If you’re not thinking about SEO in your website copy, start today. Google (and other search engines) can be powerful traffic drivers and vehicles to amplify your brand messaging.

SEO includes on-page target keyword usage and optimization, metadata, page names, URLs, content headlines, alt tags, internal and external links, H1-H6 tags, your calls to action, and a focused and distinct messages on each landing page.

This is all done in an effort to help search engines understand what your site is about and what services you offer so they can serve up the most relevant results to user queries. Create clear, focused, compelling, helpful content and website copy, and you’ll be well on your way to an optimized site.

SEO tools can be helpful in determining target keyword phrases and developing your SEO strategy. However, having a clear understanding of your target market and their challenges and goals is equally important. As CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel explains:

“There are many extensions you can integrate into your website that will audit the on-page SEO items before you publish the pages. For example, Yoast SEO is fantastic. It’s a WordPress plugin that makes it very easy to complete all of the on-page SEO components that Google loves. SEMrush is another great tool. With any tool or plugin, you take the recommendations with a grain of salt.”

5. No Clear Next Step for Site Visitors

Once someone is on your website looking at your offerings and services, it’s essential that you provide a way for them to take the next step. For instance, can site visitors book a tour of your space through your website? This call to action is a powerful, yet low-commitment, way to get people into your space.

“We highly recommend you offer this functionality,” says Seipel. “There are a ton of scheduling software platforms, such as Calendly, which let visitors schedule tours of your space without having to send an email or call. With Calendly, you can pre-set blocks of availability so when a user books a tour, they can easily see open time slots available and schedule straightaway.”


CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Calendly for booking workspace tours

Giving people an easy way to book tours saves time for space operators, improves the customer experience, and allows you to capture user information. As Seipel says, “Your website visitor just became a qualified lead since they booked a tour online.”

6. Your Website Lacks E-commerce Capabilities

If your current workspace website does not allow users to purchase coworking memberships, meeting room time or virtual office plans, then it’s time to upgrade. Online shopping is growing at a tremendous pace and people want instant gratification. If someone shopping for your services sees something they like or need, they want to be able to purchase it immediately. An effective website gives them an easy way to do so.

“If your website is effective at educating users on the different types of memberships you offer, they should be able to buy what they need and checkout,” says Seipel. E-commerce allows you to sell coworking memberships to a global audience 24x7x365.”

Using Day Passes to Generate Leads Pacific Workplaces Coworking Membership Plans
Coworking Memberships for CloudVO Partner, Pacific Workplaces

Seipel adds that cross-selling or upselling is automated as you can provide suggestions or recommended add-ons for the buyer to consider once they are in the shopping cart.  You can also leverage your e-commerce to gather data on your overall sales effectiveness, which then can be used to personalize future promotions or other service offerings.”

A bonus to automating your e-commerce is that you save your community managers and other coworking staff members time.

“They can spend less time manually processing coworking or virtual office membership purchases,” says Seipel, “and focus on the important things like community building and member programming.”

Enjoy more free resources specifically for workspace operators when you partner with us. Listing is free and you automatically become a part of a larger network of 700 shared workspaces around the globe. Go to   www.CloudVO.com   to learn more.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


Meeting Room White Paper 2019

Meeting Room White Paper 2019 Hourly Prices Per Room Size All Operators in United States

Tell us a bit about yourself before downloading the white paper.

We are excited to announce our 2019 Meeting Room White Paper. This survey analyzes Day Office and Meeting Room pricing, utilization rates, and revenue, and serves as an update to the comprehensive meeting room price review first published by CloudVO in 2015. It is a high-level summary of considerable data and analyses collected and performed in Q1 2019.

We collected hourly prices from 20,710 day offices and meeting rooms in 3,378 locations across the United States, available for booking online directly from the providers’ own websites or via resellers like CloudVO, Liquidspace and Davinci. We mined the data to draw comparisons across regions and providers, between resellers and original providers, and of course a comparison between CloudVO partners and Regus in each region.

A more comprehensive analysis is made available for free to CloudVO partners to enable them to drill down on their region of operation and use this collection of data to set up more effective meeting room strategies.

In this public version we are sharing data aggregated on a US-wide basis that highlight different strategies across providers and should raise many good questions in the operator’s mind. We also share meeting room utilization metrics from our sister company Pacific Workplaces.

The meeting room business is a substantial source of revenue for shared office space operators, with expected revenue significantly higher than alternative uses, such as full-time offices or coworking space. This analysis gives a sense of the potential for revenue per type of room and per square foot. It also shares statistics on observed retail hourly prices for various room sizes.

The survey does not include data from hotels or conference centers that have a different value proposition and typically charge higher rates.

We believe this survey paints an accurate picture of the meeting room business provided by the Shared Office Space industry in the U.S.

Get access to invaluable resources like this when you list your workspace location for free and partner with us. Join our network of close to 700 locations around the world. Visit us at www.CloudVO.com  


About CloudVO

CloudVO   is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at close to 700 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

8 Types of Content to Post on Instagram: a Guide for Coworking Space Operators

Instagram is hot right now. A reported one billion people use the platform every month, with 38% of people using it several times per day.

As a coworking space operator, you’d be wise to leverage the popularity and reach of Instagram. But coming up with original content to share, day after day, week after week, isn’t always easy. If you’re overly promotional, Instagram users tune you out, but if you’re not promotional enough, you may not get the marketing impact you desire.

The CloudVO marketing team rounded up our favorite types of content to post on Instagram, specifically with coworking space operators in mind. Here are our top eight.

CloudVO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on IG

  1. Highlight Community Members (and Their Brands)
    When you highlight your members, their companies, their projects and their brands, you support them in growing their business. You also establish your space as a place and resource for other business owners and can showcase your brand values and vision.

A couple of things to keep in mind when highlighting members:

  • How long have they been a member?
  • What are some fun facts about them and/or their brand?

Quick win:
Create a member profile email template—say five questions—that you can easily send out to members. This is the basis of your content. Ask them to stop by the front reception or connect with the community manager so a team member can take a photo of them using the space. This way, you can control the colors and composition of the photo, as opposed to them sending in a headshot. Then schedule the content into your calendar. It’s an easy way to create content without having to do much work.

Suggested hashtag: #featurefridays

Cloud VO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on Instagram Member Highlight

 

  1. Spotlight Team Members
    Team members are an integral part of your workspace. They quietly do a lot behind the scenes and, without them, things in your space would quickly fall apart. Put a face to your community and brand by spotlighting the people running your workspace. This way, your external community knows who to contact when they have questions about space rental, membership, events, etc., and you let your new and existing community members know who runs the space and who to turn to with questions.

Suggested hashtag: #teamtuesdays.

Cloud VO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on Instagram Team Members

  1. External Events in Your Local Community
    One of the smartest things a coworking space operator can do is to connect with—and support—other organizations and businesses in your community, especially those that are aligned with your space, community and target market.

By promoting, sharing and mentioning events and news from your extended community, you show members, potential members and neighbors that your space is not just for members—that it’s a resource for the local community.

Create Instagram posts about events that benefit the entire community. Include the topics, speakers, panelists, venue, etc and tag them all. Tagging local partners and businesses is key to boosting engagement and reach.

  1. Showcase Guests and Members Utilizing the Space
    Do you feel like you have nothing to post on Instagram?  You have the best content right in front of you: your members working in your space.

Time and time again, we find that simple posts of members working or collaborating in a coworking space gets, not only a high amount of likes, but great engagement. People want to see themselves working in your space, so Instagram posts that reflect your members working and your community in action are great go-tos.

Cloud VO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on Instagram Members Working and Member Community

  1. Awesome Reviews
    Customer reviews are an important piece of marketing your coworking space, so leverage your great reviews into Instagram content.

Third-party review sites like Trustpilot make things easy with built-in Image Generator tools that allow you to pick quotes from specific reviews and choose a background image. The Image Generator will also size your graphic for the specific social media platform you intend to use. Once you have the quote and preferred graphic, you can simply download and share.

Reviews serve as testimonials that strengthen members’ bond with your space and community, and demonstrate social proof to people who may be interested in learning more about becoming a member. People put a lot of weight on reviews. One great review can drive far more attention, interest and word-of-mouth marketing than you talking about the benefits and features of your space.

Cloud VO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on Instagram Awesome Reviews

  1. Share Space Refreshes
    Keeping your coworking space interesting, useful and visually fresh shows that you take pride in it and are constantly maintaining it.

Sharing space refreshes on Instagram gives people an insider’s look at what it’s like in your space. Whether it’s something small like a new coffee maker, or something large, like a space remodel, keep people in-the-loop about changes, improvements and enhancements in the space.

Members appreciate when the space is well-kept, and they are inclined to take more photos within the space and post. Encourage user generated content and people sharing that they are working from your space by liking, engaging, commenting and sharing their posts. And remember, anytime you update or add something cool or new to your space, share it.

Cloud VO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on Instagram Space Refresh

  1. Promote Blog Posts
    Each time you publish a new blog post you should promote it on Instagram (as well as the other social platforms). Social media is a great way to drive people to your blog content. If you have a featured image you use for a specific blog article, just take that same image and post to Instagram with a caption that draws people to want to read your blog.

ProTip: Make sure the link to your latest article is in your bio. The less work people have to do to get to your post (or website), the more likely they are to actually click through to it.

  1. Show Decor and Workspace Set-up
    Each coworking community has members who “nest” or take the time to make their workspace their own. Capture some of these fun and interesting workspace areas and share them.

Whether it involves someone working amongst plants, flowers, artwork, or gizmos and gadgets, snap a photo of someone’s work set-up for the day and share it around. These types of posts are very humanizing and relatable—they let people see what it’s like to work a day in your space.

Cloud VO Blog 8 Types of Content to post on Instagram Workspace Setup

Bonus: Popular Instagram Daily Hashtags
Find ways to incorporate Instagram daily hashtags into your post. Remember to also keep an eye out for hashtags around holidays, theme months or seasons, news, events and more. Here are some of the most popular daily hashtags on Instagram:

MONDAY
#mondaymotivation

TUESDAY
#teamtuesday

WEDNESDAY
#wednesdaywisdom

THURSDAY
#throwbackthursday
#tbt

FRIDAY
#flashbackfriday
#fbf
#featurefriday

Cat Johnson is a content strategist and storyteller for the coworking movement.

Want more resources geared specifically for workspace operators?  Join 700 shared workspaces around the world and partner with us. Go to   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

How to Reinvent Your Marketing Strategy: 9 Tips for Coworking Space Operators

When was the last time you revisited your marketing strategy? Or your website, for that matter?

We get it. As coworking space operators, you have a lot on your plate. But if your marketing is not working, you’re leaving leads, members and money on the table.

The CloudVO marketing team sees first-hand how partner spaces present and market themselves online. Some have a streamlined strategy and others, not so much. The good news is that you can always improve, and doing so doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.

CloudVO Blog Reinvent Your Coworking Space Marketing Strategy

I spoke with Karina Patel, Director of Marketing at CloudVO, about simple things coworking space operators can do to improve their digital presence and marketing.

I also spoke with David Middleton, Vice President at YourOffice, who turned to the CloudVO team when the company needed to update their marketing approach.

As Middleton explains, they weren’t getting the results they wanted from commercial real estate brokers and their “overall strategy was to increase conversions from inbound channels.” As he puts it, Patel “brought us into the new world and made sure we’re where we need to be.”

This meant strengthening SEO across their seven workspace locations, getting up-to-speed with social media trends, investing in pay-per-click marketing, focusing on content creation and revisiting their website copy.

Here are nine marketing tips for workspace operators, taken from our conversations.

1. Audit Your Website

Is your website up-to-date? Does your copy reflect keyword phrases you’re currently targeting? Is your site mobile responsive? These are all common issues with websites in the workspace world and beyond.

Be open to changes as Middleton of YourOffice was and take an honest look at your site, including images, videos, copy and layout. You may be using phrasing that’s outdated and missing opportunities to boost your SEO. Consider enlisting a few people to help with this (including a member), as their perspective and observations may be different from yours.

CloudVO Blog How Coworking Spaces Can Redefine Marketing Strategy Partner YourOffice

 

2. Make Check-out Easy

When someone visits your site, it’s because they need something. How easy is it for them to get the information they need and take the next step, whether that’s purchasing a membership, a meeting room rental, a virtual office or digital mail services?

As Patel explains, you want to provide instant gratification for the user.

“If a lead comes to the website, what is it they’re looking for,” she says. “How many clicks does it take them to get to it?”

Here are questions to ask yourself about the user experience on your site:

● Can people checkout on your website? If so, what is that process? Do they have to fill out a long form or is it easy?
● How easy is it for someone to navigate to what they need?
● How many clicks does it take to go from information to checkout?
● Do you have a call to action on each page to invite users to take the next step?
● Is your e-commerce integrated with your website?
● How easy is it for a casual browser to get a day pass, virtual mail membership or book a meeting room?

CloudVO Blog Reinvent Your Coworking Space Marketing Strategy Online Meeting Room Bookings

ProTip: Utilize analytics to glean valuable information. The CloudVO team found in their own analytics that a lot of people were reserving meeting rooms, coworking daypasses and virtual office services in the evening, after business hours. If reservations required filling out a form and waiting until the next day for a response, people would be more likely to keep browsing. It’s important to give people a way to book and pay immediately.

3. Refresh Your Images

An easy way to keep your website fresh and relevant is to update your photos regularly.

“You can immediately freshen up your website by updating the pictures,” says Patel. “Especially if you’ve renovated, added new furniture or painted. If the first thing I see is an office space with fluorescent lighting and bulky wood furniture, it looks like an office from the 90’s or 80’s. That’s the first thing an end-user would be turned off by.”

If you have photos of people using your conference room, those should be on your website. If you have photos of people working in an open coworking area, those should be on your home page.

CloudVO Blog 6 Tips on Integrating Virtual Offices into Coworking Spaces Meeting Rooms

CloudVO Blog Coworking and World Mental Health Day Expand Social Networks

“Take photos all the time and replace the ones on your site regularly,” Patel advises, adding that event photos can be particularly valuable in differentiating your space from those around you. But even if you don’t host events, photos are key to user engagement.

“If your space isn’t an event space, and you may not be exposing it to people who aren’t community members, you have to compete a little bit more,” she says. “An easy way to do that is with photos.”

4. Get Access to Your Website

It’s nice to have a web developer you can call when you need to make a change to your website. But, if you’re completely dependent on them to make changes, you may be less likely to actually make changes to photos and copy.

Many websites are built on WordPress, Squarespace or other platforms that have a built-in content management systems (CMS). These give you easy access to make changes. And, bonus, they’re designed to host content, so you’ll have a good foundation for your content marketing.

“You don’t want to have to rely on a developer to update your images or copy, because how often will you really do that?”, says Patel.

5. Step Up Your Social Media

Social media platforms are marketing powerhouses—especially Facebook and Instagram. Take a close look at your social media strategy and find ways to strengthen and improve it, including posting more consistently.

“When I look at a company’s social media, I’m not looking at the number of followers,” says Patel. “I’m looking at their consistency. How often are you posting?”

Patel advises the following to improve your social media strategy, consistency and quality:

● Clarify your products and services: What do you offer people?
● Clarify your message: What are you trying to tell people?
● When people are using your space, take photos
● When you have an event, take photos
● Highlight your team members
● Highlight your community members
● Feature things going on in your community
● Feature local tech events
● Feature local organizations aligned with your space
● Feature guests who visit or work in your space
● Share posts about how people use your space
● Share motivational posts
● To avoid social media overwhelm, take one day a week to create and schedule your social media content
● Actively engage in social media, including in groups. This is a great way to teach people about your brand.
● You don’t have to post every day

“It doesn’t always have to be a picture of your conference room,” Patel says. “Only one in every few posts should be promotional. People want to understand you. Especially with Instagram, you’re telling a story of your brand, the people in your space and your community.”

She adds, “What’s unique about your space? That’s what people want to see.”

Cloud Blog Reinvent Your Marketing Strategy Social Media Branding

Middleton points out that it’s important to have someone on your team who is dedicated to social media. This is the approach they took for YourOffice.

“If you don’t have someone on your team who can do that, then align yourself with the resources that can provide that service,” he says. “They are out there.”

6. Utilize Google My Business

When auditing your coworking website, one of the first things to look at is your presence on Google. This includes organic SEO as well as Google My Business. To get started with Google My Business, claim your business, add images, add your services and hours. Google makes it quick and easy so there’s no reason not to claim your business today.

7. SEO

To determine where your workspace brand ranks in Google, do a search for coworking (or whatever services you’re targeting) in your area. If your space isn’t listed on the first page, you need to dedicate some time to SEO.

SEO is a big topic, but it includes getting your website architecture and copy right, including your target keyword phrases on pages, and creating content that supports your marketing efforts, and drives traffic and inbound links to your site.

There are plenty of great SEO tools, including SEMRush and Moz, but, as Patel advises, “Take what they give you with a grain of salt. Don’t get too into the weeds with SEO. Just focus on your keywords and strengthening website copy and content.”

For Middleton, that meant revisiting the phrasing they were using. For instance, they ranked high for terms such as “executive office space,” but few people were searching for that phrase.

“It might make us feel good that we were in the top five,” he says, “but that’s not what people were looking for.”

To remedy the situation, they implemented “coworking,” and “shared office” into their copy and created a content marketing strategy with those keywords in them.

8. Think Local

For Middleton, an important shift was to start thinking about inbound marketing for each of their seven locations across the Southeast, Denver and Philadelphia. The team is increasingly focused on marketing each space with local keyword phrases and content, rather than the company as a whole.

“We’re going to end up having more localized sites that will link back into the main YourOffice site,” says Middleton.

9. Get Started

To do a refresh of your marketing, determine where you need to make improvements, whether with your website, e-commerce, social media or SEO. Then lay out the next steps you need to take.

Cloud Blog Reinvent Your Marketing Strategy action plan

“Make an assessment,” says Patel, “based on what your strengths are, and what your weaknesses are. Where do you need help? Determine that and spend some time working on it.”

Want more resources like this? Join our global network of 700 locations.   Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO  is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Are Coworking Operators Like WeWork a Threat or an Ally for Commercial Landlords?

A recent blog post published in Finance & Commerce entitled “Landlords, rivals push back against WeWork” expresses concerns from some landlords and their brokers that WeWork is stepping on their turf.

The article is interesting, and I thought it would be worthwhile for me to highlight some partial agreement with the author’s analysis, while sharing some divergent and expanded views as well on the evolving nature of Landlord/Operator relationships.

WeWork Window Sign San Francisco 201 Spear Street

  1. A new $42 bln valuation for WeWork.
    This is the highest number I have come across so far and a mind-blowing reflection of WeWork’s disruptive nature, as seen by WeWork’s investors. We could be a bit skeptical of that number until we can review the (private) agreement for the last capital infusion by SoftBank. Restrictions and conditions applied to WeWork on capital repayments, conversion options, and other features in the deal may considerably lower any nominal valuation. But no matter the exact number, that valuation remains gigantic, and way out of range of the multiples experienced by publicly traded companies in the sector. Clearly SoftBank is comfortable with the progress made by the company as they keep on funding. Clearly WeWork, and by extension, the entire coworking industry, is perceived as a disruptive force in the traditional commercial real estate world.

2.   Landlords’ Attitude is changing.
“More than a dozen real estate and banking executives interviewed by Bloomberg expressed misgivings about working with the start-up,” says the Finance & Commerce article – well, maybe, but let’s not forget that for one dozen skeptics, you have several dozens of landlords who are raising their hands to attract WeWork in their buildings, even though WeWork has, in many cases, replaced the fat Letters of Credit or Security deposits of the past with meaningless guarantees for the first 6 months or 12 months of rent. It’s not difficult to guarantee the first year of rent… when 9+ months of it is free! If landlords’ attitudes have changed, it is that WeWork, and the entire coworking industry, is being more actively sought after by landlords throughout the country than it ever has. A dozen skeptics won’t stop this powerful wave.

3. Reduced Collateral in Leases.
We can also point out that the considerable drop in security collateral experienced by landlords with coworking players in the last few years does not put their project necessarily in a more fragile financial situation. The best collateral of a coworking operation is the operation itself, with hundreds of members sending recurring payments every month which won’t disappear, because their business identity is tied to that location. There is more than meets the eye than an apparent threat to the financial stability of these collateral-less transactions.

Lease Agreement CloudVO Blog WeWork and Landlords

4.   Debunking the myth of Corporate Guarantees.
Corporate guarantees can be very dangerous for landlords by giving a sense of false security. They were the reason why Regus filed for Chapter 11 in 2002, by creating a domino effect due to growth that was too aggressive in the Western US during the dot-com boom of the late nineties. The majority of their assets were performing well, but a series of imprudent leases, with corporate guarantees, at the peak of the market created a domino effect that affected all landlords. Under Chapter 11, Regus could attempt to restructure all of their leases, including with well performing locations. That did not help the Regus landlords in any way, corporate guarantee in hand or not. What saved them were other flexible space operators taking over the locations vacated by Regus.

That is how Pacific Workplaces (Pac) experienced its initial growth 15 years ago, by taking over a former Regus franchise location in Walnut Creek, California when they failed on their rent obligations. The Landlord in the end did not need the collateral, corporate guarantees, or personal guarantees that Pac would not offer (at the time Pac had only 2 existing locations). They cared that a knowledgeable operator would optimize the operation and pay market rent. That approach served them well. Two lease renewals and two lease expansions later, Pacific Workplaces Walnut Creek has never failed on its rent obligation, has become the largest tenant in the building, all to the delight of happy asset managers!

CloudVO Sister Company Pacific Workplaces Walnut Creek new coworking space and lounge

Formerly a Regus/HQ, Pacific Workplaces acquired its location in Walnut Creek, CA in 2004.  The location just completed a successful space refresh and offers all shared workspace options including coworking memberships, virtual office plans, private offices, and meeting rooms.

 

  1. Disruption of the tenant-landlord-broker relationships.
    “It’s more about disrupting the relationship of tenants to landlord, of tenants to brokers, of brokers to landlords,” writes the author in the Finance & Commerce article. There is much truth in that statement. WeWork is understandably in the spotlight, but the entire coworking industry is a threat to brokers in that it dis-intermediates the function of a broker for small space requirements, an increasingly large section of the market. The demand is meeting the supply online. For example, 85% of the leads of Pacific Workplaces, a California-based coworking operator with 18 locations, come from online channels, and only 1% come from traditional brokers. Online leads can originate from the operator’s own digital marketing efforts and from resellers and marketplace providers like CloudVO or Liquidspace, who are successful disrupting the role of traditional brokers, in part due to the more transparent nature of their online transactions, a refreshing approach, in contrast to the chronic opacity of traditional commercial real estate transactions. On the Enterprise segment of the market, companies with a large network of locations like Regus, WeWork or CloudVO have their own corporate account infrastructure that relies a lot less on traditional brokers and feeds off of what was once the brokerage word reserved territory.

6.  WeWork and Coworking Operators a threat to Landlords?
That is what the author of the Finance & Commerce piece argues. I think the truth is more subtle than laid out in that article. First, as a buyer of commercial buildings, it seems to me that WeWork is a beneficial player for the owners of assets they purchase, in that WeWork was the highest bidder. Otherwise the owner would presumably not have sold. Second, the trends towards mobility, the consumerization of the workplace, the continued decrease in corporate footprint per employee, are all threats to landlords in that the need for traditional commercial space is shrinking. Coworking and other forms of flexible office spaces are enabling these trends, but the threat to landlord is the trend, not the flexible office space operators. In fact, Coworking operators are natural partners for landlords to take advantage of that new secular trend. Managing coworking spaces is an entirely different profession than property management. Just as hotel landlords bring in franchise operators to manage the hotel (and don’t try to do it themselves), commercial office landlords need professional coworking operators to manage that new exploding demand.

Written by  Laurent Dhollande, CEO of CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

The Importance of Customer Reviews to Market Your Coworking Space

If you’re not focused on getting customer reviews for your coworking space, you’re missing out on a golden marketing opportunity. Reviews for your workspace can be found on Yelp, Google, Facebook and more. Potential members pay attention to these reviews and you should, as well. Forbes reports that online reviews are the best thing that ever happened to small businesses, explaining that “97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day.”
The Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces
When people search online for a coworking space in your town, reviews can attract them to you if they’re positive, or keep them scrolling if they’re negative or if you don’t have any.

Customer Reviews and Social Proof

We rely heavily on social proof, including customer reviews, when making decisions about where to shop, eat, visit and work. We tend to search for these things when we actually need the product—meaning that people searching online for a local coworking space are likely to need a space right now. “When a consumer uses a review platform like Yelp or Google My Business, the decision and urgency to buy are exactly what prompted the person’s search,” the Forbes article points out. “If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re actively looking to spend money. That’s an invaluable opportunity for small businesses with tight — or non-existent — marketing budgets.”
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces NextSpace San Jose Yelp Reviews

The Importance of Reviews for a Coworking Space

Karina Patel, Director of Marketing at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces explains that customer reviews are important for workspace operators because they:
  • Help provide a baseline for prospective members because customers rely on reviews from peers more than they trust the taglines of a brand.
  • Boost local listings for SEO. The more reviews, the more likely your local listing appears in search results, including, Yelp and Google. These local listings are integrated into organic search, paid ads, and map views.
  • Search engines see that you are an active brand when you receive a steady stream of reviews.
Customer reviews can also help strengthen your brand and, as Patel points out, “Brand reputation is everything.” Here are four ways customer reviews can help with your branding and marketing, from Patel and Kim Seipel, Marketing Manager at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces:
  1. Reviews establish brand authority and trust. Reading what others have to say about your space and services will move prospects further down the sales funnel.
  2. Having a healthy mixture of ratings allows customers to trust that you aren’t soliciting reviews or incentivizing for 5-star reviews. If a brand only has 5-star reviews, customers are less likely to trust that brand.
  3. With coworking spaces becoming increasingly popular, prospects have more options to choose from. A solid establishment of reviews can differentiate your space from another.
  4. Customers trust online reviews as much as they value personal recommendations. They look to reviews in helping them make their final purchasing decision.
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces CloudVO Trustpilot Review

Using Third-Party Review Products

The CloudVO team recently started testing Trust Pilot, a reputation service that enables companies to automate the review collection process for online purchases. Trust Pilot users can add rich snippet widgets to webpages, which optimize those pages in an organic search by displaying a Google Seller Rating (GSR). Google gathers ratings about your business from licensed review sites, including Trust Pilot. Strong seller ratings not only speaks to the validity of your business, but also helps the performance of your Google Ad Campaigns. As Seipel explains, “There are 32 Google licensed third-party review sites, and after research we decided Trust Pilot would serve our particular needs best. Pricing and features vary between all the review sites, so it’s best to compare several and choose the platform which is aligned with your business goals.” Benefits of using a third-party review platform for a coworking space include:
  • Automating the collection process saves time
  • Space operators don’t need to remember to follow up with all new purchases and incoming members on a daily basis
  • Space operators can trigger invites for new purchases by sending people a customized invite several days after a purchase, with at least one reminder if they haven’t submitted a review. “The invite template is easy,” says Patel. “You just select the star rating and add a comment if you wish.”
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces CloudVO Trustpilot invite
Soliciting Customer Reviews for Your Coworking Space When soliciting reviews, make it easy for customers. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
  • Be consistent with how you ask, and when you ask, for reviews. Creating a process will also allow you to keep track of members you have asked per time frame (month or quarter)
  • Do not set a precedent with incentives for reviews. Members will expect a reward for submitting a review.
  • Use templates for your community managers to send out with customized information, links, do’s and don’ts.
  • Handle negative reviews with patience and understanding. Responding to a negative review is a potential opportunity to mend a relationship, demonstrate your brand values, and express your calm, cool handling of an uncomfortable situation. You can use a template for this, as well, but be sure to personalize your response to address—and fix when possible—the complaints of your unhappy customer.

Turning Casual Searches into Marketing Leads

Customer reviews can (and should) be part of the strategy for marketing your coworking space. Reviews help showcase your space and community, they provide social proof to people looking for a workspace, they provide a glimpse into your brand values, and they’re a powerful tool for turning casual web searchers into marketing leads. How do you use customer reviews to market your workspace? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you. by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.

About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.