At Coherent we have the pleasure of working with a variety of coworking spaces.
This position gives us a vantage point of the industry from which we can see developing trends and patterns of success.
Read on to discover our top tips for improving your coworking space in 2022.
Best of luck for the year ahead – if you would like to chat about the blog, our really cool software, or the weather, we’re always available at email@example.com
Marketing & Social Media
1) Build your Brand
Many smaller coworking spaces dismiss the notion that they are able to build a brand. The word ‘Brand’ makes most of us instinctively think of global powerhouses that dominate their respective field, e.g. McDonald’s, WeWork, Nike.
Like it or not, the reality is that every business has a brand, it is formed by customer perceptions. We have all used small businesses that we trust because they offer a great and consistent experience. That is successful branding.
Your brand is determined by your Values, Vision and Voice.
As the coworking market matures, customer expectations will continue to rise and brands will become an important indicator of quality. This means having a tidy website, knowing your ideal audience, forging an online personality, and as always being friendly and polite.
How do you take control of your brand?
Define your USPs and your target audience. What do you stand for? Are you focused on sustainability, enterprising startups, technology solutions, or social change? People connect with companies who possess integrity and authenticity.
Your Vision should shape the direction of the company, it is your ambition, your window to the future. You want to reach this by sticking to your Values. Having a clear Vision can motivate employees, but also attract people with a similar mindset. Patagonia is an example of a company with amazing Vision.
Your Voice is how you present yourself in any communication channels, from social media and newsletters, to support emails and your website. We would recommend keeping it informal, simple to follow and friendly. If you have a sense of humour, don’t be afraid to try it out.
Beyond words, your company should also be recognisably by its logo, colour palette and typeface. Keep this consistent across all channels to increase brand recognition.
2) Master the Art of Storytelling
Coworking spaces naturally lend themselves to social media channels and story-led content. There is always something going on and with an eclectic mix of members you will find yourself with plenty of opportunities to connect with your audience.
Storytelling is closely tied to building your brand. As you tell your stories people will become aware of the Values and Vision that define your coworking space.
Ideas to get you started
Interview your members. Keep it casual and fun, but don’t forget to use the opportunity to promote your space. Ask how they found your space and why they choose to work there.
Broadcast what’s happening in your space. If you’re running an event, take a few photos and promote it on social media. This is a great way of driving future attendance and showing potential members that your space is active.
Show your work. Doing some decorating? Buying some plants or furniture? Make it a story! What are you hoping to achieve with the improvements? What inspired your decision?
Are you a pet friendly workspace? If there is anything you will learn quickly on social media, it’s that people love dogs… a lot.
Good example here;
3) Get on Top of your Social Media
If you don’t plan ahead, social media can quickly become one of your biggest time soaks. Do not log on to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram hoping that inspiration will strike when you see your timeline. You will almost certainly find yourself scrolling five minutes later. Save time and plan ahead.
In an ideal world, you will be logging onto social media once or twice a day for short bursts to interact with a few of your favourite accounts, monitor your analytics and reply to any comments you’ve received.
Most of your social media work will be done in advance, as part of a coherent plan to construct the online personality you want to present to the world. To achieve this, you can use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite or Facebook Creator Studio. More on this in our useful apps blog.
What should you be posting?
Okay, before you post anything, clarify your goals. Some starting points might be to attract new members and develop your brand. Whatever you do, don’t post for the sake of it, post with intention.
Instagram is arguably the most powerful channel for coworking spaces as you can quickly match visual images with informative or funny captions. But you may also use Facebook and Twitter to post opinions, interviews with members, or long-form blogs that tell the world what you’re up to.
We would recommend supplementing your stories with value-driven content. This type of post is focused on offering a solution or assistance to your audience. You demand nothing of the reader, instead drawing them in by being useful. e.g. ‘what we learned from hosting our first hackathon’.
Repost your posts. So many social media users post things once and never again. If you spent hours writing a blog, make sure to pay the same attention to getting the readership it deserves. Post it several times with different snippets included in the caption and you will see your audience grow.
Remember it’s okay to miss a few days. Don’t stress out about having a constant stream of posts, take the time to create excellent content, the very best kind is recyclable and timeless.
Research & Development
1) Get Member Feedback ❓
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you have a receptive audience right in front of you. Your members have a stake in your space and most of them will be happy to provide feedback. What kind of questions should you be asking?
How did you find out about the space?
What is your line of work? (Good for finding out the crowd you’re attracting)
What type of events would you like to see us host?
Do you like the layout of the space? Could we do it differently?
Would you be interested in a monthly newsletter?
What’s the best way to conduct a survey?
There’s a host of online options now, including Typeform, Survey Monkey and Formstack. Check out our list of useful coworking apps for our selection.
2) Be Proactive in Finding Technical Solutions
In order to run a successful workspace you need to be actively looking for technical solutions to your problems. If you let small problems mount up they will become a mountain and sometimes those mountains become too high to climb. We recommend taking a day or two to review all of your internal processes to see if anything can be streamlined or improved.
What type of things should you review?
Member Data Storage – How do you store contact/membership information? Is your solution safe and secure? Is it accurate, organised and efficient?
Lead Management – How do you handle incoming leads? Do you have a standardised response? Do you remarket to people if they don’t immediately sign up? Do you track conversions?
Invoicing System – Is your payment system robust and immune to human error?
Onboarding Process – How simple is it for people to join your workspace? Note any points of friction, e.g. payment collection, agreement of terms and information gathering.
Communication Channels – How clearly do you communicate with your members?
Pricing – Do you monitor the success of tariffs? Have you considered other pricing models?
As the coworking industry becomes more sophisticated, customer expectations will continue to rise. This means you should be searching for online systems that will reduce capacity for error, decrease friction in member experience and improve the quality of life for staff.
We would naturally encourage you to view Coherent to see how it could assist your business. Otherwise, go through every aspect of your business and make notes on possible weaknesses and strengths, with a view to find solutions.
1) Nothing Beats a Friendly Face
No matter how much you invest in marketing and design, nothing compels people to join a community more than a warm welcome. Aim to have someone available to greet people with a smile, and provide support when needed.
If you have the budget to hire a community host, hire based on personality. Skills can be taught, a natural way with people cannot, and in this business, an infectious personality is a valuable asset.
A great host can be the deciding factor for a high performing workspace; they connect members, take the initiative to organise social events and sell the space to new customers.
If you don’t have the budget, don’t worry. You created this space. So tell the story when you’re next giving a tour. Don’t get hung up on insignificant details like where you got the carpet from (unless you’re asked…), spin a narrative and invite people to join the next chapter. Wow… that was cheesy.
Tips for giving a tour of your space
When did the space open? Why? People like history and reasons.
Who makes up your current crowd? Point out cool members and give this newcomer a serious case of FOMO.
List your perks in a story-driven way.
Everyone gets free coffee ❌
The coffee is free, except Monday mornings when we have to cut people off… ✅
Outside of the Box – Why not try recording a video tour of your space? It’s a great opportunity to engage your audience online and people who do come in will already be comfortable.
Practice makes perfect. Don’t expect visitors to be blown away, blow them away.
2) Improve your Website Journey
Think of your website as your online shop window. People are walking down Internet Street and happen to stop to take a look at your space.
What do you want them to do? List your goals by priority.
e.g. book a tour > membership inquiry > find out more > newsletter sign up
Keep this list in mind when you are creating your site and it should help you form a clear structure. Customers like well-structured websites, so does Google.
You will notice that they don’t overload you with information, they hit you with calls-to-action early and invite you to start a conversation. Once you send that inquiry you become a potential member, rather than a site visitor.
So, what should be on your homepage?
Membership perks. Let visitors immediately know about the benefits of your space. Keep this to short bullet points with accompanying icons.
Membership options. Keep it simple. People want to know price, what’s included and availability.
Testimonials. Nothing is more powerful than happy customers. Invite people to find out more after this positive experience.
Images. Show community, allow viewers to put themselves in the space. A photo of an empty space does not have the same pulling power.
Location and Contact Details.
Design & Culture
1) Books & Magazines
Contrary to popular belief, in a shared thinking space, distractions are useful. One of the big advantages of coworking is that you aren’t tied to a desk, you can wander to generate headspace and step away from deep work.
Beyond your members, books & magazines are useful for guests.
– People waiting for a meeting enjoy a coffee and flicking through a magazine.
– Interviewees will be eternally grateful for mindless distractions to stop them fidgeting.
What to add to your makeshift library?
Subscribe to magazines that will benefit your workspace members. e.g. The Economist, Creative Review or Wired.
Pick up some classics or obscure encyclopedias from a local second-hand bookstore. We recommend subjects like botany or travel.
There are lots of free magazines out there, letting you know what’s going on in your local area or reviewing the arts. It just takes some Googling or asking on social media.
We hope you find this resource useful for sparking ideas on how you can improve your coworking space in 2022.