Meetup.com is a social networking site designed to help people find and join groups based on their interests. The thing that really sets it apart as as social networking site is that Meetup’s purpose is to get people together in real life. While this requires a bit more engagement and investment than other social networking sites, it is also a great opportunity to really build relationships based on mutual interests.
You can use Meetup as a business tool in several ways, including joining groups and attending events, organizing your own groups and events, and as well as other ways.
Joining groups and attending events
This is the most basic way to use Meetup. Basically you go to meetup.com, signup and start searching for groups that match your interests in your geographic area. While Meetup itself doesn’t charge attendees for joining groups or attending events, some groups will charge fees either to join or to attend events.
When you use Meetup as a business tool, I recommend looking for groups that support business owners and entrepreneurs as well as groups that are more directly related to the products and services that you sell.
After you sign up to attend events, there is the option of writing messages on the event’s page. Sometimes these messages can be a good way to get a feel for the group and the expectations for the event.
Organizing your own groups and events
Organizing your own groups can be a way to connect with new potential clients and even start new service offerings.
When you organize a Meetup group, the first thing you should do is make certain you are clear on why you are organizing the group and what you want the group members to get from it. There are many options that you can choose from. Some of your options are:
- Groups allowing people to enjoy some aspect of your business.
- Classes to teach something related to your business.
- Behind the scenes looks at some interesting part of your business.
- Industry groups to connect yourself with others in similar businesses.
Once you have decided this, you can set up your group. Setting up a group is fairly easy. However, Meetup does check into new groups to ensure they are following the community guidelines. So take that into account, especially if you want to hold your first meeting immediately.
After you have formed your group, you can get to work setting up and advertising events.
Other ways to use Meetup as a business tool
Besides joining or starting groups, you can use Meetup as a way to find out what is going on around you. Depending on your business you can use Meetup to:
- Find groups to sponsor or partner with.
- Find groups to present to or invite to use your storefront as a meeting place.
- Learn more about what is available locally for your ideal clients.
- Connect with group organizers to find out if there are any product or service gaps you could fill.
Being an entrepreneur or small business owner can get lonely, especially as more of us end up spending more and more time on the Internet. Meetup is a tool that can help you connect with your community and build relationships with the people who live near you.