Are you looking to start your meetup group? Meetups are a great way to find and build a local community in the niche you are working on. Meetups are an excellent source for new people to meet with each other, learn about the latest trends, pursue their passions, and create a network that will eventually support your career/business.
People get inspired after meeting passionate people in their industry, and to make that happen, meetup groups are a great way to start with. It can be a real-life meetup event or a virtual event; both are great for reaching out to an audience with the same interest as you.
Meetup is an excellent platform for creating an online community sharing the same interests as you. The platform helps you build in-person meetups and helps in hosting and building an online community.
Before you launch a meetup group and learn by trial and error, follow some basic instructions that you need to keep under consideration.
1. Define your Niche & the Type of People you are Looking to Attract
The first thing you need to identify is the audience you are looking to attract and want to be a part of your meetup group. Here’s how you can define them:
- The niche of your group should be clear to attract a targeted audience.
- Purpose of the meetup group.
- Join other meetup groups to see what people are interested in your chosen niche.
- You want to identify whether the people are businessmen or job-oriented.
- Define whether the people you are looking for are practitioners or hobbyists.
- Members of the meetup group should help in the growth of the meetup group.
- Is your meetup group exclusive for one type of people, or a variety of people are also welcomed?
Once the type of audience you are looking for has been defined, you can move on to finalizing your niche topic. You see, several people recommend that you need to determine the topic first and then look for the audience. However, experts define the niche topic later.
Why is that? Let’s suppose you are looking to develop a meetup group with the niche around ‘cars.’ So, automatically, you are looking for ‘car enthusiasts.’ You go on in the market and see what car enthusiasts are ‘in’ nowadays, and for instance, you find out that there is a lot of talk about electric cars.
What experts will do is, they will pick up this hot topic (after researching the targeted audience) as their ‘niche topic’ and build a meetup group around that specific topic (at least initially).
To find a new group of potential members for your meetup group, start with these suggestions:
- Announce the meetup group in the meeting section of your meetup group and to members of other meetup groups.
- Announce the meetup group on meetup.com.
- Tell people at your day job who might be interested.
- Tell people you meet casually.
- Tell people you meet through your kids or your spouse.
- Tell people you meet through your wife or husband.
- Tell people you meet through the kids.
- Tell people you meet through your wife’s or husband’s friends.
- Tell people you meet through your friends.
- Tell people you meet through your kids’ friends.
- Tell people you meet through your spouse’s friends.
- Tell people you meet through your friends’ friends.
- Tell people you meet through your coworkers.
- Tell people you meet through coworkers’ friends.
- Tell people you meet through your neighbors.
- Tell people you meet through your neighbors’ friends.
- Tell people you meet through coworkers’ neighbors.
- Tell people you meet through coworkers’ friends’ neighbors.
2. Fix Date & Venue
To determine which date works best for you, several factors require attention in detail.
Generally speaking, fix the date and the venue three months before you start your meetup or finalize the minor stuff. You need time and effort to turn your meetup into a success and ensure that the attendance bar for your meetup is high.
So, first look for a venue and know how many people ‘you think’ will be attending your first meetup. As this will be your first meetup, go with a venue that can withstand strength of 50 to 100 people as it takes time for every meetup group to gain trust and become viable.
According to stats, almost 1/3 of the people who confirm ‘attendance’ online will most likely attend the event in-person. Also, make sure that your venue is compatible with all of your needs and wants, like projectors, mic (audio), speakers, and food.
Once you have narrowed down a venue, research what date you want your meetup to be held? Always go for a meetup on weekdays or working days, especially in the evenings when people are getting off from work and want to socialize. If you set up your meetups on weekends, your attendance level will be deficient as people do not want to talk about or mingle with people’ about work’ on their weekends.
The best days to set a date are whether on a Tuesday or Wednesday of any week.
3. Start Looking for Speakers
You need a great speaker who knows how to grab the attention of their audience. They are the most vital ingredient for any meetup group and, at the same time, ‘the most challenging aspect’ of organizing events.
A good speaker should have the following attributes:
- Speakers should be credible, prepared, and must be knowledgeable about the topic at hand.
- Must be able to convey messages effectively.
- A speaker must not sell any of their products.
- Engage the audience.
- Confident and compelling.
- Good body language.
- Positive attitude.
You can find a speaker for your meetup event by reaching out to your audience and finding someone willing to talk or at least get a reference from them about someone at the top of their field.
Also, research people over the internet to look for experts in your selected niche category and reach out to them to support your cause.
Social media can also be used to conduct and initiate the hunt for a good speaker.
Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups, says, “90 percent of startup founders are bad at running meetings.” He gives two reasons.
First, startup founders are terrible at handling complex information. Startup founders have too much information at once to remember it all, so they ignore it.
Second, startup founders are terrible at managing people. They don’t know how to hold people accountable, how to give feedback, how to keep meetings productive, or how to get other people to step up and lead.
As Dave puts it, “The startup founders I know are lazy, selfish, and kind of moronic.”
If you implement these techniques, you’ll have a great speaker for your audience in no time.
4. Promotion of the Event
Once all of the aspects mentioned above for your meetup event are done, it is time to promote your event. Here are some steps which you can follow to promote your meetup:
Use your email list: Since you are already looking for people to join you, work overtime to build your email list. Using ConvertKit, you can automate the entire process by putting tags and segments on your subscribers to ensure that the relevant people are getting and receiving your promotional emails.
It can be a hectic task to begin with. However, once you have automated email marketing tools like ConvertKit, you can focus more on the content of your meetup and let the software handle the hefty work.
Use social media: You might have found several already established communities on various social media platforms during your research. If you become a valuable & active member of those groups, you can promote your meetup on that platform also (after asking permission from the admin of the group).
Use Meetup: You can list your upcoming event on Meetup.com and invite interested people from your local area to join your meetup group. You can easily find new people on this website who are as passionate as you are about your work.
Use Eventbrite: Place your meetup on Eventbrite and find other relevant sites where you can promote your event.
5. Meetup Event – On the day activities
Now comes the most crucial part. You have come a long way on your journey, from starting your new meetup group to seeing it happen live.
On the day of the event, you need to be vigilant and thoroughly organized. Here are some general guidelines which you should cater on the day of your event:
- Go to your venue earlier and make sure everything is ready.
- Put a sign outside your venue so your guests can find it easily.
- Send out emails at the start of the day as a reminder to all of the potential attendees.
- Make preparation earlier for your guest speaker.
- Hire a photographer so you can take a lot of pictures. You can use those pictures later on for your next meetup.
- Ask for feedback from all the attendees.
- Badges/Name Tags for all the attendees should be prepared in advance.
Starting your meetup group is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests. You will be able to create a new platform where people can get inspired and share their ideas, which will eventually help them to grow their business.
However, without the use of a few automated tools, it can be a challenging task to pull off as you’ll have to execute every task manually, which not only requires a considerable amount of time but will also drain out your total energy. Be smart!