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Most of us are all ready using online social networking giants like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & You Tube. We know that using social media for business is essential for building relationships, brand development and ultimately growing your customer base because they’ve gotten to know, like, and trust you!

But, in the midst of all the communications, advertisements, and noise out there in the social media landscape, how can stand apart from the rest in your industry?   I want to share with you a great resource that will you get noticed!

Have you heard of Meetup?  Most likely you have—as they have over 7.2 million members and 250,000 monthly Meetups.    So my next question is:  are you an active member of any Meetup groups—or better yet—an organizer of your own Meetup?  If you said no, then read further—I have good reason why Meetups can add value to you, your business, and those around you!

Let’s start with a quick overview of what exactly is a Meetup.  It is the world’s largest network of local groups.  The groups are made up of people with similar interests, passions, hobbies, or professional skills.  So you could have a group sharing an interest in learning how to knit… or a group meeting for a biking ride… or you might find a group that is all about Social Media– with discussions based on the latest technology, tips, and Trends.

The main point is that Meetups are designed for local “in-person” gatherings.  Though online networking is very important, there is no substitute for interacting with people face to face!   I have rarely regretted going to a local in person networking event even if I did not see benefits immediately.

Why should start your own meet up for businessHere are 7 powerful reasons:

1. Establish credibility and authority– organizing a Meetup gives you the opportunity to lead and position yourself as an expert in your industry

2. Connect directly with your target market—Getting in front of the right audience is the first step and essential for every business.  When first creating your Meetup online, you are prompted to list related topics that members that would interest potential members of your group

3. In-person connections— more opportunities may develop through face to face meetings.   Here you have the ability to make eye contact and read observe body language which can give you more insight about that person.

4. Word of mouth referrals— people are more inclined to send business your way if they know you, like you, and Trust you.   The element of doing business in person may make a greater impact and lasting impression.

5. Build your email list— every time a new member joins groups, you also get their email address.  Everyone knows that building your list is your greatest asset.  This allows you to further develop relationships and build rapport with your audience… and build trust so they will want to do business with you

6. Grow your network— with over 7 + Million members of Meetup, people are always searching for new groups to join with other like-minded people.  By creating a group (and being active), you will grow your network.   I asked a very successful real estate professional recently what made her so successful and the top producer while so many other realtors are struggling.  She said the reason is she has “built a large network”.  One of my favorite quotes from Robert Kiyosaki (famous author “Rich Dad Poor Dad”) is that the most successful people have the largest networks.

7. Joint ventures and partners— you may meet new people who are also experts in the same niche or market.  Rather than view them as competition, why not form a partnership on a new project?  Two head are better than one. I talk more about the power of masterminds here.

So now that you have 7 solid reasons for why you should create your Meetup go and start one in your area!   Next, you will want to set up your new Meet up group.

10 ways to optimize your Meetup for best results

1.  Write a detailed description of your Meetup.  As you are getting started, you will be guided step by step how to set up your meet up group.  Be sure to complete all the sections with pertinent information about your group.  Fill out the “About” section and describe the purpose of your meet up and why people would want to join.

2. Schedule your Meetup—choose a date and venue and put it on the calendar.   New members will know exactly where and when to find you!

3. Integrate with social networks- Meet up now has a now feature which allow you to integrate messages with Facebook and Twitter.  Integrating social media platforms are a very powerful way to cross promote your group and increase exposure for your business.

4. Share photos and videos– Make your Meetup page as dynamic! Enhance interaction through photos and videos

5. Promote your meet-up—Meetup makes it easy to 1) invite your friends 2) Invite other Meetup members, and my favorite—post your Meetup to Craigslist!

6. Email to you members— Once new members join, stay in touch and send emails to you members with relevant news announcements or important updates.    The organization also does a great job in helping to promote all the groups in the local area—including yours!

For example, I just got an email that says “Your Brielle Meetup Calendar: 132 Meetups this week!”

7. Invite sponsors to support your groups— Meetup will send you an email if a sponsor makes an offer.  For example, a sponsor might provide a place for a Meetup, pay money to support your group, or offer free products, coupons, or discounted services.  I have not done this yet, but it is worth a try!

8. Brand your Meetup page— further develop your brand by customizing your page with a theme, photos, logo, or design with your company colors

9. Post messages on Discussion board— Keep the group alive with by posting relevant topics for discussion!

10. Create a survey—the best way to grow your group is to give what you your target market wants! Ask your members to take a brief survey. Explain why their participation is appreciated and instrumental maximizing their Meetup experience.  There are lots of great free services- the one I use and like is

Case Study:  Race Twitch Club

Here is real example of how we are using Meetup to build community and grow Race Twitch!

As a way of bringing the endurance sports community together, creating added value, and developing the Race Twitch Brand, we have created the Race Twitch Club Meetup.  We will be rolling our out first meeting in NYC on October 13th at Bills Restaurant.

The goal of our group is to provide a content oriented format with new discussions, ideas, training tips, upcoming races, regular guest speakers, and sponsors to support our members.  It is also place for making new connections — locally and nationally as we evolve and roll out Race Twitch Club Meetups throughout the U.S.     In fact, we’ve already captured interest from our audience to open up Race Twitch Club Meetups in 6 other locations (San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, Houston, and Atlanta!)

As I mentioned, each of our Race Twitch Club Meetup venues will include a prominent featured speaker.

For example, we have been able to promote our first Meetup event and generate lots of interest with our guest speaker, Jennifer Steinman– director and film maker of the 4-desert series, “Racing the Planet”.   She will be sharing the amazing (and tragic) journeys of 10 ultra distance runners as they run 150 miles in 7 days through each of the  four toughest deserts: Gobi, Sahara, Antarctica, Atacoma– inarguably the driest, hottest, windiest, coldest places on EARTH!

This has caught the attention of our audience of endurance athletes!  But, I suspect the momentum of our Meetups will pick up after our first meeting!

As you can see we are leveraging The Meetup platform to help build the Race Twitch community of endurance athletes and to further develop the Race Twitch brand.    Are you starting to now see the potential for using Meetups for your company?

Make sure you check back to this blog for the latest updates as we track the success and growth of our Race Twitch club Meetup!  We are in the initial phases and our goal is provide as much value as possible for our members as we grow and branch out!

If you enjoy running (short or long distances), biking, triathlons (sprint or Ironmans and beyond), hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing—you name it… then go here now join our Race Twitch Club for the latest event and updates… and come join us at our next Meetup!

Now it is your turn to start your own Meetup.  You’ll notice over time that new people with similar interests and passions will continue to join your Meetup.   Watch how your group evolves and your business explodes as a result!

My recommendation is that you stay active, regularly update your Meet up page, and take advantage of all the resources available in the Meetup site!   And remember the key advantage and benefit of creating your Meetup group is that Face- to- Face connection—so makes sure you are meeting with your members in person to get the best results and overall experience!

I’d love to hear about your results!  Please comment below and share your success stories as well as any tips you might have!

To your Success,

Laura DeMeo

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