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How to Host an Effective Meetup Group

How to Host an Effective Meetup via @sbizideasblogMeetups are a great way to make new friends and network with people with similar interests. Some meetup groups have been around for a long time and have active members. Hosting your own Meetups can also be a great way to find new friends and businesses connections.

Meetups are also often better than networking events for finding and developing new business connections and clients. One key reason is that if you attend regularly, you actually get to know some of the people and develop real relationships. Another reason is that you already have a common interest with the people that attend.

However, many Meetups struggle to get off the ground. What makes some Meetup groups a success while others fail? Here are some ideas on how to make Meetup groups work for you.

 

1. Before you start, look around to see what other groups already exist

Check out other Meetup groups in your city as well as other cities of similar size. Are there any Meetups like the one you want to form in other cities?

What about online communities? Events? Before forming a group, it is important to try to gauge the potential interest in the Meetup group.

For example, let’s say you want to start a badminton Meetup. Look around to see if there are other badminton groups or places that you can play. Look at Meetups from other cities to see if they have any badminton Meetup groups.

It will be easier to find and retain interest if there are signs that other people have shown interest in other venues. For instance, just about every city has a business networking Meetup group, which means that if I wanted to start one in my city, it would be more likely to succeed than a Meetup group to weave baskets.

Of course that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, but understand that some groups may be more difficult to grow than others.

 

2. If possible, find a core group of friends to attend regularly

Social proof can be important for Meetup groups, especially if they are new. No one wants to attend a Meetup and be the only one there besides the organizer.

That’s why if you can get find a few friends or people that share your interest and can go regularly, then this can make it easier to get the group going. For example, if you decided to start a Meetup to share marketing tips try to get a few friends to commit to go to each Meetup.

If the experience is good and people feel that going to the Meetup is beneficial, then your group will continue to grow. Having a core group of attendees early on gives your Meetup some social proof and makes it more comfortable for other people to attend.

 

3. Give people an incentive to RSVP early

Most Meetups don’t give any incentive for people to RSVP, which means that a lot of people won’t do it or will wait to see if other people are going. If no one RSVP’s, then this might turn off other potential attendees.

You can offer a discount or free entrance for reserving your spot on Meetup. Getting a bunch of people to RSVP will make your Meetup look well attended, which will get even more people to come out.

 

4. Leadership matters

Be sure to make your guests feel welcome, especially if it is their first time attending. Sometimes people are more comfortable talking to their friends or get too engaged in conversation with others.

If the group gets large, then it may be difficult to mingle with everyone. Try to find other people who might be interested in becoming assistant organizers and hosting events too, especially if they are doing a good job of connecting with other people. This will also take some of the pressure off of you and make managing Meetups less stressful.

 

5. Get feedback

Be sure to get feedback from group members on what they think of the Meetup and what can be improved.

 

6. Be consistent

I’ve seen Meetup groups go for awhile and then all of the sudden they stopped having their monthly Meetups. Then when they try to start up again, people have moved on and forgotten about it.

If you are planning on running a Meetup group, have Meetups consistently, at least once a month. If you only get a few people out when you start, don’t get discouraged. Sometimes it takes time to build a group, so if the people are enjoying it and there seems to be room for growth, then keep going.

 

7. Promote

Finally, it is very important to try to promote the group outside of Meetup. Some of the most successful Meetup groups also use Facebook marketing and LinkedIn to get people to their events. Or you can also post to local event websites.

A lot of newbie Meetup group organizers just start a Meetup and hope that people will show up. Figure out a plan to promote the group outside of Meetup too.

 

 

With all the social media channels, people are spending a lot of time trying to network online. But nothing beats forming real relationships in the offline world, and networking through Meetups is a great way to do that.

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About Brian Lang

I've been making a living online since 2002, mostly through e-commerce sites and content sites with advertising. Through the years, I have also learned a lot about other types of businesses and helped other people with their business problems.

Comments

  1. Great article Brian! I don’t have any problem getting people to RSVP. What I do have a problem with, as do so many others, is getting them to honor their RSVP. I’ve tried requiring payment to RSVP and that didn’t work out very well. I enjoy meeting other Meetup organizers and mentoring new ones.

    Stephanie Inge, Founder/Organizer
    The Dallas eBaybes & eMales Meetup Group
    DFW Social Media Marketing Group
    Author: Meetup Organizer Step-by-Step Success Guide

    • Brian Lang says:

      Hi Stephanie – yes, that’s a big issue that a lot of organizers face. Some of the tactics I’ve seen used to combat this are 3 strikes (i.e., 3 no shows) then you’re out of the group or giving a pre-paid discount option (pay online in advance to reserve your spot and get a discount).

      Another idea is to get them on your own email list and send them a reminder before the event. People get so many Meetup emails that they just delete them and sometimes people forget if they RSVP early.

      • That is a good point about most people belong to multiple Meetup Groups and get inundated with notifications.
        Recording video can be of value to recruiting new members, getting sponsors and keeping old members in the fold.

        I bought this booklet for Meetup Organizers.

    • Jimmie jayes says:

      Hey Stephanie,

      Charging is a double edged sword. It makes people show up more often, however it discourages people from RSVPing in the first place. The less people RSVP, the less “social proof” you have that your group (and events) are good, and the less people want to attend (or pay) to come.

      I learned this trick from Nick (who has a group of 17k people). What he does is he says “the first 30 people to RSVP get in free”. The next 30 are $5 each. The next 40 are $10 each. Everyone after 100 is $15 each.” He uses eventbrite to create multiple ticket prices. Once a ticket price is sold out, he deletes that price from his meetup event description. Once the price is at $15 he forces them to pay on meetup.

      Another option is to say “its $10 to RSVP and you get back $5 at the event”.

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