Popular social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn each provide different benefits for business networking. However, online conversation can only go so far. This blog provides an introduction to Meetup: an application that combines features from all of these familiar tools to promote face-to face interaction in group settings based on similar interests.
To help those that are unaware, this post will provide the basic steps to tailoring a Meetup account to help meet your business goals, the business applications of Meetup, and how having access to Meetup can be a great solution to help small businesses promote and market themselves.
Once a Meetup account is setup via Facebook or email, a user can choose topics that appeal to his or her interests. Once topics are selected, they can explore specific Meetup groups in his or her geographic area. When a user views a group, tabs are present that share the number of members in the group, photos, discussions, and similar events—both recent and upcoming. They also have the ability to contact the organizer and other members of the group, which is helpful to answer questions and gain additional information on whether to take the next steps in making a connection.
Meetup is a reliable event management platform that allows individuals to schedule multiple events in a calendar format, which keeps all important information very structured with ease of navigation for potential attendees. The application offers various organizational tools, such as online payment acceptance if the creator of an event wants to charge members an attendance fee. Businesses can also sponsor group events through financial contributions. Sponsors with descriptions of their businesses are listed under a tab on the Meetup event pages, which is another method that they can use to generate a positive outlook and increased exposure with their target audiences.
A small company can expand their business by hosting or becoming involved in Meetup events. For example, a marketing firm could host a training or informational session on how small businesses can manage social media accounts more effectively. Individuals attending the event can make more of a prominent name for their own companies by applying the skills they acquired and the marketing firm can generate potential new business from their thought leadership. Additionally, if the attendees decide to write a blog about the Meetup or post photos on their company websites or social media accounts, this can also promote a positive reputation for the business holding the event.
Meetup also offers searches based on geographic area, allowing people to pursue events that are close and can accommodate their schedule. Individuals can also search for opportunities to broadcast their brand and offerings on Meetup by volunteering to speak at events relevant to their work, ultimately providing more experience and connections. Or, if an individual wants to attend a speaking session and follow-up on the event with a review, blog, etc., their feedback can lead to additional opportunities with different companies on the app in the future.
Utilizing Other Social Platforms for Meetup Purposes
While not as popular as other social media platforms, small businesses can use them to promote their Meetup groups and events, allowing individuals to easily become more involved and build more connections. A business could advertise their Meetup group on either Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram. By providing a direct link to the group, the target audience can learn of the group’s purpose and contemplate whether they would be interested in attending a future event. From there, they can also spread the word to others. If some members of the group are unable to attend but would like to, event organizers could host an Instagram or Facebook live session during critical parts of the gathering (like a presentation or speaking panel). This creates a larger audience which can gain access all through their mobile device.
In summary, Meetup certainly has the potential to become a valuable resource for small businesses. It’s another avenue they can take to extend their reach and visibility by creating more of a dominant presence online. Hosting hands-on events or information sessions grants businesses opportunities to stand-out in a more creative, interactive manner than their competitors. With the utilization of other social platforms in conjunction with Meetup, companies have a novel opportunity to increase their share of voice in their respective industries.
Alexis Ahern authors the column “Lexi’s Lexicon” and is an Account Executive for Milldam Public Relations.