Creating from scratch a whole new community to improve your network and get some leads is always a challenge for every entrepreneur. This is why ‘Meetup’ could be your best ally.
Meetup.com is a social media platform that allows its members to meet in real life with a common interest. It can vary from sports, culture, politics, business entrepreneurship to languages, and much more!
Since this a social platform, you can take the benefit of its professional community to attract some investors, partners, clients or just new friends with a similar mindset.
One of its many attractive tools is that you can host an event, post it and invite people who are on the platform.
But how do you start this journey and get some credibility to get some interesting people in there? Well, you have to create a whole plan before and after the event. Here are some tips:
- Set a goal/ purpose
- Target your audience, what’s your niche?
- Choose a topic of interest for the workshop/talk (no more than one hour long)
- Look for appropriate speakers (experts in the topics)
- Look for partners (they could be from other companies or independent speakers)
- Create a budget for food, venue, perks, etc.
- Select a date for the event. Pick a good day with approximately 2-3 months in advance
- Book the venue
- Choose your catering provider
- Create the event agenda: intro, workshop, networking & food, closure
- Schedule the meetup event on the platform
- Send invitations to your contacts
- Post the event on your social media channels; especially Linkedin and the Meetup platform, (with constant reminders)
Now you are all set! But the real thing is on the very day of the event. You want to be prepared for anything, it is always better to be ‘over-prepared’ than to lose credibility on your new community.
The whole purpose of this remember is to create a robust community, this is not a one-day event, you want to keep this going every two months on average, so to keep on growing in number (members). You never know who is attending or who can be that key person to lead you to a big client.
On the day of the event
Punctuality, organization, and communication are key when it comes to the event’s success
- Make sure to have all the speakers’ presentations in the same format, with a good structure, design and no typos
- Send a reminder to all attendees in the morning to check if they’re still coming. The RSVP functionality within Meetup.com is great for you to be able to keep track of numbers and who is coming.
- Be sure to bring nametags and sharpies so everyone can write their names and their company’s on them. This will make networking much easier.
- Place some posters on the walls to show people where the venue/room is.
- Bring a camera/cell phone fully charged to take pictures or a live video in case you want to stream the presentations and make a webinar for those who were not able to attend.
- Bring either your business cards or be sure to have your LinkedIn profile updated.
- Arrive at the venue at least one hour before to double-check everything is ready.
- Be prepared to welcome all your members, and when they arrive introduce them to other guests
- Before the presentation starts, gather the group together and thank them for coming
- Hand all attendees a feedback form and ask them to fill it out at the end of the event
Last but not least...
Don’t forget to follow up! On the night of the event or a few days later, create an excel sheet with all the contacts/potential leads you met and add some keynotes of the conversations you had to make it more personalized when you reach out to it. It is also very nice and polite to say a simple ‘thank you for coming’; This will make people feel valued, therefore your community will welcome more people who are engaged.
Good luck 🙂