NetSquared covers the cost for organizers to use Meetup.com because we feel it provides a comprehensive set of tools for organizers to grow and manage their local group, as well as network with others around the world. To get your new NetSquared group set up, you simply need to:
- Share your interest in starting a local group with NetSquared’s Community Curator by submitting the form at: http://netsquared.org/community-organizer-application
- Create an account on Meetup (this means only a username and password for yourself, not a group)
- NetSquared will create your Meetup group for you
- You join the group and NetSquared adds you as a co-organizer
- There is no step 5!
Meetup has some great help resources for people unfamiliar with using the service. You are encouraged to consult their help resources and what’s new stream to learn more and keep up to date on changes to the meetup service.
For information on how to use meetup to post your first meetings check out the following help pages:
- How do I schedule a Meetup?
- How can I edit a Meetup that I’ve scheduled?
- What sorts of details should I include in the description?
- What should I put in my welcome email?
Meetup.com best practices
Sadly there is no magic formula for growing a group, but there are a few trends:
- Meeting monthly in the same location seems to help. Gaps in the schedule lower attendance.
- Add the maximum of 20 topics to your meetup group. This helps people find your group
- Meetups without scheduled events attract far fewer sign-ups. Try to schedule several events in advance.
Engaging your Community examples:
- Welcoming people – London, UK – Amy Sample Ward – I send a personal message to every user within 24 hours of them joining the MeetUp.com group. It can be tedious for me, but I have found that people really feel welcomed and immediately part of the group/conversation. It also helps break the ice for the first time they come to an event because at least they can say, “Hey, you’re Amy, who I got the welcome from!” (and I have actually had quite a few say that exact thing!). Do others send messages individually to MeetUp.com group members?
- Raising awareness/promoting the group – New Orleans, LA, USA – Jessica Rohloff – Meetup.com is an awesome tool for planning an event, because it automates most of the work (i.e. sending reminder emails). It’s also a great way for people to discover your meetup group. For at least a year, Net2NO has been a recommended group on Meetup.com, so when people join Meetup in our region, they see our group right away. We’ve definitely had members who found out about Net2NO simply because they were browsing local events on Meetup.com. At first, I made a point to send greetings and/or welcome emails to all our new members, but lately it’s been hit-or-miss. We have opened up discussion boards and enabled a function that allows members to post ideas and vote for them, which has gained a bit of traction among our members.
- Event announcements and management – NCTech4Good – Triangle NC, USA – Judy Hallman – We use Meetup for announcing meetings, RSVPs and email list services. We usually post the event as an email and also on the discussion board through the meetup tool. It’s not a very active list — mostly just announcements.
- Event announcements and management – WiserTuesday Paris – Camilla Burg – Our group using Meetup to schedule our gatherings, for people to RSVP, give us ideas for events and add their comments on meetings they’ve attended. We combine the info on our meetup group with a group on WiserEarth, the latter being used for members to share their notes on wikis from all the meetings and connect with others from the sustainability movement.
Meetup.com provides an organizers resource center online where you can search for ideas and how-tos to guide your use of the platform. Check it out at: http://meetupblog.meetup.com/orc-classics.html
We also encourage our local organizers to use the Google Group to connect via email to ask questions or share advice on using the marketing tools, including Meetup, in their city.