By Etelka Lehoczky, digital content editor/writer
Reprinted from Rotary Voices
Maybe you know about Meetup, the 49-million-member online resource for coordinating and hosting events all over the world. Maybe your club already lists its meetings there. But if you’re not thinking strategically about your Meetup presence, you won’t see the kind of membership growth this amazing platform can generate.
I’m an organizer for the Chicago Philosophy Meetup, which has 5,034 subscribers. It’s true! More than five thousand people follow a group dedicated to one of the most obscure subjects imaginable. Just imagine how much interest your club can attract – if, that is, you understand the platform and promote your meetings the right way. Use these tips to get your club in front of Meetup’s users, and soon you’ll be racking up RSVPs.
Create a great group listing
Be savvy about creating your club’s Meetup group. When you start a new group, the first thing you’ll be asked to do is select some topics it’s related to. Choose as many relevant topics as possible to increase the chance that your group will turn up in users’ searches.
Here are a few topics to start with:
Make New Friends
There’s no penalty to selecting lots of topics, so don’t be shy. If your group addresses an issue – even occasionally – go ahead and select every topic related to it.
Next, make sure to post a great group photo. Your group listing is essentially an ad, so you want to reach out and grab those eyeballs! Here’s a terrific photo from the Rotary Club of Austin, Texas, USA.
Photos that show your group working on projects are real winners, like this one from the provisional Rotary Club of Chinnor, England.
And here’s another great one, from the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge, Berkshire, England.
Besides your main photo, your new group has a whole section for other photos. Post as many as you can. When you upload lots of photos from all your meetings and events, you show people how active and exciting your club is.
Jazz up event listings
Once you’ve created your Meetup group, you’ll need to post each of your club’s meetings and events. For each posting, be as specific as possible about what you’re up to. You’ve got plenty of space in that “description” field, so use it! Are you having a guest speaker at next week’s club meeting? Describe their specialty in the event title and include their biography in the event description. If possible, upload their photo as the event photo. If you don’t have their photo, post one of your group.
If your club has a lot of events, there’s no need to leave one person in charge of listing them all. You can designate as many organizers as you like, giving multiple club members the power to list events.
Post your listings in advance, and regularly. You want the user who scans your group’s page to get an immediate sense that you’ve got a lot of interesting things going on. A user might not want to come to next week’s meeting, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your club. If they see that you have a lot of events, they’ll keep an eye on your club in the future.
On Meetup, you have the power to message everyone who subscribes to your group or RSVPs to an event. Use that power! Ask new subscribers if they have any questions or offer a bit more information about what’s coming up. Personal touches like that make users sit up and pay attention, increasing the chance that they’ll RSVP. After all, people come to Meetup looking for a sense of connection – they want to make new friends and find meaningful activities. You can create that connection even before a user comes to your meeting.
Another way to make connections is to cross-promote your events with other groups. Almost any speaker, subject, or activity you schedule will be relevant to other Meetup groups. You can ask the organizers of those groups to list your event.
For example, maybe your club is organizing an event to clear trash out of a nearby river. Find local groups that address environmental issues, then message the organizers and ask if they’ll post your event. Be sure to provide all the information they’ll need: a headline, description, place, time, and photo. Most organizers are eager to have a lot of events listed in their groups, so they’ll be happy to post yours.
Meetup is a valuable resource if you use it correctly. It’s 49 million users are right there for the taking. Keep these tips in mind when you establish your Meetup presence, and watch the RSVPs roll in.