Sweeten the deal

A bit of carrot goes a long way. Offer an incentive (schwag!) or propose a competition: The top _#_ Meetups will get _____.  It doesn’t have to be an elaborate giveaway, and you can get some ideas here.

Look what happened between Houston and Dallas, Texas when they vied for the largest Etsy Meetup in the world…

Texas competition

TWO: Get the word out!

The more people you send to your Meetup Everywhere, the more activity you’ll see. 

An exciting blog post announcing your Meetup Everywhere is crucial, but it’s also super simple.  Let your followers know about this opportunity for them to meet each other face-to-face and build their community.  As long as there’s a clear call-to-action, you should be all set — urge people to join a Meetup or schedule one in their town, just by visiting your Meetup Everywhere site! The rest is up to them.

Be sure to also email, tweet and update your Facebook page with news about your Meetups Everywhere.  Your followers will love you for it!

(Oh, and if you’ve got some kind of competition or incentive going, don’t forget to let people know about it!)

We’re blown away by some blog posts and tweets folks have already put together.  Take a peek.

Embed a map of your Meetups…

… in a prominent place on your site. 

Plugging in one line of code gets you an interactive map that will look something like this.

This little guy packs a punch.  Besides displaying an up-to-the-minute map of all your Meetups, it shows whichever are happening closest to the person viewing it.  Best yet, there’s a link so others can grab the code to embed the widget on their own sites.

Case Study: MASHABLE

Mashable has a super devoted following of active readers.  It was only natural that they provide them with a way to meetup with each other.

They decided that the best way to rally everyone was to declare one date when they could all meetup.  But what day?  They decreed that, henceforth, June 30th would be known as Social Media Day.  People all over the world would rise up to celebrate this new holiday, and meet others just as excited about it.

Mashable’s vision of Meetups Everywhere on June 30th for their made-up holiday paid off.  Big. 

They wrote a blog post outlining how their readers could self-organize Meetups in their own neighborhoods, gave tips on using social media to get the word out and participate (of course), and made sure that everyone used the same tag for anything related to their Meetup Everywhere.

As a result, more than 11,000 people celebrated Social Media Day at Mashable Meetups around the world!

Mashable kept the decrees coming by encouraging their readers to have monthly Meetups. 

Encourage use of a common tag

Create a tag or “hashtag” for your event series. These tags condense conversations on Twitter, Flickr and YouTube so attendees all around the world can connect with each other. Pick a short (<10 characters) tag that represents your brand and the Meetups.  (You can also use our awesome hashtag generator in the create page for your Meetup Everywhere.)

Examples:
Mashable = #smday
Foursquare = #4sqmeetup
TechCrunch = #tcmeetup

Another option is to get a Flickr, YouTube, or SoundCloud group going before your Meetups even happen.  This will provide a common home for all of your fans’ content.

Pop-in on the conversation

It’s fun participating in the conversations going on around your brand and the Meetups! 

  • Visit the Meetups online in different cities to leave comments.  People get really excited and it encourages more activity.
  • Subscribe to a feed of all mentions of the hashtag you made, so you can @reply on Twitter.
  • Comment on a Facebook post about a Meetup.

Community members love to be surprised by knowing someone from your company is listening. Think of it as digital high fives.

Drop an email to folks who’ve signed up

Emailing the members of your Meetups is one of the simplest and best ways to show your love, and it’ll have a far-reaching effect.  All you have to do is say hi and recognize how flipping cool it is that they’re meeting up.

It’s also great to send a special message to the organizers of your Meetups to let them know you appreciate their efforts.  (Maybe a little schwag is in order?)  These organizers are your global brand ambassadors and they’ll be helpful beyond one Meetup. They’re likely to schedule more Meetups if they feel valued, and they are useful if you’re scheduling a tour or event and need a hand sparking local interest. 

Whether you’re sending out a big blast to everyone or targeting your organizers, use the ‘Email members’ feature on the left side of your Meetup Everywhere.

Case Study: APARTMENT THERAPY

New York fans of the blog Apartment Therapy have been meeting up locally since 2007. Apartment Therapy’s founder Maxwell recognized the value of those meetings, saying, “While we’ve grown as an online community, there is no replacement for real face to face meetings OFFLINE.”

But how do you scale that offline interaction from one city to many?

They took things global with Meetups Everywhere on June 9th, calling readers to self-organize their own national offline movement.  As a result, people met to get acquainted with one another, chat about design, and even hear feedback on their home projects. 

The magic to their success came from the regular communications Maxwell sent to their readers.  His emails and blog posts consistently celebrated the whole spectrum of the Meetups that happens, gave guidance on how to get involved, offered suggestions for what to do, and fully embraced the power of people meeting up.

Take a look at some of his messages here!

THREE: Celebrate & Cultivate

After your first wave of Meetups has passed, you are going to want to maximize the momentum, and it doesn’t take much — people naturally want to keep meeting up!  All you need to do is

  • put the call out in an email and/or blog post to challenge folks to Meetup again
  • make it a routine to recognize those people meeting up and encourage more people to get involved

Maybe you want to make a particular day of the month your day, where everyone’s Meetups occur.  Or maybe you want to let folks schedule Meetup’s whenever is best for them.  The most important thing is that you talk on a regular basis about the Meetups and how people can participate.