Meetup: Mingling Through Social Media

Networking and raising awareness of your company among like-minded communities should be an integral part of your social media strategy. Facebook and Twitter provide easy ways to share news and information as well as network with current and prospective customers and other people who could potentially benefit your business. But even with the great marketing potential of being part of an online community, these interactions still aren't quite as powerful as meeting face to face. To meet live and in person with people who share your interests in your area, try Meetup, an online networking portal that allows local groups bound by a single concern to organize activities off the Internet.

Meetup was founded in 2001 to facilitate local relationships in the digital age. As Scott Heiferman, CEO and one of the founders of Meetup, told nPost in 2004, “The Internet does a number of wonderful things, but it treats geography as irrelevant. We still live in a world where the local level is extremely important…we are providing a service that revitalizes the Internet for local communities.” According to the latest figures posted on the About Meetup page, the social media network currently has about 6.1 million members in 45,000 cities and receives approximately 2.2 million RSVPs per month for its 68,000-odd local groups.

With Meetup, you can join as many groups as you see fit. For instance, if you're a Phoenix-based business owner looking to swap SEO strategies, there are several small and large groups within 100 miles of the city that frequently hold meetings, seminars and even informal meet-and-greets with marketing-minded professionals.

If you don't find a group that quite fits your interests in the area, you can also create a group in the hopes of attracting people. If your company frequently holds events, you can use Meetup to publicize these events to an interested community. For example, the SunDust Gallery in Mesa, Arizona, uses Meetup to make workshops, classes and receptions known to local artists and art lovers alike.

In addition to sharing calendar events, Meetup also allows organizers to describe their business to potential group members with an about page, upload photos and fliers and interact with members on the message board. You can even cross-promote your Meetup events on other social media networks; Specifically, Facebook offers an application that lets you publish your Meetup groups and events. Meetup provides another way to get your name out to and make a meaningful connection with interested locals.

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