Growing your group

Tips on building a leadership team and how to make your group successful

  • On Meetup, there’s no standard model for a successful community.

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    Great Meetup groups look completely different, but there is one common thread: events that bring people together.

    A Meetup group can be many things — it’s a tight-knit group of five members who discuss a novel they’ve been reading, a group of fifty new runners training for their first race, dozens of entrepreneurs looking to learn from one another, or almost anything else you can imagine.

    Success means something different to every organizer. Decide what it looks like for you.

    What inspires your Meetup group?

    Do you have specific expectations you want your group to accomplish over time? These could be anything from running your first marathon to starting a business together.

    Perhaps you excel at a skill you want to share with the world. Your group can inspire others to try yoga, learn to paint, become a better public speaker, etc.

    Other groups are born out of shared interests or common experiences. Your group can be the social spark that brings other true crime fans, sports junkies, or expatriates together in real life.

    What’s the ideal size for your group?

    Maybe you want to create intimate conversations and trust with a few people, or perhaps you want to keep onboarding volunteers to drive your group's mission. Your goal could even be to create a community that ignites other communities across the world.

    Think about scaling your group, and how to create powerful events no matter who shows up.

    What kind of organizer do you want to be?

    Some organizers function like a ship’s captain. They share knowledge, own every event, and plot an exact course so everyone achieves their goals.

    Others create leadership teams and work with their trusted members to plan and schedule events, ensuring everything they do is teamwork.

    Your original vision of your Meetup group may change as your community grows and evolves, but it should inspire each decision you make.

     
    How do I make my Meetup group successful?
  • Creating your Meetup group is a great accomplishment. Keep up the momentum — you want a community, go find them!

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    Meetup’s new group announcements go out to members who have expressed interest in those topics you chose while you were creating your group, but that doesn’t mean those are the only people who would be a good fit.

    Be Social

    Get the word out!

    • Share your Meetup group's URL on Facebook and Twitter — you might have a friend of a friend who’s a perfect fit.
    • Create an Instagram handle or hashtag for your group, and encourage your members to post photos.
    • Share your group on other sites — for example, if you’re an active member of a video game discussion group, let people know you’ve started a group for IRL gaming.

    Get Found

    Google and other search engines crawl and record billions of public web pages, including Meetup. Just like you use Google, Bing, or Yahoo to find a variety of people, places, and things, the right members for your group are out there googling for their community. Make sure they can find you.

    • Create strong and unique event titles — place + adjective + activity is always a great formula
    • Link to your group social media pages — if you’ve made an Instagram or Twitter handle for your group, make sure it links to your group's homepage.
    • Have a clear description — your opening line should be one sentence that says exactly who your community is for, before you share the rest of the details.

    Communicate with your Community

    If you find yourself buying all your hiking gear at a particular store, ask them if they can hang a flyer for your group’s outdoor adventures. If you’re looking for other musicians for your jam sessions, ask some music organizations if they’ll share a link to your group in their newsletter.

    You can also try some more general community-oriented places to share your group details (with their permission, of course):

    • Libraries
    • Community Centers
    • College campuses
    • Coworking spaces
    • Coffee shops
    • Rehearsal studios

    Stay Active

    • Use your active members as your group's mouthpiece — ask them to bring friends along and keep spreading the news.
    • Schedule plenty of events — an active group shows prospective members that your community is real, and they’re making an impact. Give them plenty of opportunities to be welcomed into the fold.
    • Keep in mind, it’s common for groups to start small and form a tight knit community. Stay focused on your members, and you’ll keep finding your people.
    Promoting your Meetup group
  • As your community grows, it can be difficult to schedule events and manage communication by yourself. Learn how to add members to your leadership team.

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    Creating a leadership team can help:

    • Distribute the workload: Additional leaders allows you to delegate organizing responsibilities.
    • Encourage collaboration: Having more leaders empowers them to learn leadership skills and builds trust in your community.
    • Reward members: Assigning leadership roles is a great way to let a member know you love their passion and ideas.

    You decide how many other leaders you need and what responsibilities they should take on.

    Co-organizer:

    Your co-organizer(s) are your second-in-command. They embody your group's mission entirely.

    • If you want to put a co-organizer completely in charge of a local Meetup group, it’s important to establish a vetting process.
    • All co-organizers have permission to contact the other members, and change your group's appearance and privacy settings.

    Assistant organizer:

    Much like Co-organizers, Assistant organizers represent your community.

    • Ideal Assistant organizers collaborate with the rest of your leadership to plan events, maintain active communication, and encourage a friendly and warm community.
    • Assistant organizers are able to contact all members, but they’re not able to change or manage your group's appearance, privacy settings, or finances.

    Event organizer:

    If you find someone that has great ideas for events and would be a thoughtful host, consider making them an Event organizer.

    • Event organizers should be members that understand your group's vision and will only schedule events that align with it.
    • Their permissions are limited to managing the calendar and contacting members online, but they need to be people you trust at IRL events too.

    Identifying leaders

    Some of your members may tell you they want to be on your leadership team right away. In some cases, you’ll have to ask potential leaders yourself.

    Communicate the responsibilities you’d like for them to handle. Before selecting someone:

    • Do they represent your group's values? Find members that start conversations.
    • Do they contribute lots of ideas for events? Great leaders share actionable ideas and suggestions.
    • Who are your consistent cheerleaders? Pick them.
    Building a leadership team
  • Your event is on the calendar and people are coming! How do you get them to actually show up?

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    Communication is key: Let your people know you’re excited to spend time with them.

    Build trust before you meet

    • Post comments on the event's page. Ask questions: What brews are you looking forward to tasting? Has anyone hiked this trail before? Get the conversation going before you even see each other.

    Send personal messages to new members and first-timers

    • Let new members know there’s an event coming up.
    • Tell first-timers you’ll be looking for them and make sure you’ll know how to find each other. If they know you’ll be there with the welcome wagon, they’ll be less likely to bail.

    Get in touch with your attendees

    • Contact everyone that said they’re coming. Remind them you’re looking forward to debating the merits of the cold brew vs. iced coffee or that your new boots are ready to be broken in.
    • Balance your communications. Everyone has a full inbox — if you’re communicating too much, your most important messages will get lost (or your members may choose to not receive them at all). Keep it to one or two messages before an event.

    Make time for everyone at your event

    • If you get occupied running the show, ask your more outgoing members to help look out for newcomers.
    • If you have a leadership team, this is a great time for them to step up and help show your community’s values.

    Celebrate every Meetup event, no matter who turns up

    • Share photos afterward to celebrate the cool things you did or the new stuff you learned.
    • Ask for ideas for the next activity and have another event on the calendar for the newly-inspired to attend.
     
     
    How do I get people to show up?
  • There is no big secret to improving your search rankings on the Meetup site or in search engines like Google. The best way to make your way to the top is by ensure your Meetup group's pages have interesting, relevant, and useful information about your group. Search algorithms base their results on things they think will be be the best and most useful match to someone searching a specific keyword.

    Using your group’s Topics section will help both the search engines and people searching know just what you’re about. Tagging topics that are relevant to your group will increase the chances of interested members finding you.

    You’ll find your topics on your group’s homepage, under the What we’re about section. Topics don’t have to be permanent. You can change the topics for your group at any time. Give your group some leverage by editing your Meetup group's topics.

    The more specific information you provide in your topics, the easier it will be for people and search engines to find you.

    We’ve thought of a few things you can do to make sure you're showing off what your Meetup group is most passionate about.

    Include your location and create your group’s name based off of your main topic

    We all like to be creative, but for search engine purposes, the ideal group name is super simple and reflects exactly what your group is about. We’ve come up with an easy formula to help get you started on ideas.

    Create a short summary in the beginning of your group description

    Think of it like telling a friend about something your really passionate about. Only summarize the most exciting and important parts.

    When we say short, we mean around 100 characters: "We are romance novel enthusiasts who meet at a local coffee shop to discuss books and authors we love." That's it.

    Keeping it short and sweet will help grab the attention of the user who finds you in a search, and they’ll understand what clicking on the link to your group will take them to. You don’t want anyone confused on their first impression of you.

    Flesh out your group description with good and thoughtful details

    The rest of your group description should include details about who should join the group, what members can expect, and what sorts of activities you do. Head on over for more inspiration of what makes a good group description.

    You don’t have to tell your group’s whole life story to the world. Make sure you've got relevant information in there, but there's no need to go overboard. This can cause potential members who come across your group to feel overwhelmed. You’re group description is not carved in stone, and you can edit it at any time.

    Bonus points: link to your group from other places around the web

    One way search engines decide whether any particular site is useful is by checking to see if other sites on the internet are linking to it. Post a link to your group from your blog, or get other folks to post a link to your group from their sites.

    Don't lose sleep over this step -- it's useful, but try not to go overboard. You don’t want people thinking the group to your link is spam.

    Don’t try to cheat

    There are people who try to game the system with things like lists of invisible keywords or repeating content. Don't be one of those people. Lists of keywords or garbled text are not helpful for potential members trying to figure out whether they'd like to join the group or not. Search engines want users to be happy when they click on the link to read more. They don’t want to see a user clicking, then hitting the back button because the link wasn’t relevant to what they were looking for.

    Repetitive content, 'non-human language', and other things designed just to trick the search engines can get your group de-listed and removed from the search results entirely. That goes for search engines, as well as the search functions on the Meetup site. We want everyone in our community to play fair and by the rules.

    SEO for your Meetup group
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