MeetUp – Event Organizing Turned Social Networking

Meetup

meetup logo

Meetup is a social networking site, designed to connect those based on common interests and knowledge.

What is Meetup?

Meetup functions by geographical organization. When a user enters their zip code and their interests, they can find a group(s) to join with users that have similar interest. From there, the group organizer (or multiple organizers) can set up a time where group members can go and meet other members and they can talk about the interests that brought them together.

History

In June 2002, the social networking site MeetUp was created to bring users together based on their interests. The site’s co-founder, Scott Heiferman saw the tragic events of the 9/11 attacks in a different light. “The way in which people in New York came together in the aftermath of that traumatic event inspired me to use the Internet to make it easier for people to connect with others in their community,” (via Wikipedia).

Target Market

Figuring out a target market for Meetup has proved to be difficult, as there seems to be such a huge variety in user demographics. There are groups for 20-somethings, runners, book clubs, women, gamers, bachelors, IT professionals, hikers, bloggers, foodies, volunteers…the list goes on and on. In a very wide view, Meetup is definitely more a networking site for adults. Adults who are looking to make new friends with people in their community and are outgoing and social thrive on this site.

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Let’s Talk Numbers

Meetup tracks a lot of data concerning their users and events. Taken straight from the Meetup About page, the site has approximately 20.7 million users worldwide. This networking site hosts meetups in 182 different countries, with about 190,642 active Meetup groups. The average number of Meetups every month is around 508,841, with over 3.69 billion Meetup RSVPs.

Growth

Meetup has been around for a long time, since 2002 to be specific. But in the last few years it has seen staggering growth with social media becoming a normal mean of communication. Technology blog TechCrunch sat down with the CEO of Meetup (Heiferman) to talk about the recent shift in Meetup’s traffic. He claims that the boom in mobile usage has definitely boosted their traffic, but the main reason is believed to be that the way the public uses the Internet has changed since the start of Meetup. “Once the Internet became mainstream, services like Facebook and Twitter have aligned themselves to provide a friend-filtered form of it. But the web used to be about something different, about finding the others.” Heiferman doesn’t think that the world is completely ready for Meetup to be the next big social phenomenon, but it certainly will be soon.

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How to Use Meetup

According to the TechCrunch article mentioned above, Meetup is a tool that lets people “use the Internet to get off the Internet” and meet real people in real life. Meetup organizers pay a monthly fee to set up these meetings based on common interests, and then users RSVP and interact with others. From a business standpoint, they would use Meetup more as an organizer. A business could start a group based on their specialization – for example, a bakery could start a group for pastry enthusiasts. There are different levels of organizer “memberships”. They can pay for the basic membership, that can limits groups to 3 co-organizers and 50 members, an unlimited membership that gives the organizer an unlimited amount of members and co-organizers, and a premium membership. This is a great article on some best practices for Meetup organizers.

Integration

Meetup has the ability to cross promote with other social media platforms. Organizers can share their Meetup on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They suggest creating a social media account for the Meetup group, as a lot of active accounts on Meetup also likely hold active accounts on other social media sites. Meetup also promotes events happening everywhere everyday. They encourage organizers to connect and “at” them or comment on a stream to have a certain event promoted to Meetup’s followers.

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Is it Mobile Friendly?

Meetup has an app available in the iTunes store and Google Play. The app has pretty much all of the same functions as the desktop site, showing popular groups in your area and giving event information for your RSVPs. It currently receives mixed reviews; users like that it has a lot of the same functions as the website, but there have been issues with the calendar times of the Meetup events. Hopefully they can fix this issue before Meetup becomes the next big social network.

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Big Names on Meetup

Because Meetup has been such an underground network until recently, it’s incredibly hard to find big businesses or celebrities using this form of social media. The membership pretty much consists of average citizens, and occasionally a small, locally owned business. Hopefully soon larger businesses will start to incorporate Meetup into the Integrated Marketing Communications and Event Planning.

 

Check out my Prezi on Meetup!

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