Marketing online doesn’t have to be limited just to Facebook. Meetup.com is one great, often overlooked, social networking site that can be highly effective for local businesses. So what’s Meetup.com? The site’s purpose is to facilitate gatherings of social groups based on mutual interests. Users create and join locally-based groups dedicated to niche interests. Many of these groups are popular and have a large number of active members. As a business, you can use Meetup.com to bring people to your business and to build an engaged community.

What you’ll need to do is create a Meetup group based on an interest relevant to your business.

Do you run a coffee shop? Maybe you could create a book club that meets in your shop.

If you’re a gym, perhaps a fitness group that meets for exercise classes or local runs.

small business networking
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Gmail

In general, groups that meet a specific interest, rather than a general one, stand out more. You can promote the group to your existing customers to help it take off, then wait for new members to find you on the site.

A successful Meetup group will require some effort: you’ll need to plan regular events and work on building a consistent group of people who keep coming back. Remember not to promote your business too aggressively: you want it to feel like an organic part of the group, not a constant sales pitch. If starting your own Meetup sounds like too much work, many existing groups are looking for local businesses to act as sponsors. Becoming a sponsor can be a great way to bring a new group of customers to your business.

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