Most social media is entirely virtual in nature, like the oft-mentioned Facebook and MySpace. These provide people the means to connect with each other on a virtual level, but do very little in the way of having people meet in the physical realm. (Of course, there’s always the chance that people on Facebook will choose to meet with each other of their own volition, but that’s something that’s arranged by the individuals on a personal level, and not something directly encouraged by way of the social media platform.)
With MeetUp, though, the game is entirely different. A MeetUp group is a way of social networking wherein physically meeting others in the group is the entire point of the website. There are literally hundreds of thousands of MeetUp groups in existence, and there’s absolutely no reason for one of them to not be directly connected to your business.
Having a MeetUp group is a great way to garner interest in your business, and since you have a physical place for your business to be, you have a physical place for your MeetUps to take place at.
There are many things that you could start a MeetUp group in honor of in terms of your business. If you have a car-based business, consider starting a MeetUp group to have people come to your business and discuss the history of a particular car that your dealership works with. Another great thing to focus MeetUps around is free (or paid) trainings – if you have a dealership, for example, you could teach people how to change a tire, fix a flat, or change their oil.
Giving away information is a great way to get positive attention focused on your business. Even better, in order for the participants in the MeetUp to get the information, they have to physically come to your place of business for the class. And when they’re at your place of business for the class, there’s no reason to think that they won’t do any shopping while there, right?
If you are interested in utilizing MeetUp-type media – which you should be – there are other sites that do similar things. There’s actually a Twitter offshoot site called TweetUp that has become a very popular medium through which people meet each other locally and use the power of social media to further the good of themselves and their communities. Another site worth checking out is Biznik, which allows members to join it through an online platform, but it’s local-community based and is a tool for the promotion of in-person local events.
While going virtual is a great way to get the word of your business out there on the waves, don’t forget that going virtual is an excellent way to get people to come to your physical store, as well. Starting groups through MeetUp and similar sites is a great way to accomplish this goal.