Thinking about establishing a local community around a specific topic you care about? This 9 step guide gets you going.
Meetups are a great way to take your online network to a more tangible real world scenario and gather this likeminded community in order to create great things. Organizing a meetup normally goes hand in hand with some form of planning via group chat or email — both equally painful. Which is we are going to outline how a bunch of our users work with JayPads to set up their meetups in a very efficient way.
1 First things first: What do you want to accomplish? Discuss what your goals are — be as specific as you can be. Brainstorm. This is a crucial step in order to target the right people. In a JayPad you’d use the group chat in order to get ideas flowing and once you have settled on a topic you write a note in the “Pad” (the permanent content area of JayPads, described in more detail here) and store this information easily accessible, think of it as a Post-It for important stuff worked out in the chat. If you choose a format of “keynote plus Q&A”: What is your keynote going to be? Who is delivering it? Who manages the Q&A? For a small meetup we’d suggest: The first keynote comes directly from you and management of questions is likely not going to be an issue — just go with the flow.
2 Research local meetups. Browse already established communities and see if your goals complement each other (browse at least both Meetup and Facebook). You will later use these profiles as inspiration for your own: These guys have already pulled off what you are about to try, so you better study them. Learn how they approach their members, how they advertise their meetups and where. This might carry the necessity to re-calibrate what you have done at step 1.
3 Find a date. This is what JayPads were originally built for and this is one of its great strengths: Get people together at a certain time and location. Just poll the availabilities of the team. What we discovered is that business-related meetups work best on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
4 Setup a meetup at Meetup — they are very great at offering your event to people which might be interested in coming. The community is very active and responsive and people browse suggestions regularly. This is your go to move to get this thing rolling.
Inputs required in the first step are:
- Location. Which is pretty clear, since you want to build a local community.
- Tags for your meetup. Picking the right keywords is important for Meetup to know which people you are trying to gather. Have a look at your competition note: How do those guys tag their meetups. Meetup itself offers good suggestions and gives indicators how many groups are targeting this topic.
- Name. This should be easy — but a look at your competition will help you get a better feeling for “good” vs. “no-so-good” names.
- A more lengthy description. Describe your goals and why someone should join (50 characters minimum). Again, be specific.
Brainstorm point 1. to 4. using the group chat and store the results in another note — this is essential. Just do it.
If you are working on step 2. and 3. with more than just two people, consider polling alternatives and come to a democratic result. This will save tons of time and JayPads offer a simple feature for this step.
5Make a Facebook event. Yes, Meetup is an awesome tool — but Facebook offers great ways to build your community as well. This is why you will need to setup this thing as a Facebook event additionally. There is no way around it. Its even easier than setting up your Meetup profile and information required has already been established at step 4. Just paste everything together and you are golden.
6 Get initial members. You have a network already and this is the reason why you think there should be your superawesome meetup. Now is the time to invite them. Just send them the link to your Meetup profile via Email or invite them through Facebook (this is where the Facebook event comes in very handy). Aim for at least 10 fix commitments. We think this should be the baseline in order to have a productive meeting of people which are not all familiar to each other, thus creating a benefit for those who came and making it more likely for them to a) return and b) bring likeminded people from their network you don’t know yet.
7 Find and prepare a venue for your meetup. Once you have a better feel for the size of the crowd you are going to assemble you can look for locations. You should have a room for 10 ready at all times but you should also develop fallback plans in case this thing somehow blows up and gets viral. Be prepared. Set up responsibilities: make signs if the location is not straightforward to find, get and check the required equipment, check Wifi and put out signs with access codes if required. Store info and contacts in another note.
8Prepare for a small get together afterwards. This is a crucial step. You absolutely need to take care of beer. As silly as this might sound to some: Do not underestimate the power of a few drinks with likeminded people. We are dead serious about this point and you should be too! Reach out to potential sponsors, advertising through “this fun time is brought to you by…” is a powerful marketing channel you can offer. And for the love of god, bring business cards — they still use them.
9 Keep the gang together. Follow each other on Twitter, LinkedIn and other resources — become Facebook friends. If you want to keep the brainstorming going and foster community and engagement, we have made great experiences with specific meetup JayPads (even if it is just so everybody has a central directory to share the links to his social accounts in). They are platform agnostic and you can merge users from Facebook with those acquired through Meetup or other channels. Working on ideas, storing and sharing links to interesting articles as well as files and pictures (file upload is a JayPad feature which is to be released very soon, we are currently testing it in Alpha) is convenient and we are not aware of a tool requiring less effort for these types of tasks.
We built a tool we’d like to call “the smallest side project management tool in the world” — which is misleading since JayPads are a much more general communication framework. But what we discovered and validated to great lengths is: JayPads are extremely strong when a smaller group of people wants to get something off the ground. And this strength can be utilized much longer than the common Slack-enthusiast might think. If you are interested in further elaboration of this point: this and this might be for you.
JayPads are extremely strong when a smaller group of people wants to get something off the ground. And this strength can be utilized much longer than the common Slack-enthusiast might think.
Just give it a go and set up your next meetup, get together with friends, side project etc. via your very first JayPad.
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