MeetUp: The most neglected marketing tool in District 10

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By Pete Punwani

One of the best gifts my Dad ever gave me for my birthday was an iPod. Yes an iPod.  Let me explain.  For many years I loved to go out for runs with my Walkman.  The average Walkman lasted me 3-6 months.  My Dad, was insisting I tried the iPod, “Peter, this is cutting edge, you’ll love it.”

That iPod gathered dust for months.

I really loved this toy back in the day. Amazing how my phone replaced it!

Two busted Walkmans later, I finally opened that box. It was new, it was scary, however after playing with it for a few minutes, I thought to myself “Why didn’t I open this sooner?”

Fellow Toastmasters, a few years ago, our district gave us a gift. Every club in our District could use MeetUp on the District Account, and the district would pay the fee.  Our district basically said “We are paying you to promote your club.”  Here is the scary part.  Last week before writing this blog, I decided to log in as an Alias user for MeetUp and see how well promoted our clubs were.  When I typed in Toastmasters to see how many meetings I could find for this week, do you know how many were promoted by MeetUp?

Six.

Yes 6 clubs. Crossroads, Swagelok Impact, Cuyahoga Falls, Toastmasters in Green, TNT, and my club Independently Speaking.

That’s it!

Fellow Toastmasters – this is alarming. What this tells me is that they are many clubs in our district that are not using Meet Up, or worse, they are not using it effectively.  It’s time to dust off this neglected gift.  Today we will discuss MeetUp, how to set it up properly, and what you can do on MeetUp to stand out and attract new guests.

Step 1 – Have at least 4 members in your club set up personal MeetUp Accounts

It’s time for many clubs in the district to use this tool the right way. More than 90% of all clubs (and prospective clubs) are either not using this gift or are doing a poor job of utilizing it.

This is extremely easy to do! I strongly suggest that every member in your club sets up an account.  However if you can have at least 4, that would be a good first step.  Log on to www.meetup.com and follow the directions you need to set up an account.

Also you do not have to use MeetUp for just Toastmasters. I have used it for several other interests of mine including running groups, career focus groups, etc.  This tool is the way of the future.  Make sure you take advantage of it.

Step 2 – Ask District 10 for Admin Access in the Northeast Ohio Toastmasters Group

You need this to organize meetings. My suggestion is to have at least two Admins for your club.  Once you have access you will have the ability to actually set up meetings.

Step 3 – Make your MeetUp Stand Out

  1. When you fill out the meeting detail section make sure you put some thought into it. What do you want potential guests to think, feel, and do? Make sure you are talking to them.
  2. Be sure to have accurate location information. If your meeting place is difficult to find, have detailed directions in on your MeetUp Meeting Page.
  3. Set a recurring meeting them. For example, our club meets every Friday. I cancel the ones I don’t need (5 or 6 per year tops) and always have a meet up out there.
  4. Add pictures and open dialogue in each meeting – I tend show pictures of the past meeting and comment with what happened in the last meeting. The more pictures and people commenting the better.
  5. Make sure at least 4 people RSVP yes they are coming to the meeting, if not more. You need a minimum of 4 people to say they are attending for MeetUp to turn on their marketing tools to help your club. A large majority of our district have 2 or less people filling out RSVPs. This hurts your club.

Step 4 – See who else RSVPs

If you do not recognize someone on your MeetUp RSVP list – that is a good thing. That person is a potential guest.  How you follow up before the meeting or after the meeting is your business.  However, have a strategy.  This is a new member stream you may have never had before.

Step 5 – Stay on top of this weekly

At least one person in your club should be a champion for MeetUp. Every week they should make sure everyone RSVPs, add pictures, create dialogue, and find ways to make their MeetUp stand out.  As long as this is done once a week, your club should reap the fruits of their labor.  If your club does not put in this effort every week, more than likely you will not see the benefits of MeetUp.

Fellow Toastmasters – we have been given a powerful gift. One that have been not used effectively.  If you are not one of the six clubs I mentioned in this blog – it’s time to raise your game.  As a district we are down members this year.  If all of us use MeetUp, we all have a chance to combat that problem.

Take the time to look at MeetUp and be honest with yourself: Are you doing everything you can with this gift?  If not, now is the time to dust off your gift and use it!

MeetUp is the best meeting tool we have access too. However they are some other good ones out there.  What I would do is do a google search.  Type “Event Postings in (Whatever City Your Club is in).”  This is a tip that Sandro Galindo gave me.  It allowed me to find 14 different meeting boards.  One of the biggest challenges we have is to make sure we have the word out to the public.  Do not have an excuse for why potential guests have never heard of your club!

That is all for this week. Join me next week when we discuss club websites.

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