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How to Start a Meetup Group in 2023: The Ultimate Guide

A meetup group has a lot of benefits to the one who organizes it and the one who participates in it. Hence, the need to start one.

It can be soul-nurturing, socially beneficial, and individually fulfilling. Each participant will leave better than they attended it.

You can plan to start a meetup group virtually and then execute it physically. If done wrong though, it can be devastating and depressing.

For example, sometime in 2022, a Nigerian TikTok Influencer with 1.3 million followers organized a meet-and-greet, a kind of meetup group to bring her followers together for networking and retreat.

She rented a befitting hall and even brought them gifts. Shockingly, not a single person showed up. 

Lesson learned. 

A meetup group sounds great, but it requires special planning and execution.

This article shares the details you need to succeed at starting a meetup group. It shares what a meetup group is, its benefits, types of meetups, how to start one, and so much more.

With that said, let’s get to it.

What is a Meetup Group?

There is a platform called Meetup. It’s a social media platform used for discovering and creating local communities. We shall discuss how you can explore it to start your meetup group later in this post.

For now, meetup as a word, similar to the Meetup platform, is an arranged informal meeting with like-minded people. 

Building, finding, and organizing a meetup group requires planning, determination, organization, promotion, and execution.

A meetup group is a community of people with similar interests and purposes who have come together informally to achieve a similar goal, online or in-person.

This post will teach you how to start a meetup group online and offline.

What are the Benefits of a Meetup Group?

There are numerous benefits of starting a meetup group. Here are 12 benefits of a meetup group.

  1. It serves as a support network.

When you start a meetup group, it gives you a support network of like-minded people. 

As the organizer, you’re not only creating the platform for others to join.

You benefit from the support that the network offers. 

When you start a meetup group, you become a member of your inner caucus.

It teaches you the value of relying on your group for support.

When you’re stressed, you can count on them to offer you relief.

Similarly, you can offer support to others in times of need.

It’s a situation where they rub your back and you rub theirs.

By starting a meetup group, you create an external support group different from the support every participant is already used to from family, friends, and associates.

  1. Meetup groups help you broaden your network.

Building a meetup group helps you expand your network.

The people you know and those you don’t know get to hear about your meetup group.

And if the meetup you started appeals to them, they join thereby increasing the number of people you know.

When you start a meetup group for like-minded individuals with similar interests, it’s easier to connect with them. You guys have a lot in common and a lot to discuss.

Ideally, many of these people come from diversified backgrounds and they come loaded with different values.

Consequently, you will broaden your network and enhance your overall influence through your association with new people from different walks of life.

Broadening your network is an awesome idea. So, start planning to build and join a meetup group today.

  1. It helps you learn new skills.

With the variety of people in a meetup group you started or joined, you can acquire new knowledge and learn new skills from them.

Most members of meetup groups regularly converge to develop a new set of skills and exchange ideas on a specific topic relevant to that group.

Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ) was my local meetup organization for writing and journalism when I was an undergraduate at the university.

We learn the art of writing, storytelling, and news reportage because it’s our common interests and goal.

As new meetings pass weekly for our group, we learned new things from both members and outsiders whom we invited to train us.

This is the essence of starting a meetup group for like-minded individuals.

This same learning experience is what the renowned Toastmasters International offers for its members both locally and internationally.

As a meetup for public speakers, many locals who are interested in learning public speaking regularly converge in a location to share ideas and learn new things about public speaking. They call themselves toastmasters.

I hope this gives you the will and zeal to create a meetup group or join one, online or offline.

  1. It helps you hone your existing skills.

Whatever you already know, joining a meetup group can help you become better at it.

You’ll almost certainly find people in a Meetup who share similar skills with you. 

Hence, it’s an awesome opportunity for you to learn from those like minds.

  1. Meetup groups help you breed self-esteem, self-respect, and confidence.

As you work along in life, you might encounter situations that shake your confidence. You’ll doubt your own ability and adequacy due to life challenges.

However, your self-esteem, self-respect, and confidence soar by belonging to a meetup group.

You can discuss your personal struggles with your colleagues in your local meetup.

They can share theirs too. When you discover that others like you experience similar emotional setbacks as you, it helps breed your own self-esteem.

You begin seeing yourself as normal. 

It’s one of the benefits of establishing a meetup community.

  1. It gives you a sense of belonging.

With a meetup group, you find yourself among like-minded people who behave like you and talk like you.

They share similar interests as you.

What scares you probably scares them.

Their goals seem similar to yours.

What keeps you up at night probably keeps them up at night.

You begin seeing yourself among like-minded individuals. 

As a result, you start developing a sense of belonging with them.

You feel comfortable around people who are like you.

A meetup group can offer you that sense of belonging that you won’t find elsewhere.

  1. It provides an avenue for new opportunities.

Opportunities abound where people are due to needs. 

A meetup community you started can offer new opportunities for business, training, management, and so on.

You can co-found a startup with someone you met at a meetup community you belong to.

You can hire new talent for your company or business.

You can discover a new idea you never even thought of to solve a problem at work.

There are so many opportunities for you in a meetup group. Consider learning how to start one with this article and actually start it.

  1. Meetup groups help you become a leader.

It takes a lot of grit, sacrifice, planning, managing, delegating, organization and execution to create a meetup group successfully.

No one will be able to pull all that off except a leader. The person has worn many hats that qualify him as a leader.

If you have done it before and failed, no need to feel bad about it.

You can do it again. You can organize and start a meetup event again. But this time, you’ll do it better. After all, you have the experience from last time.

You’re a leader. Exercise your skills as a leader by starting a meetup group.

  1. It helps improve your organizational skill.

Building a successful meetup group requires a lot of organizational skills.

What better way to improve that skill than to exercise it?

Sit down, plan, organize and start a meetup community today.

  1. It allows you to offer value and support to others 

If you love helping people out, starting a meetup group is one of the best uses of your talent.

It has been established that a meetup community offers you support. 

It’s a two-way traffic as you too can help others out and give them the support they need.

  1. It helps revitalize you back to success.

Meetup groups come to the rescue when you feel down or no longer feel motivated to continue with what you do.

We derive our ability to execute projects and achieve more from our energy and motivation.

When we deplete both, our efficiency decreases drastically. 

We lose the interest, zeal, and energy to proceed.

To resolve this, consider joining or starting a meetup group.

The support you get from people going through or who have overcome the same issues as you are will help rouse you from a state of inactivity back to activity.

The help you receive from fellow participants of a meetup will give you new life, energy, and vitality to succeed.

Types of Meetup Groups

If you intend to invest your energy into building a local meetup, it’s important to know what kind of a community it will be.

Your community can be created to host people, organize events, and bring people together.

Here are 8 common types of meetups you can create.

  1. Mastermind

A mastermind group is a small group that meets regularly to hold one another accountable and to provide support and encouragement. 

The number of participants in a mastermind is often between 3-5 people, but this number might vary. 

It’s one type of meetup community that serves as a goldmine for new concepts and supports you through your business’s ups and downs.

Some elite mastermind groups charge a membership fee, but you can also start your own for nothing. After exchanging our second-year company plans, I accidentally formed a local mastermind group with two website designers. We now continue it yearly.

Although this meetup type requires less initial commitment, it requires continual engagement from each member to remain valuable.

If you can announce your vision for the meetup and what they stand to gain by joining from the onset, it becomes easier for you to find interested participants.

  1. Club

A club is an association of members who decide to come together for some common purpose, especially for sports, finance, learning, or recreation.

It’s a meetup of people united under a common interest, goal, or purpose.

This is the whole idea behind a meetup group. And it’s one of the reasons people create, join and participate actively in a meetup group.

  1. Retreat

A retreat is yet another meetup group that helps relieve the participants of stress.

Although retreats are frequently designed to be fully immersive events with admission fees, you can also design your own retreat. 

Personally, I plan to start a meetup of roughly 15 digital marketers and freelancers in 2023, God willing. 

Quarterly, we’ll meet, talk, share ideas on digital marketing, and enjoy our day with good food and drinks.

This is to help us get away from life troubles and revitalize ourselves.

Your retreat can be as structured or unstructured as you like.

There are different kinds of retreats. A few of them are business retreats, work retreats, marriage retreats, friendly retreats, and many more.

A retreat eliminates all of your distractions, allowing you to focus on the tasks that most interest you.

Additionally, being free to work makes you more motivated to actually complete tasks, which results in your being at your most productive.

It’s one of the types of meetup groups you can create.

  1. Networking Event

Networking events are one of many types of meetups that you can start.

The primary goal of networking events is to meet new people, engage in meaningful conversations, and create lasting relationships with prospective employers or recruiters. 

You are more likely to meet someone who could advance your career the more individuals you speak with.

As you’ve probably realized, networking involves a lot more than just turning up, taking advantage of the free food, and exchanging business cards. It’s about networking, telling others about yourself and your profession, and obtaining knowledge and contacts, you can use later on at work or in your job search.

Your network can be a great resource for fresh viewpoints and innovative ideas that will benefit you in your job. One of the main advantages is the sharing of information about difficulties, experiences, and objectives.

  1. Get-together

“No man is an island,” the poet John Donne famously said. 

A get-together is one of the special types of meetup people organize. But what makes get-togethers that special?

We need other people and close interactions since we are social beings. 

These special get-togethers can do wonders for our health and happiness because the strength of our friendships and relationships directly impacts our whole well-being—both physical and emotional. 

In addition to being pleasurable, getting together fosters our most vital relationships and fosters a sense of belonging and community. 

A straightforward meal shared with friends or family can enhance your sense of inspiration, renewal, and connection.

These and more are what make these kinds of meetup groups worth creating.

  1. Conference

As one of the popular types of meetup groups, conferences are intended to bring people with similar interests together to discuss problems and concepts pertaining to a particular topic. 

Conferences can be held on virtually any subject, come in various sizes, and be organized by a wide range of organizations.

It’s a great method to advance your career by attending seminars and conferences. various industry experts will share their expertise here, allowing you to learn more about them. One of the finest methods to network with other experts in your field is through doing this.

At conferences, you can hear from business experts and executives and have a chance to ask them questions face-to-face.

  1. Workshop

A workshop is one of the variances of a meetup.

With a workshop, you may offer a novel idea, inspiring participants to learn more about it independently, or it may highlight practical techniques and encourage their use. 

Everyone at work now is an excellent method for teaching practical skills since it allows participants to experiment and make mistakes in a secure environment.

The ability to educate people and raise awareness is one of the finest benefits of workshops and seminars for business.

Generally speaking, experts offer their knowledge and experiences through workshops.

You can develop skills by listening to a speaker who is an authority in a particular field. Who knows, you could be intrigued to try out the novel ideas that the workshop speaker suggested.

  1. Meet-and-Greet

You never know when a simple coffee conversation might alter the direction of your career. 

One of the easiest methods to locate a new job is to create or attend a meet-and-greet. 

It’s also a great way to maintain and grow your network even when you’re not looking for work. 

The main goal of networking is to create connections. And the informal meet-and-greets are one of the greatest methods to do it. 

You can exchange ideas, trade information, and develop enduring professional relationships with mutually beneficial outcomes by conversing with individuals at all levels, from various departments, and in other professions.

Hence, meet-and-greet is one of the best kinds of meetup groups to start.

How to Start a Meetup Group in 6 Simple Steps

Starting a meetup group needn’t be as hard as you might think.

Here are the details you need to create a meetup event.

1) Pick a Purpose For Your Meetup

The first and most important step to take is to pick a purpose for your meetup.

You’ll use the purpose to sell your meetup to people.

After all, a meetup involves getting people together.

If your purpose doesn’t resonate with them, you won’t find a single interested member.

So, create an overall goal that will fit into what your ideal members will be highly interested in.

To get this right, you might even create a survey to know what people might be interested in.

Do more than a single survey. Create a poll too and randomly ask people on your social media handles or where you intend to promote your meetup.

Let people’s answers inform you what purpose is best to build your meetup around.

If you don’t get this right, you won’t get the other steps right. So, please do it right.

2) Determine How The Meetup Benefits The People

After you have decided on the purpose of your meetup group, list the benefits.

Research what people are going through. By doing so, you will know what people will gain by joining or participating in your meetup group.

People do things because of what is in it for them.

You’ll find this useful later as you bring them together for your meetup community.

3) Pick a Deadline For Responding To Your Invite

The next thing to do is to pick an appropriate deadline for your interested members. This helps people decide quickly.

If you leave the date open, you might spend an entire year making your promotion and you still won’t get it right.

People can take more than a year to respond to your call, join your meetup or take their time to “think about it.”

They just find it easier to procrastinate about most things, including joining your meetup.

The only way to stop this from happening is to set a deadline.

4) Promote Your Meetup and Create Public Awareness

After you have planned the previous steps, it’s time to start promoting your meetup group.

This is the stage where you create rigorous awareness and publicity about it.

How to Promote Your Meetup Group

By now, you have established most of the background steps toward starting your own meetup community.

If you’re unsure how to publicize it and get interested members, we have a few tips to keep those juicy ideas flowing.

To promote your meetup, please consider the following methods.

  1. Explore your existing network and influence

This might seem obvious, but when you need people to join your meetup group, you might want to reach out to your existing connections. This includes your friends, colleagues, old schoolmates – whoever you is aligned to the purpose of your meetup.

Use your influence to talk to people who can talk to people on your behalf.

This of course depends on the kind of meetup community you’re organizing.

Nevertheless, exploring your warm audience is one of the ways to go to promote your meetup.

You might never know who might be interested in joining your meetup among your family, friends, associates, neighbors, past acquaintances, and colleagues at work.

  1. Promote the meetup on your Facebook profile

If you have a Facebook profile where you post regularly, you might also want to promote your meetup group there. 

It doesn’t matter if you don’t post there regularly too; you might still find interested participants there.

Don’t leave any stone unturned when promoting your upcoming meetup.

  1. Tweet about it on Twitter

Twitter is another social media platform where you can promote your upcoming meetup.

Tweet about it and ask for retweets there too.

You only need to promote it until you get the number of interested participants you want.

  1. Publish posts about it on free public platforms 

You can also write about your meetup and the benefits in it on public publishing platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn.

Then at the end of the post, make your invitation and include a link to your choice of online venues like a Facebook group you’ve created for it or a Whatsapp group, or a Telegram group.

Your meetup group is not yet done. This is only an initial call where a meeting will be made to solidify your plans.

  1. Promote it on relevant Facebook groups and other social media communities

You can also search for and promote your meetup in relevant Facebook groups where your ideal members are lurking.

You’ll also find similar communities on other social media platforms.

Go there and promote your meetup group. Be mindful of the group rules. Some Facebook groups don’t allow self-promotion.

  1. Promote it to your email list

If you’re familiar with online marketing, then you probably know the benefits of having your own email list.

As someone who has been growing your email list already, your list is one of the best places to promote and talk about your upcoming meetup.

So explore your own email list.

  1. List it on Meetup.com

This platform is made specifically for the purpose of meetup as the name suggests.

If you intend to create a local meetup group, then one of your best bets is to list it on Meetup.

By doing that, new people will find it easier to join your group through the shared interest feature that the website provides for its users.

  1. Promote it on Eventbrite

One of those great platforms to list and promote your meetup group is Eventbrite.

  1. Run paid ads to promote it

This may seem obvious but it’s an important tip when promoting your upcoming meetup group.

It saves you time to run ads to get more new members if you have the advertising budget.

5) Gather Interested Participants on a Virtual Platform

Once you have promoted your forthcoming meetup group and you have attracted people, gather them all on a platform.

You have many platforms to choose from as I’ve shared previously.

Pick Your Meetup Platform

To host your meetup virtually, you can use:

  • Facebook groups
  • Meetup.com
  • Eventbrite
  • Kajabi community
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp groups

Check out this in-depth article on alternatives to Facebook groups.

6) Hold a Meeting To Find Volunteers

Once members have been gathered for your meetup group, it’s time to play your leadership role.

You’ll address them and welcome them. Tell them why they were there.

Share your goals and aspirations with them.

Allow them to interact with you and with one another.

Then, ask for volunteers to handle the meetup event planning.

You can do this immediately or you can wait a couple more days.

The committee may comprise three to seven people.

You’re already a committee member because the meetup group is your idea.

If you’re wondering what’s their role for the meetup group you’re trying to start. Here are their roles.

What Volunteers Can Do In Preparation For The Meetup

Setting up a committee from the people you gathered will give them a sense of belonging.

They will all feel involved.

Yet, the committee has a vital role to play in your upcoming meetup group.

Here are some of their roles:

  1. Deliberate on the venue

One of the duties of the committee you set up is to decide on the physical venue for your meetup group if you’re ever going to bring them together.

The venue has to be convenient for most participants. And the committee will ensure that everyone is adequately catered for attending the meetup group physically.

  1. Deliberate on the budget needed

Some of the planning on your meetup group will require funding.

It’s part of the roles of your new committee to deliberate on this.

How much would the meetup group cost to host it physically? It’s their job to know.

What are you spending on and how much will it be? 

These are the questions the committee will give the right answer to after adequate deliberation.

  1. Deliberate on the date and time

What the date and time for your pending meetup group will be and how convenient it will be for your members is worth discussing.

This is part of the roles of the committee.

  1. Deliberate on how to source funds

After the budget you’ll need for the meetup group has been decided on, the next important discussion is how to source for it.

Is your meetup group using a sponsor?

Is the funding left to the members to contribute?

These questions and more are what the committee will handle.

  1. Deliberate on a guest speaker (or guest speakers)

Will a guest speaker make the event more colorful?

The committee will also decide on how many speakers will be ideal to be invited to the meetup.

  1. Deliberate on the topic to discuss

If a guest speaker will be invited to your meetup group, then it’s only proper to give them a relevant topic to discuss.

Most often, the topic will cover the purpose and goal of the upcoming meetup.

  1. Deliberate on the sound system

Depending on how many people will attend the meetup group, it’s important to decide on the sound system.

As there will be lots of communication, are people’s voices deep enough like Lil Wayne to cover the venue or do you need a sound system? 

  1. Deliberate on food and refreshments

A meetup event this important should have a form of refreshing its attendees.

Hence, the committee will decide what kind of food and drinks will be presented to participants on the D-Day.

  1. Deliberate on the frequency of the meetup

Finally, the committee will deliberate on how often this meetup group event will be held.

Is it monthly, quarterly, or annually? They will raise this question and decide on the frequency.

Final Thoughts: What kind of meetup group do you feel excited about?

Now that you have gotten a lot of details on how to organize and start a meetup group, we would love to hear from you too.

Tell us in the comment section below what type of meetup group you’d like to hold among the ones you’ve learned about here.