How to Create a Meetup Group – 8 Proven Strategies That Really Work

Are you wondering how to create a Meetup group for your community? Starting a Meetup group can be an excellent way to gather people of similar interests. Whether you’re wondering how to start a Meetup group for a real-life or virtual event, we’ve got you covered.

And even if Meetup doesn’t fulfill your expectations, there’s no need to panic. You can use an excellent free alternative to Meetup. We are here to tell you all about the best Meetup alternative. We will also guide you through the process of creating groups for your community members.

For a start, let’s check out how to create a Meetup group and what’s crucial to know when starting a Meetup group. You’re wondering how much does it cost to run a Meetup group? We’ll cover that part, too. 

How to Create a Meetup Group in a Few Simple Steps

Meetup is a convenient platform for creating a local community. The members use it to meet new people, share their passion with others, as well as learn new things. Even though it is primarily intended for creating in-person meetups, the platform can also be used for online community building and virtual events. But the question is, how to create a Meetup group and get started? Let’s learn more about the essential steps to take. 

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Determine Your Niche

Before you can start actually building your community, choose your niche carefully. The safest choice would be something that you alone are passionate about. However, you should also check out the existing categories of groups on Meetup to see which are the most popular. For instance, there are social, career and creativity groups. Where will your group belong?

Choose Topics and Describe the Purpose of the Group

When you have a clear idea of the niche you want to exploit, it’s time to organize your group even more precisely. This means that you should determine the topics to be discussed within the group, as well as describe its purpose. It will be easier to organize your event if you brainstorm some ideas first. Plus, your potential group members will have a clear picture of what to expect during the event if you provide a short explanation.

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Set the Date and Find a Venue and Speakers for Your First Event

In order to create an event on Meetup, you will be required to enter some event details, such as the following:

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Title and description
  • Host 

So, when starting a Meetup group, you need to determine when and where your first event will take place. By setting the timeline, it will be easier to plan the whole thing and leave enough time for every step of the process. When picking the date, think about the season that’s most suitable for your event.

When it comes to location, it would be best to choose one depending on the purpose and nature of your event. In some cases, even a coffee shop can be the perfect solution.

As the event creator, you will be designated as the event host by default. However, if you want to invite someone else to join you and be the co-host, you can do that by simply selecting the “Add a host” option. You can also make someone else the primary event host if that suits you. For future events, you can ask your group members if there’s anyone they’d like to hear speak on a particular topic.

Create a Virtual Meetup Event

Would you rather host an online event? That’s possible, too. Meetup has recently introduced a new feature allowing you to host an online event. Before you create a virtual meetup, make sure you choose the most convenient video conferencing service, such as Google Hangouts or Zoom

When creating the event, you just need to tick the option “Make this an online event” and provide the link to your online event. Remember to add the word “online” in your event title, too.

Even if you’ve already created an in-person event, you can change it to an online meetup by making a quick edit (ticking the previously mentioned online event option). 

Promote Your Event and Invite People to Join

You want as many people as possible to hear about your event, right? Then you’ll need to invest some time (and money) into promoting your first meetup. If you already have an existing community, invite them to join your Meetup group and attend your event. You should also make use of social media and your email list

The platform alone also helps promote new Meetup groups by sending new group announcement emails to anyone who’s selected at least one interest corresponding with your group’s topic.  

If you want to know how many attendees you should expect, you should set the RSVP policy. That way, if someone confirms that they’re coming, but they don’t show up, you can mark them as no-shows. You can then even remove no-shows from the group if you deem it necessary. 

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Crucial Things to Know When Starting a Meetup Group

Starting a Meetup group can seem somewhat overwhelming at the beginning. This is a rather popular platform, so it can be tricky to actually reach your target audience. If you would still like to give it a try and learn how to start a Meetup group, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind to create the best meetup possible:

  • Check out what other people discuss in their groups to get ideas for your own topics.
  • Set a clear goal of your Meetup group.
  • Determine your target audience and choose the topics and events that will suit their interests.
  • Know exactly what you want your group members to learn from each event you host.
  • Describe the purpose of your group in detail — it is based on this description that people will decide whether to join the group or not.
  • Set some rules and guidelines to keep your members’ behavior under control right from the start.    
  • Ask the members to leave reviews and use their feedback to improve the group.
  • Thank the members for attending your event and take pictures of the meetups (when held offline).

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Meetup Group?

Are you wondering, how much does it cost to run a Meetup group? This may be a major disadvantage of using this platform. If you want to lead a group and organize events, you have to have an active subscription plan. Every group that doesn’t have an active organizer is shut down after 14 days. If you go for a six-month subscription plan, you will need to allocate $16.49 a month. Another option is to pay $23.99 per month for a monthly subscription. 

Those who sign up for Meetup Pro pay even more. In this case, too, there are two options. One is to pay $30 per group a month (billed every six months). The other one is to pay $35 per group a month (billed each month). 

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Does the Meetup pricing scheme sound a bit expensive? It doesn’t suit your budget? Worry no more — you can always switch to a free alternative to Meetup such as GroupApp and save up some money.

GroupApp — the Best Platform for Groups and Communities

If you’re not that thrilled about what Meetup has to offer, you’ve come to the right place — GroupApp is the best Meetup alternative for your online community and groups. Not only is this a free alternative to Meetup, but it also offers quite a few features that will help you expand your business and monetize your community.

How to Create a Meetup on GroupApp

GroupApp allows you to build your online community and own it. So, you don’t have to worry about whether your intended content will reach your target audience. You can get started on GroupApp in just a few simple steps, and then create events and invite your group members to join them. Here are some crucial steps to take when you switch to GroupApp:  

  • Sign up

Signing up to GroupApp is quick and easy. All you need to do is enter your full name, email address and password. Once you create an account, you’ll just need to log in next time you want to access your admin dashboard. 

  • Create a group

When you sign up, the first thing you’ll see is the welcome page. In addition to the existing groups offered for you to join them, this page also gives you the chance to create your own group right away. This is done by a simple click on the “Create a Group” button.   

To complete the process of creating your group, you will need to enter a couple of details. The first thing to do is come up with a catchy name for your group. You should also describe the group in a couple of sentences so that the future members have a clear idea of what the group offers.

Once you’re done with that, you should choose between open and closed group status. By choosing the open status, you let anyone join your group automatically. If you’d rather have only those members that you approved, you should go for the closed status.

Finally, you should create your group subdomain to make it easier for people to find the group and join it. The checkmark below this field will show you if your chosen subdomain is available.

  • Set up membership subscriptions for your group 

One of the best things about GroupApp is that it allows you to monetize your community by setting up monthly or yearly membership subscriptions for your group members. You want more great news? This can be done in just a few simple steps while you’re still setting your group. 

All you need to do is head to your admin panel and click on “Subscriptions.” The first thing you’ll be required to do is to connect with your Stripe account. The second step is to enable subscription plans. By ticking the box, you will get more options to set the pricing plans you find most suitable.

Just like you have the option to use GroupApp free of charge, your members, too, should be able to choose a free plan when they first join your group. Once you show them that your group has a lot to offer, you can easily turn them into paying members. You can always put certain limitations regarding what a member can access based on their plan.

In addition to the free plan, you can set up a monthly or yearly plan, or both, so your group members have more options. It is up to you to determine the fee for these plans.

Your members will also want to know what each plan includes to be able to pick one. That’s why the final section allows you to enter benefits for free and paid plans. Based on what you enter, GroupApp will create a simple table that will show all the benefits for each plan separately. That way, the users will find it easy to compare the options and determine which one is the best for them. 

  • Invite members

When you have everything set up, it’s time to invite members to join your group. Depending on what you find most convenient, you can choose between three options to do this. 

The first thing you can do is simply copy the invite link provided. This is a great solution because it allows you to share it on your social media where you might already have an existing community or group. You can also send this link via email or share it in the marketing newsletter or on your website.

If you find it more suitable, you can also send individual email invitations. Keep in mind, though, that this option allows you to enter up to 20 emails.

For those that already have a list of email contacts, the third option can come in handy — you can upload email addresses from CSV.

 

  • Create channels within the group

You can (and should) create a variety of channels where your members can discuss all kinds of topics. To create one, you will need to provide the channel name and a short description

You can also choose between open and closed status. When the channel is open, all the members of your group can join a discussion within it. If you click on closed, only the members you invite will be able to take part in that channel discussion.

The last section allows you to set who can post within the given channel — just you as the admin or your group members, too.

  • Create events for your members to join

You can name one of your channels “Events” and share all kinds of events with your group members. This is the fastest way to invite all the members to join your upcoming event. When you do that on Meetup, you can never be sure whether your event will actually be seen among so many others. When you own your community and you can approach your group members directly, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Final Word

Meetup is a popular platform. It does have a great number of users and its recently introduced feature for virtual events can come in handy. But before you can be sure that learning how to create a Meetup group is worth your effort, time and money, make sure you take into account a top-notch free alternative to Meetup – GroupApp

This platform allows you to create a community without spending a single penny. More importantly, it allows you to own your community and build a closer relationship with your group members. And with monthly and yearly subscription plans for your group members, you can be sure that all your effort will pay off.