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7/20 #Cmgrchat: Community Meetups

One of the most important aspects of community management is taking the online, offline.  Building relationships on line is only the start of it.  Enabling your community to meet in person does so many things to help your cause.  Members meet other members, you find your biggest advocates, and you strengthen the community ties around your brand, service, or cause.  So naturally, the best of the best community managers did what they do, and during this week’s #cmgrchat they talked about how to do it.

Also, this happened:

ilovegarick Whenever #cmgrchat dies down in a bit.. ya’ll should come hang out in http://turntable.fm/cmgrchat Let’s #collaborate through chat & #music

 

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QUICK Q1: How many of you have taken your online community offline?

vargasl Quite often-since we travel so much, it is an opportunity to put faces with names. This year we had first user conference too

aemccarthy I’ve hosted Tweetups and other meetups, especially for nonprofit community.

jennalanger We’ve done a few types of events for our community – open parties and intimate dinners. It’s great meeting communities IRL!

marwinar We have 3 official meets each year, in different locations; and facilitate initiatives from the communit

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Q2: What do you do when you’re at a meetup? Whatare options?

aemccarthy Meetups can be awkward first-date style, but if your peeps can communicate online, IRL will follow

aemccarthy The options are really limitless – you can do anything, pint nights, happy hours, bowling, whatever!

vargasl I think you need a purpose beyond drinking for meetups. So many events to compete with now

dougridley I like when there are short presentations made from leaders in the group. I want to learn something.

polleydan When I’m at a meetup, I try to meet at least 5 new people, plus say hi to at least 5 friends.

tmonhollon Kind of depents on community, but everybody loves FREE stuff, so giveaways, drawings, etc. are always fun.

NicholasDragon Network like crazy! Talk to people, introduce yourself, put your @ Twitter handle on your nametag

SarahMMahoney: Our meet-ups are more meetings than socials so we have the community set the agenda and select a speaker(s)

savvysarahjane @cmgrchat A2) I like when meetups are like an oreo: mingle time | presentation/activity | mingle time

susieques I’m going to try social-ite awards and hand out $5 giftcards by recognizing those I see active in each space

Evyfindstheway Purpose is key. Sometimes you can even combine #meetups w other #sm events like @socialmediaday

candacecornerDefinitely depends on your community and purpose, but if I were organizing something in person for a client, giftcard thankyous

tmonhollon Also interesting to consider co-branding and sponsorships when planning meetups and events, and building activity around brands

omgitsamr We’ve also done pub quizzes/trivia at some of our events – good way to get people engaged on a topic and get them to socialize

NicholasDragon In contrast, at a SM “tweetup,” don’t try to sell me something or talk about how awesome you are. #epicfail

JaredBrickman I had an online arts & music community for Wichita, KS. We did lots of production/volunteer work for the arts in the area

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Q3) Should brands start their own communities, or get involved in existing ones (sponsorships/partnerships)? Why?

vargasl Build it and they will come is not sound advice – participate in existing communities before you make decision for new cmty

evanhamilton Brands should create communities if there is a need/desire, but if there’s already something there, they should join

RachelYeomans I think that brands should actually work with other brands if they want to start a community – industry-based & not exclusive

NicholasDragon Both! Be where people are; if they aren’t gathering yet, give them a place to do so.

DavidALee YES…depends on the brand. If your audience is already somewhere then join in, if not, create the community.

dougridley If you’re a brand that can be truly engaging and interesting, why not?

savvysarahjane If there is an existing community, you should go there first and ask what they want/ are looking for

TweetDriveHQ I think brands have to analyze their community – would they come together and interact on behalf of the brand?

candacecorner It’s about listening first and finding out how people are living and perceiving a brand. Community building comes second

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Q4. Please share your tips for creating meetups…What tools are the best?

RachelYeomans Use @eventbrite – they’re amazing! 

NicholasDragon Word of mouth… just start talking about it and the word will spread

NicholasDragon Also, partner with local orgs and see if they will spread the message via established email lists, FB pages, etc

IslandPrintGrp  I find hashtags to be essential in finding communities

evanhamilton MeetUp is good for meetups (heh) but you can’t get attendee emails, which sucks. Plancast is nice & lightweight, less sticky

dougridley Even if it’s free, I like when professional ticket sellers are involved. It makes it that much more official. #eventbrite

 

dougridley Give your new meetup a#hashtag IMMEDIATELY.

 

vargasl Don’t get too caught up in hashtags…remember there is life beyond Twitter. (gasp!)

RachelYeomans After setting up on Eventbrite, it synchs w/ Plancast and I create an FB event & write a blog post on the event before & after

currentlyclare Plancast.com is simple, straightforward, and directly posts to twitter!

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Q5. Name a few of the best IRL meetups you’ve participated in…

gordondymI like #net2chi (of course, I also co-organize – nonprofits); checked out #chistyle (fashion)

_faith Social Media Week for sure! That’s how I learned about@evanhamilton‘s love for cats.

IslandPrintGrp Karaoke Tweet-up. Hands down best tweet-up ever. 🙂

vargaslI remember the first @SMCDallas mtg…a classic. 🙂 I really enjoy @TheCR meetups, great company and conversation.

TweetDriveHQ My favorites (other than #tweetdrive) have to be#CMMeetup@SMDPhilly, & @Under30CEO… all provide something different for me

evanhamilton #CLS & #CLSwest are some of the best events I’ve attended (#CLS11 is this weekend!). #Failcon and #failchat are wonderful.

jennalanger #clssummit was a great unconference, ad-hoc#cmgrchat meetup in NY when I visited, & our Livefyre blogger dinner. Best. meetups. ever

community20 @Yelp seems to always do a great job with IRL meetups (in NYC anyhow)

@JPedde: I encourage all of you to do #cmgrchat meetups in your area! Use meetup.com/CM as your home base.

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You can catch #cmgrchat on Wednesdays 2-3pm EST. New chat topics are always being considered, so feel free to drop a comment below!

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.

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