Meetup.com is a social networking site that essentially creates clubs. Fans of hiking, books, gaming, crafts, and other activities can create a group and invite others to join online. The website facilitates local meetings and brings people together with common interests.
So how can a social network that focuses on local relationships help your local business?
Volunteer your small business as a meeting location for local groups. Restaurants, bookstores, craft stores, and other venues can provide the perfect gathering place for groups that need a place to sit and talk. Reach out to multiple groups listed in your area at meetup.com. Sending messages to clubs through the website is absolutely free. You can host a club after hours at your venue, or set aside a table or corner during optimal meeting times. Meetup groups that emphasize social interactions and getting out of the house will appreciate a welcoming location, particularly because no one will have to rush to clean their home or make brownies for weekly meetings. While they are meeting on your location, they will likely buy some of your wares. Having large groups of people that regularly visit and buy products will keep a new business afloat until you’ve more fully established yourself.
The advantage for new clientele attracted through Meetup.com is that, if they like your venue, they will continue to come back on a regular basis for all of their meetings. Establishing a personal and friendly relationship with a club demonstrates your community values, which can only help a local business. Investing your time, resources, and friendly customer service to multiple meetup groups insures a base of loyal customers. In exchange for using your location, ask customers to positively review your business online. You can also ask these clubs to check in at your location on smart phone apps, such as Foursquare [http://www.fiber.net/buzz/blog/5-ways-foursquare-can-make-you-a-local-business-authority/] or Facebook.