Does the thought of meeting new people in person feel retro? With so many virtual events and conversations taking place, getting up and getting dressed to out to meet people can feel odd. Aside from the occasional in-person conference, I have gotten away from attending local business events, mainly because networking had become a spammy adventure, at least from my experience.
However, there is tremendous value that comes from meeting people face to face, wouldn’t you agree? After all, it can shorten the know-like-trust factor timeline when you are in front of a person, reading their body language and facial expressions over coffee or cocktails.
How to Use Local Meetups To Demonstrate Your Expertise
As it pertains to building your authority, hosting a local meetup is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise. A “meetup” doesn’t have to be through the group “meetup” online. You can plan one through Facebook events, Eventbrite, etc., but using Meetup.com is a good idea. It’s a great way to get the word out about your event. Meeting up with people locally is a great way to make connections and increase your authority.
Have an Agenda
To have a successful, in-person local meetup event, it’s important to have an agenda of some sort – such as to teach those who come something new within your niche. For instance if you blog about weight loss, you could have a meetup focused on weight loss support. At the meetup you can provide attendees with tips and tricks to lose weight effectively, as well as provide information so they can sign up for your online newsletter and order your eBooks, products and services.
Invite Relevant Speakers
You can invite speakers to your local meetups to make them more inviting to have more people attend. Since you’re the host, and you invited the speakers, your audience will automatically associate you with the speakers – which will increase your perceived authority within your niche. Since you were smart enough to invite them, they’ll see you in the same league as your guests. Kind of like Oprah.
Consider Profit Potential
Position your business as the solution to the problem. For example, if you build and design WordPress websites, you could have a meetup to show people how to use WordPress to build their own websites for their local businesses. While some attendees will certainly build their own after learning, most won’t, which will give you an opportunity to earn clients. Giving away knowledge is a great way to get new clients. Your potential clients see that you know enough about the topic to teach it; therefore, you should be able to do a great job for them if they just pay you to do it.
Make the Events Regular and Consistent Calendar Items
The more often you have the events, the more likely more people are to show up. At first you may have very few attendees. However, over time, you’ll get more attendees if you are sure to market your event, and host informative events that are useful to your audience. Give it time, and don’t give up after one try.
Promote Promote and Promote Some More
Using social media, your blog, online newsletters and even a newspaper advertisement and flyers, advertise and promote your local meetup event. Even if you only have room for 20 people to attend your event, ensuring you fill up those 20 seats requires continuous promotion of the event. Blog about it, get interviewed about it, and post about it on social media for best results. To promote future events, consider recording portions of the current event so that people can see how great your event is.
Enjoy the “Expert” Title
Finally, when you host your event, be confident. Remember, you planned the event; the people came. It’s likely even if you don’t know everything, that you do know more than your guests. As the host, you’re the expert in the room. However, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” when someone asks you a question that you don’t know. Authorities aren’t know-it-alls; they’re just people who know how to find the information and put it to use.
With so many people hosting virtual events, your attendees may find a local meetup as a welcome refresher from the now mundane world of online meetings.