How to Guide Members of Online Communities
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How to Create a Kit for Approved Online Community Events

For approved online community meetups, consider putting together a meetup kit so that members will have everything they need. Although such a kit is optional, it makes members feel that they’re part of the brand, and it turns the meetup into a true community event.

The kit should contain items that all meetups can benefit from:

  • A banner or signs: Give the meetup organizers the means to put up signage so that there’s no mistake who the community represents. The signs should be simple — just a printed logo with the words Community Meetup below it, for example — and easy to print on a home computer.

    You can either print the signs yourself and send them as part of the kit, or you can provide the paper and the template for your members to print.

  • Printable name tags: Name tags are essential for any meetup. Create branded labels with your logo in the corner so that members can print or write their names and Twitter handles.

  • Gifts or door prizes: Provide inexpensive door prizes or gifts for meetup attendees — perhaps branded products such as T-shirts and caps.

  • Meetup guide: It’s a good idea to prepare a nicely worded list of rules and regulations or instructions for hosting a community event. Be careful wording it, because you don’t want to seem too strict. But because the meetup is representing your community and brand, don’t be shy about providing a list of do’s and don’ts.

  • Social-networking tips: You want members to be able to talk about the meetup on the social networks. In addition to providing instructions for inviting members on Facebook or Eventbrite, you should provide a Twitter hashtag to display the brand affiliation for all the meetups.

    If your brand is called Harry’s, for example, and you’re holding a meetup in New York City, #HarrysNYC could be the hashtag.

  • Refreshments: If yours is a food or beverage brand, consider providing refreshments. In fact, if you have new products on the market, meetups are a good way of launching them, eliciting some feedback, and getting a word-of-mouth marketing campaign going. If yours isn’t a food or beverage brand, consider a partnership with a company that can provide refreshments; otherwise, indicate that members are on their own for those costs.

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