Unofficial and Approved Online Community Events
If you can’t host meetups in different locales, not all is lost. Online community members can still host their own meetups in their own areas with or without your involvement.
If community members approach you about bringing your meetup to their area or hosting their own meetup, consider giving your blessing. Talk with your team and your superiors to see whether they’re okay with lending the brand name to an outside meetup.
This situation is kind of tricky, because you don’t want your brand’s name associated with drunken affairs. For brand-sanctioned events, you may want to provide an official application, on which members have to let you know as many details about the event as possible.
If your brand would rather not get involved in community events, you can still give your blessing to meetups within the community. Make it clear that the brand isn’t sanctioning the event, however, and that the organizers can’t use your signage or anything else that would hold the brand liable for an accident or other incident.
Many online communities hold their own unofficial meetups and tweetups, where members pay for their food and drinks out of their own pockets. You shouldn’t discourage these meetups because if members want to get together, they’re going to do it with or without your blessing.
If they have your blessing, even for an unofficial event, they’ll still have a good feeling about the brand. If the brand discourages meetups and tweetups, however, members may feel that they’re being stifled or censored. Anything you can do on behalf of the brand to encourage community harmony and support is always helpful.