How to Plan an Out-of-Town Online Community Meetup - dummies

How to Plan an Out-of-Town Online Community Meetup

By Deborah Ng

You just hosted an online community meetup in the same city as your brand’s home base, and it was über successful. Guess what? If your community is national or global, you missed out on a great big group of people who’d like to get together, too.

Not everyone has the budget to travel just for a three-hour meetup, and some people may feel a little left out because there was no brand-sponsored event in their area. Hardcore members especially may feel that they’re missing something.

Members of online communities come together from around the world, and many of them want to meet offline as well. No one is saying that you have to travel the world making everyone happy, but if you visit different parts of the country hosting meetups for your attendees, those who didn’t make the original event won’t feel overlooked. If budget permits, consider visiting a few key locations.

How to choose an online community meetup location

Despite what it sounds like, going on the road doesn’t mean spending long days driving around the country in a Winnebago. Instead, target the areas where the most members are concentrated and plan to have meetups there. Your stats give you a good indication of where your members live. You can also discover more about them and their geographic locations from their conversations.

Research your members to find out whether high concentrations of them live in certain areas. Usually, more members live in cities and bigger towns, though niche communities may be more regional, suburban, or rural. Target the areas that have the most members.


How to choose an online community meetup venue

Putting together a meetup in an out-of-town location involves the same procedure that a local meetup does. Because you’re not local, however, you’ll have to do some research to find locations in those out-of-town areas to host your event.

One solution is to use the Internet to find a pub or restaurant that can host your meetup. Many restaurants have websites showing their menus and even photographs of their facilities. Also, read online reviews to find places that seem to be a good fit. Make a short list of the places that appeal to you and contact the managers to find out how you can hold a meetup there.

Another solution is to recruit a trusted member of your community to help you find a venue. People who live in that area know the best places to go. They can present a list of recommendations and prices, and you can make your decision based on their suggestions.

If budget permits, you can even fly to the area yourself to scout locations.