If you haven’t heard of Meetup, the premise is quite simple: their platform is for “finding and building local communities.” Anyone can host an event, and the activities/topics range widely: “People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together.” It’s an interesting idea, and as of 2017 the platform was used by over 35 million people worldwide. But have you ever thought about using a site like this to help your business? Yes, the world is moving toward digital. Virtual business relationships are becoming more and more common — bringing your practice up to speed with these trends is crucial. But keep in mind data points such as these from the Harvard Business Review:
- 95% of people said that face-to-face meetings are a key factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term relationships
- 79% said that in-person meetings are the best way to meet new clients to sell business.
- 89% agreed that face-to-face meetings are essential for "sealing the deal."
Meeting new people in person in your local area (or any other locale, if you’re looking to expand your network or service area) is a great way to help grow your practice—and it’s simple to do. While many of the groups and “meetups” posted on the site are not focused on tax and accounting, there are still plenty of crafty ways to utilize the platform for your business. Here are a few of them:
1) Attend an event
The options available to you on Meetup run the gamut. On any given day, you can find events happening in your area in countless different categories, all with other people who are looking to make in-person connections. They’re different than traditional groups, and they’re vastly different than traditional “networking.” To find a Meetup that’s right for you and your practice, try these three simple steps:
- Identify Meetups that interest you and are business-related.
- Once you have identified your niche, start connecting with people.
- Start establishing your credibility in your industry
From there, it’s easy! Start meeting people and building those highly valuable, face-to-face relationships.
2) Host an event
Found all the existing Meetups you want to join, but still see a gap where you could build something? Create a group or event yourself! For instance, you start an interest group of small business owners to trade tips, advice, and simply support one another. You can sponsor a local discussion on tax planning for the upcoming year. You could get a group of people together from one of your target niches and work on developing thought leadership among them. There are endless possibilities. The important thing is that Meetup already exists, and there are users all over the world that are looking for things to do, people to meet, and new information to learn. This is an easy way to expand your network within your local community while meeting new potential prospects. You may even learn something yourself that could help your tax and accounting business in the long-term.
3) Enhance your SEO
Who knew that joining a site built for creating in-person connection could also help your online presence? A lesser-known benefit of having a Meetup profile and participating actively is that it can help with 1) your name ranking in search and 2) inbound link building. For each Meetup group you join, you create an original profile page — that way it can be specific to the purpose of that group. With each of these being separate web pages, people are more likely to come across them when they search your name on Google. And as we’ve discussed before, the more exposure you get online, the more social proof, legitimacy, and topical authority you start building. Beyond the benefits of having your various profiles start ranking in search, the link building opportunities are also substantial. In each profile, there is also a section to place an external link to your own website—and because it is not NoFollow, it does have an effect on your SEO in the search engine algorithms. Plus, you can use whatever anchor text you choose, which is helpful for your Google-based SEO. While the profile pages rarely have a high Google PageRank, Meetup overall is a high-authority site packed with original content—so take advantage and start getting those inbound links. Meetup was built to create face-to-face connections and help people find new interests and do more of what they love. Whether you’ve used it before or not, it represents a fantastic opportunity to grow your practice, boost your SEO, and meet potential prospects and business contacts. What’s not to love?
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about using Meetup for your tax and accounting practice, contact us today at 1-800-442-2477 x3 or set up some time to speak with one of our digital marketing experts. We’re here to help!