Since its launching in 2002, Meetup has been the go-to platform to create and manage small communities around shared interests. Today, the portal has more than 21 million members and 200,000-plus groups, and is available in six languages including Italian and Portuguese. Lately, though, it has been challenged by free services like Facebook Groups and has lost some consumer market share. Yesterday, Meetup introduced Meetup Pro, a service targeted at businesses that can create a growth opportunity for the company.
Speaking to Tech Crunch, VP of Product at Meetup Fiona Spruill says that Meetup Pro will allow organizations to increase engagement with their constituencies, which she stated can then help to “increase sales, encourage more visits to a store or help spread the word about their products.”
Quoted in Tech Crunch, Spruill explained which companies are using Meetup Pro now and what they’re doing with it. “Tech companies including Salesforce and Docker are some of the earliest adopters because they’re familiar with our platform, and their users are already active on Meetup…But it’s not just tech companies. Many other businesses see an opportunity to create communities by bringing people together to talk in real life, to form friendships and to do fun things together,” she says.
“For example, Performance Bicycle is a franchise of bike shops that organizes local biking Meetups that leave from their stores. Girl Develop It is an organization that was spawned on Meetup. It started as a single Meetup to teach women to code, and now has grown to include 47 locations around the country,” Spruill said to Tech Crunch.
While Meetup Pro is not yet a full-service application a suite of business tools will be added soon. These include analytics and reporting that will let groups map out essential network metrics based on member engagement. Additionally, there will be tools that will allow an organization to communicate with local leaders, share news, offer support and gather feedback.
Meetup Pro has strong marketing potential as well. According to Tech Crunch, the service will facilitate the organizing of membership lists and individual member profiles: “Organizations will also be able to manage their membership lists more easily with the new product by sorting member information based on things like activity level. This can help them target more involved members when sending out communications, as well as connect with those more casual followers and turn them into engaged users. And organizations will be able to drill down and view individual member profiles.”