Did you know that 79% of people feel that networking is valuable when it comes to career progression?
You might agree with this, but you might not be able to find a relevant networking group for your career path. Following this, you might want to set up your own networking group so that you can still experience the benefits of networking.
Read on, and you’ll discover the steps you need to follow to create a successful networking group. No matter what industry you’re in, these tips will show you how to start a networking group that’ll attract lots of members.
1. What Will Your Group Focus On?
The first thing you need to think about is what your networking group will focus on.
For example, will it be for people interested in business, or will it be for people interested in a certain profession? It’s vital that you give your group some focus as this will then make it easier for you to attract members.
That’s because if your group caters to a specific demographic, the people that belong to that demographic will be more inclined to join. After all, they’ll be more certain of the fact that the group will be of value to them.
Note that defining your group’s focus also makes it easier for you to assign a purpose for your group. So, it will be simpler for you to describe what people will do when they attend the group.
For example, suppose you have a networking group based on online advertising. You could tell people that the purpose of the group is to help online advertisers improve, scale, and lower the costs of their online ad campaigns.
Once you have this information, you can then go about giving your group a name. If you want to splash out, you might even reach out to a designer on a site like Fiverr so that you can give your group a logo.
2. How Will Your Group Work?
Once you know who your group will cater to, you then need to think about how it’ll ‘work.’
So, will it just be a simple get together where people can share ideas, or will each session have a presentation of some sort?
During this stage, you might also want to determine how frequently the group will meet. This information will help you organize each session, as you’ll know what people expect from each event.
For instance, if you tell members that there’s going to be presentations, you can then start looking for people that’ll do the presentations.
3. Pick a Venue
Once you have a rough outline of how your group will work, you then need to select a venue for your group.
To begin with, it’s probably not going to be a massive event, and so a small, informal venue will be fine. This could include somewhere that’s relatively public, such as a local cafe or bar.
If you’re going to make presentations part of your networking events, you might want a more private venue. If that’s the case, contact the local authorities as they might have some spaces that they can offer you.
Most cities have dedicated community spaces, and you can use these locations as long as you book them ahead of time. Generally, these spaces are often cheaper when compared to the spaces offered by ‘private’ companies.
Of course, once your networking group grows, you might want to invest in a more ‘professional’ setting.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of companies offering ‘networking spaces.’ In fact, if you Google ‘networking spaces near me,’ you should find a suitable venue with relative ease.
4. Will You Need Any Equipment?
Another thing you’ll need to think about is whether you’ll need to invest in any equipment.
However, before you spend any money, be sure to check in with your chosen venue to see what they already offer.
For example, if you’re going to let people do presentations, you might want to invest in a projector and possibly even a projector screen. However, it might be the case that the venue already offers this.
If the venue doesn’t offer the required equipment, get some basic second-hand items from eBay. It’s vital that you don’t overspend on equipment, as you can use this money when marketing your group.
In any case, aside from the high-end equipment mentioned above, you might also want to get some basic items too.
An example of this could include name badges so that attendees know who everyone is. If you want to save money, you might want to invest in reusable name badges.
You may also want to invest in some custom stationery that represents your networking group. An example of this could include a notebook or pen that bears the name or logo of your group.
5. Marketing Your Group
The next thing you need to focus on is marketing your group so that you can get some attendees.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to list your group on sites that promote networking events. An example of this could include ‘Meetup’ or relevant Facebook and Linkedin groups.
If you want to take things up a notch, you might want to promote your group using Facebook Ads. Facebook Advertising is a good idea because you can market to people with precision.
So, suppose that your group is for sales professionals in Michigan. If that’s the case, you can create a Facebook ad targeting Michigan residents who have shown an interest in sales.
Because you’re focusing on such a precise demographic, you can generate a significant ROI, without having to spend a lot of money.
Do You Know How to Start a Networking Group?
With the help of this post, you should know how to start a networking group that’ll attract a large number of members.
As your group grows, you might want to expand the scope of your event so that it provides more value. For instance, you might hold a conference once a year, and you might ask big names in the industry to do a presentation.
Of course, if you’re just starting out, that point might feel like it is years and years away. However, provided you get started, there’s no telling where your event might end up and how big it could become.
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