Attracting the Right Audience

Organizer Shakayra Stern shares what you need to know to get like-minded people to your event.

Let’s imagine you’re invited to one of the hottest parties in your town. What is the first question that goes through your mind?

Who will be there? Will I have to adapt to the crowd there? Wear specific clothes? Unlike parties you go to where you’re just hoping for the best, Meetup actually gives you full control over who exactly will be at your event. How you do this is entirely based on the level of attention you put into your events. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this.

Select the correct topic tags for your group

It seems pretty logical on the surface, but so many forget to select relevant topics when they first set up their Meetup group. People are constantly searching for events within their interests, so if your event is about wine-tasting and you selected outdoor hiking, chances are, the crowd you want to attract will not find you!

Be clear in your event description, and don’t be afraid to be honest

I personally found that giving an exact breakdown of what’s planned for the event helps not only to eliminate questions, but it also helps attract the people your program is geared to. The more detailed you are in your description, like  ‘At 5pm we will be discussing the effects of global warming in inner cities and what we can do to help,’ the more likely you are to attract people who are interested in what you and your guests will be talking about.

Use social media to find your audience, rather than relying on them to find you

When I first started Mixed Girl Meetup I honestly didn’t think anyone would understand the concept of my event and why I was doing it. So, being the control freak I am, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I sat down every day for an hour (from two weeks prior to the event date up until the event day) researching the hashtag #mixedgirl on Instagram, narrowed it down to New York City, and personally messaged women who used that particular hashtag to invite them to my event. Bear in mind that many will not respond, and it’s not personal. I will say, however, that many of the women I found through Instagram who have come to Mixed Girl Meetup really appreciated my courage to reach out to them,  and we’re friends to this day. A small step, albeit a little scary and quite time-consuming, can sometimes lead to the most beautiful connections. And if you are really passionate about having the right audience at your event, I truly believe this should be part of your “ritual” to expand your audience.

Traditional word of mouth is still a good idea

Although a lot of our interactions have moved online and Meetup gives you great tools to reach people you would otherwise never reach, just speaking to people at your local grocery store or on the street can also work wonders. I once was at a hair salon and struck up a conversation with a lady who was also waiting. During our conversation I mentioned Mixed Girl Meetup, and she was one of my guests the following month.

Use Meetup’s question tool for your RSVP’s

Having a detailed description of your event is very helpful in attracting the right audience, but let’s face it: not everyone reads the description. Adding “pre-RSVP” questions, which your guests have to answer before they can RSVP, can help ensure you get the right audience at your event!

Lastly, don’t stress if you haven’t thought about one of the points mentioned above. The more events you host, the more you’ll get a feel for what you need to clarify in your group or event description. Make note of the questions your guests ask you during the event. You also may find it helpful to do additional research on other social media platforms. 

Also—speaking from experience—Meetup does a pretty good job in displaying your event to like-minded people who share your interests. So most of the time, half the work will already be done!

Shakayra Stern is the founder and organizer of Mixed Girl Meetup, which currently hosts Meetup events in New York, London, and Los Angeles. After starting her Meetup group in late 2018, Shakayra wrote a book on her experience as a mixed race woman. Follow @MixedGirlMeetup on Instagram to see more.

Last modified on March 2, 2020