How to Start a Meetup in Your Local Area – Ep 67

Are you looking to start a meetup in your local area but don’t know what to do to get one started? In this episode, we talk with Sandy Mentzel who shares how she recently started a social media meetup in her new hometown.

Madalyn and Kami talked with a Sandy Mentzel, a freelance digital marketer who just moved to Savannah, Georgia, where she started a new chapter of the Social Media Breakfast, even though she knew no one in town. Read along or listen to the episode to get some ideas and inspiration as you start your own meetup community.

We love action takers and Sandy is certainly an action taker. We have asked her on the show today so her story can inspire you to take action and start something that will be of service to your community.

Question: Why did you choose to launch Savannah SMB?

Answer: When you move to a new community, you learn some things. You learn that if you just sit in your house, it’s not going to bode well for you. You have to get yourself out there. I experienced a great community in Houston and didn’t want it to end. I wanted to get out and meet people and have great interactions. You can get the full backstory here.

Question: What steps did you take to launch the breakfast?

Answer: I went through the motions of getting the infrastructure in place (see the Quick Start Guide below). Then, I got out there and met people through existing meetup groups. Volunteering is a good way to get out in the community and offer useful help like running Facebook videos and live streams. Networking is also a no-brainer. When you meet people in person, you can give your pitch. That’s how I met a person that was one of my first presenters.

Question: What results have you gotten?

Answer: I’ve had a blast talking to people. I love doing this and love bringing this value to the community. There’s no denying that the organizing is time-consuming. I try to stay in the ready, aim, fire mindset to keep things rolling and learn as I go. I’ve held two meetings and there have been about 15 people at both. The Facebook page has grown to 75 likes in two months and I’ve gotten some email subscribers as well. I’m not making money, but I’ve spent very little money to establish the community. Being a freelancer has made me aware of the free and low-cost tools out there and it’s possible to start building your community without spending big bucks.

Question: Have there been any challenges and how have you overcome them?

Answer: I’ve been told that, even though it’s not a sexy superpower, I have an organization superpower. I can take the idea of something and put meat on the bones of it. Organizing is time-consuming, but I knew how to do it (see Sandy’s gift below with step by step instructions about how she started the Social Media Breakfast Savannah). It was challenging to understand how Social Media Breakfast would be different from other groups in the community. There are other groups, but I wasn’t seeing the educational component. I’m hoping the other people in Savannah don’t see sharing knowledge as a threat and that everyone is built up by it. Presentation skills are not one of my superpowers. I’m introverted and would rather walk on coals than speak in front of people. I’m overcoming that challenge through practice.

Question: What are your goals for the breakfast in 2019?

Answer: Understanding my target audience better so I can learn how to best serve them. That’s the key thing I need to figure out as the breakfast continues and I meet new people. Tourism, history, and shipping are big here so I would like to be introduced to some key people in the community. I’d love to connect with someone with expertise in social media etiquette and fitness. I want to connect with those people and bring them in as presenters. I dream of a calendar filled out in advance with topics and speakers. I’m hoping to have 25 attendees per meeting, 100 emails on my list and 200 Facebook Likes by the end of the year.

Question: What do you want people to know about taking action?

Answer: Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. Have the abundance versus scarcity mentality. If you have an abundance mentality, you realize there’s plenty for all to go around. If you have a scarcity mentality, you’re afraid that sharing your knowledge may hurt you in some way. Being in a community enhances everyone and sharing your knowledge helps you and also helps others around you.

About Sandy Mentzel

Sandy Mentzel is a freelance digital marketer who develops, creates and promotes any product or service that involves electronic devices, specializing in organizing Webinars, Email Campaigns and Events. She began this digital journey after learning Mailchimp as a Race Director for a non-profit in 2012. Prior to this, she earned a BA from Rutgers, worked in the accounting and securities industries, stayed home raising kiddos, served two terms as a school board member and also worked as an Event Coordinator. After a move to Savannah in May 2018, she began a community called Social Media Breakfast Savannah in July 2018. She’s looking forward to bringing value as a Digital Marketer and discussing the business implications of social media with other professionals in her new community.

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Tools, apps and links mentioned:

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Take Action

What are your takeaways from our interview with Sandy? Are you inspired to start something too? Fill out our form below to download Sandy’s quick start guide for starting a community.

How to reach Kami:

If you’d like to learn more about Kami Huyse, visit her website at www.zoeticamedia.com. You can contact her by email at kami@zoeticamedia.com or tweet to @kamichat.

How to reach Madalyn:

If you’d like to learn more about Madalyn Sklar, visit her website at www.madalynsklar.com. You can contact her by email at madalyn@madalynsklar.com or tweet to @MadalynSklar.

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