Featuring the Hudson Valley Hikers on Meetup.com

Perhaps you’re new in town.  Maybe you’re looking to promote your business.  Or maybe you’ve just got some interest that you imagine others may share with you.  In all these cases, local area networking is your solution to finding people that share similar interests as you!

There are many ways to find local networking groups.  Starting your own online local network is slightly more challenging. Here I’ll talk about my experience with local networking as I searched for people who enjoyed local Hudson Valley hiking, like me – and my awesome discovery, namely the Hudson Valley Hikers on Meetup.com.


5 Sites to Start Local Area Networking

Whether you’re looking to find friends, business partners or the love of your life, online local networking may offer you the key to achieving your purpose.  Here are some social media sites to get you started in finding local networking groups.

1.     Facebook

Creating a Facebook Fan Page is a great way to network.  Setting up your own fan page for your local network, business or organization is pretty easy.  Since a fan page cannot request friends, you may consider using your personal page to find friends using the People Search option in Facebook.   Where SEO is concerned, one key difference is that Fan Pages are indexed by the search engines, whereas Groups are not.  Also, Fan Pages can host applications so they can show more content.

Another option is to join or set up a Facebook Group.  Groups are great if you’re planning on sending out bulk invites.  They also offer more control, since new members may be approved before admission.  In general, groups are beneficial for a more personal interaction around a cause. Fan Pages are better for branding your business or band…beautiful!

2.      Flickr

Flickr Groups are perfect for local area networking.  Once you join a group, you can upload local photos and interact with other local residents and discuss events, news and of course photos.  Seeing as photos draw our attention, it is a great way to form a connection with people in your area.  Just go to Flickr groups and search for your city.  The best groups usually have higher numbers, but more importantly they are active.

3.     LinkedIn

This social network is more of a place to make potential business contacts, not to directly sell your product.  You can also create LinkedIn events to promote conferences or trade shows.  LinkedIn is also a good tool if you’re looking for a job.  It provides the opportunity to join a local networking group where you can connect with people who share your interest in products, technology, events and opportunities.

4.      Twitter

Try searching twitter using this format to find local tweeters “near: 12401 within: 15mi”.  You can also try NearbyTweets.com.  There are more search tools including Twellow and LocalTweeps, but they require that you sign up in their directories.

A great idea to organize a meet up through twitter is called, quite befittingly, Tweetup.  To find a Tweetup in your area, search like this: tweetup near: “Kingston” within:15mi.

5.     Meetup.com

The mission of Meetup is “to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize”.  It is their belief that each of us can change our own worlds and the world around by organizing ourselves into groups, which give us the power to make a difference.  And the best part is that Meetup.com gives us a tool that makes it super easy to do just this.  All that’s required is your passion to meet great people like you!

The Hudson Valley Hikers on Meetup.com – Success Story

One day I was looking for people to go hiking with and there was no one to be found.  So I turned to my laptop to search for a local networking group and typed in “Hudson Valley Hiking Group”.  There were several results including Hiking Groups for Singles and Friends, information about Hudson Valley trails and about the 4th result down, I came across Hudson Valley Hikers on Meetup.com.

The purpose of the Hudson Valley Hikers on Meetup.com is “to bring people together who like being outside, hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, cycling etc”.  I thought to myself, hey I like these things too!  So I joined.  Every once in a while I receive an email with upcoming hikes to the Catskills, the Adirondacks and even Vermont.  I could tell the organizer was passionate about being outdoors.  He was also very knowledgeable and organized.  Each email included a thorough explanation of the planned hiking trail including meetup points for those interested in carpooling.  Meetup.com also has an RSVP feature, which makes it easier to plan.  About a month went by and I hadn’t gone to any of the planned hikes.  But then I received an email that there would be a planned meetup at the Peekskill Brewery. Needless to say…I was in!

Happy Hour with the Hudson Valley Hikers

I went to the Peekskill Brewery on a Wednesday night and saw a group of people at one end of the bar that looked like the outdoors-type so I walked over and asked if they were the Hudson Valley Hikers?   The organizer greeted me with a warm welcome and introduced me to the other members.  I ordered a beer and started talking about hiking, living in the Hudson Valley and conversation flowed seeing as we all shared the same passion for living an active lifestyle and being outdoors.  So the moral of the story is if you’re looking to find a local networking group, there are some great tools out there to help you.  And if the group you’re looking for doesn’t exist, try starting your own and you’ll be amazed at the great people that you meet.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 and is filed under Social Media in Marketing.

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