It was an honor to attend Mashable Connect 2011 at Walt Disney World. The attendees, venue, speakers, sponsors and organizers were top notch. One of my favorite sessions was delivered by Scott Heiferman, CEO of Meetup. Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups with over 7.2 million members in 45,000 cities.
In his session, Scott was not shy about proclaiming that connect is king, not content. Scott declared, "A mark of a great brand in the 21st century is Meetups. People caring enough to Meetup about the brand." In marketing and social, we push the importance of value-added content. However, if the content doesn't influence a genuine connection with your audience, then it failed.
Meetup provides the platform for fans of your brand to create self-organized events to meet in person. Ultimately, this will create a stronger community of your most engaged brand ambassadors. Plus, these non-employees have much more credibility with your audience. You will also have a focus group to help provide valuable feedback. Meetup recently unvieled its integration with Facebook tabs to help mobilze your brands Facebook fans too.
Start connecting with your social community thanks to Meetup and Mashable. Go beyond distributing content. Hope you will join me in celebrating the next worldwide meetup day on June 30th. Find one near you at http://www.meetup.com/mashable.