• Groups on Geneva

Creating A Home For Friends In Your City

By Geneva Team

There’s nothing like having an awesome group of friends in your city. People to go out with, to shop with, or even just to hang in the park with on a lazy Sunday. But it can be really hard to meet new people and make new friends who have the same interests as you, especially if you’ve just moved somewhere new.

Over the last few months, we’ve been so happy to see a ton of what we’re calling “city-centric” communities popping up on Geneva. Some like london town girlies and Philly Gals are oriented towards general friendship and meeting new people while others like Thrifting in Dallas and Denver Mile High Hitchhikers! are centered around a specific local interest or activity.

In this post, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to setting up your very own home for a “city crew” or irl local community.

1. Create a ‘Private’ home

The first thing you’ll do is create a “home” on Geneva for your group. If you’ve never used Geneva before, you can think about a home as like a big private space that’s just for your people — almost like a facebook group (but more organized) or a slack workspace (but more fun!)

Homes on Geneva can have different levels of privacy, but for this kind of group we recommend making the home "Private." This means that anyone who clicks on your home’s invite link can get to your ‘front door’ but they’ll have to request access to actually join in. This setting — combined with a Question Gate if you want to add one! — will allow you to share your home’s invite link publicly on social channels, while still ensuring you have control over who actually comes in.

2. Add a bunch of Rooms & Categories

Once you’ve made your home, you’ll add some rooms for different conversation topics. Every group’s going to be different (that’s what makes it fun!) but for inspo, here are some rooms that we’ve seen work really well in existing homes…

  • Intros 👋 - A chat room where new members of the group can introduce themselves
  • Announcements 📣 - A forum room where you can share important updates with and about the group. You can even make this room “read only” for most members so that only you can post there
  • General Chat 💬 - A chat room for everyday conversation and random stuff
  • Local Rec’s ✅ - A chat room where people can share restaurants, shops, and other gems they’ve discovered around the city
  • Meetups 🎉 - A chat room for planning irl hangouts and happenings with others in the group
  • Housing 🏡 - A chat room for finding houses or apartments (if this is a hot topic for your group, you could also make a dedicated forum room for people to find roommates!)
  • Marketplace 💸 - A chat room where people can buy, sell, or trade all sorts of stuff
  • Wins & Shoutouts 🙌 - A chat room where people can celebrate good moments together
  • Ideas & Suggestions 🗳️ - A chat room for people to share ideas on how to evolve or improve the group

You might also want to have some “Opt-In” rooms for specific sub-groups, interests, or identities: things like Students 🎒, Creatives 🎨, LGBTQ+ 🏳️‍🌈, Thrifting 👚, Concerts 🎶, Pet Parents 🐶, or whatever else makes sense for your group. Making a room “Opt-In” means that not everyone in the home is automatically put into it, but anyone can find it by pressing the “Join more rooms” button at the bottom of their room’s list. As your community grows, you might also consider adding “Opt-In” rooms for specific neighborhoods or specific age groups too!

While there’s no “right” number of rooms in a home, we’ve found that somewhere between 7-10 rooms is a good place to start. The goal is to have enough spaces that people feel inspired to contribute in different ways, but not too many that the conversations get spread too thin. One other tip: you can reorder the rooms in your home so the most important stuff is at the top and organize the rooms into categories so everything’s really easy to find.

As you’re setting things up, remember: nothing’s set in stone and you can always add and/or change things later — so have fun with it and make it your own!

3. Invite your people in

You know how when you have a party irl, your besties come over like an hour before it officially starts to help put out the chips and get the vibes going? The same kind of thing works when starting an online community or big group chat.

Once you’ve made your home, consider sending personal invites to a few people and take a day or so to get things going. This could be your besties, your favorite online collaborators, your most engaged followers, or whatever! Send them a DM with a short note explaining your vision for the group and let them know you’d love to have them to be a part of what you’re building!

When it’s time to open the doors and “launch” the group, there are all sorts of ways to spread the word. One approach that we’ve seen work really well is adding your home invite link to your social bio(s) and creating a tiktok (and/or IG post, tweet, or whatever social channels you use most) explaining what the group is and how to join it. This one by Hayley Trejo in Nashville and this one by Sammy Pilkington in Dallas are both great inspo!

You can also submit your home to us at Geneva for a chance to be featured on our socials and our in-app “home discovery” experience!

4. Host your first irl event

The best city-centric communities we’ve seen on Geneva combine online sharing and planning with offline meetups and hangouts. So once you’ve got a bunch of people in your home, suggest a plan for something to do together irl! What form this first takes will obviously depend on the focus and purpose of your community but happy hours, thrifting trips, hikes, and nights out are all great ideas. One hot tip to help you plan: use polls to figure out the idea and/or date that works for the most people, then create an event invite to share the final details and gather RSVPs.

5. Keep the party going!

Once things are up and running, it’s time to ride the wave! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Get feedback early and often — as much as you can, build your home and community with the members, not just for them. Running quick polls, asking questions, and checking in with folks individually are all great ways to do this. Hopefully people will be proactively sharing thoughts in your “Ideas & Suggestions 🗳️” room too!
  • Turn your members into leaders — try to figure out who in your community is active and committed and give them more ownership and responsibility. This could be anything from asking them to plan an event to making them a “neighborhood lead”
  • Encourage everyone to host events — the more the merrier! This way, it’s not all reliant on you. When people do have events or meetups, have them share photos back with the broader group to help build the vibe!
  • Be patient & stick with it — great communities always take a little bit of time to build so if it’s a little quiet at first, ask some questions, try some new rooms, and just be down to experiment!

So that’s it!

If you have any questions or just want to chat about your group, feel free to join the Geneva “Homeowners Home”, DM us on tiktok, IG, or twitter, or email hi@geneva.com!