Event 101

As two PR and social media pros, it’s basically our business to attend events on a reoccurring basis. Not to mention we do our fair share of playing host on behalf of our clients. Appetizer and cocktail tastings are the fun part of event planning, but they aren't the only things that lead to a successful event. To make your next event better than the last, we have pulled from own experiences creating social events from cocktail hour to the after-party. Who doesn’t want their event to be the one you'll never forget? Provide Information. From the first invitation to the execution at the event, it’s important to provide your guests with the information they want and need. Especially for events with a social component, making sure there is signage with the appropriate handles and hashtags you’d like used saves everyone the trouble of asking, using the wrong one, or worse, not engaging at all.

During the holiday season we helped coordinate two Holiday Preview Events for Macy’s in both Seattle and Portland. A local blogger hosted each event, but we provided guests a list of the attendees, complete with everyone’s blog name and social handles, so they could easily find one another.

 

In February we helped coordinate a Valentine’s Day Twitter Tasting for Whole Foods Market  -- each guest had their own menu that outlined the courses that would be covered as well as clear signage with the event hashtag.

 

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Choose The Right Hashtag. Choosing your hashtag is almost as important as choosing your venue these days. The hashtag is the vessel for your event on social media, giving you full access to the post-soiree feedback  from attendees. Not every hashtag needs to be branded, but it does need to be relevant to your event or subject. If your event is part of a series, think of a unified hashtag you can build upon for each event. The most important tip for your hashtag? Keep it simple and easy so your attendees don't misinterpret, which can often cause a misspelled hashtag.

Tangible Takeaway. Everyone loves a swag bag, but even if you can’t provide a take-home gift, it’s good to have a little something that your guests can leave with, and reminds them of the event or brand after the fact – and that’s always the goal, right?

Seattle Bloggers Unite recently hosted its Spring Social Meetup and had a nametag station so every guest could make their own adorable nametag. They also had an incredible gift bag for everyone, filled with products from a number of local businesses.

 

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Reward Social Activity. Asking your guests to share on social media is the perfect opportunity to build relationships. Why not reward their action with surprise acts of kindness? During your event, surprise guests with tweets gifting them extra drink tickets or gift cards for your service! The unexpected gesture will be appreciated and possibly lead to a few more social shares.

Remember, You're the Host/Hostess. Just like if you were having people over to your home, remember, it’s your responsibility to make people feel welcome and guide them through the event. Whether that's making introductions between guests, leading a demo, moderating a panel, or directing people through an activity, you should make sure there is a kind of flow to the event to keep people from feeling uncomfortable or bored.

At the Seattle Refined Launch Party, KOMO TV's Steve Pool played emcee for the night, giving some structure to what was a very social event.

 

Have a great event tip or want to chat with us about our favorite events? Tweet at us @C_Allodi and @Brookeandersen