Monday, August 27, 2012

Using Social Media to Promote Your Event

We are definitely in the age of technology. As much as I hate to admit it, I have a mini panic attack every time I don't have my iPhone within an arm's reach. I feel like I've been a let down when I don't tweet someone back or answer a Facebook message as promptly as I do voicemail or emails.

Some people and companies may be reluctant to embrace the era of social media that is upon us and to that I say: use social media to your advantage. It is your friend, not your enemy- I promise.

So this week we dedicate our blog post to social media and some of the ways that you and your company can use it to your advantage while promoting your next event. These next few tips are simple, effective, and best of all: FREE (who doesn't love that? If it's free it's for me!)

1. Create a Pre-event Buzz
Utilize your Facebook page or send out an email blast to encourage your fans and potential attendees to sign up and share the event with their friends. You can even offer prizes for the individual who refers the most people or a discount when a certain number of their friends buy a ticket. 

If you're feeling really fancy, you can utilize sites such as Meteor Solutions helps you to incentivize your event by offering rewards for sharing your content.

2. Encourage your guests to use a pre-agreed upon Hashtag when discussing your event on their own personal social media sites. Make sure you inform them of the exact hashtag to use (For example: #EventsNorth or #TinasWedding2012) so that there are not two or three different types floating around. Hashtags allow you to promote your event and include it in conversation threads. If you have enough people discussing your event, it may even start trending within your area- the ultimate social media accomplishment!

3. Keep up the buzz by keeping some things a surprise. If you keep mentioning snippits of what is to come at the event via social media outlets, but don't let your guests know the whole picture until the day-of...they're more likely to stay hooked. Even snapping mystery pictures and showing them bit by bit to your social media audience works. Your attendees will remain engaged by guessing what is to come and keep checking back...once the get a hint of what's to come they'll keep coming back for more!

4. Use QR codes on your ads or Facebook page to allow people to easily access your website. A large majority of people are smartphone owners, so they can snap a picture of the QR code and be led to your site immediately. This will allow you to give them an abundance of extra information that you couldn't fit onto your ad.

5. Encourage your attendees to check in at the event using Facebook Check-ins or Foursquare. This will allow them to promote your event on their Facebook or Twitter. Their friends can then simply click on the link and be directed to your page and find out easily exactly where your event is...and see what they're missing out on!

6. Have a lot of things going on at once? Utilize live videostreaming of your event via Facebook or Youtube to allow attendees (and virtual guests following along at home) to catch a glimpse of the speeches or concerts they're missing.

7. Create a Twitter Wall at your event. Mashable Business explains this concept best: "The most successful social media campaigns merge what’s happening online with what’s happening offline. Setting up Twitter walls throughout the event space is an effective way to entice attendees to get involved in the online discussions stemming from the event.
If you’re running a smaller gathering, consider creating a virtual welcome wall near the registration area so that you can say hello to attendees on Twitter as they check-in. When attendees see their username displayed on the screen, next to your hashtag, they’ll be encouraged to get involved.
There are a number of vendors that provide Twitter wall functionality, including Socialping, Visible Tweets and TweetWally. Each offer varied levels of customizability and analytics. Just be sure to think through filtering options and map out a plan for the worst-case scenario, like a hashtag hijack."
8. Make sure to follow up post-event. Thank your guests for coming via Facebook or Twitter. Send out a follow-up email to let everyone know the event specs and how much you appreciated them coming out. Already know the dates for the following year's event? Post them on your Facebook or Twitter and let your guests know so they can plan ahead.

Social Media is such a useful tool and in today's day and age...if you're not using it, you're behind the times. Make sure your event promotions are up to date and watch your event attendance (and number of twitter followers) soar!

Sources for a few of these tips include:
Social Media Examiner
Mashable Business

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bridal Blog: A Creative Way to Register for What You Need

Sometimes you just do not need another blender or another set of towels as wedding gifts. Perhaps you're simply just too busy to go to Macy's (or even to go to and register for all of the things you'd like to receive from your wedding guests. You might already own an impressive amount of home goods...

Or maybe you really would just prefer cash.

Well, we recently stumbled upon a new online-registry that allows you to ask for cash while still allowing your guests to gift you that cash in a more personal way.

Wedding Republic is basically an online wish list that couples can create and send to all of their guests, but instead of listing the specific products that they would like, it lists different items or expenses that the monetary donations are going towards. For example, "Our first dog" or "Our honeymoon" or even "The mortgage on our first home."

The site operates by having the couple select the price points for certain items (for instance, you may have your sights set on a brand new TV. If the TV costs $750, then you can split that gift into six parts of $125 each, three parts of $250 each, or even leave it as one whole piece of $750. It's completely up to you!). The items are then displayed as a puzzle with the pieces representing the amount needed to purchase the entire item. Once an item is completely paid for, it becomes locked. It's that easy!

It seemed too good to be true...and there are not a whole lot of reviews out there on Wedding Republic because it is so new, so I, Meaghan, decided to test out the site myself to see how simple it was and to figure out "what the catch" was. After creating a fictional account for my fake fiancé, Tom, and myself, I was happy to find that signing up for this site was a piece of cake (the really delicious vanilla-butter cream kind. You know what I'm talking about) and sending out the information to tell guests how to use the site to donate was even easier.

How It Works For Couples

Create Your Wishlist

Set up your free registry in minutes! You can choose from our list of gift ideas or customize your registry by adding your own!


Share It With Guests

Share your registry with friends and family through email, Facebook or by adding a custom link to your wedding website.


Share It With Guests

Share your registry with friends and family through email, Facebook or by adding a custom link to your wedding website.

Watch As Guests Contribute

Login to see who has contributed to your registry. Forgot something? No worries, you can edit your list anytime!

Collect Your Funds

Congratulations, you're married! When you're ready to close your registry, simply login and collect your funds.

Watch As Guests Contribute

Login to see who has contributed to your registry. Forgot something? No worries, you can edit your list anytime!


Collect Your Funds

Congratulations, you're married! When you're ready to close your registry, simply login and collect your funds.

The only "catch" was that when guests choose which piece of your registry they'd like to purchase for you, the site does
add a 4.5% processing fee to their purchase...which if you think about it, is even cheaper that Michigan's sales tax.

All in all, this website seems like a wonderful way to allow a bride and groom to ask for cash only, but still allow guests to feel like they're giving more of a "gift." It also allows the couple to still thank their guests for specific items. Instead of "Thank you for your generous donation" they can write out a card saying "Thank you for helping us to purchase our future dog, Rover! I'll be sure to send pictures as soon as we adopt him so you can see how adorable he is!"

Asking your guests for "cash only" gifts has never been easier!

(Source for Pictures)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vendor Spotlight: Grandview Catering!

We really do love all of the amazing vendors that we get the privilege to work with...and we've worked with quite a few!

There are always those few vendors that we work with regularly who continue to impress us again and again, and Grandview Catering is definitely one of them. So, we would like to dedicate this week's blog post to the spectacular Grandview Catering and let you know a little bit about why we (and our clients!) love to work with them.
Source: Grandview Catering

Grandview Catering not only has excellent food, they provide phenomenal service every single event they cater. Their staff is both professional, personable and simply just great at what they do. They always dress to impress and not a single table is left unattended. They go the extra mile to make sure that all of the guests are enjoying their meals and that they are delivering appetizers and meals in a timely manner.
Source: Grandview Catering

Their food...well...let's just say that if we could eat Grandview Catering's meals every single day, we would be in heaven. From their appetizers (we're HUGE fans of their stuffed potatoes. I actually think I started salivating just thinking about them) to their meals (whether they be buffet style or plated...I'm pretty positive that Grandview Catering can do no wrong.) to their desserts, everything meets...well, okay, exceeds all expectations.
Source: Grandview Catering

The best part? They offer such a variety of options that I don't think I have seen the same meal twice. Is your event themed? They can offer you options that will fit perfectly- believe us, we had them cater everything from corporate dinners to Western Themed cocktail hours. Want to make sure your vegetarian guests are satisfied? Grandview Catering can do things with Eggplant that will make even the biggest meat lover's stomach growl.
Source: Grandview Catering

Honestly, I cannot think of one bad thing to say...but you should definitely check out Grandview Catering for yourself. Make sure to stop by their newest restaurant, The Kitchen, to grab some lunch or dinner for you and your family- you can even steal a peak at their tasting room while you're there!

Thank you, Grandview Catering, for making our job even more fun by providing excellent meals, service and displays!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Blogger: Macaila Schlaff! "What I Learned During my Internship with Events North"

For those of you who didn't know, we had the privilege of having Macaila for our summer Event Coordinator. Macaila was an absolute dream to work with and we could not have asked for a more perfect fit. We asked her if she'd mind talking a little bit about her internship at Events North and she was happy to provide some answers for us! Tomorrow is her last day with us and we're still in denial, but here is a look into Macaila's internship with Events North: 

Meaghan, Allison, and Macaila on site at an event!

What are 3-5 things you have learned from your internship with Events North?
1. No matter what happens, there is no need to freak out. Allison Beers is a calm and collected professional who has taught me that when an incident occurs, panicking is only a waste of time. The best solution is to think about the problem, then either come to a realistic resolution or if there is nothing to be done then accept the fact that it is the way it is.

2. Networking is not as easy as it seems, but also not as scary as you think. When first entering the professional world, networking appears to be simple…you go to an event, talk to some people and hand out your card. However, there is a lot more too it. Walking into a room where you are not only the youngest person but the “new girl” too is very intimidating…I felt like the awkward girl at a high school dance just waiting for someone to come over. Then I realized that I need to make moves, I have nothing to lose if I just go talk to people and see what they do, how they got involved in their industry and their experiences. Being young was not a disadvantage like I believed because people were interested to hear my career goals and happy to give their advice on growing in the professional world. They had been in my shoes before and knew how to relate. Networking can be compared to going to a new school, the first day can be overwhelming but if you be yourself and get out there you are sure to find new friends and connections!

3. Always have your business card on you. Everyone and anyone you meet could be a potential client.

4. Be confident in all that you do. Before this internship I second-guessed choices and worried that my ideas/work would not meet expectations or be as good as someone else’s. Allison gave me large responsibilities but also gave me the tools I needed in order to be confident in the final product of those tasks. I make sure to triple check, ask if I need assistance, take time to perfect but also be efficient. Allison gave me constructive criticism on the assignments I turned in, and in addition she made sure to tell me when my work was fantastic.
What was your favorite event or experience in general?
I don’t think there was just one event that was my absolute favorite because each one taught me something new and when you are with the Events North team there is no such thing as a “boring event.”  I genuinely loved all the events I was a part of because our clients are fantastic people to work with and I spend my days with the two most fun people I know. 

One that sticks out was the LaBelle Family Reunion (also known as LFR to honorary members of the family…aka Meaghan and I) and Frank Wedding Weekend Bananza was one of the craziest, busiest, most fun events! It resulted in family shenanigans, karaoke contests, hiding out in a closet with Allison Beers and an intense dance party with the Events North team. Oh, and did I mention that Allison rapped the entire “shoop” song by Salt and Pepper to Meaghan and I…just one of the many skills she possesses. (owner's note: I'm mortified that Macaila told you I rapped the entire "Shoop" song by Salt and Pepper

...when the name of the group is "Salt and Pepa." I made her aware of her mistake, don't worry.)

 Two of my favorite parts about working with Events North were shopping days for different clients….there is something about spending money on random event items that is very entertaining. Also, just work days in the office where we are all in intense work-mode but on random occasion someone blurts out something weird or hilarious and just for a moment we get distracted for a mental break. The dynamic between the three of us works to make our job good-busy.

Meaghan and Macaila before the DTCA Annual Dinner
What has this internship taught you?
1. How to manage social media
2. How to market and promote events
3. How to properly budget for each client
4. How to spark my creativity and stretch my brain for ideas
5. How to construct a proposal
6. How to organize and collaborate with vendors
The list of things I have learned this summer are infinite. Not only will I take the valuable skills I acquired and apply them to my future career….hopefully in event planning…but I also have improved my life skills and grown up a little more during this internship.
What is some advice you have for future interns?
1. Always be early.

2. Events North is not just a company to work for- they are like gaining a new family. I spend about 100 hours a week with them and yes they are my bosses but I also know that I can come to them with anything.

3. If you don’t genuinely enjoy coming to work every day then this is not the job for you. People ask me how I deal with the insane hours and jam-packed days but it honestly rocks! I love what I do and who I work with. Events North is the best company to work for…no joke.

4. Pay attention to every detail, write everything down so you don’t forget and ask questions when you need to.

5. Have fun! Don’t be too serious all the time or you will not enjoy your job. Events North is a fun group so don’t be the odd one out.

Events North Staff onsite at an event
What will you miss the most?
1. Allison and Meaghan :(

2. Dr. Dre Pandora

3. Event Days

4. Ruby the Michigan Blood Drop Mascot

5. Road trips. Especially when I sit in the back seat and feel like I’m being driven to soccer practice or have to fit into a four year olds car seat. (editor's note: we did not actually make Macaila sit in a four year old's car seat....more than once.)