The benefits of social media and an online presence.

Posts tagged ‘public relations’

How To Politely Decline An Invitation

Event planning isn’t merely planning; it’s scheduling and properly managing your time.

So in the midst of your big event, you have four other events that you are expected to attend and they aren’t even yours! Coming from someone who never says no, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say no.

Knowing how to say politely say no. Here are some tips:

Make Time: Don’t say you are too busy for any of the events you’ve been invited to. Are you really too busy for your cousin’s wedding? Because being the amazing scheduler that you are, you probably aren’t. Prioritize which parties or events are most important to you. Consider the networking that will take place at that conference, or remembering that baby shower ten years from now.

RSVP Is Not Included Just For Fun: Once you’ve decided which invited you are declining, let that person know! When someone asks you to RSVP it’s because they’re trying to determine a count of how many will attend the event. This helps them determine the amount of food, drinks, or even chairs they will need. Be kind. 

Practice Good Public Relations: Don’t be too professional or informal with your friends, but practice good PR. Even if you feel bad about not being able to make it, don’t imply that you are still on the fence about attending. Your friend will appreciate a clear no and move on.

  • Always thank them for thinking of you.
  • Always apologize for not being able to attend.
  • Always follow your decline with “But I really appreciate the invite.” or some variation.

Finally, Call: Do not decline an invite via text or social media. It’s impersonal and the tone and quality of your voice when declining in person or on the phone will soften the blow.

Remember you can’t say yes to everyone. And one day I’ll learn to take my own advice.

Hope this helps!

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Are You On Foursquare?

The mayor is in the house! You’ve earned a new badge! Here’s a popular tip!

Image credit: www.aim.org

Image credit: http://www.aim.org

If you are unfamiliar with Foursquare, the location-based social networking site, then you may not know what any of the above means. But you will! Because you should!

Foursquare Basics

1.) It’s an app! Foursquare is an application on smart phones that is free to download. It taps into your phone’s GPS and shows you a list of businesses, places, or general locations in your area.

2.) Checking in. Choose the location you are visiting and the app will check you in to that place, allowing you to include a status about what you are doing as well as pictures you would like to attach.

3.) Mayors. The person who has checked into a certain place the most number of times is automatically the mayor of that location. Anyone can be the mayor!

4.) Points/ Badges. Points and badges can be achieved for several reasons and are used to encourage you to frequently use Foursquare. Certain first time check-ins at movie theaters or radio stations will earn you more points which can eventually lead to business perks!

5.) Tips. After each check-in a tip or comment from a Foursquare user who previously checked in to that location will appear. It’s common to see food recommendations if you are checking in to a restaurant.

Benefits of Foursquare for Your Event or Business

1.) Free Promotion. By claiming your location or business on Foursquare you can post on its behalf. You will also receive window clings and decals to let your attendees or customers know that you are on Foursquare and that they should check-in! The check-in will show to all of their Foursquare friends and spread awareness of you.

2.) Customer Loyalty. Creating coupons and rewards based on recurring check-ins rewards loyal customers and encourages new customers to continue to check-in spreading the word of your business. Examples listed include a free drink for a first time check-in or 10% off on the third. This can also include the creation of badges and moral boosters.

3.) Demographics. If you claim your business on Foursquare, the website will send you emails detailing who is typically checking in at your location. This should help you narrow down your target demographic or audience and better tailor your marketing or advertising.

Google “Foursquare business benefits” and you’ll find tons of great articles like this will helpful tips.

Now, get on Foursquare and claim your listing. Your business or event will thank you for it!

Live Tweeting Your Event

It’s here!

Delmarva Public Radio’s fall membership drive is in full swing and we aren’t holding back in the social media world.

We are live tweeting the drive to spread our name online and you can do the same for your event!

1.) Create a Hashtag.
This will allow you to see what Twitter and Facebook users are saying about you and your event. If your hashtag is specific enough, it also creates a linkable thread grouping everything you and others have said about the event so far. Our drive hashtag is #SupportDPR. Short yet specific.

2.) Post
Common sense, guys. You can’t create a buzz around your event with no content. Don’t spam your followers’ news feeds but be consistent! DPR has shared behind the scenes photos of volunteers answering phones, the cutting of a decorated DPR cake by our GM, and funny moments like when those on the radio asked our news director for a list of his awards and he carried in a stack of his plaques instead. Have interesting and relevant posts that will get people talking and use your hashtag to link them.

3.) Get Others Involved
Have volunteers and participants tweet or Facebook about the event using your hashtag too. This way the number of people you are reaching is much greater.

4.) Promote your Hashtag
Pass out small cards with the event hashtag on them and make sure to include it on all flyers or advertising for the event. Delmarva Public Radio has the added advantage of being able to pitch the membership drive on air so our classical host Kara and I spoke to our listeners about what hashtag is and how to #SupportDPR. Be sure to announce your event and hashtag on Facebook and Twitter and invite everyone involved to participate and spread the word!

Good luck!

Government Shutdown: An Event Planning Problem?

Since when does the government affect an event planner? Surprisingly, since now!

As hopefully most of us are aware, the United States’ government has shutdown. Political views and funding aside, everyone is curious how they are going to be affected. Opinions tend to be either of the extremes. There are the people who believe the world is ending; you know them. The guy who thinks his food will stop being tested and he’ll get E-Coli and die? That’s him. But then there are also those who are dismissive of the issue, believing no one to be affected. The girl who thinks everyone is being dramatic until she goes to do some research for homework on a .gov site. That’s her.

The truth is everyone is going to see the effects of the shutdown and event planners are no exception.

In the tweet above you’ll find a Storify I’ve put together compiling the Twitter reactions to the closing of most National Parks as well as the National Mall. If you are a wedding planner or event coordinator with events scheduled at these locations, begin thinking ahead. Here are some common sense tips from yours truly.

1.) Check your budget: If the bride is upset and considering canceling, remind her of the non-refundable deposits already placed with the caterers, the venue, the photographer, and florist. Then consider the travel costs for relatives, the already mailed invitations, and the cost of therapy after having to cancel and re-plan an entire wedding. If you can’t afford to cancel, move on to solutions.

2.) Find a back-up location: Immediately. Coordinators all over will be doing the same. If you planned to have your event at a national park, is there a charming landscape nearby perhaps owned by a family? Make sure the new venue is somewhat close so attendees can be redirected easily. Be willing to cover costs or get with your purse string operator and find a way to cover them.

3.) Will the purpose and goal still be accomplished?: If at the end of the day the bride and groom were successfully married and his and her friends and family were there to see it, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. No one will say you did a bad job if the ultimate goal is accomplished and the clients are happy. If you have to relocate a promotional event for a client but are still able to spread awareness for their cause, congratulations!

Best of luck!

Event Planning Stress: You’re Doin’ It Right

Stressed out? You should be. At least according to CareerCast’s list of most stressful jobs in 2012. I doubt one year changes very much for Event Coordinators, whose job came in at number six.

It makes sense, though! To be a great public relations expert and plan a spectacular event, a coordinator must strive for the best and settle for nothing less. A type A personality lends itself to a perfectionist nature and it’s that exact nature that creates a successful event. However, the stress that comes with it may be too much to handle.

So, here I am again, probably one of the most stressed people in Salisbury, MD, ready to offer you helpful tips to relieve stress.

1.) Build A Team: Surround yourself with positive and motivated people. If you assign someone a task, you should never still be worried about it getting done. This implies that you don’t fully trust the person who is responsible for seeing it through. The more you can delegate tasks to others, the less stress you will feel.

2.) Make Lists: Have a to-do list that you can refer back to throughout the planning process and time tables to keep you on track. Use resources such as Dipity to mark the dates of major tasks and the final event. Have a list of what to do for each item of your original to-do list. For example, if acquiring food for the event is on the major list, create a smaller list with items such as, research caterers, gather food estimates, and call to make reservation. As an event planner, you must leave nothing unplanned.

3.) Remember You: An often overlooked tip is to not forget to take care of yourself. Don’t skip meals or rely solely on coffee. Considering I tend to do just that, it may be hypocritical of me to lecture on staying healthy during the event planning process but it’s important.

4.) Let Go: Recognize that you can’t control everything. Don’t stress over problems just move on to solutions. Do all that you can and let go of everything else.

Stay happy.

Oh, You’re A Communications Major?

“If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is – that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is – that’s PR.” – S. H. Simmons

As a Communications Arts major at Salisbury University, I often hear outsiders or business students commenting on the pointlessness of a degree in Communications. “You already know how to communicate.” “What are you going to do with a degree in that?” “You’re not going to be able to get a job.”

Again, as a studious P.R. student, I thank them for their input and refrain from letting them know that they are clearly wrong. If you like science, you get a science degree to learn the process behind it and hone your skill so you can work in the field that you love. What people don’t get sometimes is that is exactly what I am doing. I enjoy people; I enjoy speaking; I enjoy mediating and conflict resolution; I enjoy planning; all of these are aspects of public relations.

So, what am I going to do with a degree in Communication Arts? Or Public Relations?
Anything.

I’m going to do anything I want because the options are endless. Specifically for me, I could be a wedding planner, a fund-raiser, an account executive, a speech writer, a social media coordinator, or a corporate conference planner. My friends could be journalists, counselors, sales managers, or lobbyists. I guess that counters the statement of me not being able to find a job.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be discouraged. You’re not a Communications major because Mom and Dad need you to have a college degree or because you’re lazy. You’re doing what you love. I get it. The business student or the law student will probably if not certainly make more money than I do in the future, but I’ll make more money than my best friend teaching English to Arabic-speaking students in Jordan. Do you think she loves her life any less than I love mine? Do you think she regrets her choice of major? The answer will always be no.

So when you get asked questions like the ones I’m asked, just keep learning, keep planning, and if only for once, stop listening.

Successful Event Planning: Do’s & Don’ts

EVTPLAN

When planning an event that’s a few months or even a year away, it can always be tempting to keep putting things off. Or to have a to-do list and revisit each item in your mind as opposed to actually checking them off.

Right now, I am in the process of planning A Silent Night Out auction with Delmarva Public Radio. So I’ve come up with some basic do’s and don’ts of event planning that directly relate to my experience.

DO’S
1.) What: Do decide what the event will be. What do you hope to accomplish? Don’t just say, “We’re going to have a bake sale!” Is your goal to fundraise or is it to encourage volunteers to help out with your organization? Because a bake sale is a fundraising event. Tailor your event to the needs of your organization and during each step of the event planning process, refer back to your original purpose to guide you.

2.) When: Do establish an exact date for the event as soon as possible. All other elements of the event will revolve around this basic detail. For example, the title of The Silent Night Out auction was chosen because the date, December 8, was chosen first. The winter and holiday theme first the “when” of the event. Find out if other community events or significant holidays are occurring around the same time and schedule around them.

3.) Where: Do secure a location as soon as possible. Venues often book months in advance and, as in the auction’s case, sometimes require a written proposal of what the event will be and how many people are expected to attend.

DONT’S
1.) Don’t confirm until you have confirmed! Twice! Before scheduling or booking something outside of your organization such as a band or catering, confirm the date and time with the venue as well as your own organization. The worst PR is to waste someone’s time.

2.) Don’t wait to promote your event. Once you have the basics confirmed, begin making flyers or posting on social media. Movies send out teaser trailers to peak an audience’s interest. Then later they release the actual movie trailer closer to the release date. You should do the same! Get the public interested and involved. Make sure they have it on their calendars.

3.) Don’t procrastinate. Event planning does not have to be as stressful as we make it. The last week before the event should not be when you are rushing around doing things that you’ve had on your to-do list since the very beginning. If you have small tasks, do them first. If you have to wait for another task to be done before you can get to it, then use that as your motivation to begin on that task instead.

Let’s see if I can take my own advice and make The Silent Night Out auction the least stressful event of my year. I’ll keep you guys updated!

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