Event Planning: Getting Friendly with Social Media

Written by Annie Alvarado

event-720x300.pngSocial media is free, easy to use, has an extended target audience reach and is fairly easy to use. Whether you’re promoting a new product, event, concert, or fundraiser, social media gives you the ability to engage your audience and create a buzz around your event. If you put in the time, social media will do the work!

Here are some ideas on how to use social media for your next event, from inception (planning) to completion (live streaming/printing event transcripts):

Planning and research

  • Choose a venue – be sure to research digital connections at venues.
  • Checking dates and times for conflicts.
  • Read message boards and chat with peers regarding: venues, material, speakers, etc.
  • Find information on target audience
  • Determine program cohesiveness (informational material, find/research speakers, prepare message points for speakers, determine and prepare schedule.)
  • Use message boards, reviews and search engines to find supplies online.
  • Staff event: find speakers, staff, volunteers, etc.
  • Research venue logistics i.e. signage, parking, food
  • “10 steps to get started with event planning” wildapricot.com/articles/how-to-plan-an-event
  • “21 commonly missed event planning checklist details” https://whova.com/blog/commonly-forgotten-event-planning-checklist-details/


  • Send invitations and include URL with event info.
  • Use a Pitch engine to create multi-media enabled press releases, e.g. PitchEngine
  • Create event listings on social media networks.
  • Integrate social media with event registration. Apps like Loginradius not only register attendees, it will collect and store attendee data for future use.
  • Use a hashtag
on social media sites.
  • Create a promotional video to: post online, send with invitations, include in press releases, etc.
  • Prior to the event, issue a media advisory alerting reporters of the event.
  • Share pictures of speakers with quote overlays on website, in invitations, on registration page, etc.



  • Use an app to live stream the event, e.g. Ustream
  • Create and displayTwitter (tweet) walls.
  • To have attendees see each display or go to all areas of event, use Foursquare to create check-in locations.
  • Start aTwitter contest – give away prize for people that can correctly answer marketing trivia via Twitter or Facebook.
  • Create event pages on: Facebook EventsEvenbrite, Upcoming,
  • ProvideTwitter transcripts to attendees and post it to your various event pages.
  • Session Tweets automatically makes a PDF book of all tweets using the event hashtag.

Post event management of audience

  • Use social media apps to keep target audience engaged and informed, e.g. Constant Contact, MailerLite, 10TimesEvents, Mailman, etc.

In conclusion, social media can help to research: events, venues, staff, speakers, supplies, to disseminate information to target audience, send invitations, record RSVPs, event registration, event marketing, record transcripts and/or videos to stream/post/print, engage attendees, encourage attendee interaction, disburse information to attendees to enhance their experience, and much more. And, as a bonus, most of the social media sites and apps mentioned in this post are FREE!

 Useful Information:

  1. Link to an infographic with information on using social media to plan an event: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2013/04/26/infographic-social-media-s-impact-on-event-planning/
  1. Link to a basic event planning checklist:


  1. Social media tools to plan and produce events:
    • Facebook Events
    • Eventify
    • Linkedin
    • Twitter
    • Pitchengine
    • Ustream
    • FourSquare
    • Eventbrite
    • Session Tweets
    • Loginradius



4 Myths of the CEO as Crisis Spokesperson


We all know how important it is to choose the right spokesperson for your brand/company – but many people make the assumption that it should always be the CEO. While that may be true some of the time, during a crisis I would ask you to think twice about using your CEO in that capacity.


Myth 1: The CEO is the only person who should speak for the company.

The CEO should definitely be visible and even make statements, but in a major crisis it is best to appoint a different spokesperson. It takes the CEO away from his work and is a waste of his valuable time, plus it is a very stressful job. You need someone that is trained to handle the stress and has the right personality for this type of job.

  • Look at the case of the BP crisis and their ex CEO Tony Hayward. Tony said a lot of things that were unfathomable to the public and the people injured by the oil spill. He was joked about on every network and he brought the value of his company down even further just by saying the wrong things.


Myth 2: There should be only one spokesperson.

You should have “one voice” for your company or brand – but you can have that one voice come from different people. As long as your message is consistent, you can have a couple of spokespersons – especially if there are technical or operational areas to be discussed. You can use experts from each area to explain their fields.


Myth 3: Legal counsel should decide what is said.

While it is important to know what the lawyers tell you is legal and not, etc. you need to follow what is best for the company and its publics. As my article said, “an organization can win in the court of law and lose in the court of public opinion.”


Myth 4: The CEO must be ‘on the spot’ to take charge.


The CEO should be visible, but does not need to take charge. There is a time and place for everything and everyone – each crisis is different and needs to be handled on an individual basis. Example:

  • CEO Tony Hayward was inundated with work as the spokesperson for BP. The crisis was extremely large and Hayward became grumpy. I have listed a few of his quotes below and a couple of late night jokes that came out at the same time.


The BP oil spill disaster claimed 11 lives and has since spewed 20 to 100 million gallons of toxic oil into the Gulf of Mexico, May 31, 2010. Here are some of Tony Hayward’s quotes after the accident/disaster:

  • “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” BP CEO Tony Hayward, May 31, 2010.
  • “When do we ask the Sierra Club to pick up the tab for this leak?” –Blaming the oil spill in the Gulf on the Sierra Club, arguing that the environmental group had driven oil producers off the land to more high-risk situations offshore, May 17, 2010.
  • “I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.” —Tony Hayward, interview with Sky News television, May 18, 2010.


“What the hell did we do to deserve this?” –BP CEO Tony Hayward, speaking to fellow executives in London about the Gulf oil spill disaster, May 2, 2010.

  • “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.” —Tony Hayward, May 14, 2010.
  • “Yeah, of course I am” —Tony Hayward, when asked if he sleeps at night, Forbes, May 18, 2010.


In the end Hayward lowered the value of BP by billions and he lost his job.


Jokes at Hayward’s expense:

“The BP president said yesterday that the company would survive. That’s like someone running over your dog and saying, ‘Don’t worry, my car is fine.'” —Jimmy Fallon

“This Tony Haywire guy, whatever his name is, he told the BBC on Sunday that he believes the new oil cap that they’ve installed will eventually capture the vast majority of oil spewing from the well. You know, if they could capture half the BS spewing from Tony Hayward, people would be thrilled.” —Jay Leno

“BP wants Twitter to shut down a fake BP account that is mocking the oil company. In response, Twitter wants BP to shut down the oil leak that’s ruining the ocean.” —Jimmy Fallon


Final questions:

If you were CEO of BP – what would you have done after the oil spill in the gulf? How would you have handled their PR?

Do you believe that a CEO should ALWAYS be the crisis spokesperson?









Producing a Killer Media Pitch


Producing a Killer Media Pitch

By Annie Alvarado

Producing a killer media pitch takes knowledge, above average writing skills, the ability to know what your public(s) wants, research, and restraint. So, before you start writing, there are a few things you need to do.

First, you must learn everything there is to know about the product or services that you will be pitching. This way, you will be able to write only the most pertinent information in your pitch and you will be ready for interviews, if necessary. This task includes research on the product or service and on it’s public(s).

Next, when thinking about what to write, there are four aspects that a pitch must contain to get noticed:

The pitch must be….
1.   Newsworthy – it must be significant & interesting
2.   Timely – is it current
3.   Unique – is it distinctive/special – different than every other story
4.   Compelling – does it evoke interest from the reader. Don’t include EVERY bit of information – just give them a taste and leave them wanting more!

Now that you have your newsworthy, timely, unique, and compelling pitch – you’re ready to write! While writing remember, to ask your self, “will this make the reader’s life or business easier or better in some way?” Is it giving some kind of information that is helpful to the reader? Also, make sure your writing is concise. Remember, a pitch is not a press release; you’re asking for exposure, help or attention of some kind. (A press release is a news announcement.)

An editor is only going to read the first few sentences of your pitch before deciding to read further or to paper file it. Some editors don’t even make it to the first paragraph and make their decisions based on the subject line; so be sure to make your point in the one sentence placed in the subject line, or your pitch may not be read.

Most editors receive a lot of mail and do not have the time to read long pitches, so be concise. This is where your restraint comes in. Being concise takes practice and hard work, but it will pay off in the long run. The other type of restraint is used when contacting an editor. Before first contact with them, find out how and when they like to be contacted and make a note of it. Each editor has their own preferences and you should abide by them.

Editor Contact Tips:

  • Find out how and when the editor likes to receive pitches – Email, phone call, etc.
  • Contact the editor exactly as they wish – how & when.
  • If necessary, be able to set up interviews immediately (be ready!)
  • Always keep your tone friendly and professional (remember if they do not want/need your piece now, they may work with you in the future.)
  • With each contact you are building a relationship with the editor – make sure it is a positive one!

Now I’d like to throw a topic out to you – do you have any unique or successful ideas on ‘how to write killer pitches’ that you would like to share? If so, please attach your comment below – I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Let me leave you with this – I believe the old proverb is true, “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”…but to do it well, you should enjoy it! Life is too short to work without joy. Now – go forth…write, pitch, blog and enjoy yourself.

Works Cited:

Carole M. Howard, W. K. (2013). On Deadline: Managing Media Relations. (5th, Ed.) Waveland Press, Inc.

Ennen, D. (2013). simple-secrets-to-pitching-success-how-to-develop-that-pitch. Retrieved from International Freelancers Society: http://internationalfreelancersacademy.com/simple-secrets-to-pitching-success-how-to-develop-that-pitch/

There’s a New App on the Block – Vine – A Video Sharing App by Twitter

Vine is the new mobile-only social network that allows users to create and share short looping videos. While there are still a few bugs to be worked out, this app has a lot of potential and allows users to be creative and tell stories that cannot be told in a photo.


Within the first two weeks of Vine going online, brands had used it to create contests and ads, shorts of backstage at New York Fashion Week were made and posted, news outlets were using Vine to capture stories, and celebrities used Vine to connect with their fans. One aspiring journalist even used Vine to show off her resume, hoping the right people would see it. Of course, there are videos, like porn, that finds it’s way onto Vine. And, because of the porn videos, Vine had it’s rating changed this week from age 12+ to age 17.  Hopefully Vine will add a filter that will sort out unwanted files.


On their blog, Twitter said, “Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspires creativity. And a Vine user posted, “Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.” And while some may think six seconds is relatively short for a video, Vine users find that it is enough to tell their stories while accommodating the general public’s short attention span.


Vine is owned by Twitter and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, but they are working to add other platforms in the near future. To try Vine, go to the App store on your Apple mobile device or click here Vine App


There seems to be endless uses for Vine. The only limitation is your creativity!