BLOGS Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which One Is Best for Your Event?

May 31, 2018
Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which One Is Best for Your Event?

Source: Eventbrite

Instagram and Snapchat now look more alike than ever, thanks to Instagram’s aggressive cloning of Snapchat’s biggest features. So you might be wondering: Is there still a difference between these two photo-based social networks? And if so, which one you should use for your event?

Use this breakdown of Instagram vs. Snapchat to decide which platform is worth your investment.

The benefits of Instagram for events

Instagram connects more than 500 million users all over the world through the power of pictures. Much like its sister company, Facebook, users interact with photos and videos by liking or commenting on them.

For event marketers, Instagram is most useful for building event awareness and increasing engagement, both before the event and on the day-of. You can post up to 10 photos at a time to offer fans a behind-the-scene perspective or sneak peeks of the event.

Who’s using Instagram

Instagram users are young and they live all over the world. Most of its 500 million users are between 18 and 29 years old, with 80% outside of the U.S. But the app is growing in popularity with people of all ages: 6 in 10 online adults now have an Instagram account.

And businesses love the platform, too. There are now over a million advertisers on Instagram. In fact, one-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses and 75% of users take action after being inspired by a post. That shows that Instagram users are eager to engage with content from brands, making them a prime audience for your pre-event marketing.

Fun features:

  • Hashtags: Hashtags are an easy way for people to find your posts. The more hashtags you use, the more engagement you can see. To avoid your caption turning into a long list of hashtags, include just one in your caption, and then comment with as many captions as you desire.
  • Geolocation tags: Surface your posts to a larger audience by tagging your picture or video with a specific location to show up in searches for that spot.
  • Instagram Stories: Compile a “Story” made up of photos and/or videos about your day and share it with your followers. Unlike regular posts, viewers aren’t able to like or post comments on these photos and your Story disappears 24 hours after being uploaded. Learn more in this blog post about Instagram Stories.

The benefits of Snapchat for events

Snapchat rose in popularity by enabling users to send text, picture, and video messages to each other that disappear within seconds after they’re viewed. Users can also post these photos or videos to their “Story,” where anyone who follows them can view the message for the next 24 hours.

Thanks to its ephemeral nature, Snapchat is excellent for capitalizing on FOMO (fear of missing out). Use it to create behind-the-scenes content, share coupons, and generate awareness with location-based geofilters.

Who’s using Snapchat

Snapchat has 16 million active daily users, mostly young millennials in the U.S. The social platform is used by 72% of 12- to 24-year-olds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to reach an older audience: more than half of new Snapchat users are 25 and older.

Snapchat users are engaged. Collectively, they watch over 10 billion videos per day, with the average user spending 25-30 minutes on the app daily. That makes Snapchat a great place to engage your attendees in spreading the word about your event on your behalf — increasing their enjoyment and your marketing power.

Fun features:

  • Stories: Create a narrative with multiple pictures or videos strung together that your followers can view over and over again for 24 hours. Learn more how to build your follower list and create compelling content in this blog post about Snapchat Stories.
  • Geofilters: These graphics (or “filters”) for Snapchat photos can only be used at certain locations so users can show their friends where they are. For less than $100 and an hour of time, you can create a customized geofilter unique to your event and only available onsite. Find out how to get started here.

Is Snapchat or Instagram better for your event?

It depends on your audience and your goals. With over 600 million monthly users, Instagram is best if you want to reach new potential attendees and broadly distribute your photos. But if you’re after at-event engagement, then Snapchat and its geofilters are the right social platform for you — especially if you want to target young, college-aged millennials.

Ready to get started on these platforms, or interested in learning more best practices about social media for events? Become a master with this Essential Guide to Social Media.

BLOGS 14 Top Tips to Planning Successful Summer Events

May 22, 2018
14 Top Tips to Planning Successful Summer Events

22By Arthur Backal

Source: Special Events Blog

1. Location, location, location: The summer is short, so take advantage of the season while you can. Be sure to pick a venue that showcases stellar summer season views or has an outdoor space.

2. Save-the-date ASAP: Summer is the height of travel season. With so many of your guests planning trips during the summer months, you want to send out your save-the-dates ASAP.

3. Don’t underestimate invitations: Invitations are your first chance to grab guests’ attention and get them excited about the big day. Unusual invitations are perfect if you’re looking to create a memorable summer party, but stay true to the theme of your event as it’ll give guests a taste of what to expect.

4. Use clever themes: Whether you’re creating a fully themed summer extravaganza or a more low-key dinner, the most successful events always make clever use of the key messages of the host’s brand. Think about colored lighting to complement a brand identity or creative touches that nod to key messages.

5. Don’t underestimate the power of color: For spring and summer, the bright color trend continues with yellows mixed with other vibrant colors, such as hot pinks, oranges, and purples. For the rustic craze, white goes perfectly, as well as muted pinks, pale blues, and pastel yellows.

6. Keep guests cool and talk with building management about air conditioning: To ensure a happy crowd, be sure to discuss air conditioning with the venue staff when planning an indoor event during the summer. Generally venues will have constant air conditioning, but when large crowds are coming together in a smaller space, the last thing the guests should be is uncomfortable or sweaty while reveling and networking. Be sure to discuss this beforehand.

7. Plan labor around weather: For events that involve a lot of production and setup, it is wise to look at the weather for load in and load out times during the summer season. Setting up in 100 F-plus-degree heat for hours will be exhausting for event staff and the process may take longer. Be sure to speak with the venue to see if it’s possible to set-up in the morning or evening hours when it is cooler to ensure a speedy process and not to worry about heat exhaustion.

8. Choose menu items wisely: Provide lighter, non-creamy fare for your cocktail party stations and your meal, to reduce the risk of spoilage. Summer menu items of cold, refreshing veggies, cold seafood, mango skewers and gazpacho shots are far more palatable in hot weather than heavier, cream-sauce dishes … and they’re often less expensive. Also, healthy items will be a big hit as many of the event revelers will be conscious of their beach-season bodies!

9. Add frozen drinks and boozy ice pops to your bar menu: For your guests’ comfort and enjoyment, get creative with the ever-popular boozy ice pops!

10. Stay cool with infused ice: An easy and tasty way to cool off in the hot summer months. Infused ice is so versatile, as citrus fruits, berries, and even herbs can be used to dress up and flavor your favorite drinks or cocktails.

11. Visit your local greenmarket and plan your menu around what’s seasonal and local: This tip works for any season, particularly in the summer months. Build vibrant, colorful salads or crudité platters around what has been seasonally harvested. Crafting dishes based on what looks and tastes fresh that day will help you get creative. (At left, Apella, the event space at Alexandria Center in New York, overseen by Backal.)

12. Build charcuterie and cheese boards: An Instagram-worthy appetizer can be simple and fun to assemble. Be sure to experiment and make your boards diverse with an assortment of cheeses (fresh, soft, firm) to go along with either smoky sausages, cured salami or aged prosciutto di parma. Make sure to include other accompaniments to offer your guests a variety of fun, paired samplings off of the board. Examples include: jellies or jams, honey, olives, peppers or pickles. Don’t forget to add bread and/or crostini and crackers!

13. Seek out ceviches: A refreshing summer starter dish, and the perfect excuse to also try Tip #11 and use local, seasonal ingredients! This fresh app can be light and filling and can satisfy a multitude of flavor palettes, play around with your ingredients! For a kick, we recommend to use Fresno chiles.

14. Set guest’s expectations: Have a good idea of who you will be inviting to the event and the mix of your guests. It’s important to clearly communicate to guests the event details including type of event, attire, guest restrictions, event timing, logistical details, etc., to ensure that all guests are party-ready.

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BLOGS Why You Should Use Snapchat for Your Event — And How to Do It

May 16, 2018
Why You Should Use Snapchat for Your Event — And How to Do It

Source: Eventbrite

When you think about social media for events, Snapchat might not be the first platform that comes to mind. You might even find the whole craze a little bewildering. But while its logo is a ghost, Snapchat doesn’t have to be scary.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Snapchat for your event marketing. To begin with, the platform has 200 million monthly active users — that’s about double the monthly users of LinkedIn. The network is incredibly popular with young women, often students: 70% of users are women and 71% are under 25.

So what is it that they love about Snapchat? It’s a way to share live experiences virtually. The app enables users to send text, picture, and video messages to each other that disappear after they’re viewed. Users can also post these photos or videos to their “Story,” where anyone who follows them can view the message for the next 24 hours.

The temporary lifespan of the posts are what makes Snapchat unique among social networks, and what makes it the network perfect for event marketing. Just like your events, Snapchat enables a temporary experience that can have an incredible impact.

Why Snapchat is perfect for events

Snapchat is ideally suited to drive the sense of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) that spurs ticket sales and buzz. After all, Snapchats are sent and received instantly, so users see their friends enjoying your event while the event’s still happening.

Snapchat actually built their platform with events in mind, launching one product feature in tandem with the 2014 Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. They built it “so that Snapchatters who are at the same event location” can connect, Snapchat announced in a blog post. “If you can’t make it to an event… you [can] feel like you’re right there!”

And their focus on events has paid off. Snapchat is the third most popular social network at music festivals, according to new Eventbrite research. Half of active social media users at festivals use Snapchat, and a quarter use that festival’s Snapchat filter. (A Snapchat filter is a small illustration that users can place on top of their pictures.) There’s no current research for its usage at other types of events, but its widespread popularity among millennials suggests that it makes an appearance at more than just festivals.

Getting started on the network doesn’t take long. Here are two easy ways to incorporate Snapchat in your event marketing.

1. Create a Snapchat geofilter for your event

One easy way to use Snapchat to build a strong connection with your audience? Create a geofilter for your event.

Geofilters are illustrations or “filters” for Snapchat photos that can only be used within specific geographies. Most cities have geofilters, and Snapchat also creates seasonal geofilters for cultural events. (To create a geofilter for your brand, you just need to submit an illustration to Snapchat here and your filter will be reviewed within a few business days.) For any photos or videos taken on Snapchat at your event’s location, users can layer your filter over the image.

Here’s how it works:

  • You choose the location and amount of time your geofilter will be active. It’s good to include buffers on the geography and time, so that the filter is active an hour extra on either end and captures the entire block around your event. That way you can engage a larger audience to participate.
  • You submit an illustration on the Snapchat website. (Check out the tips below to design your filter!)
  • Submit your geofilter 3-4 days before you want it to be active.
  • The cost varies based on the size and timespan of your geofilter, but the price starts at about $5 for 20,000 square feet.

Snapchat pictures are either sent to friends or added to your attendee’s Story, so anyone who views their image will be exposed to your brand. Users can also download this image once it’s taken, so it’s not unusual to see images with Snapchat geofilters posted to other social networks like Facebook or Instagram.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing a filter for your event:

  • You need to include your business name in the filter, but you cannot use URLs, phone numbers, or emails in the filter. Your branding and logo are fine, as long as you have the rights to use them! Including your event’s hashtag in the geofilter is a great way to extend the momentum to other social networks. (Here are the complete submission guidelines.)
  • Geofilters are 1080×1920 pixels and need to be saved in the PNG format (with a clear background). They also need to be 300kb in size or less.
  • Only use the top or bottom quarter of the screen, so your filter doesn’t cover the user’s original photo.
  • If you don’t have design experience, you can edit one of Snapchat’s geofilter templates, available for download on this Snapchat support page.

Since you’d likely only activate geofilters during your event, this effort would only drive last-minute on-site sales for your current event. But it’s a great way to build awareness and excitement for your next event when users see their friends having a great time. Not to mention, it’s a great way to build your event’s brand.

Ready to go? You can submit your geofilter to Snapchat here. If you want more information about how to build and measure results for your geofilter first, check out this in-depth blog on how to make a Snapchat geofilter.

2. Create your event’s story on Snapchat

You can create a user account for your event on Snapchat to engage with attendees directly. Creating an account allows you to post a “Story” and share visuals that all your fans can see.

Here’s an idea of what you can showcase in your event’s Snapchat story:

  • Give fans a behind-the-scenes look at preparations before the event. Show food booths, performers and speakers, sponsors, swag, and the venue to get them excited. Hint at a surprise that guests can expect at the event to really build excitement.
  • During the event, snap pictures and videos of the festivities for anyone who couldn’t make it in person.
  • Don’t have exciting photos to share? That’s okay, you can get creative! With Snapchat you can add text, emojis, and draw on images. Use these to write fun facts about the event or share an exclusive coupon code, show a giant emoji that expresses your excitement, or draw an artistic representation of the event.

Snapchat is supposed to be fun, so don’t take yourself too seriously on the platform. The key to boosting engagement is to make sure people know you’re active. Spread the word by using the unique QR code that Snapchat generates for each user. When someone scans the code using their Snapchat app, it brings up your account. Some brands have used this QR code as their profile photo on other social networks like Instagram to increase engagement. (The code is layered over Snapchat’s yellow ghost logo, to give it a nice design element.) At the very least, post images of the QR code to your other networks to spread the word.

If you’re not quite sure how Snapchat fits into your broader social media event marketing strategy, check out this comprehensive guide to social media for events. You’ll learn even more about how you can use Snapchat and the other top social networks to drive ticket sales or registrations.

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BLOGS How to Break Into Event Planning

May 8, 2018
How to Break Into Event Planning

3Source: The Muse

Career Guidance - How to Break Into Event Planning

Ever wondered how to get started working in PR, entertainment, finance, or another profession? Over the next two weeks, we’re putting together a guide to breaking into these cool fields and more, brought to you by those who know it best. Keep checking in for an inside look at how to launch your dream career!

Planning events for a living sounds like a dream—picking food and décor, working with tons of different people, spending your days at cool venues instead of behind a desk. But it takes more than just a love of a great party to succeed in this fast-paced field—you’ve got to have an eye for detail and an ability to handle constant deadlines and pressure.

We sat down with two professional event planners (who, yes, love their jobs) to learn more about what it takes to break in.

Jennifer Carver

Managing Director, University Events, University of Southern California

Brief Description of Job: I manage the day-to-day operations of the University Events team, providing strategic guidance and creative direction, and ensuring thatall events produced through our office extend the presidential standard of hospitality and promote the University and its goals. My department produces a wide variety of events including those involving the President of the University and high-level donors, conferences, gala dinners, and alumni events.

Years of Professional Experience: 9

Why did you choose this field?

I knew I would never get bored! I needed to find something that would keep me on my toes and wouldn’t get monotonous. I wanted a career that was fast-paced where I would be doing something different each day and not stuck behind a desk 40 hours a week. Event planning allows you to work on such a wide variety of projects and no two are exactly the same. Even if you’re planning an annual event, it’s always a challenge to continue to improve it and make it better than it was the year before.

What did you want to do in college?

In college I was all over the map. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I had trouble narrowing down exactly what I did want to do. I was interested in so many different areas. At one point I thought about going into law enforcement, I debated psychology, PR, marketing, and working in the entertainment industry. Ultimately I decided to major in Mass Media Communications and Political Science. Both were somewhat broad and I felt I could utilize those skills no matter what I ended up doing. I just wanted to be prepared when the right opportunity presented itself. Fortunately, my strategy worked!

What was your first job in this field, and how did you land it?

My first “real” job out of college was at MGM Studios as an assistant in the Consumer Products and Marketing Department. I considered myself very lucky to land a job at a studio so early in my professional career. (This, of course, was after about six months of part-time jobs including serving in a restaurant, working for a catering company, and even telemarketing for two weeks to help pay the bills!)

I got in by applying to be in the studio’s temp pool. Though it wasn’t always consistent full-time work, it allowed me to meet people within the company, work in various departments throughout the studio, and discover the areas I enjoyed the most. After two months of numerous different assignments, I was placed into the assistant position as a temp and hired on full-time about a month later.

Though event and meeting planning was just a small part of my job, I was exposed to trade show preparation and planning as well. My desire to become an event planner grew from there and I knew that was the direction I wanted to take my career. Working at MGM Studios was a great experience, and after two years there I was hired by Pepperdine University as an Event Coordinator.

What advice would you have for someone breaking into your field?

Gain experience wherever you can. Find ways to get involved with event planning, build a resume, and start a portfolio. Even if you work in a completely different field, you can volunteer with a local nonprofit and help to plan a fundraising event, or offer to help coordinate an outing or holiday party for your company. Gaining experience will also give you a better perspective of what it takes to plan an event from start to finish and be sure it’s really something you want to do. It’s not always as glamorous as it appears and there is a lot of pressure involved, but it is incredibly rewarding to see your hard work come to fruition and create a wonderful experience for your guests.

 Elizabeth Conway

Director of Communications and Events at a Venture Capital Firm and Co-Founder of Conway Amling Strategies and Events

Brief Job Description: At the venture firm, I coordinate all aspects of events, from networking and business development events to summits and investor conferences. I also handle marketing, PR, social media, and investor relations. With Conway Amling, it really depends on what our client wants—we will plan entire events or simply do day-of logistics. We can also develop and implement public relations and media campaigns for our clients.

Years of Professional Experience: 6

Why did you choose this field?

I started off working in the communications and development department of a nonprofit. In the fall of 2008, due to the economy, the organization had to make some staff cutbacks, including its fundraising events person. So I took over planning our annual auction for scholarships.

I was in over my head, and the event took a lot of long hours and begging, but when I saw the amazing results (we were able to raise over $100,000 for scholarships), I was hooked. It didn’t hurt that I’d grown up in the headmaster’s house at a private school—my family had about 20 events a year held at our house for fundraising or welcoming new parents, so I got used to networking, helping caterers, and setting up events at a very early age. Making it my career felt natural.

What has been the most surprising thing about working your field?

The perception of being a “party planner.” Whenever I tell people what I do, their response is always the same: “That’s so fun, I wish I had a job where I could just go to parties.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I think I’ve only been able to even attend 50% of the events I plan—normally I’m either working the check-in table or overseeing it. Usually, you’re so busy making sure everyone else is having a good time and things are going as planned that you don’t have anything to eat or drink until 10 minutes before it’s over, and then it’s time to break down the event.

Don’t get into this field unless you’re the person that organizes every happy hour, plans every trip with friends, color coordinates your closet, and gets pleasure out of making a to-do list. It’s not all about picking out tablecloths and flowers; it’s a lot of data and detail, too.

What advice would you have for someone breaking into your field?

There are so many charities and nonprofits that need volunteers for their events, and being a volunteer gives you invaluable experience. These organizations want to raise the most money possible, so they need a low overheard when throwing events—and the best way for them to do so is by not paying for staff. Working an event, whether it’s sitting at the check-in table, procuring silent auction items, or helping spread the word to get attendees, is all easy experience to get if you’re willing to work for it. And an added bonus is that you’re helping to do some good at the same time.

What is different about the hiring process in your field than in other fields?

One of the advantages to this field is that you have ownership over getting experience. In most other careers, you’re at the mercy of a firm to hire you to help you get experience or at the mercy of getting a graduate degree or passing a certain test. But if you can walk into an interview with 10 events under your belt—even if you were an unpaid volunteer at each one—you’re steps ahead of your competitors.

BLOGS How to Plan a Corporate Summer Event

May 2, 2018
How to Plan a Corporate Summer Event

By Ruth Altman

Source: Chron

Summer is an excellent time to plan a corporate summer event since it allows use of outdoor venues, fresh, seasonal foods and a wider variety of entertainment. When it comes to hosting the perfect event for your business, capitalize on the vacation aspect of the summer season.

Set the Date

Summer is vacation time for most workers and their families, so plan your summer corporate event at least three months in advance. That means you should send invitations no later than the spring months for a summer event. The leeway also allows you time to order the food and entertainment – two aspects of summer party planning that get booked quickly.

Choose a Venue

Summertime offers many options for party locations. Host your event at a winery, golf course, the CEO’s home or a local botanical garden. A creative venue also opens the door to imaginative entertainment ideas. Don’t forget to plan for unexpected weather conditions. Select a venue that will allow you to move the party indoors in the event of rain — or a heatwave.

Book Entertainment

Book entertainers three months before your event, especially in the prime-time summer months. Hire a standup comic, host an interoffice “roast” or book a live band to ensure high attendance. Door prizes or giveaways also add interest to your corporate event and may ensure a solid turnout.

Hire Caterer

Caterers are busy during the summer months, so book these professionals early as well — three months before your party is ideal. Consult catering companies the moment your date is set. Capitalize on the vacation aspect of summer and order foods that are tropical and summery. Plan a menu featuring watermelon, pineapple, Hawaiian sliders, barbecued meats and fresh salads. Serve light, refreshing beverages, such as lemonade or sangria — if your corporate policy allows alcohol.

Choose a Theme

Themes can bring out the best in your workers. Choose a summer theme, such as a Hawaiian luau, outdoor fiesta or beach party. Decorate with fresh flowers, streamers, balloons, party favors, and themed plates, napkins and cutlery. Work with your caterer to determine theme ideas or talk to a party rental company for props. These small touches will ensure that your corporate summer event is remembered for months to come.

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