Last week I wrote about the importance of getting more involved in-person with your social media efforts. This week I had the pleasure of working a dinner for a company who wanted to display their products for people they recognized to be very influential for their brand: bloggers. The products dealt with kids, focusing on the back to school season which is huge time of year for many varieties of retailers (my guess would even be second after the Christmas/Holiday season). So I observed and interacted with a room full of every day women of all shapes, sizes and colors who have kids and husbands and everything that goes with the struggles of a normal American family. They were some of the nicest and coolest people I’ve come across. Everyone was friendly, into what they did and I had such a good time that I forgot I was working. But most importantly it made me think about what it means to be a member of the blogosphere, the social world and what companies can truly learn by putting some of their biggest supporters and customers in one room together.
I read a lot of articles, usually very business-forward and informative. Plenty of “the top [5, 10, 20] ways to…”, Harvard Business Review, discussions on LinkedIn groups, and anything from Julius Solaris. All the thoughts are organized, all the details are solidified with an example or statistic to back it up. While that’s all well and good it’s not quite the same as experiencing something for yourself. People’s reactions show you what makes a successful event. Interaction shows you what people want. Social media is a great way to get personal but it’s just the beginning process. Nothing replaces human contact no matter how accurate or detailed or personal. And really, that’s what event planning is all about. You won’t do everything right all the time. You can’t breakdown happiness or success into numbers, but you can take the examples you read about, explore ideas people post and use those tools to just get to know people. One of the things I love most about my blog is that it challenges me to learn more. I try to meet people with all of the companies I write about. I love a good success story and I love helping people see ways in which they might be able to connect with someone else. I think its important to cover every angle when working with events — not just the amount of money you pull in, how much you saved by doing x-y-z. A good system treats everyone with respect from the janitor to the CEO and I think a good event reflects that mentality. This week’s event was that for me. Was it the flashiest and most expensive event I’ve done? No. Did it need to be? Certainly not. Was it successful? Well technically I wasn’t invited — I was just working it as the establishment organizer and I had a blast — so definitely yes!