Planning a party with social media

Whether you’re planning a class reunion or a large convention, you’re probably using social media to organize the event.

But your options on social media can be overwhelming. It’s easy to get lost in all of the choices social media offers for event planning.

Enter Cheryl Lawson, CEO of Party Aficionado. Lawson knows a thing or two about planning parties using social media. You can read about some of Lawson’s parties at, and you can follow her on Twitter at @Partyaficionado.

I asked Lawson for some tips for planning parties using social media.

Q. What are your “must-have” apps for party planning?

A. A few of my favorite apps as a planner are productivity apps.

Dropbox is probably my go-to app. I’m able to share files with photographers, videographers, entertainers, etc. The best part is that I have access to those files regardless of which device I’m using (e.g., computer, smartphone).

I use Google Docs and Sheets for editing contracts and budgets, and just like Dropbox, I’m able to access those files from any device. The best feature of Google Drive is the collaborative ability. My team can work on the same document without having to worry about losing updates and edits.

Other apps I love are for online registration management and onsite check-in, for agenda setting, and for signing contracts and getting signatures electronically.

Q. Has social media made it easier or more complicated to plan parties?

A. I’d say a little bit of both. Facebook, Google+ and make it easier for us to connect with our communities and friends. But it’s also more complicated because we’re invited to so many events. As event planners, there is so much competition with people’s schedules.

Q. What kinds of social media do you see people using to plan parties?

A. I see people using Facebook a lot. I reluctantly use Facebook for events because I’m not a fan of the “Maybe” option. I prefer people RSVP either yes or no. Facebook has made it too easy for people RSVP yes or maybe, and then not show up. is probably my favorite. Most people are part of a Meetup group because they want to get together. Also, the “On Air” feature on Google Hangouts is great for virtual parties.

Q. What kinds of tips can you offer novice party planners?

A. A lot of event professionals started as novice planners. It’s best to start with a budget. Whether you’re planning a girls night out, birthday party, or corporate retreat, costs can easily add up.

Consider using unique venues to add character to your party. I like to use places that even local people haven’t been too. Historical buildings, racetracks, college campus meeting spaces are great for this.

Whatever you do, be hospitable. It is the hospitality industry after all. Make sure your guests feel welcomed.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chairman of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn.

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