Social Diary is a source for professionals in the PR and communication industry to use to obtain products for events, find the whereabouts of celebs, chat to other PR’s and seek help if needed – with the core philosophy of working together, not against each other. Around 99% of Australian consumer, fashion and beauty PR professionals use the site, many as long-term members.
Last month Social Diary held their annual party, where hundreds of PR’s and industry leaders get together to have… well… a very, very good night (scroll down for hilarious pics!). Dubbed one of the hottest parties of the year with high-profile guests, a fashion show, decked out décor and hundreds of guests – I was intrigued to find out more about Tiffany – the lady behind the party and Social Diary site. Fortunately she was more than willing to share her story with us, and tips to throwing a killer party!
Tell us a bit about your background? I started in events straight after university at age 21 and knew right away it was the career for me. I had done some earlier work experience in the industry – The Daily Telegraph, Cleo and event companies before deciding events was my dream job. I moved into PR as a natural progression and flipped between PR and events throughout my career, even though I never technically studied it (you could get away with no communications degree back in the 90’s and there were certainly no event degrees back then!)
When and why did you start Social Diary? It started very organically in June 2004. Put simply, we needed it. The PR industry had hit a tipping point of sorts where there were clashes happening all over the place, which makes no sense when people can easily share this information for mutual benefit. I was running a huge event for Cartier and was terrified of going up against another luxury brand so simply asked a group of 25 industry leaders if they had anything going on, via email. I chose the right night based on that information and it just grew from there.
What was the initial response like from those in the industry? My peers embraced the concept wholeheartedly from day one. It started as a simple weekly email with a calendar attached – pretty soon I was getting phone calls from people all over town requesting to receive it. It naturally then morphed into a website, with the official launch being January 12th, 2005. What was great is because it had been offline for six months prior with people actively engaging with it, it meant the party was packed and people joined up immediately. I think what I love most is that it was never meant to be a business, it was so organic.
How many people now use Social Diary? We guesstimate 99% of the consumer/fashion/beauty PR and media industry, with many being long-time members. The companies that took their time joining up say to me all the time they can’t believe they lived without it before. It’s so much more than the calendar now – one year later in 2006 the newsletter was born and for many that’s the main reason they join. This year we launched Social Diary Daily which means news now goes out Monday-Thursday with the big weekly wrap up on Fridays. On top of this there’s a Celebrity Calendar that lists which international celebs are coming to Australia and how to contact them; Celebrity Search listing agents and manager’s details; Journo Search listing media contacts; Industry Profiles and much more. We’ve also just launched PR Market Place, which is about to move into phase two.
In your words, how does it help PRs and what sets it apart? It is usable information on a daily basis, making the lives of PRs that much easier. It’s a way for them to communicate a message fast to other people in the industry, which means more companies are working together rather than against each other. What sets it apart is that there is nothing else like it, and people like its personality and warm, friendly approach. There’s no ego involved (my dog Fang is the face of it not me!); we run a fun Pet of the Week which has become synonymous with the brand, as have the annual costume parties which are wild. We don’t take ourselves too seriously here and I think our members enjoy that.
Now, onto the PR party of the year!!
How long have you been throwing the annual Social Diary Halloween party? The Social Diary parties started with a cocktail party in Christmas 2005 and events were held twice a year back then. Everyone wore white for Christmas 2006 and the first costume party was “REHAB” in 2007. That was the year SO many celebrities ended up in rehab (Britney, Nicole Richie, Robbie Williams – it was an epidemic!) so we wanted to have fun with it. EVERYONE took the theme very seriously and we knew with half an hour of people arriving that we had a hit on our hands from a costume perspective. People in this industry are very creative so they love going all-out. I am thrilled because I am OBSESSED with costumes if you can’t tell! From 2008 we started creating one HUGE party instead of two smaller ones and this year we decided to do Halloween for something a bit different , and wow, by all accounts it was the best one ever.
Dubbed as one of the hottest parties of the year – how have you managed to grow and create such a hype around the event? We go to a seriously ridiculous amount of effort with the whole event. I used to throw parties every week when I ran my agency Breakfast PR, and once I closed that to focus 100% on Social Diary I guess deep down I’ve missed throwing parties so I put EVERYTHING I’ve got into this one! Every ridiculous, wild, crazy idea gets thrown in. We dress the bathrooms, we have things hiding in nooks and crannies, and we always have interactive games and photo booths. I defy anyone to have a bad time! The hype is simply because every year just outdoes the previous ones, and our members are all very loud and talk about it A LOT! The social media went nuts last week – check out the event hashtag #boohoosocialdiary for some hilarious pics.
What is the best thing about the annual bash? My favourite thing is the hard working PRs get to be spoilt rotten with a huge bash, goodie bags, prizes galore and lots of topless model boys! These girls and guys work tirelessly all year showing everyone else a good time so this party is for THEM – particularly the young ones who may not have developed an industry network yet. It’s really important for them to get out and meet and connect with their peers.
What would you key advice be to party planners when hosting an event? This would be my Mum’s advice: COMFORT. Pure and simple. If guests can’t easily get a drink, something to eat, or go to the bathroom without queuing for half an hour it doesn’t matter that you’ve spent half a mill on all the bells and whistles – their discomfort will be all they remember. Also I’m a big fan of something ‘happening’ every 45 minutes or so – and keeping these things short, sweet and snappy. I love a ‘reveal’, I love surprises, and ensuring guests never have a dull moment but also lots of time to mingle. It’s a fine balance.
Australian singer Guy Sebastian performing his latest hits for the crowd
The Bachelor’s Tim Robards on his first night out of the mansion!
A runway through the event, showing Boohoo’s latest collection