Event Industry

How Social Media Is Changing Event Design — A Discussion with Debi Lilly

Written by The Meeting Pool

Featured image by Anthony Thalier.

Pinterest, designers’ blogs, and TV shows are changing the face of event design as brides and event clients alike are collecting ideas from thousands of new social sources, making them savvy customers. In this session, Debi Lilly, Chief Eventeur of A Perfect Event, will discuss how social media is both changing how planners consult with future clients and changing how event designers are weaving social media elements into the fabric of the event to create capture-able moments.

debi_500px1. Brief intro on how you got caught up in this crazy business that we are in – and why you are in it.

I have dreamed of parties since I was tiny. Threw a party for every possible silly, hallmark holiday when I was young – including housewarming parties for teenage friends who moved, bon voyage party if you went on a long summer vacation…

The minute I graduated college I launched my own business – and a few years later landed a dream gig planning parties for Oprah Winfrey. One turned into many, parties turned into guest spots as “Oprah’s Favorite Pro”, styling The Oprah Winfrey Show set, glamming up Oprah’s Favorite Things show each season, and so much more!

It’s just heaven. Doing what I love, making a difference in the way people celebrate life’s important occasions – it’s pure magic and I simply love it.

2. How have you seen social media changing the ‘fabric’ of the events?

In every single way. Events come to life before our eyes online through invitation, design, prep, loading, unloading, sneak peeks before the doors open – it’s just amazing.

3. What are the top 3 challenges or obstacles that you see event professionals face when they try to implement social media for their event?

  1. Consistency – especially in their “voice” and messaging
  2. Frequency
  3. Inspired Content

4. What are 3 things they have to start with before implementing a social media plan for their event?

  1. Create an easy-to-remember event hashtag
  2. Timeline by channel – Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Instagram
  3. Messaging – what to share and what imaging?

5. So for our readers for their 2014 social media plan, what do you recommend for them to take a look at regarding social media?

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Pinterest

Now my turn to ask you the questions: Are you on them? Do you have a consistent name across all sites? Are you posting,  sharing, and using inspired, beautiful imagery frequently on all sites? If not, you have to start now!

6. How do you hire a social media strategist? And how do you infuse them into their company culture?

I am my own strategist – so I say read, research, educate yourself, and be your brand. No one can sell your business like you can.

7. What should people expect as the big takeaways from attending your session at Bizbash Chicago?

Practical tips and tricks on growing and building expertise in social media for events.


8. Give us your predictions for 2014 for our events?

Color, customization, and more quirky retro hipster fun.

9. What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

Facebook. Crazy huge addict. Love seeing what my industry, my city, and see what my competitors are up to.

10. Gotta ask – what’s your favorite app and why?

Instagram – love the beauty of each image – could spend days surfing brands, experts, beautiful babies, or anyone!

More About Debi
Debi Lilly is a nationally renowned event-planning expert based in Chicago. She is the founder and president of A Perfect Event – Chicago’s most successful special event company with a faithful (and famous) following, including Oprah Winfrey.