Friday, November 20, 2009

Need a deal on event space? Ecotrust is offering Community Grants to nonprofits

I am often contacted by non-profit groups looking for a planner to help them find affordable meeting and event space. Community groups should note that Ecotrust is offering Community Grants for just this purpose.

I love that one of the preferential criteria is "Events that are unabashedly hopeful in nature"!

Note that Community Grants cover the cost of space rental only, but not support services such as catering or rentals.

Deadline is January 21, 2010, so get cracking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What your Facebook and Twitter savvy says about your business

We've recently seen several colleagues of ours in the event industry fall victim to the common "phishing" attacks on Facebook and Twitter. These attacks pose several problems for event planners beyond the immediate inconvenience that one might imagine.

Because so many event planners accept business contacts, clients, peers, and suppliers into their Facebook friends list, a compromised account represents much more than a minor inconvenience. Getting your Facebook account phished or hacked not only is an annoyance to your friendslist, but hurts your credibility with your business contacts with whom you are connected. Some compromised accounts have been sending me spam messages for weeks. If you are trying to build a trusted event planning brand, it can really hurt you to look like a social media newbie.

Bottom line: don't click on links you don't trust. If a Facebook or Twitter contact who is normally professional in manner suddenly sends you a message with poor spelling or questionable content, especially with links to purported videos or pictures of you, do not click. It's likely their account has been compromised, and if you click, yours will be too. Never enter your Facebook or Twitter password on external sites you are not sure of. Check with your IT department, or a knowledgeable friend before signing up for any services. Change your password immediately if you think you've been compromised. If you can't seem to get rid of he attacks, it may make sense to have your account deactivated and start anew.

In addition to avoiding phishing and hacking, consider how the following actions affect your reputation in the event planner and social media community:

- If you play Facebook games like Farmville, L'il Green Patch, or Twitter games like Mafia Wars, or even simple quizzes like "What kind of Drunk are you?", consider before clicking on links that invite your friends list if your contacts include business and event planning contacts. Do your clients and associates really want to know you're playing these games in the middle of the day?

- If you get too many requests, there's no harm in choosing the "Ignore" button. No one will be offended if you don't accept their 45th "Causes" invitation; in fact, many users don't know that they can skip the Invite Friends function on most Facebook applications. Remember that you can accept a request to participate in an application and SKIP the invite function. You can take a quiz without posting it to your Wall or involving your entire friends list.

- If you're worried about business contacts seeing too much personal information, why not set up a Fan Page for your business and keep your personal profile private? You can always set different profile groups in your personal profile and limit their access to your personal profile so you can still accept "Friend" requests from all contacts out of courtesy. At the same time you can control who can see your personal photos -- so your business contacts aren't subjected to photos of your big night out at the bar in their home feed. Caveat: nothing posted to the Internet is ever truly secure, no matter what a site might tell you, so be careful what you post, even if you use limited or locked profile lists.

Image courtesy benstein on flickr.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MerchantCircle Small Business Confidence Poll recently published its Merchant Confidence Survey and the results are interesting:

48.3% of respondents agreed with the statement "My business will survive the recession."

57.9% of respondents said YES to the statement, "If you had to start all over again, would you start your business in today's economic climate?"

86.4% of respondents said they were familiar with Twitter, while only 65.9% said they were familiar with LinkedIn.

For the full report, follow this link to's Merchant Confidence Survey 2009.