When Tiffany Farrington started Social Diary 16 years ago, she had no idea it would ultimately become ‘The PR Bible’ and the go-to for anyone wanting to access databases of journos, brands, talent, and most importantly, lots of fantastic parties.

Tiff caught up exclusively with esprit to share her amazing business success story.

What was the inspiration behind Social Diary?

I started Social Diary completely by accident which is the thing I love most about it. It was borne purely out of necessity – the industry had reached a tipping point where there were so many events clashing that we needed a central platform to share information. Even though our members are competing against each other, there is nothing better than competitors working together for the benefit of everyone.
It sounds counter-intuitive but it’s a very grown up and pragmatic approach to business, and one I have always believed in whole heartedly. Once the events diary was established it grew naturally from there, with the introduction of the newsletter.

What was your first job? What lessons did you learn from that job?
My first career job was as event coordinator at Great Big Events working with clients like The Sydney Swans, The Royal Easter Show and The Australian Reconciliation Convention which was an amazing experience. As I worked in a team of just four including the owners, I learnt literally everything. I answered the phones, I did the invoicing and book keeping, the creative brainstorms, the event production, bump in/bump out – the whole lot. I’ve always said that the best way to start in any industry is in a small company where you see every moving part and learn every job. It was a wonderful start at 21-years-old and my bosses, a married couple, were just fantastic.

What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began Social Diary?
It was all so organic that I don’t think there was any one thing I wish I’d known, but perhaps having an Economics Degree instead of one in English Literature would have been better! That said, my English degree has paid off in spades as I am a confident writer and ferocious editor which is something I have to do every single day.


What does a typical weekday look like to you?

I’m an email and news addict so the first thing I do when I open my eyes is check my phone. Aside from Social Diary, I have also been Curtis Stone’s publicist for 12 years so I often have emails come in from the US overnight. I then read all the news, and then get in touch with my team re the day’s Social Diary newsletter which goes back and forth until it’s done and sent out at 12:30pm to thousands of our members across Australia. I’m then brought across all our renewals and new members asking to trial or join the service. Every Wednesday we get together for a team lunch and working session which is always fun, I love hearing about their lives and I’ve always become very close to my staff. In the evenings I spend time with my boyfriend Richie and we watch literally everything we can about US politics, we are both addicted! I find it endlessly fascinating.

Did you expect Social Diary to be celebrating 16 years?

Haha no not in the beginning! I literally never even imagined Social Diary would become a business – I simply thought I was being helpful to the industry. Then it took off immediately because I was providing a service that was so desperately needed. I never imagined the pot of gold or anything like that. After a couple of years, yes, I realised it was here to stay. I’m not saving the world but I do make the daily lives of PRs and media easier so that makes me really happy. I help people win clients, find jobs and connect with each other in a warm and friendly manner, so I find joy in my business every day and count myself very lucky. 

What are some of the highlights you’ve had at Social Diary?
Every crazy costume party I’ve run for over a decade! We’re talking over a thousand industry folk in the most creative and crazy get ups. It’s been such a fun ride and it’s definitely led the industry to be deeply connected, and not fragmented as it was prior. A personal highlight is that because it’s always been online (since 2005), I have been able to run it from anywhere in the world which I have taken full advantage of. I have travelled the whole time, sometimes for a year, with an ever-changing view out of my ‘office’ window. I am incredibly lucky for that, particularly now that we have all been grounded due to Covid-19. My travels will always be with me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve had at Social Diary?
Luckily not too many. I’ve had people try to copy me, extremely blatantly – I’m talking copying me to the point where we would purposely put a typo in our newsletter and then catch them running the typo. People with no creative ability or originality themselves will always copy and be bottom feeders. Lots of brands have to deal with them, which can be stressful but now I just look at the copy cats and laugh and put my blinkers on. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and my ability to keep producing great work and keep my members happy.

Fang is the Social Diary mascot.

What is your biggest ‘failure’, and what did you learn from it?
I think, quite funnily, my biggest failure is probably my aversion to making myself the ‘face’ of Social Diary. I have said no to many opportunities to have a bigger profile over the years, but the truth is I am a very private person. I don’t even enjoy posting random things on social media, and have never had any interest in being an influencer. I know this would have propelled the business further but it’s simply who I am and I cherish my privacy. Hence my dog Fang is the mascot of Social Diary!

What makes you feel inspired?
Always my travels (alas not so much now!), my members doing amazing work, my staff and my dog Fang! If I’m stressed or blocked I just go for a walk with him and he instantly relaxes me, just watching him do his cute doggie things. My boyfriend inspires me every day, he is the smartest person I have ever known apart from my dad.

How has the business coped through Covid-19? What were some challenges and successes?
We took a hit in March/April/May and then we’ve bounced back to where we were last year, which is amazing and I am hugely grateful. We immediately pivoted too and offered monthly subscriptions for the first time ever as our members have always paid annually. I believe it’s because our members need us more than ever, and this also happened during the GFC in 2008. We provide so many opportunities that we are seen as a lifeline, in bad times even more so than in the good times. I can already tell how much our members themselves are bouncing back which is so exciting.

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