Skip to Content

IN THE NEWS 10/16/2018

Travel review site TripAdvisor is already one of the best tools to drive traffic to your destination or event. Soon it could get even better! TripAdvisor Wants To Become Your New Social Media Feed for Traveling. Planning for next year already? Check out these 11 Facebook Updates You Need To Know for 2019.

Analytics Don’t Have to be Scary: What to Measure for Social Media

So, you’ve got great graphics, interesting content and even some fun videos, but your posts aren’t performing as well as you expected. What gives, and where do you go from here?

Analytics can be scary for beginners. With so many numbers and terms, how do you know what’s important? Using analytics to drive better social media performance can take some time to get right, but when you do, it can make a huge difference!

The most important thing to remember is that, just like the rest of your marketing strategies, everything you do on social media should tie back to your company’s audiences and goals. Take some time to figure out just what it is that you want from your social media pages – is it brand recognition, sales or maybe to provide important information to customers? Then, you can use analytics to assess how close you are to meeting your goals.

Audience

Audience size does matter, and often it’s the first thing that people see when they click on your profile. While there is much more to social media than your follower count, having a sizeable and targeted audience is the easiest way to make sure your posts are reaching the right the people. Although it might seem easier to quickly build your audience through family, friends or other filler accounts, your goal should always be to shoot for quality and not just quantity. That means gaining followers that are likely to appreciate and engage with your content, and ultimately support your business both on and offline.

When investing in a high-quality audience, look for analytics that tell more of the story than just follower count. Who are your followers? Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights and Twitter Analytics all allow you to view simple demographics for your followers. Check out your demographics tab to make sure your followers are in line with your company or event’s preferred audiences. If not, try running targeted ads, using growth tactics to target specific groups, or even switching up your content strategy to attract the right people.

Post Reach

When it comes to social media, “reach” refers to the number of people who viewed your post. It used to be a sure thing when you posted something that your followers would see it. Now, thanks to tricky algorithms, it isn’t quite that simple! Watch your reach to see how many people are paying attention to your content. On popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, reach typically works like a snowball effect. The more people that view, like and positively engage with your post, the more people your post will reach. More people reached can mean more followers and ultimately more customers!

Engagement

If you take a photo and nobody likes it, was it ever really posted?  Likes, reactions, comments, clicks, shares, ect… all count as engagement. High engagement is a sign that your audience feels connected with your content. It can be hard to predict which posts will get the most engagement or even “go viral,” but by looking at previous patterns of success, you can get a better idea of what your audience is interested in. Which kinds of posts are your followers most likely to engage with? What text did you use? What kind of content did you feature? See if you can link periods of high engagement and growth to specific posts or events. You can also calculate your engagement rate or percentage to get a better idea of which posts are doing best. Use this knowledge in the future to help build a more successful content strategy.

IN THE NEWS 9/25/2018

A brand new venue could be a breath of fresh air for your event. Thinking about trying one out? Here are 5 Killer Tips to Finding your Perfect Venue! What could you do with an extra hour in your workday? Check out these 5 Tiny Email Tweaks That Will Give You Back an Hour of Your Day.

6 Steps for Making Your Website ADA Compliant

ADA compliance is one of the most important pieces to a website in 2018. As marketers, event planners and coordinators, it’s important to make sure that EVERYONE is able to access all of the awesome things we create – both in person and online. However, accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do, it also affects your business. Over 7,500 businesses have faced ADA-related litigation, and this number is growing. Luckily, so is our understanding of what we need to do to provide great online experiences for everyone alike!

What does it mean and why do we need it?

ADA compliance is about making your website accessible to EVERYONE. In theory, this sounds simple, but in practice it can be a bit confusing. That’s why it’s best to get started with compliance before your website is even built. Here at Saffire, we keep ADA Compliance in mind from the very beginning.

Why? Think about this: Nearly 1 in 5 Americans have a disability. Since the internet is used for all kinds of important things these days, like registering for services or paying bills online, it’s important that every member of our society has the same access to things they need. Plus, it makes it much easier for them to find information about your organization!

Here are the first six steps to making your website ADA compliant:

  1. Write Better Link Text

Each link should make sense when read by itself. Provide context and avoid using phrases like “click here” or “continue.” Instead, say things like “read the article” or “tickets here.” Avoid long URLs, and if an image is the only thing within a link, make sure it has ALT text! Which brings us to…

 

  1. Use ALT Tags for Images

Add meaningful ALT tags to important images. That means images like logos (especially if they lead to your homepage), images that are links, images used as placeholders for text, or any other image that adds context to a page. The ALT tag gives context to people who can’t see the image, so make sure it makes sense! How can you tell if you have good ALT tags? Describe the image and get specific! What is happening in the photo? Who or what is in it? Where are they? Don’t repeat phrases you’ve already used in the text or caption, and don’t begin with phrases like “image of” or “in this image.” Take time to learn how to place and write good ALT tags. They’re important!

 

  1. Think About the Page Structure

People use your page design as a guide to find information on your website, so build your pages in ways that make sense. Utilize headers, bullets, blockquotes, and other ways of organizing your information. Always start your page with an H1 tag and follow the hierarchy for the rest of the headers (H1 > H2 > H3 > H4, etc.)

 

  1. Test Your Colors

Did you know that color blindness affects 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women? Together, that makes up more than 25 million people with color blindness in the U.S. alone. To make sure that color blind people can still understand everything on your website, it’s important that color is not the only tool used to organize information. Test your site using a free tool like the webAIM contrast checker to make sure your web pages are up to par.

 

  1. Caption and Transcribe All Videos

Every video or audio piece must have both captions and a transcript to be ADA compliant. Luckily, many tools like YouTube and Facebook now allow users to add captions to videos. Don’t forget to include a separate area to describe what is happening in the video, and always make sure that the video is accessible by mouse, keyboard and screen readers!

 

  1. Test Your Site

The best way to know for sure if your site is accessible? Test, test, test! There a few free tools online that can help you test the accessibility of each page within your site. Our favorite is WAVE. It can get a little pricey to check your whole website at once but testing sites like PowerMapper can help you get there.

 

Remember, accessibility is the law, but that’s not the only reason it’s important! Accessibility affects millions of people. Meeting compliance standards is a sure way to provide the best user experience for everyone.

Introducing Joy Whitman: Our New Client Experience Manager

Joy WhitmanSaffire is very excited to announce Joy Whitman as one of its newest team members. Joy hails from Hutchinson, Kansas, a city not too far from Wichita. However, Joy says she is a Texan at heart, growing up in a small town near another Wichita–Wichita Falls–which true Texans know as “just Wichita.”

Joy served as Convention Services Manager for the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau before moving to Kansas in 2005. In Kansas, she worked as the Association Sales Manager for a convention center in Hutchinson. For the past 12 years, she served in various roles at the Kansas State Fair, with the latest being the fair’s marketing director.

Joy says she has already had great experiences in her position as Client Experience Manager for Saffire. She will put her background in CVB, venues and state fairs to use as she helps our clients every day.

When Joy isn’t solving problems across the nation, she spends time on her Harley with her husband and four children – all of whom love to ride the highways. Other hobbies include pumping iron in the gym, along with fishing, hunting and enjoying the outdoors.

IN THE NEWS 9/7/2018

Are you using your Instagram account to showcase your merchandise? Instagram May Soon Launch a Standalone Shopping App, making it even easier to sell things online. Millennials are traveling in record numbers, learn about Transitioning Travel To The Millennial Market and what that means for destination marketing.

Introducing Thema Reed: Our Newest Marketing Manager

team-themaThe Saffire Team is so excited to welcome our newest team member Thema Reed to the fold! Thema (pronounced Tay-mah—she says like “Taylor” but with “ma” at the end!) is dedicated to connecting with the Saffire family and sharing all the fun and helpful things Saffire has to offer.

Thema is the third person to join the Saffire team from Albuquerque, New Mexico (shout out to Jessica C. and Austin!).  She is taking on the role of Marketing Manager and joins Saffire with 3 years of communications and digital marketing experience working on social media, content marketing, PR and communication strategy for nonprofits. Before that, she was a Journalism major at Howard University, where she interned in many D.C. newsrooms, including CNN, C-SPAN and WUSA. Thema will be working her writing and editing magic all over Saffire’s marketing efforts!

When she’s not writing all the things, Thema enjoys exploring Austin with her husband and two big fur babies, doing yoga outside and eating lots of tacos.

To learn more about Saffire, Thema or just to say “hey,” feel free to email Thema directly at thema@saffire.com or connect with her on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/themareed/. We hope you can meet her in person at a conference or future Saffire Summit!

Welcome, Thema!

5 Events Trends Taking Off in 2018

Can you smell the cotton candy, turkey legs and funnel cakes cookin’ yet? Fair season is right around the corner and (besides the food) that means lots of new ways to wow visitors. New and exciting experiences at your event are one of the best ways to keep people coming back each year. Although event trends can be as hard to pin down as the giant stuffed bear prize at the fair, this year Saffire has you covered.

Here are five ways to take things to the next level and make your event a success!

  1. Getting Active

If last year was all about getting your crowd to whip out their smartphones, this year is about encouraging participants to put down their phone, be in the moment and move their body. Whether it’s pop-up dance parties or yoga in the midway, getting active can be a memorable way to help visitors connect with the sights around them and burn off all those corndogs. For really athletic fair-goers, offer a chance to get competitive. The Tulsa State Fair is taking on the trend by challenging participants to a 5k run around the fairgrounds, and at the Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo visitors can fish to win over $6,500 in prizes. For people who are more interested in doing their own thing, walking tours are a great way to get moving and see all the fun things to do at your event.

  1. Local Pop-ups

Fairs, festivals and other local events are celebrations of all the great things your area has to offer. Encourage your visitors to immerse themselves in local culture by creating pop-up shops and experiences that are full of local flavor. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be just food! Partner with local favorites to create fun experiences like mini-museums, craft making areas or experimental dining (blindfolded beer tasting anyone?). By creating fun experiences with local businesses, you can create a sense of place and remind everyone why you love your community!

  1. Virtual Participation

Tech interaction is far from over at events. This year, trendy event coordinators are mixing tech interaction with real-world experiences. That means that instead of just using things like hashtags and Instagram-worthy photo-ops, events can take interaction to the next level by creating fun activities like phone-guided tours and real-time voting via apps or text message. Even something as simple as introducing online ticketing can be a big boost for visitor experience.

  1. Engaging the senses

Food! Lights! Music! If there’s one thing fairs understand, it’s the power of your five senses. There are so many things to see, taste and hear that visitors can always find something to keep them entertained. What if we cut the noise and allowed visitors to fully immerse themselves in one sense for a memorable experience that they’ll always associate with your event? How can we do that in an area that is already so engaging? Silent discos are a popular choice popping up in the festival scene that allow visitors to groove to their own music and drown out the rest of the party. Paint lounges can allow attendees to let out their inner Picasso and relax. Psychologists agree that targeting our five senses is one of the quickest ways to create lasting memories, so get creative with ways to engage senses and visitors could remember your event forever.

  1. Personalized Experiences

In case you haven’t heard, Gen Z and millennials LOVE personalization. That’s why this trend has been taking over the marketing world for the past few years, and now it’s taking over events. It’s not enough to just add names to emails and merchandise anymore. It’s all about creating personal itineraries that can help guests find things to do that they’ll love. Got a killer art show, craft beer lounge and a concert from an up-and-coming indie band that your hipster crew will love? What about a Ferris Wheel, winery and local ice cream stand that are what first date dreams are made of? Create some custom itineraries, stick them on a Plan Your Visit page – or in a welcome bag, or at the ticket counter – and ta-da you have some personalized experiences that millennials will love you for!

 

Whether you’re promoting your fair, festival or networking event this fall, fun unexpected ideas are sure to stick with your attendees. Keeping up with trends can be a lot of work, but with the right methods, they are sure to pay off!

In the News – 6/13/2018

It’s June, which means extreme HEAT and the kids at home… ALL THE TIME! But, June also brings love and weddings! ♥♥♥ Check out this great article about how your destination can cash in on wedding tourism: Marketing love and marriage in tourism. Plus, we all know how annoying it can be to post to Instagram as a busy organization, so check out these 6 tools that schedule Instagram business posts to help you get a handle on your Instagram!

GONE in a (Flash Sale) – Tips to Run Quick Promotions

FLASH SALE! Everyone seems to be having a flash sale these days. But why? Because they work! Flash sales are a proven method of driving more people to your event or venue. Giving discounts is a way to pump up your fans and make them feel like they are getting a special deal. When utilized correctly, discounts can be an essential part of a successful promotional strategy. Most people do not go to events alone, so if someone gets a discounted ticket, there is a good chance they will end up bringing additional attendees that might even purchase tickets at full price, and of course, spend more while on site.

We came up with these six easy steps you can follow for a successful flash sale.

Define the Goals of the Flash Sale

Start by clearly defining what you want to accomplish. We all want to sell more tickets, but it is important to decide what type of tickets you need to sell.

  • Do you need to increase the volume of people through the door?
  • Does a concert need to have 75% or more attendance?
  • Are there shows that need promotional help?
  • Do you need to sell more of a certain type of ticket, be it children’s tickets or VIP seats?

Make it Simple

Don’t over complicate your sale if your goal is to sell more tickets. Sales that make customers jump through hoops and click on multiple pages to earn a discount will result in your customers becoming frustrated and less likely to purchase.

Define your Audience

Take the time to research which customers you want to target. The more focused the target audience, the easier it will be to develop a message. Targeting a specific audience does not mean you are necessarily excluding people that do not fit your criteria. It just allows you to focus your brand message on a specific audience that is more likely to buy tickets from you than other markets. Targeting is much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential ticket buyers. No one can afford to target everyone!

Pick the Right Time and Date

You want to make sure that your flash sale is at a convenient time. Sunday mornings are probably going to perform less than Friday at noon. It is important to keep the time window of your sale short. Don’t run a 4-day sale. Your goal is to create a sense of urgency. Make sure that your flash sale feels special. Don’t run a new sale every single week, this will make your sale less successful. We also recommend tracking the effectiveness of your sale times for future marketing plans.

Make Sure the Savings are Worth It

In the event industry, early sales can have a major impact on your bottom line. Flash sales help you better prepare for your event. The discount you are offering should be something that people will want to stop what they are doing to purchase your tickets. Only offering $1 off is not going to get people moving. The deal has to be worth your customer’s time.

Build the Hype

Announce your flash sale on all your social media channels and in an email blast. Announce the sale via press releases to your local media. (Make sure to get them the info early in the day so it can make the morning news!) Social media is a good place to focus your efforts as these platforms allow your customers to share the sale organically with their friends.

Running a flash sale can be an easy way for your event to get a boost in ticket sales and is a great tool to add to your marketing plans. Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t create a Black Friday mob, like all things with social media and developing your brand, it will grow over time!