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IN THE NEWS 12/11/2018

Ready for even more 2019 trends? The Wall Street Journal says in 2019 Travel Websites are Pushing Experiences. Facebook is continuing its “friends-first” emphasis, this time by encouraging more engagement: Facebook tests new “comment quality” feedback option as it looks to boost engagement.

4 Top Social Media Trends For 2019

It’s almost 2019, and (along with some fun surprises from Saffire!) that means a whole new year to connect with your friends on social media. Social media is constantly changing, but new features and ways to engage with your followers make it an exciting time to connect.

Here are our top social media trends to try next year.

  1. Use Stories

2018 was the year of the “story,” and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. This year, the feature blew-up on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and is even being integrated on YouTube and LinkedIn. Gone are the days when posts were seen as highlights of the past. In 2019, it is all about in-the-moment content. With some 400 million daily Instagram Story users, it is clear that audiences expect to have a more intimate relationship with brands than ever before. This is especially true for Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, who rate authentic relationships and FOMO as key influences for engagement and brand loyalty. For brands, this means constantly keeping fans involved – and stories are a great way to get started.

  1. Try Marketing Through Messaging

Rumor has it that the internet has not slept since it was born in 1983. Nowadays, consumers are constantly on the go with their devices in hand. People have come to expect almost instant responses when sending comments and private messages online. Because of this, organizations are learning that they must keep up with the demand from their customers. Facebook has also been adding new features to its Messenger app and rewarding business pages for maintaining high message response rates. It is clear that the social media giant sees messaging as a key tool in 2019, and Facebook isn’t the only one who feels that way. Studies show that more than 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp and other messaging apps each month.

  1. Engage with Micro-Influencers

Anyone with an Instagram page knows that influencers have quickly become this generation’s celebrities. While working with powerful well-known influencers can get you big results, it can also be costly. That’s why many brands are now choosing to work with smaller social media users called “micro-influencers.” While they may not be celebrities, studies show micro-influencers still have great influence over their audiences – think of it as word-of-mouth marketing for the internet age. They key is to find relevant and trustworthy accounts to partner with. The best part? Unlike celebrity influencers like Kim Kardashian, who are known to charge up to $500,000 a post, 83% of micro-influences charge under $250. Try searching for accounts using hashtags related to your organization. Keep a lookout for profiles with high engagement and eye-catching posts.

  1. Set Up Shoppable Posts

Every marketer has been faced with the question – “how will social media directly contribute to the bottom line?” In 2018, Facebook and Instagram finally answered our question with shoppable posts, allowing users to buy their favorite products without ever leaving the app. Shoppable posts on Instagram and Catalogs on Facebook are a great way to help customers discover and purchase your merch. The key, however, is to remember to distinguish your post from other e-commerce by keeping it fun and interactive. It is still social media, after all.

 

Social media is all about creating a stronger relationship with your customers. In 2019 remember to build genuine relationships, put your customers first and have fun! That’s the magic recipe to a successful and profitable year on social!

IN THE NEWS 11/16/2018

Looking for how to boost visits to your destination page? A new report shows Interactive content is the most effective marketing tool for travel brands. When was the last time you audited your SEO? Study shows Search engines still dominate over social media, even for millennials.

How to Use Facebook’s Magic 3D Photo Feature

The world’s most used social media app added a brand new feature! It’s called 3D Photo, and it does exactly what it sounds like it does – well, kind of. The new feature adds distance between the foreground and background of a photo, making it look “3D.” Or, as Facebook puts it, like you’re looking at something “through a window.”

When you view a 3D photo, you can scroll or tilt your device to make the foreground of the image look like it’s moving in space. Facebook says the feature is “a new way to share your memories and moments in time with a fun, lifelike dimension.” The bad news? It’s only available on iPhones 7+ and up.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Take a photo using portrait mode on your iPhone.
  1. Open your Facebook app.
  1. Search for and like the Facebook 360
    This is the secret trick! Facebook has given a few select people automatic access to the feature. For most people though, liking this page is the key to unlocking the 3D photo option in the app.
  1. Close and reopen the app.
  1. Create a new post. You should now be able to see the “3D Photo” option in the list of features to add to your post. Click it. A list of available photos should pop up.
  1. Select your photo and wa-lah! Your 3D photo should now be available to post.

We see this feature adding all kinds of fun to our timelines! Photos with backgrounds that pop (we’re looking at YOU fairs, festivals and destinations!) come to life with 3D effects. For some eye-catching options, have a staff member ride your Ferris wheel with midway lights blinking in the background. If you live in a destination with water, waves crashing to the beach in the background is sure to be a pleaser!

Have fun! We can’t wait to see what you create.

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.