Welcome Brackenridge!

Brackenridge

 

In February we took a trip down to Edna, TX and visited with the Brackenridge Recreation Complex where we fell in love with the serenity and beauty of the outdoors, lake and wildlife of this wonderful facility. This complex is a home away from home to rodeo, music, camping, and lake-goers from all over, and with their new Main Event Center they offer every amenity you could need for an indoor or outdoor event.  What really helps put on the charm of this park is a little old chapel you can find nestled among the trees. So quaint!

chapel

Welcome Trinity Valley Exposition!

TrinityValleyExpo

Saffire would like to welcome the Trinity Valley Exposition as one of our newest clients this week!  With over 100 years in existence it is an event steeped in tradition, and owes all of its success to the hundreds of volunteers who make it happen every fall.  With its youth livestock show, professional rodeo, carnival and plenty of social events, this is one week you won’t want to miss in Liberty, Texas!

Building an Event Brand: Lessons from an Unlikely Source

If you know me, you know I (Kendra Wright) love music. No, I LOVE music.

I’m not biased as to genre. I love country music – Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Randy Travis, Darius Rucker… I love crossovers like Zac Brown Band more than I can express.

And, I love many other kinds of music, including artists like Kanye West and Justin Timberlake. (Somehow I can separate out behavior from musical talent, in case you noticed that several of the artists mentioned have exhibited less than exemplary behaviors at times.)

But I digress.

As events, we ARE entertainment. So when I see musicians promote themselves well, I feel there is something to be learned. Justin Timberlake’s recent release of his 20/20 Experience album was admirable, no matter what you think of his music.

JT Target exclusive

I often talk to events about building up to a fevered pitch (and doing this as early as possible with strategically-timed, pre-event announcements). JT (you don’t mind if I call him JT, do you?) did this brilliantly, by doing these four things incredibly right:

Continue reading “Building an Event Brand: Lessons from an Unlikely Source”

Welcome Bell County Expo!

BellCountyExpo

Last week we welcomed the Bell County Expo Center of Belton, TX to the Saffire family. This venue is home to two of our favorite client events, the Belton 4th of July PRCA Rodeo and the Central Texas State Fair! Not only does the exposition center house two exciting Texas events, it also hosts ceremonies of all kinds, including; graduations, church events, horse club meetings, gun shows, high school proms, and even a city wide garage sale. We are thrilled to bring the Saffire platform to an organization that has events year-round and truly uses it’s website to reach and entertain an expansive community (all of central Texas)!

Welcome Crabtree Amusements!

Crabtree

We are so excited to announce one of our newest clients, Crabtree Amusements!  As a company that already partners with so many of our Saffire clients, we knew we were joining forces with “good” people!  Safety is their top priority and we look forward to helping them get that message across to the event industry via their online marketing efforts.  It’s organizations like Crabtree Amusements that remind us how lucky we are to be involved with such a FUN industry. Welcome to the family!

The Ever-changing World of Twitter and Facebook

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the fast pace of changes in the social media world. This week we thought we would let you know about a few that are here now and some that are in the process of rolling out.

Vine

Twitter has inspired us to creatively speak in 140 characters or less; now they have launched Vine which is teaching us to deliver creative looping video with only 6 secs! My first reaction was like most: “How can you show anything in 6 seconds?” Well remember that it’s pretty exciting and a lot of things can happen in the 8 seconds a cowboy is riding a bull.  I don’t believe this will replace your efforts with YouTube content, but there will likely be a growing amount of times where just a little video shows things off better than a photo. It can be quirky, fun and offer little windows into your event and life in the event industry. The service has taken off among celebrities, actors, comedians and Twitter iOS users who share clips, skits, stop-motion and increasingly creative videos.

To get started:

1. Download and install the Vine app from iTunes for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Sorry, no Android support yet.

2. Create a Vine account using your Twitter profile or email address.

3. Find people to follow by going to your profile and clicking the People icon at the top right of your screen. You can also go to your settings and use the Find People option under Friends.

4. Connect your Facebook account to share videos on Facebook as well (personal profiles only).

5. Click the video camera icon to start recording videos. Tap your finger on the screen to record and release to stop recording. 6. When you’re finished, click Continue to share your video on Vine, Twitter and Facebook.

As of March 31, you can even embed the video into your blog or website easily from the app.

Vine embed

Try it out – deliver quick experiences, build excitement, and share the moments of your event. 
https://vine.co/v/bDVpIUFww9r

This is the Easter Name-That-Tune Contest Vine that Dorito’s ran. (Mouse over it and click it to get it to start. You’ll need to click the speaker icon to turn on sound. By default, Vines load with the sound off the first time.)

Facebook Graph Search

Graph Search is Facebook’s new way to let you search for connections to people and places. In other words, Facebook has taken all of the data that people have entered and put a searchable context around it. Previously when you entered a search term in Facebook, it would show you any Pages for that term, People with the term in their name, any Places that’s name was that term, and then offer to search the web. Now you will have the ability to add some context to your searches with terms like: “Friends that like,” “People who like,” “Photos of.” Basically you can use natural language to search with rather than specific terms.

FB Graph Search

Graph Search Fairs CA

    As this grows and Facebook improves it, this feature will become more and more important to local businesses since you will be able to quickly search for a type of business and see which of your friends like it and any other feedback on the business. It certainly places a new emphasis on building Facebook profiles for all of your business’ brands and locations; adding to that the importance of enticing your customer base to ‘like’ you on Facebook. To prepare and improve your event for Graph Search there are a few easy steps to take: 1) Add key information to your About, Mission, and Company Description sections Make sure you include your URL and a good description of your event. Include important keywords that search engines like. Include your phone number and physical address in the Basic Info section.

Starbucks

2) Customize your Facebook URL By default, Facebook will give you a URL that includes a number. It will look something like this: facebook.com/pages/yourbizname/123123123. You need a minimum of 25 Likes to before you can change it to something like: facebook.com/yourbizname. To make the change, go to  Facebook Username. 3) Encourage Sharing Not a new concept, but insure that your posts, photos, video, contests, etc. are things that your customers will want to share. The more that things are shared, the further that your site will spread across the “graph” and be found by others. Just as before Graph Search, remember that Facebook is all about connecting with people. The update has  been rolling out for about a month or so; some people have it and others are still waiting. It will be interesting to watch how customers adapt to searching in Facebook.

Facebook News Feed

In the next few weeks, Facebook will be releasing a new look to your News Feed. The revision will make the News Feed cleaner, emphasize photos, and allow Facebook users greater control to customize their experience. Photos and mobile are the emphasis for Facebook since 50% of  News Feed posts now contain a photo; up 25% from 2011. As mobile phone’s cameras continue to improve, sharing photos and videos are become even more of the focus on people’s Facebook posts.

Newsfeed

  Today you have the choice of viewing your News Feed by Top Stories or Most Recent. You can setup a few limited separate feeds for Close Friends or Friends from your college, but with very little customization. With the new revision, you will have much more control over what you see. They liken it to a personalized newspaper. Like a newspaper, the News Feed will feature a prominent ‘front page’ divided into a variety of new sections. Featured, in a menu, will be the option to filter your feed to receive content only from specific sources. These options include: All Friends, Music, Photos, Games, Close Friends, Following and any of your Interest lists. The Following sub-segment is what is most interesting for events. This is where people will be able to access information from pages they are following; which is mainly business pages, celebrity pages, and news.

The ability for the user to view just the news updates from pages they are following should give events and businesses more visibility. It will also place more importance on creating content that is engaging. Failure to keep the users engaged will result in the limited use of the ‘Following’ sub-segment of the News Feed and will result in dramatically less visibility and consequently traffic to event pages. With the better quality and highlighting of images, images will become more important to garnering user attention and generating traffic. This change will favor events able to create enticing, striking images able to better grab attention. Additionally, with the segmentation of News Feed, sponsored stories may become more important and more targeted as people will be able to navigate to specific News Feeds based on any of their interests.

Continue Practicing the Basics

Even with all the changes, the basics of social media with Twitter and Facebook really haven’t changed – deliver content relevant to your audience, use photos and videos to encourage engagement and sharing, and continue to realize that these are tools in the marketing toolbox that can be leveraged across your various efforts. Events, by their nature, have an advantage because there are so many things that people enjoy and experience when they are there in person and crave seeing when they are online. Now you have a few new tools to deliver those experiences online.

Welcome West End Fair!

WestEndFair

The West End Fair of Gilbert, PA joined the Saffire Team last week and we couldn’t be more excited! We met a few of their team members in January at the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs where we thoroughly enjoyed the cold weather they shared with us. More importantly, learning about this historic event (almost 100 years old) has been fun; 6 directors from 6 different townships, fairgrounds displaying stately oaks and majestic hemlocks, and their original mission statement that they still stand true to today.  This fair has grown from 25 cents a carload and 4,000 attendees their first year, to an event that now the entire community comes to celebrate, and we can’t wait to help them continue expanding that growth!

Here’s a look at where we left our car because it was way too cold and snowy for these Texas girls to move it, whoops!

PSACF Snow