Facebook Top Fan Badges: What They Are and How To Use Them to Increase Engagement

Do you ever feel like your favorite brand’s biggest fan? Well, now you can prove it!

 

You might’ve already seen one of Facebook’s newest features, the top fan badge. What’s the deal with these badges and how do you use them?

 

Top fan badges, which pop up with a little star next to a user’s name, will display top fan status when a user comments on your posts. To get them, a user has to be one of the most active people on your page. Facebook hasn’t told us EXACTLY what it means to be “most active,” but we know that a mix of clicking on posts, liking things and leaving comments will do the trick.

 

Basically, if a user seems really interested in your page, Facebook will reward them with a tiny badge of honor. It’s positive reinforcement at its finest.

 

For you, it means your followers are more likely to interact with your page and feel proud doing it. It’s a win-win!

 

Here’s the fun part: If you want to encourage fans to earn top fan badges and ultimately engage more with your page, there are lots of fun games you can play to encourage interaction.

 

Our social media client, Tulsa State Fair, has been encouraging people to become top fans by offering random giveaways to Facebook top fans during fair season. So far, the page has seen a huge spike in interaction with more than 60 top fans now active on their Facebook page!

 

For pages hoping to follow in their footsteps, a giveaway of any sort will do! Tulsa is giving away free ride passes, but food vouchers, tokens, meet and greet passes, swag or any other fun item will work.

 

Another more discreet way of encouraging top fans is to send messages, thanking them for their interaction. You can even offer them a discount or a free item! This encourages them to stay active on your page.

 

To turn on top fan badges, go to your business page, click Settings in the top right corner, then click “Facebook Badges” in the left-hand sidebar.

 

Saffire will be having a bit of fun in the following weeks with top fans on our page! We encourage you all to join in on the fun and to come up with other creative ways to interact with your fans on your own page!

The Best Apps to Up Your Marketing A-Game

Social media apps make a marketer’s job 100 times easier by giving the tools needed to create content that is branded, engaging and much more fun. A marketer without their apps is like a cowboy without his rope!

 

One of the most common questions we get about social media is how to create engaging content that doesn’t break the bank. For us, the answer comes down to choosing the right apps! After testing out many apps on our own social media accounts and helping clients find their perfect matches, Saffire put together this list of our own go-to tools to help you choose the right apps for your organization.

 

Whether you want to create a nifty graphic to share on Instagram, make a cool video for Facebook or schedule and preview your posts ahead of time, the right app can make your process a breeze.

 

These our five favorite apps of the moment for upping your marketing a-game:

 

The Best App for Scheduling Posts: Later

 

Where to find it: Later.com or in your mobile app store.

Later is our go-to app for scheduling social media posts using our phones or internet browser! Our favorite feature is the preview setting, which allows users to see how posts will look on Instagram before posting, for that perfect curated look. We also love the calendar view, which can be viewed in both weekly and monthly formats and is perfect for an on-the-go content calendar that automatically posts to social media.

 

The Best App for Designing Graphics: Canva

Where to find it: Canva.com or in your mobile app store.

We know you’ve probably heard of Canva by now, but it continues to be our favorite editing tool! Canva is a mobile app and in-browser website that allows you create your own beautiful graphics without any fancy software. It’s user-friendly and fun without losing any tools you’d expect in a good design software. Unlike some of the other apps we used that only had select fonts, colors and templates to choose from, Canva allows you to create your own graphics either with a template or from scratch. It’s one of the reasons we love Canva and use it almost every day. Not to mention, Canva has a huge library of royalty-free images and icons that come in handy for whatever graphics you dream of creating! If you’ve used Canva in the past but not recently, you’ll find that they have added some handy new features like a mobile-only video editor, compatibility with Dropbox, direct upload to MailChimp and more!

 

The Best App for Creating Stories: Over

Where to find it: In your mobile app store.

Over is great app for Instagram stories that allows you to overlay text and graphics onto your photos and videos. Like Canva, Over has tons of templates, stock photos, fonts and graphics to help you create the perfect on-brand content. We love Over for its Instagram story templates that allow you to make perfect curated stories that look just like your favorite influencer’s.

 

The Best App for Editing Photos: VSCO

Where to find it: In your mobile app store.

VSCO is a fan-favorite editing app for good reason. Add a pop to your photos by cropping, adjusting brightness and temperature and adding tons of free filters for a fun or more polished look. Our favorite feature is the favorites tab, which lets you save your favorite presets and filters to use at the click of a button.

 

The Best App for Videos: Biteable

Where to find it: Biteable.com.

Biteable is a video creation tool billed as the “The World’s Simplest Video Maker.” While it’s only available on desktop for now, we can vouch for the fact that it’s pretty easy to use and can make some really cool videos. Whether you’re selecting from pre-designed templates or making a video all on your own, Biteable has great features including a video library, animation and text options to help you create an engaging video in just minutes. With their free plan, you can create five video projects a month, or upgrade for more flexibility.

 

There are so many cool apps to take your digital marketing to the next level, so don’t be afraid to try them out and let your creativity shine! Remember, on-brand graphics and engaging posts will always be in style. If you download these tools and decide you need more than just an app, Saffire is always a quick email away to help you reach your social media goals.

 

This article previously appeared in IFEA’s ie Magazine.

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.

GETTING HEALTHY WITH TECHNOLOGY

By Kendra Wright, Founder of Saffire

Although I work in the digital marketing industry, I have a love/hate relationship with technology and how it applies to my life. I love it as a marketing medium and I’m truly fascinated by great user interface design (nerd alert!), but I feel technology plays too high a role in my life sometimes. And when I see a group of people at dinner, all together, but each staring only at their devices, it makes me sad.

So how do I find peace with technology? I try to use it as much as possible in ways that benefit me.

We all have our “stuff.” For me, it’s this. Another birthday is looming. My dad’s heart disease is progressing. I’ve recently had stress-related health issues.

I have renewed interest in getting healthy. And to be honest, I think this is an area where technology can actually help us. Living a healthier life encompasses mind, body and spirit. So I’m going to share a few tools I think can help you in each area.

Body Fitness with Technology

Let’s start with getting our body fit. Let’s face it, finding the time to exercise is a constant struggle. At least it is for me, so I’d like to share a couple of ideas.

First, I know many of us use Fitbit. I’m a super fan, and there is a specific (non-overwhelming) way I use it. Sure, I try to get in my 10k steps, at least more days than not. But there is a feature called Active Minutes that takes it to the next level.

True to the name, Active Minutes are the number of minutes you’re active during the day; active is defined as more strenuous than casual walking. (There’s a geeky term called METs, or metabolic equivalents that measure activity. A MET of 1 is a body at rest; FitBit counts over 3 METs as “active.”) But here’s the catch. Active Minutes are only awarded after 10 minutes of continuous activity. Buzzing around the office or house generally doesn’t count.

The CDC says we need 150 hours a week (or about 25 minutes per day) of moderate-intensity activity, like brisk walking. So here’s my recommendation: to get your 25 minutes a day, go for a walk. When you’ve gone 13 minutes, start back. Viola! You got your 25 minutes!

But that’s not all. CDC also recommends 2 or more days a week of strength exercises. For this, I love an app called Seven.

The Seven app is based on a study in the American College of Sport’s Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. It found that people could get health benefits in less time, with no special equipment, by doing interval training in just seven minutes.

For time-constrained event managers, Seven is magic. Because no matter how busy we are, who can honestly say we can’t find seven minutes?

I won’t say these are the most pleasant seven minutes of my day, but I always feel good when I do it, and I even break a little sweat and feel a little (good) sore on occasion.

A Healthier Spirit with Technology

Is it just me, or is there a trend toward talking about mindfulness? Maybe it is me; I’ve been in need of some mindfulness lately. If you look at my phone, I have downloaded eight apps that help to slow down the mind and live in the present moment. Here are several that have been very helpful.

If you are new to meditation, try 10% Happier. This app is awesome to help you get over the hump and figure out where to start.

10% Happier has a seven-day introductory program that does a great job of not only explain HOW to meditate, but the WHY of meditation. You may recognize the name Dan Harris. He is a correspondent for ABC News who had a panic attack on air a few years ago and began meditating.

Harris eventually wrote the book 10% Happier and released a corresponding app to help people get started with a meditation practice. The best thing I can say about it is, Dan Harris is so normal and relatable that it encouraged me to actually do it.

After seven days, it costs $10/month for courses on everything from improving communication to stopping mindless overeating. Although this is a bit expensive for an app, it is worth it to really get the hang of it and keep you on the wagon.

But 10% Happier isn’t the only tool in my mindfulness arsenal. I love the app called Simply Being ($2) for a quick stop in the day (or to put me to sleep). This app is another good place to start a practice, and it offers flexibility for a 5 to 30 minute break. Power Nap is a free app that helps you take a 30-minute nap and wake up refreshed.

For a more varied experience, I love another free app, Insight Timer. The name comes from being a meditation timer, dinging a bell when you are finished. But there are also over a thousand free guided meditations. You can browse or search by particular interest, like sleep or music or anxiety. Then bookmark your favorites to easily find them again.

A Healthier Mind with Technology

Does technology make us smarter? Does it make our lives easier? If you haven’t seen your to-do list dwindling, you’re not alone. But one thing that can help is the ease with which you can find someone to help you with anything. A healthier mind is sometimes as easy as getting things off your plate. And if you’re willing to work virtually, the world truly is your oyster.

One helpful website and app is called Fiverr. Fiverr matches you with people to outsource anything you can imagine. Basic gigs are just $5, although there are many options to spend more on bigger jobs, rush services and more. Fiverr is a great example of the global economy, because you can hire someone from anywhere in the world, including places where $5 has much more value than in the U.S.

My company uses Fiverr most commonly for data entry, online research and work with our CRM (customer relationship management) software. We’ve even used Fiverr to hire a puppet to record
an announcement for a new service, a voice announcer for a podcast and many other tasks! Free your mind from tasks that don’t represent your unique gifts with Fiverr.

If you need project-based freelancers, consider Upwork. You can find designers, writers and more to work for you on an hourly basis. You can hire individuals and even teams on Upwork.

Lastly, if project work just isn’t enough to fulfill your need, you can find full-time assistance at VirtualStaffFinder.com. This is a company started by an American in the Philippines, to help match Filipino workers with employers all over the world, in an array of skill sets. If you’re open to having a virtual member of your team, try Virtual Staff Finder.

I hope these tools are helpful (rather than overwhelming!). I think if you can find ways technology can really make your life better, it can lead to peace. If you have ideas for other types of tools and apps for me to feature, I hope you’ll email me!

Peace.

Bio

Kendra Wright started her career managing non-profit fundraising events. Then in an “about face,” she took a job managing global Internet strategies at a Fortune 1000 company in 1995, just as the Internet came to being. She left that company in 1998 to found Wright Strategies, working with clients like KEEN Footwear, Nike, Jeep, Chrysler, Intel and Panasonic. Then in 2009, Kendra launched Saffire to do integrated online marketing and ticketing for hundreds of events, venues and destinations. It’s been a wild ride! Kendra can be reached at kendra@saffire.com, and more information about Saffire can be found at www.saffire.com.

 

Written for IFEA

Getting Healthy With Technology was published in the International Festivals & Events Association’s “i.e.: the business of international events” quarterly magazine. The premiere association supporting and enabling festivals and events worldwide. For more information on the IFEA, go to: www.ifea.com.

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Our favorite travel apps to make the going get easy!

With the start of Spring Break, Saffire wanted to share our tips and tricks of travel! There are many travel apps out there to help you plan your next business trip or dream vacation. Check out Saffire’s favorite travel apps to make the going get easy!

 


1.      TripIt
TripIt is a free travel app that manages your travel through automatically generated (but still editable) itineraries. This app is perfect for keeping different confirmation numbers and  departure/reservation times in one place! You can forward your emails to TripIt or even sync your email account with the app, which will then search your emails and automatically build an itinerary of your flight, event, dinner and hotel reservations. You can also access your itinerary from anywhere, on any device – even when you’re offline.

We consider this a must have when planning your own business or leisure trips. If you are planning trips for others, we would recommend TripIt Pro at the low cost of $4.09 per month.

TripIt

 


2.      Uber / Lyft
Both Uber and Lyft are a response to technological advances of geolocating and the frustrations of trying to hail a cab. With one click, a personal driver heads towards your exact location and takes you to your destination, in their personal vehicles. It may seem odd getting in a stranger’s car, but drivers are thoroughly screened and these companies conduct ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records. These apps require each user to create a profile and enter their credit card information, creating a completely cashless system between drivers and riders.

With differing City regulations we couldn’t just recommend one app as many cities and airports only allow one app or the other to operate. For example, although the City of Austin, Texas allows and regulates Uber and Lyft, the Austin – Bergstom International Airport and the City of Austin have banned Uber from operating at the Airport, only allowing Lyft drivers to drop off and pick up riders. With differing regulations, it is essential to have both apps handy.

Uber & Lyft

 


3.      Airbnb / HomeAway
Airbnb and HomeAway are short-term rental search engines that let you book condos, homes, or even an Airstream trailer! Many times these listings are much less expensive than a hotel in a hotel district and are in areas that allow you to truly experience a destination like a local!

On all Airbnb and on many HomeAway properties, you pay through the website and the booking process is very similar to booking a hotel. You communicate with the home owner and they have to approve your reservation.

Airbnb & HomeAway

 


4.      Hipmunk
There are many flight and hotel search apps out there to choose from, but Hipmunk has become the office favorite for our many travels due to one amazing feature: the Agony feature. How many times has a normally 3-hour flight taken 7 hours due to multiple stops and layovers? With Hipmunk, you can “Sort by Agony” and pick the fastest and least complicated flights.

Another amazing feature is the HomeAway and Airbnb search integration with a normal hotel search. With Hipmunk, you can always find the cheapest accommodations, whether in a large hotel or a short term rental!

Hipmunk

 


5.      Pinterest
Pinterest’s Place Pins and Boards are great places to plan your trip! We recommend creating boards for your trip like:

  • Where to Eat in Austin
  • Live Music in Austin
  • Craft Breweries in Austin

The best way to find this travel suggestions is by searching simple terms like “Food Austin”, “Travel Austin”, etc. We also recommend following official Destination Marketing Organizations (i.e. Visit Austin Texas).

Pinterest

 


6.      Tripadvisor
What travel app list is complete without Tripadvisor? Tripadvisor is the premier travel review site with over 200 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

Planning and paying for a trip can be stressful and everyone wants to ensure they have an enjoyable trip. By using Tripadvisor, you can make informed travel decisions and then reserve your flight, hotel and dinner right there on the site.

Tripadvisor

 


 

Beyond the Lanyard: Chattanooga and San Diego!

Well friends, here I am for another fun episode of Beyond the Lanyard! What an amazing few months it has been for traveling on the Saffire circuit. I’ve had a blast “taking off my lanyard” on a few trips during conferences, and I wanted to share with you all the fun things we’ve been doing!

First of all, we went to Chattanooga, TN for the SFEA Convention, but got to see a few sights along the way. What a fun town! It was a little cold (and snowing at times!) which is tough for a Texas girl, but nothing was going to stop me from exploring! Chattanooga has so much to offer—restaurants, museums and an AWESOME aquarium where we got to spend a fun-filled evening! We saw HUGE fish that live in the rivers near Tennessee, and got to learn a lot about the topography of Tennessee.

We also went to an AMAZING restaurant called Urban Stack that served fresh, locally-sourced hamburgers and classic southern sides. Delicious!

Shortly after my trip to Chattanooga, I headed to the west coast for a little fun in San Diego! One of my favorite parts about my hotel was the location: only about a quarter mile from the beach! I enjoyed running on the beach boardwalk in the mornings. Since there were several military bases nearby, I had the privilege of seeing our troops out for their morning workouts too. A truly beautiful sight! We’re so lucky to have them!

Finally, I capped off my trip to San Diego with one of the most fun things I’ve ever done on a Saffire trip – RIDING A ROLLER COASTER! This roller coaster sat between our hotel and the beach. It was a very old, historic ride, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t move fast! WHOA! It was even more fun because I got to ride with my friends from lots of fairs around the country. I was so excited to see that fair managers could still enjoy a good carnival ride! What a blast!

Until next time travel team!

 

 

 

 

Festival Fashion Essentials

FestivalFashion

With the immense popularity of major music festivals such as Coachella, ACL, and Bonnaroo, festival fashion has now become a major player in today’s culture. It’s supposed to be quirky and playful to match the festival personality, but we can probably all agree that there are some trends that leave us scratching our heads (cue neon catsuits).  We’ve taken a look at all the trends and picked out our favorite fashion festival essentials to keep you cool, comfortable, and stylish during festival season.

  • Staying cool is extremely important because most events are located outside, which means you’re going to have the sun beaming down on you for the majority of the day. This is why festival fashions tend to be flowier and looser, because wearing things that are skin tight have a tendency to trap heat and be uncomfortable. While we’re on the subject of sun, remember to wear sunblock–nothing ruins a good time or a good outfit like a painful sunburn!
  • Headgear has officially made its comeback!  Wearing a cute hat is an excuse to keep the sun out of your face while looking chic and stylish. Headbands of all shapes and sizes are also hugely popular at festivals. You know what they say, “the bigger the hair the closer to God,” but at the end of the day we all know we just want our hair out of our face and out of our way. This trend is a great way to keep your mane under control.
  • Prints are a festival fashion staple. From floral to aztec, don’t be afraid to let prints make an appearance in your outfit. Whether it’s in your top, shorts, or a flowy dress, feel free to go bold!
  • Footwear choice matters because you have to pick something that you’ll have no problem wearing all day long–the last thing you need is for your good time to be ruined by uncomfortable shoes. So this is probably not the time to break in those brand new wedges or flats, this is the time to pick comfy sandals or boots that allow you to stand, run, walk, and play the entire festival. Our personal favorites: strappy sandals and Converse sneakers.
  • Flowy dresses and skirts are another personal favorite of ours because they make it extremely easy to stay cool. Whether you choose a solid or a print, these are easy to pair with other festival fashion trends like hats or headbands for an effortlessly stylish look.
  • Shorts may seem like an obvious choice, but festivals are the perfect place to bust out those old cutoff Levi’s. Many of us southern girls will look for any excuse to sport our denim shorts, but patterns and crochet are also hugely popular at festivals. However, remember that there is such a thing as “too short.”
  • Think bohemian meets rocker chic when it comes to choosing your outfit–which is really just a fancy way of saying “anything goes.” The end goal is to look relaxed, so basically the only rule is to avoid any clothing that is binding. This could mean that your perfect festival fashion outfit is as simple as wearing your favorite denim shorts with a floral top. If you’re comfortable, chances are that you’re doing it right!


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The key to mastering festival fashion is to remember to make it your own. Whether you have been looking for an excuse to unleash your inner hippie or you just want to throw on some sandals and a T-shirt, the whole point of this trend is to feel cool and comfortable, so have fun with it!

2013 Year in Review

2013-InReview

In a similar fashion to Barbara Walters’ most interesting people of 2013, we’ve decided to compile Saffire’s Extraordinary Events of 2013. We’re all a part of a fast-moving industry, and at the end of the year it seems like we can take a moment to reflect on key happenings in our field. A few of our most memorable headlines include:

George Strait Announces Farewell Tour

George Strait officially said in 2013 that he will hang up his boots after this current tour. The die-hard faithful have flocked to ticket outlets, with tickets being sold and resold at record numbers at venues across the country.

Calgary Stampede Traditions Continue, “Come Hell or High Water”

The Calgary Stampede, faced with crippling floodwaters just 14 days before their opening, were able to not only put together an event that Calgarians won’t soon forget, but also raise over $2 million for flood victims through T-Shirts and donations. You can view a short video documentary of the 2013 Calgary Stampede here.

An Iconic Marathon Struck by a Devastating Finish

For many event organizers, safety plans took on a new meaning after a nation watched stunned while police searched for a brother who set bombs to explode on the finish line at the Boston Marathon. 3 people were killed, and hundreds others wounded in an event that won’t soon be forgotten by America.

Big Tex Makes a Triumphant Return

After the beloved icon of the State Fair of Texas tragically caught on fire in 2012, he was back in all his glory for the 2013 fair. Thousands of donors from the community and beyond contributed to the rebuilding effort. Now Big Tex stands just as tall, and even more stylish than ever in larger than life Wranglers and Luccheses.

100th Client Joins Saffire

With the addition of Extraco Events Center, Saffire reached a big milestone. We’ve come a long way since our first event client in 2009, and reaching the 100th client only gets us more excited to be a part of the industry. It may not be world news, but it was an extraordinary event for the Saffire team.

 

The year 2013 was nothing short of eventful. With so many trials and triumphs, it’s awesome to be a part of an industry that celebrates each other’s victories and lends a helping hand during each other’s hardships. With a year like this, it’s hard to imagine what 2014 will have in store!

Here’s a party favorite: Paparazzi Punch!

As always the Saffire team brings the energy and fun to any event we attend, especially when it involves Paparazzi Punch! That’s right, our Hollywood themed Happy Hour was such a success with costumes, snacks and our very own original punch! We provided costume pieces for everyone to enjoy as they relaxed from working so hard during the trade show. Our punch was definitely a HIT!

See if you can re-create this delicious drink. If you are planning a big party, get enough ingredients!

Paparazzi Punch Recipe:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1 part Razzmatazz Raspberry Liquor

Mix well, pour over ice with a squeeze of lime and a splash of Sprite or club soda.