How to Instantly Reply to Your Messages Using Instagram Quick Replies (With screenshots)

If you use social media to sell tickets or merch (and you should!), you know how easy it can be for your inbox to start exploding with DMs.  Don’t get me wrong – a busy inbox is a good sign, but when you find yourself answering the same question over and over again, it doesn’t take long to realize that your time is even more valuable. To fix this problem, Instagram rolled out the Quick Replies feature to cut down on the time it takes to respond to direct messages.

(To take advantage of the feature, make sure you are using an Instagram Business Account.)

What is Instagram Quick Replies?

Quick Replies make it easy to respond your Instagram messages in just a few taps. The feature is similar to Facebook’s Instant Replies, except the saved messages don’t send automatically. Quick Replies comes in handy when customers are most likely to start conversations, like when tickets go up for sale, an event is right around the corner or when a giveaway occurs. It can be a lifesaver when it comes to staying engaged with your followers!

How to use Instagram Quick Replies

 

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile page and select your direct messages in the top right corner.
  2. Select a message.
  3. Tap the plus button in the bottom menu.
  4. Click on the quick reply button (a conversation bubble with three dots).
  5. Select “New Quick Reply.”
  6. Type your message, then click save.
  7. To use your message, type your shortcode or tap the quick reply icon to select your message. Then click send.
  8. You did it!

 

Say goodbye to hours spent replying to direct messages and answering the same questions over and over again. Quick Replies makes it easier than ever to quickly respond to direct messages – and as event planners know, in the middle of event season, every second counts!

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.

In the News – March 2017!


This section of our blog is devoted to industry news and articles we find interesting and relevant tour our friends and Saffire family!

For those of you ready to convene, check out these Five Trends that Will Impact Convention Centers in 2017. And hey, how are you feeling about your social networking? Here are 19 Facebook Marketing Predictions for 2017 from the pros. We’ve also dug up these 5 Tech Trends that will influence your marketing strategies.

 

 

 

3 Lessons Any Organization Can Learn From Google

In the world of technology there are a handful of large companies that are always worth keeping an eye on as they shape, change and revolutionize the industry. Google is among the top of these organizations and in recent weeks they have made some bold moves to reorganize and rebrand. While it may seem easy to dismiss the story’s relevance to your own organization, either because “they’re so huge” or “that’s not my industry,” there are some very valuable lessons that any organization could take away from Google’s restructure.

To summarize the basics of the changes at Google, they have created an Umbrella company, called Alphabet, which will oversee a collection of smaller companies that were previously all housed under the Google name. By splitting up the smaller companies, “Google” is able to focus solely on the internet services we’ve come to rely on such as Search, Maps, YouTube, Android, Apps and Ads, while the other companies, with their own tiers of management, can focus their efforts on the multitude of other entities Google is involved in (i.e. smart cars, medical research, smart home products, etc.). In the weeks following the reorganization announcement Google also announced a refresh to their logo and branding guidelines.

Google Alphabet Structure

There are 3 lessons we can all take from Google’s updates.

  1. Back to Basics – Remember the core of your business and ensure you’re taking steps to maintain the well-being of your base offering. The separation of the fringe products & services into their own companies will streamline Google allowing the leaders of that organization to really focus on the heart of what made Google what it is today. Keep an eye on your primary goals and consider whether new off-shoot offerings are detracting from the success of what you do best. Find a balance where innovation doesn’t interfere with your organization’s consistency in maintaining your standards and what your customers have come to expect from you.
  2. Always Evolve – Google didn’t get to where they are today by remaining static or sticking to the status quo. They are innovators who are consistently seeking ways to grow their offering. This is a process anyone can start within their own organization to think outside the box and consider, “what can I do differently to make my customer’s experience better?” As your service evolves, consider how your organization needs to evolve to accommodate that. We’ve spoken to several leaders in the events and venues industries for our own Amplifier podcast, and there has been a consistent theme among the most successful of them to always recognize the need for change and adapt to it.
  3. Dare to Be Different – Beyond just making changes in your organization, consider the changes you can make that set you apart from others in your industry. Allow yourselves and your teams to try new ideas. Look to other industries for inspiration and explore how they “wow” their customers. Whether you’re looking to the tech industry to modernize your gate sales, or to architectural trends to improve crowd control, or to security professionals to enhance safety, there are opportunities being developed by experts in others industries that can be utilized to improve your own organization beyond what anyone else has yet to consider.

Video Marketing for the Masses

The mere thought of a need to create a “video campaign” scares even the savviest of marketers. “Someone spare me if I had to be featured in a video!” or “I have no idea how to film videos nice enough for marketing campaigns!” they think.

According to Vidyard, “The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web.” The video marketing pioneer just may be right—even I myself am more likely to click and watch a video than just read a bunch of text. Also, wouldn’t YOU want someone to hang out on your website for the duration of a full one- to two-minute video? 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website. Think about what you can show someone in a video in two minutes versus what they could read in 15 seconds. The difference is staggering.

Creating videos to promote your brand doesn’t have to be scary! 2015 has been said to be the “year of video marketing”, so you are right on trend if you start planning now. Think about all of your marketing goals for this year. Where can you incorporate video marketing? Planning is the first step to success. If you don’t actively plan to include videos when appropriate, it will always be a “tomorrow” project.. Incorporate video marketing in to your strategies you already have in place. Use a calendar, and set goal dates for your videos to launch.

Also, make sure to incorporate videos in to your social media plan. Have you noticed lately on Facebook, how videos automatically play when you scroll by on the newsfeed? Make sure your first few seconds are super compelling since your customers are somewhat forced to watch that part as they are browsing. If the first few seconds of your video are interesting enough, people will stop scrolling long enough to watch the rest.

Once you have posted videos to your social media, make sure to go back and post them on your website too. Your website is where you earn revenue—so make sure to place videos near buying opportunities. If you sell tickets to an event on your website, make sure someone can watch a video about that event, that’s really close in proximity to the buy button. If you are trying to get facility rentals, place videos of your facilities near the rental form. If you’re selling a destination, place videos near the bed and breakfast links or attraction tickets buttons. People who watch a video on your website are up to 12 times more likely to make a purchase or complete another call to action, such as signing up for your email list, so make it easy for your customers to make the transition from videos to dollars in your pocket!

Finally, don’t get stuck on the length of your videos. If you end up with promo spots that only last 15-30 seconds, it’s totally fine! Remember, people have a really short attention span on the web, and if your videos are long, you may not actually get viewers to watch to the end. Think about Vine—an entire social media network (with 40 million users) comprised of videos that last a maximum of six seconds. 1.5 billion of these six-second videos are watched daily as of this January.

A video marketer doesn’t have to be a professional videographer. We all are almost always carrying a video camera—our smart phones! Think about small ways you can start incorporating video marketing in to your strategy, and watch your plans lead to “ACTION!”

Happy Endings: After the Board Meeting

Most events have board of directors. And boards have meetings. Some of them are tough.

The tougher they are, the more important it becomes to end meetings well. So even though Saffire specializes in online marketing, today we’re stepping away from the computer and sharing 6 tips for what to do when the meeting’s over.

 

teamwork

 

It’s not so much about ending the meeting. It’s what to do when the meeting is over.

  1. This one is obvious. You shake hands. You smile. But here’s the key. Smile and shake hands in a way that suggests you are 30% happier with the outcome than you actually are.
  2. If it was tough, acknowledge it. Say this was hard, and I’m happy we dealt with it. This gives everybody an understanding that it was hard on everyone. Plus it gets the elephant out in the room. (I’m a big fan of that.)
  3. Establish common ground about anything, even if you couldn’t in the meeting. Talk about anything except what you just met about. Talk about something personal and above all, neutral. Before you physically move on, establish that you’ve moved on from the topic.
  4. Who do you talk to? Engage anyone who for whatever reason didn’t participate much. It’s a nice thing to do and fulfills the purpose of the meeting, to get everyone involved.
  5. The main message to communicate is gratitude. No matter what, find something to be grateful about the meeting.  Again, 30% more positive than you feel.
  6. This one is the toughest for me. Don’t take the last doughnut. Step away from the doughnut. OK come to think of it, go ahead and take it. We won’t judge!

(We were originally inspired to cover this topic by an article in Entrepreneur, but we had thoughts too, so we made it our own.)

Should you be using Text Marketing?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: our goal is to help improve the overall online presence of the event industry.  One of the ways we try to keep up with the needs of fairs, festivals and rodeos is by surveying our current clients to find out what is important to them.

Earlier this spring, we asked what feature they would most like to see incorporated into Saffire and the overwhelming answer was text message marketing!

After we saw this infographic, we were sure glad we took their word for it and now provide SaffireText.

But that’s enough about us.  Let’s talk about why text marketing is an important step for the event industry.

This infographic breaks down why text message marketing just might be the best way to reach customers.  You can’t really argue with the fact that 98% of text messages are opened!

Most Americans look at their phones around 150 times per day, so going where your users are has taken on a whole new meaning.  Not only should you have a presence on sites they already visit, but you can now go directly into the palm of your customer’s hand with the latest information and updates about your event.

Text messaging is still considered to be mainly a personal form of communication, so you don’t want to just add text marketing to your mix and look like a bull in a china shop.  Here are a few tips to consider as you get started with text marketing.

  • Text messages should be short, simple and personal.
  • Text messages are not billboards, so make sure to include a call to action so your point is clear.
  • Timing is everything, so only send messages when they will be considered valuable to the customer.
  • Respect your customers and don’t send too many messages.  Remember, texting is a relatively new form of marketing so give customers a chance to tip toe in without scaring them off.

If you haven’t considered text marketing before, I hope these statistics show you that this new marketing technique is something your event should consider.

Join Our Webinar “Trends in Online Marketing”

Free Webinar!
Trends in Online Marketing

Reserve Your Seat Now!
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

 

The web changes so fast that keeping up with the latest and greatest online trends can seem like a full-time job. But since none of us have that kind of time, join Saffire for a fast-paced session to learn what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve with online marketing. We will discuss fair websites, social networking, ecommerce, mobile, email marketing and other must-haves that will help you increase revenue for your event.

The team at Saffire has done online marketing since 1995 for clients like KEEN Footwear, Nike, Jeep, Intel & Panasonic; they’ll tell you what you can learn from those huge companies to help your fair be most successful.

From this Free Webinar you will learn:

  • Four new must-haves for your event website
  • Five things you could be learning about your event from Google Analytics
  • How to put the “social” in social media
  • What is three-screen marketing and should you use it?

Register now to join Cassie Roberts, Manager of Sales and Partnership, and Rebekah Hardage, Marketing Manager, as they help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to event marketing online.

Title: Trends in Online Marketing
Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

 

Free Webinar!

 

Join Our Webinar “Is Email Marketing Dead? (No, and we will tell you why!)

Free Webinar!
Is Email Marketing Dead? (No, and we will tell you why!)

Reserve Your Seat Now!
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/631659158

Saffire is excited to bring you the first in a new series of webinars where we will partner with successful events around the country to bring you the insider’s guide to effective online marketing.  Since Rodeo Austin was our first Saffire partner, it only seems right that they are the first co-presenters in the series.

Rodeo Austin has been a leader in online event marketing for years.  They were a pioneer in email marketing for events and have achieved great success with campaigns, contributing to their overall success.  Other events always ask us about Rodeo Austin emails and want to know, “How do they do it?” Now is your chance to get the inside scoop directly from Rodeo Austin!

From this FREE webinar you will learn:

• Why your event should do email marketing
• New ideas for powerful subject lines and effective messages
• 8 steps to creating and sending an email
• How to measure the success of an email campaign
• First-hand experience from our Q & A with Rodeo Austin

Register now to join Kendra Wright, President of Saffire, and Jennie Richmond, Manager of Rodeo Austin, as they explain the importance of email marketing and how to integrate it into your marketing mix.

Keith Smith at Central Texas State Fair says, “I’ve come to lots of Saffire’s webinars and always learn something useful from their team. I recommend you sign up!”

Title: Is Email Marketing Dead? (No, and we will tell you why!)
Date: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

 

Free Webinar!

 

What’s the big deal about ecommerce?

If you’ve had a conversation with one of our team members for longer than 30 seconds, we’ve probably told you how important we think ecommerce is to the success of any event.  Our roots are in ecommerce for large companies and we’ve proved our theory to be true, so it’s no surprise we are so sure that it will help increase revenue for your event.

Even though we are spreading the ecommerce message far and wide, we still find events that are skeptical, so we’ve decided to try a new approach.  They say “A picture is worth 1,000 words,” and in this case I couldn’t agree more!  This infographic tells you just about every reason we have (and a few more) as to why your event MUST have ecommerce. 

So let’s recap:

  • 50% of the online population has made more than one purchase online.
  • Over the course of 2012, 184 million people will shop online.
  • By 2015 US consumers will spend $270 billion online!

Folks, if these stats don’t convince you that it is time to make ecommerce a priority, I don’t know what will!