What to Post on Social Media When You’re All Out of Ideas

We’ve all been there: It’s been days, maybe even weeks since you’ve posted on social media.

 

Then, that dreaded notification pops up from Facebook: “[So-and-so number of] people who like your page haven’t heard from you in a while. Write a post!”

 

So, what do you do when you know it’s time to post something, but your brain is drawing a blank? After checking your content calendar, of course, try using one of these five ideas to help you get creative on social media!

 

Here’s What to Post on Social Media When You’re All Out of Ideas:

 

  1. Participate in Fun Holidays

 

Who knows what day National Ferris Wheel Day is on? Hint: It shares the same day as everyone’s favorite date night! (Valentine’s Day!)

 

There are tons of fun holidays from National Ferris Wheel Day to National Best Friend Day that are perfect for adding to your social media calendar! Not only are they quick and easy content, but they’re a perfect way to participate in timely and highly shareable content!

 

As a festival or event, using national holidays to promote food and fun at your event is a no-brainer. Destinations and venues can find luck in highlighting local eats, partners and shared posts from your community.

 

Big E Donut Day

 

  1. User-Generated Content from Your Fans

 

There are lots of fun things about running social media for events, festivals and destinations, but possibly the best thing of all is running into people that ADORE spending time there! Luckily for us, people who love spending time at your event often love sharing photos

 

User-generated content is a great way to fill your feed with content that is valuable, trustworthy and on-brand.

 

We recommend setting up a hashtag and asking your followers to tag you in their photos, that way there is an easy-to-find space where fans can share their posts.

 

Tulsa UGC

  1. Promote upcoming events or specials

Got a sweet event coming up that your followers just can’t miss? Post about it!

 

Even if your event is a few weeks or months away, try getting the excitement going with sneak peeks or behind the scenes footage! Not only does it open up the opportunity to create hype and promote your event – sneak peek content gives you another way to build a more authentic relationship with your followers.

 

Clay County Goat Yoga

 

 

  1. Ask Questions, Create Polls or Play Fun Games with Your Followers

Asking questions is one of the best ways to increase engagement on your social media! The best thing about using questions and polls is that it not only encourages comments, but it also gives insight into the personalities and preferences of your customers.

 

Here’s some fun ideas to get you started:

  • Would you rather…?
  • This or that?
  • If you could….?
  • Fill in the blank
  • What is your favorite…?

Ozark Empire Poll

  1. Participate in Daily Hashtags

Daily hashtags are popular hashtags on social media for certain days of the week. You’ve probably seen some of the popular ones like #MotivationMonday, #TravelTuesday or #ThrowbackThursday.

 

When in doubt, combine a daily hashtag with a fun photo! They’re a great way to fill your feed with content that is fun, shareable and creates extra reach.

 

Madera District Fair

 

There you have it: 5 ideas for posting on social media when you have no idea what to post. Get creative with these ideas, and we’re sure you could fill a whole calendar with them!

 

Good luck and happy posting!

How to *Actually* Sell Tickets with Facebook Ads in 4 Easy Steps

Billions of people use Facebook every single day. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Facebook is one of the best places to sell tickets for your event! Facebook ads offer an affordable but effective way to get your event in front of thousands – and even millions – of people online, all without ever leaving your office!

 

Here at Saffire, we truly believe that selling advance tickets online can make a world of difference for your event. Every year, we work with hundreds of different events. Though all of our clients are unique -different types, sizes and audiences – we all have the same goals: selling out fantastic events & making the process fast, easy and fun for customers! What’s easier than buying your ticket online and showing up completely worry-free?

 

Setting up Facebook ads for your event can be intimidating, but it is one of the best ways to get advanced sales up and running. We hear from clients every day wondering “Where do I go? What do I click? What should the ads look like, and who should I target?” The great news is that setting up ads can be easier than you think. Plus, if you are interested in running more advanced ads or need some additional help – Saffire is just one call away.

 

Here’s How to Create Facebook Ads That Actually Sell Tickets in 4 Easy Steps:

 

  1. Plan

Before you dive right into your Facebook ads, begin by creating a plan for your content. Creating a strategy will help you cut down time, reach the right audience and stay on track with your goals. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

 

What Is Your Goal for Each Ad?

Before you get started, it’s important to create a specific and actionable goal for what you’d like to accomplish with your ads. This many seem obvious. “We want to sell tickets – duh!” But keep in mind that people rarely buy tickets the first time they hear about an event. That’s why Saffire recommends creating a series – or “campaign” of multiple Facebook ads used to inform and excite your customers before eventually getting them to buy. For this reason, Facebook offers a few different types of ads meant to promote your event in different ways.

 

Whether your goal for this specific campaign is to gain awareness (we recommend running awareness campaigns three to six months before your event) or to get off the ground running with ticket sales, choose a goal that is measurable and realistic. For an awareness campaign, your goal might be something like reach 5,000 people. For ticket sales, try something like sell 500 tickets in two weeks.

 

What Is Your Budget?

There are a couple of different things that will affect the reach of your ad including your audience, engagement and budget. Decide on a budget early so you can plan out your campaign effectively. Generally, we recommend budgeting about $100 for a two-to-three week ad.

 

 

  1. Create Content

Once you’ve got your strategy planned and ready to go, it’s time to actually create your content. An effective Facebook ad requires two things: an eye-catching photo or video and copy for your description.

 

For your photo or video, we recommend choosing something eye-catching from a previous or similar event. Make sure that your graphic shows potential customers what there is to love about your event. What makes your event special? The amazing food? The superstar talent? Or maybe you’re running a really great deal or giveaway! Whatever it is, choose one FOMO-worthy feature and focus on that. Then write a description that draws people in. We recommend keeping it short and sweet, and don’t forget your call to action!

 

If your having trouble coming up with ideas, checking out ads from your competition is a great way to keep yourself in the game with fresh ideas. Check out Facebook’s new Ads Library to check out active campaigns.

 

  1. Target

Targeting is one of the most important pieces of creating an effective ad. What’s a great ad without the perfect people to show it to? When it comes to targeting your ad to the right people, there are a few things you should be thinking about:

 

  1. Area – Targeting your ad to people who live close by.
  2. Demographics – Targeting your ad to people who fit your audience demographics. This might mean targeting parents if your event is a family-friendly fair or targeting 21-35 year-olds if your event is a hip music festival.
  3. Interests – Targeting your ad to people who have liked similar things on Facebook. This might mean targeting people who already like your Facebook page, have liked similar events in the past or even people who follow your concert talent or partners!

 

Don’t forget to retarget, retarget, retarget! It’s easy for people to get distracted online. Sometimes all they need is a nudge (or 3) in the right direction. Studies have shown that people are 80% more likely to respond to a retargeting ad than a regular campaign! Don’t take that number for granted. It’s one of the most important reasons Saffire recommends creating a campaign instead of running just one ad – and it can be extremely effective!

 

There are a few ways you can use retargeting to work in your favor including: retargeting people that have interacted with another ad in your campaign, retargeting people that have bought tickets to a past event using custom audiences and retargeting people that have been on your website recently.

 

  1. Test, Refine & Do It Again

 

Finally, it’s time to let your ad run! Once your ad has been running for a day or two, you can check its performance in the Ads Manager. Over time, your analytics will be your guiding light to help you tweak your ads for the best results. Remember, Rome was not built in a day – and neither is a successful ad campaign. Testing and tweaking are the keys to figuring out your audience and creating ads the resonate.

 

 

If you’re still having trouble creating the perfect ad, have no fear! Saffire’s marketing team is available to help craft an ad that is just right for your event. Chat with your coach or salesperson to learn more about our ad services.

 

Spring Cleaning: How to Freshen Up Your Social Media this Season

For some of us, spring weather means one thing: spring cleaning! Many of us rush to clean out our homes, our offices or our closets, but don’t think about what spring cleaning can do for our business. As event marketers, we know how important social media can be for selling tickets. For us, spring cleaning can take on a whole new meaning.

 

These chores are quick, but they will make your new profiles feel (to quote Ms. Marie Kondo) like a “spark of joy.”

 

Throw away old images

 

If your pages are filled with old logos, grainy header images or improperly sized photos – it’s time to throw them all away. Bad profile photos are a quick route to a sloppy and unprofessional feeling page. Luckily, this small change can make a huge difference in the way people view your profile. Take this time to make sure all of your profiles feature the same perfectly-sized logo, and that your images are nice, crisp and up to date. While you’re at it, look over your About sections and business descriptions. Make sure the text is current and consistent across all of your platforms.

 

If you haven’t changed your cover photos in over a year, it’s time to give your profiles a mini makeover. Cover photos are an opportunity to wow your audience with eye-catching photos and create a striking first impression. Even if your cover photo looks snazzy already, it’s a good idea to add a new photo every-so-often to give your page a fresh clean feel. Frequenting fans will notice.

 

Organize your fans and followers

 

Do you know who you follow on social media and who follows you? It’s important to make sure that you are following business partners, clients and important industry leaders. Not only does this ensure that you are up-to-date on industry news, it gives you another opportunity to engage with key connections.

 

Start with your list of partners and clients. Are you following the key players? Are they following you? If not, make sure to hit the follow button and start connecting. It’s not a bad idea to like a few recent posts if a page you are connected with is not following you back. Just don’t get too gung-ho. Spamming their page or appearing stalkerish is a no-no.

 

Then take a look at your general followers list. Are there any irrelevant or inactive accounts that you should unfollow? Anyone just outright inappropriate?

 

Now is also a good time to look at your demographics page. See if the demographic data is similar to that of your average customer. If not, now is a good time to tweak your content strategy to create relevant content and attract the audience that you want.

 

Dust off your strategies and goals

 

It can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind and lose sight of why you’re doing things in the first place. Everyone knows that posting on social media is important, but busy companies often forget to decide why. There are many ways social media can tie back to your organization’s overall mission. Is your intent simply to connect with customers? Provide customer service? Educate your clients? Maybe your goal is strictly to sell tickets online. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to select one (or a few). Then, create monthly or quarterly goals to serve as your guiding light.

 

A successful social media strategy will help your company connect with more customers, create brand loyalty – and yes, even sell more tickets! Focus on your organization’s overall goals. A social media strategy can help you begin to see a real impact with your efforts.

 

 

Focus your attention on de-cluttering your account this spring and make sure all your information is up to date.  Then get busy sharing your fresh new content with your audience. We bet you’ll be happy you joined us for spring cleaning!

 

This article previously appeared in IFEA’s ie Magazine.

3 Ways to Get More Comments on Your Facebook Posts

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a trillion times: engagement on your Facebook posts is important. However, all engagement is not created equal. Lately, Facebook has been showing special treatment to posts with lots of comments by catapulting them to the top of our newsfeeds and awarding “Top Fan” and “Valued Commenter” badges.

 

It makes sense. There’s something special about posts that get people talking.  While posts with a lot of likes perform well in the algorithm, stats show that posts with tons of comments get 4x more clicks!

 

That’s why encouraging comments is the top way to increase your visibility and customer engagement. Just make sure you’re not trying to game the system by using “engagement-bait” posts that Facebook counts as spam. (For example: “Tag 3 of your friends who would agree with this post!” or “Comment “YES” if you really love candy apples!”)

 

So, what should you do to create meaningful conversations in your comment sections?

 

Try These 3 Tips to Get More Comments on Your Facebook Posts:

 

  1. Engage with and Reply to your Followers

 FabFitFun replying to Facebook comments

 

Responding to your followers is an easy trick that so many organizations forget to do! Too many people spend time planning, creating and posting content then drop the ball when it comes to the fun part – engaging with and responding to fans! It is still social media, after all.

 

A study of more than 1,200 Facebook users found that personalized responses are more satisfying to the receiver than a simple Like. Think about it, who wants to talk to someone who never talks back? On top of that, you miss the opportunity to start conversations, create positive memories with your customers and possibly resolve customer service problems.

 

The juicy part is that Facebook wants you to reply to your followers, so they view your comments and your followers’ comments as equally important. That means if you reply to each and every comment on your post, you double your comment count and your opportunity to move up in the algorithm.

 

 

  1. Ask authentic questions

Oreo

 

Asking questions just works. Don’t get us wrong – asking spammy questions with no rhyme or reason is always a no-no, but asking real, genuine questions almost always gets great responses. Try asking your followers for recommendations or advice: “What is your favorite food to eat at the festival?” or “Which topping would you prefer, chocolate or bananas?”

 

The best thing about this tactic is not only that it encourages comments, but it also gives insight into the personalities and preferences of your customers.

 

  1. Create Interactive Posts

Wix

 

Another great way to get people to interact with your posts is to craft posts that are fun and engaging. To do this, play games with your followers by asking them to engage in fun ways with your content. Remember to make it entertaining and easy! Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

 

  • Caption This
  • Fill in the blank
  • Would you rather
  • Poll
  • Guessing game

 

What type of tips have helped you get more comments? Stop by our Facebook page and drop a comment under this article!

How to Actually Sell Tickets with Email Marketing in 2019

Email marketing has been around pretty much since the internet was born. Social media and search engine ads have stolen some of its shine in recent years, but we still believe in the power of good ol’ email! Why? It’s (almost) free, it’s accessible and everybody on the internet has one! With so many people using ad blockers and scrolling through their social feeds at the speed of light, email is also the perfect way to capture someone’s attention. Here’s the top ways to keep up with email trends that actually sell tickets in 2019:

 

  1. Personalization and Segmentation

Millennials have spoken, and they want custom content. We’re talking about diving a little deeper than your standard email {!Contact.FirstName}.  Huge digital companies like Amazon, Coca-Cola and the Austin City Limits Festival have changed the way we market by placing personalization at the center of their strategies. Think about how you react when an ad pops up in your inbox or newsfeed for something that you’ve already been lusting after for days. We’d bet your typical scroll reflex slows down and you’re much more likely to give it a click.

Next time you send out a marketing email, ask yourself if you’ve included these relevant contacts: Customers who have purchased tickets for the same or similar events, customers who have purchased merchandise, customers with abandoned carts, customers who have shown interest in the event on your website.

More importantly, think about who you SHOULDN’T include. Instead of sending every email to one giant list, segment your lists based on what each person is truly interested in. In other words, don’t waste your time sending kids story time emails to the rowdy 21+ crowd. While it may seem like you’re increasing your odds by increasing your reach, what you’re really doing is making it more likely for someone to opt-out, or worse, stop engaging with your event altogether.

 

  1. Clear and Compelling Call to Action

If you want your reader to buy anything, you’ve got to create engaging calls to action that compel your readers to follow through right away. Once a reader clicks away – that’s it. You’ve pretty much lost them, at least for now.

Many people see the call to action as a one-line sentence or link at the end of your email (Buy Tickets, Sign Up, Follow Us). While that’s an important piece to the puzzle, remember that the rest of your email is important, too. No one ever buys something without a compelling “why.”  What is it about your event that makes it a good use of their time? The delicious food? Great photo ops? A spectacular line up? Focus on one element and tell a really good story. Then hook them at the end. Storytelling is the best way to help people really connect with your brand, instead of just feeling like you’re trying to sell them something.

 

  1. It’s All About the Follow-Up

Here’s the great thing about selling online: you can essentially chase down a potential customer without looking like a total creep. It’s easy for people to get distracted online. Sometimes what people need is just another nudge (or 4) to lead them in the right direction.  Moz found that you can bring your conversion rate to up to 41%, compared to a 1-2% average by simply remarketing to customers who appear interested, but just haven’t bought yet.

Now, we’re not advocating for spamming people’s inboxes. Instead, what we’re talking about is using a well-timed, well-planned campaign to keep people thinking about your upcoming event. An email campaign for an upcoming festival might look something like this:

Email 1: Event announcement

Email 2: Early bird sale offer

Email 3: Line up announcement

Email 4: Second sale announcement

Email 5: Reminder: Two weeks left to buy tickets

Don’t forget to create an email for people who have abandoned their cart or who have high click & open rates but haven’t bought a ticket yet. It’s likely these people are interested, they may just need an additional nudge. You don’t have to follow up solely through email, either! Use retargeting to reach people who have recently purchased or engaged with your brand on their newsfeeds, Google search and using plain ol’ website banners.

 

  1. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Sales are the oldest trick in the book for a good reason: they work. This one’s old school, but we still believe that a good sale or giveaway is one of the best ways to sell tickets. Just make sure that the offer is valuable for both you and the client.

 

Email marketing is still one of the best tools to connect with your audience and sell tickets, but it will only work if you are creating relevant content and humanizing your brand.

 

 

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!

How to Create your 2019 Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template!)

Here at Saffire, our content calendar is our best friend! In fact, we just completed mapping out our calendar for the whole year. Whew! A content calendar is a plan, either for a few months or an entire year, of what you’re going to publish and where you’re going to publish it to further your organization’s goals. It is a complete roadmap of your outbound marketing efforts.

 

It took lots of time and planning to build our calendar, but we knew it would be worth it. Why? Because content calendars are the best possible tool to keep you organized all year long!

 

Most importantly, creating a content calendar forces you to put thought and creativity into your content instead of throwing it together at the last moment. (We’ve all been there!)

 

Imagine that you work at a festival known for its spectacular corndogs. Little did you know, today is National Corndog Day. You go on Facebook to see hundreds of festivals around the country posting their photos for #NationalCorndogDay. You search through your photo library but don’t see any great corndog photos available to post.

 

Instead, you miss out on the chance to gain some buzz and create some free promotion for you and your vendors.

 

A content calendar can help you make sure that you always have the perfect post for moments like this. Plus, you’ll never miss another National Corndog Day again.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few tips for getting started!

 

 

  1. 1. Identify your content

Before you start mapping out your content calendar, begin making a list of the topics you should cover. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

 

 

Who are your audiences and what do they want to see? Your audiences can include groups like: current and past customers, potential customers, vendors, board members, staff, etc. We recommend choosing 2 or 3 groups and creating content designed to keep them engaged.

 

 

What important dates, milestones or promotions does your organization have coming up this year? Ticket sales, box office times and promotion dates are obvious inclusions on your content calendar, but what about other interesting milestones? Anniversaries and holidays can make for lighthearted and engaging content! Make sure to check the National Day Calendar for other social media holidays related to your business. You can find it at www.nationaldaycalendar.com.

 

What kinds of assets do you have available? Who and what do you have available to help create unique content? Maybe you have a full creative team or maybe you’re using a simpler editing tool like Canva. Maybe you have a photographer or maybe you use Shutterstock. What about a videographer or even just partners that can contribute to your blog? Either way, take note of all people and tools available. This will determine what types of content you can post throughout the year.

 

  1. Decide when and where to publish

 

As little as a decade ago, there were only a few options for publishing. Today, however, there are dozens of options at our fingertips! Take a moment to take inventory of all the channels that your organization offers, and decide which content is best to post where. We bet that your organization already utilizes some of these channels: social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.…), video sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo, newsletters, e-blasts, an online blog, your website and advertisements.

Next, decide how often to post. You could try to publish a new blog every day, but if you don’t have the resources necessary that could get tricky.  Be realistic about what you and your teammates can handle. Then be consistent.

 

  1. Create your calendar

 

There are many different ways to create your perfect content calendar! Here at Saffire, we recommend using a good ol’ spreadsheet. You can find our downloadable template at www.Saffire.com/Calendar.

Make sure to include important information like: date, post type, author, prize winners, publication channels etc. We love keeping ours in an organized Google Sheet that can be updated by all of our marketing teammates.

Once you have it perfected, get posting!

 

Remember, the best thing about your content calendar is that it’s flexible! See what works best for you and your team then add or remove things as you go! Once you get it perfected, we bet your content calendar will be your best friend too! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. Next year, edit the template you create this year. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to manage your marketing presence!

 

This article previously appeared in IFEA’s ie Magazine.

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.

3.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.

4.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!

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.

Create Memorable Activations through Experiential Marketing

You may have heard some buzz about experiential marketing lately, but what exactly does it mean? After the Saffire Marketing Team attended the branding track of South by Southwest this year, we got a pretty good taste of experiential marketing firsthand! This unique marketing strategy helps engage audiences with awareness of a brand, by allowing them to be a part of the brand creation itself rather than just passively receiving a message. The brand’s value is activated, or realized by the consumer, creating a stronger relationship between the consumer and the brand.

SXSW has increasingly become one of the greatest places to show off your brand to festival attendees, and during the conference, downtown Austin becomes one giant advertisement for 10 days. Instead of online campaigns, brands focus on taking over bars, restaurants and venues to transform them to experiential marketing wonderlands. Some of the activations this year included: German Haus, E.U. House, Peru House, Pinterest House, and Snickers House. These brands swooped in and transformed trendy bars into billboards full of free food and drinks, swag, and live music.

On a tamer side of things, some brands chose to have small lounges scattered throughout hotel and convention meeting spaces. These typically monotonous meeting spaces were transformed into places for attendees to relax, recharge, rehydrate and learn a few things about the lounge’s hosts. Two of our favorite examples were the Brazil Lounge and a giant cheese spread by the state of Wisconsin. It is definitely better to TASTE cheese from Wisconsin rather than read about it on social media!

One of the best activations was the Google Assistant Fun House, an entire house focused on immersing the consumer into a smart house powered by Google Assistant. Check out the house by clicking on the video below:

How your organization can utilize these fun ideas? It doesn’t have to be super fancy! All you have to do is let users experience your brand or your sponsor’s brand firsthand. Here are examples of things that your organization can implement:

  • Experiential marketing is a great way to grow an event and offer your sponsors something different and unique. Have a sponsor cover the cost of a lounge, bar or booth and let a sponsor deck it out with their branding. Attendees LOVE free samples of any kind, so encourage sponsors to come with fun giveaways. Rather than a traditional booth for a sponsor, make it something more fun!
  • Have a brand? Why not travel with it! Look for outside events where you can bring your brand to life.  This works especially well if you are marketing a destination–bring food samples, mini drinks or small crafts to events and festivals and let consumers get a taste! As mentioned above, various destinations had activations at SXSW, including Germany, Peru and Fort Worth, Texas!
  • Set up a pop-up booth about your organization in a market you are hoping to grow. (You can either partner with that city to do something in your hometown or at your event, or just get permission first.) Pick somewhere with high traffic like a park and do a fun giveaway! Offering a special discount to people that visit your event or destination after meeting you at a pop up is also a great way to measure the ROI on your effort.

As our world becomes more digital, sometimes the best way to connect with your audience is to let them experience your brand off-screen. Think of another way you can utilize experiential marketing in your marketing mix?  Feel free to share it with us!