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!

 

Navigating the World of Ticketing

 

We’ve heard time and time again, that one of the most painful parts of hosting an event is trying to calculate how many tickets you sold and how much money you made at the end of the night! Who wants to sit around weighing bags of tickets or balancing registers? Luckily, ticketing systems that combine your online, advance and gate sales are now widely available, and many of these tasks can be handled digitally, with the click of a mouse. However, there are SO many ticketing solutions out there and so many features that are important! Besides integrated and all-inclusive reporting, how do you choose which is best for you? Here are a few tips to take in to consideration when choosing a ticketing system.

The first thing to look for is the ability to bundle items together to make a nice, convenient, all-inclusive ticket or pass.  You should be able to produce one QR code or barcode and then be able to track multiple variables.  For example, one code generated could be used for entry into your fair gate, parking and the rodeo, all on one code. This makes things less confusing for your customers as well as people taking tickets, and is often less expensive for you and your customers because you are only paying a fee on one ticket. If possible, allow customers to download the bundled ticket they purchase to their own device as well, rather than requiring them to have a printed copy.

Next, look for a solution that gets creative in helping you track all different kinds of tickets and badges! Have you ever wanted the ability to create VIP passes, but have just not been able to make it work?  Or, how about quickly creating scannable parking tags?  Maybe even badges for a convention hosted at your venue or destination? With many comprehensive ticketing systems, anything that you need tracked is all within your grasp, no matter the type of material or physical item you are selling.

Finally, you should focus on streamlining the checkout process for your customer. Linking off to another website or ticketing portal results in “cart abandonment” and lost ticket sales due to confusion and clicking through multiple sites and pages. Having an integrated platform is one of the best tools to prevent people from leaving before they complete their purchase. If your tickets cannot be on your website, and you must link to a third-party portal, at the very least, make sure you are able to match the theme and colors of the ticketing portal to your website as closely as possible so that customers feel at ease when making a purchase.

Savvy customers today expect an integrated, seamless ticketing experience, no matter where they choose to buy or what type of event they attend. When looking for a ticketing solution, be sure that the system can be as dynamic and flexible as your organization!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Messenger Tips & Tricks

Facebook Messenger is becoming an important tool for events, venues and destinations to communicate with their visitors and customers. However, when dozens of messages are received at once, it can be overwhelming to manage! Luckily, organizations can benefit from using various Facebook Messenger tools that help manage the influx of Facebook messages during your events or busy season. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you manage your Facebook Messenger inbox!

 

Welcome Greeting – Creating an informative “Welcome Greeting” will lower the number of messages that you receive by answering your top questions before a visitor pushes send. Focus your customized greeting to help answer your two or three most frequently asked questions. You’re only able to use 160 characters, so be sure to keep the greeting message short, sweet and to the point!

Welcome Greeting

For instructions on how to create your Welcome Greeting, CLICK HERE

 

Instant Replies – Instant Reply messages will appear immediately after someone messages you. We recommend that you do a quick audit of your Facebook messages and have your Instant Reply cover your most frequently asked questions, like hours, prices, and daily deals! Since instant replies allow you to use up to 250 characters, you’re able to provide links to more in-depth answers to your FAQs.

Instant Replies
For instructions on how to create your Instant Replies, CLICK HERE

 

Saved Replies – For remaining Frequently Asked Questions or questions that need more explanation, you’re able to create and save personalized responses. You can use these Saved Replies to address more complicated questions like directions, policies, varying ticket prices, etc. Saved replies do not have a character limit and can even include images. One thing to note is that these messages are not automated, which means you will need to go in and select the saved reply in order to respond to the message. However, Saved Replies do save you time in that you don’t have to write the same thing over and over again!

Saved RepliesFor instructions on how to create your Saved Replies, CLICK HERE

 

Facebook Pages Manager To help you respond on the go, be sure and download the Facebook Pages Manager app to your phone. Just like on your desktop, this app will allow you to manage all social interactions across Facebook (comments, likes, reviews, etc), Facebook Messenger and even Instagram!

To help manage your inbox, we recommend marking messages as Done, Unread, Follow Up or Spam.

Facebook Pages Manager

 

Chatbots – If you still find yourself overwhelmed by the number of Facebook Messages coming in every day, you may consider implementing Chatbots into your marketing plan. A Chatbot is a tool that automatically provides your customers with an immediate response to their questions. For example: If a person asks, “What is the height requirements for the rides?” a Chatbot will be able to answer the question without you or your staff responding. Due to Chatbot’s complex setup, we recommend seeking someone experienced in building bots for your industry if you’re wanting to use this feature.

 

We hope that you have found these Facebook Messenger tips and tricks helpful! If you still have questions, the Saffire marketing team would love to help you out! You can email marketing@saffire.com.

 

 

 

Mobile Apps – Can You Live Without Them? I Can’t!

How many apps do you have on your phone? Do you use them on a regular basis? Studies show that 85% of the people only use 5 apps on their phone but have over 20 apps downloaded. So that got me to thinking about which apps I have on my phone that I actually use? I did a little polling of my friends to get their take on it too. Here’s a small glimpse at what we collectively have and why we like them.

  1. Your Banking App – All of us use our banking apps. With most banking apps, you can have them send you alerts if your balance goes below the amount you set. They also allow you to transfer money into your different accounts while just sitting on your couch shopping on Amazon! I personally like the Banking App because I have two teenage boys that have ATM cards.  Instead of me running to give them cash, I can just transfer $20 into their account. Another bonus is that I can ask them to run to the store, buy some groceries or supplies and see exactly what they spent and transfer the money. I don’t even need to ask for change anymore!
  2. Amazon – Who doesn’t have an Amazon App? It makes shopping so easy and if you have Amazon Prime, its free shipping in two days. With Amazon, you can have ‘wish lists’ for various family members. Again, this is helpful for a busy family. Just yesterday, I ordered some dog treats, coffee syrup and a pair of shorts for my son. All within 3 minutes and I didn’t have to leave my house. Plus, they will be delivered to my doorstep in two days.
  3. Ibotta – I personally don’t use this app, but am planning to start using it.  My neighbor does and she just announced that she has saved $300 in the past 6 months by using this app (sidenote – she does a lot of shopping!).  How it works:  Before you shop, you can add rebates on products by completing simple tasks.  Then shop at any of the participating stores.  Keep your receipt.  To redeem your rebates, you take a photo of the receipt.  Ibotta will match the items you bought to the rebates you selected and give you the cash back.  It’s deposited into your PayPal account.
  4. FreePrints – If you are like me, you take a ton of photos and they are all saved on your phone. I rarely would take the time to print them. But with FreePrints its super easy and quick. There is no subscription involved which is great. How it works:  You get up to 85 free 4 x 6 prints per month and up to 1,000 4 x 6 prints per year. They have other sized prints too, but there is a cost to them.  All you pay for is the shipping.  Shipping costs start at $1.99 and will never exceed $9.99.
  5. Sam’s Club – I use the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app every single time I shop at Sams. Super easy.  How it works:  Scan each of the items when you add them to your cart. When you are ready to check out you just click on check out and it charges the credit card or bank card you have previously inputted into the app. Skip the check-out lines and when you get to the door, the attendant will scan your phone and approve your purchases.Out the door you go. Saves so much time and all your purchases are stored in your app.  If you need to return something, you can show them the receipt on your phone.
  6. CamScanner – I have to admit, I probably don’t use this app to the best of its ability. But it sure has come in handy. With this app, I can use my phone and ‘scan’ any document and save it as a .pdf and then email it. One example was when I was out of town traveling and needed to sign some financial documents. I ran to the hotel business office, printed the documents out, signed them and then scanned them into my phone and emailed them back from my phone. It was easy and slick. There are other features to the app too, but I’ve used it mainly for scanning a document that I have signed and need to send it back quickly.
  7. WhiteNoise – Yes, I use this app.  With my travel schedule and multiple hotel stays, this app has helped me tremendously. I have the free version, but there is a $.99 version too. Basically, the app gives you a lot of sounds to choose from to block out other sounds in the area. It is extremely helpful when my hotel room is next to the ice machine or the elevator. Sounds can range from cars driving to a vacuum cleaner. I, personally, enjoy the oscillating fan sound.
  8. Expensify – This app has saved me a ton of paperwork for work related receipts. As many of you know, when you travel for work, you need to keep track of your expenses. At Saffire, we use Expensify to submit our monthly reports. I have the app downloaded on my phone and I NEVER keep a receipt again. With expensify, I take a photo of the receipt, tag it for whatever event or conference I am attending, then I categorize it in meals, transportation, booth fees etc. I can even add a comment to the receipt to explain it more. It takes a little bit of effort to setup the tags and categories, but it’s well worth it. Last week I was traveling in Canada. This app allowed me to select the currency my credit card was charged and it changed it automatically in my reports. It will be easy for me to cross check and verify the correct charges when I receive the credit card statement. All of this literally takes me seconds to do. I never save a receipt anymore. When I return to the office to fill out my expense report, it is already completed. I review it, and click send.
  9. ComfortBase – This app spoils me.  My husband and I recently purchased a new bed.  The kind where my side can elevate differently than his.  Yes, the bed comes with two remotes.  But, with this app downloaded on my phone, I can have it programmed for my side of the bed AND for his side of the bed.  The beauty of it being on your phone is I can click on ‘snore mode’ at 2 am and his side will elevate to where it’s supposed to be.   The downside of this app is that I can’t freak him out and automatically raise his side of the bed when I’m traveling.  It runs on Bluetooth and I need to be near it to do that.
  10. GroupMe – GroupMe has been an app that I have used for a few years. It is a free group messaging chat room. You can have as many people as you chose to be in the group. Whether it’s a group of co-workers, family members, friends, etc.  It works better than trying to send out a mass text to a variety of phone numbers. Just this last weekend, one of our neighbors sent out a GroupMe text and said they were inviting everyone over at 4 pm for a Bean Bag/Corn Hole Tournament. Everyone responded to the invitation via the app. The great thing about GroupMe is that it allows everyone in your group the option of responding within the app or just by regular SMS text messages.

I am also a parent to two teenage boys.  With that being said, I have quite a few apps on my phone that are school and sports related (most communities have similar types of apps available).  A few that I use regularly are:

  • My School Bucks – it allows me to add money to my kids’ lunch fund and to see how much is left.  No more checks need to be sent with the child to school.
  • Power Schools – Our school district uses Power Schools.  This app allows me to see my child’s grades, test scores, attendance and more at my fingertips.  I’m even able to send messages to the teachers via the app.
  • Meet Mobile – My neighbor’s family are swimmers.  This app keeps them up to date on the swimmers in the area and whoever else they are tracking to see what their times and places are for the multiple meets happening each weekend.
  • LeagueAthletics – My son is a lacrosse player and I am the team manager.  This app is super easy for me to update the scores of the games while sitting at the field.  It will also push out notifications to all the families for quick references.

I can see how overwhelming it can be to have so many app options out there, but these are just a few of the apps that I use almost daily. Like I mentioned, the average person has 20+ apps and after just counting, I have 46 apps on my phone.   How many do you have?

 

Jodi Written with love by: Jodi Buresh!