Think Outside the Social Media Box Using Bonfyre, the Free App

BonfyreLogoSocial Media is essential to business, especially if you are an event planner. Being able to incorporate the appropriate social media for your particular event is a must-have today. While social media is a great tool, it’s often missing 2 key components: privacy & relevancy. Sometimes clients don’t want the whole world to see what they are doing at their event – perhaps the information is internal, private or not yet ready to be shared. Sometimes clients are more concerned about making sure they reach the right audience rather than mass messaging the world. In comes Bonfyre . Bonfyre is a free app that lets you create social networks for events in a private and moderated environment. You decide who sees the information (chat, photos and videos) being shared. You are your own brand manager which allows you to not only control what people know but also who knows about it. This means that everyone involved in the conversation is interested in what is being shared because it is relevant to them. It is always more valuable to be able to directly communicate with the appropriate audience.  With Bonfyre, you do not have to weed through the heavy traffic of mainstream social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter and hope that people are searching your page when they leave your event. The point of social media isn’t always broadcasting a message, it is direct communication to the people who need and want to hear it. To learn more about this exclusive social media app, I sat down with Jake Bernstein, Head of Partner Development, and asked him some specific questions about how Bonfyre can be used as a successful event app.
The Chicago Event Planner (TCEP): Since Bonfyre is private, how do guests of an event know to use it?
Jake Bernstein (JB): Bonfyre takes the community that naturally exists around the event and empowers them to share. It’s a free download app so anyone can get it from the App Store, Google Play or the web. As the moderator you can create a Bonfyre and then invite attendees via email, QR Code or by searching based on location. From there the people in the Bonfyre can chat, and share photos and video all together– it’s a great way to keep in touch throughout an event.
TCEP: How air tight is the privacy? Most of the time you can click and save an image – what if someone didn’t want people to be able to do that?
JB: There is a professional version of the app which allows you to have more customized features and analytics. Once a Bonfyre is created, it is private but you can always customize controls over specific features & usability. Bonfyre is all about control and relevance. It’s an opt-in environment. We often like to say “What happens in Bonfyre, stays in Bonfyre.”
TCEP: How does Bonfyre compare with an app like SnapChat?
JB: SnapChat gives you a short time to see an image or video before it “disappears.” Content doesn’t disappear with Bonfyre; memories are preserved. The goal is to create a space where people can have conversations, share images and connect in real-time but on a platform for those who are actually part of an event or experience. In contrast to broadcast social platforms, when you post something on Facebook, you’re bragging – you want everyone to know what you are doing, which can be powerful at time. With Bonfyre, we’re don’t advertise – we give businesses a tool where event organizers, brands and individuals can better connect with those who matter and share content they care about.
TCEP: When it comes to privacy versus sharing, how does that work?
JB: Well, by default, photos belong to the person who uploaded it. The point of Bonfyre is to have social sharing reflect real-time experiences. Think about how you choose to communicate with the people you care about most frequently.  You will call or send them a text, you’re not posting on Facebook to reach them. We use the term “narrowcasting” to ensure everything is 100% relevant to both the sender and receiver. For example, Bonfyre can be used personally. There are a lot of people who are hesitant to post pictures of their kids on Facebook, but perhaps want to share new images, videos and conversations with friends and family. They can create a Bonfyre, specifically with those whom they want to share it with.
TCEP: What if you want people to be able to share images on other social media sites?
JB: There are settings where consumers can share their own or brand content to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if they want.
TCEP: Can you have multiple Bonfyres?
JB: Yes, you can create as many Bonfyres as you want for as many different topics, subjects or events you have.
TCEP: Can anyone in the group be able to cancel a Bonfyre?
JB: No, the creator of the Bonfyre is the only person who could cancel it.
TCEP: What other ways can someone use Bonfyre?
JB: It can be used as an internal form of communication for project teams, work groups, even things like holiday parties with clients and agencies. We’ve had great success in events for companies like Express Scripts, Budweiser, ISES (International Special Events Society) Headquarters, the One Spark Festival, NPOs and Universities. Bonfyre can be a story telling tool – it’s fun, interactive and easy to use.
If you think your company is in need of a Bonfyre, you can reach out to Jake to learn more at
Have a question about event planning or want to learn about working with The Chicago Event Planner?  Email

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