» Facebook “Open Graph” is a Game Changer

facebook_logo2There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Facebook’s new “Open Graph” API, which gives third-party websites access to Facebook users’ data.  With the new changes, any website that integrates the Open Graph API will have instant access to Facebook users’ friend lists and preferences, like their favorite movies, foods, what groups they are a part of and more. This is a huge step for social media, and the web in general, as any website can now basically become its own mini-Facebook.

By leveraging Facebook data, third-party websites can now personalize the experience of their users based on almost any data that is posted on Facebook. Websites can now also contribute to Facebook through the use of a “Like” button- meaning a user can click a “Like” button on your website, and the data will show up on Facebook.  Since this change, sites like IMDb have seen traffic more than double after adding “Like” buttons to their site, while the Washington Post’s traffic has increased 290%.

Facebook is now more important than ever, and its influence is only going to grow as more websites incorporate its data into their sites. So what can you do about it?

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» Time to Get Serious About Bit.ly

bitly_logotypeIf you’re a small business owner with your eye on the ever-expanding reach of social media, odds are high you’ve heard of Bit.ly, the popular free URL shortening service. If you’re not familiar, Bit.ly is a web service that provides users who have a long URL (e.g. “http://www.weddingwire.com/vendor/VendorHome”) with a shorter URL that is easy to share (in this case, “http://bit.ly/JfPqh”).

Why is this valuable? With the rising tide of micro-blogging tools like Twitter, Facebook status updates, Google Buzz and more, web users are starting to put a premium on every single character they type.  Twitter, for example, only allows 140 characters per “Tweet”, which means if you had used our original “long” URL to share, it would have taken up over one quarter of the space you could use in your Tweet (44 characters out of 140). That means less space to get your message across to readers, which ultimately could translate to fewer customers for your business.

As a result of micro-blogging’s growing importance, URL shortening services like Bit.ly have become more relevant than ever. In the last year, Bit.ly has emerged as the web’s premier URL shortening service, shortening 40-50 millions URLs a day.  In addition, links shortened on their site this past March received over 3.4 billion clicks.  Short URLs, however, are just one part of Bit.ly’s appeal to users. The second, and possibly more valuable aspect of Bit.ly, is the service provides free comprehensive link tracking analytics so you can see how effective your links are.

Bit.ly gives you the ability to track:

  • How many people are clicking on your links,
  • When they are clicking,
  • Who is re-sharing your links,
  • What geographic location they come from, and more.

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» WeddingWire Celebrates 3 Years!

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Yeah, for us too! Three years ago, in May 2007, WeddingWire.com went live! To celebrate we had an official launch party in downtown Washington, DC. Invitations went out to about 600 local brides, and over 1,300 were in attendance. The evening was a great success, and we all knew it was a sign of good things to come.

Since then, we have helped over 10 million brides and grooms plan their wedding and have built the largest database of over 100,000 reviewed Wedding Pros across the country! We have all of you to thank for such great success.

“It’s amazing to think that 3 years ago, we were all working out of my living room! A big thanks to all of our wonderful clients who support our business and help drive our product vision and strategy.“ – WeddingWire CEO, Timothy Chi

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» The Value of Networking

Networking, whether used as a means to acquire new business or a way to stay-up-date with trends, is a powerful marketing tool for your business. The connections you make can lead to referrals and, eventually, increased business. Networking can be challenging, however, as it requires time from your already packed schedule to meet professionals and build connections. That’s why the WeddingWire Team has implemented some great features to overcome this challenge and help you efficiently and effectively build your professional network online. Here’s a quick overview:

Networking

  • Find: Use the new “Find Wedding Pros” tool to search for Wedding Pros you have worked with in the past or have met at networking events.
  • Connect: Efficiently connect with these Pros using our easy-to-use “Pros I Know” tool.
  • Endorse: Give and receive endorsements among Wedding Pros you have connected with as an additional way to market your business and showcase your expertise.
  • Grow: Meet and connect with local Wedding Pros, from photographers to florists, across the country in the Pro Forum to grow your network.

You can now access over 200,000 Wedding Pros in the WeddingWire Community in order to build your network, and use that network to reach more engaged couples! As the technology leader in the wedding industry, we are committed to providing you with the cutting-edge tools necessary to grow your business.

Let the networking begin!