» Key Ways for Your Business to Engage with Social Media

One of the most exciting and unique elements of social media is the personal experience that it provides to consumers. The ability to engage with and relate to consumers in your community is a strong benefit for local businesses. If you haven’t done so already, take advantage of this powerful (and free!) marketing opportunity by investing some time to establish and build your social brand.

Wondering how to stand out in the crowd? Follow these creative ways to use social media and see your contacts grow as you solidify yourself as a local business leader in a competitive field:

Information

One basic but important element of social media success is to make sure you’ve filled all your social media outlets out with adequate information about your business and what you do, where people can find your business, what you offer, and how to contact you (also, be sure you have completed as much information as possible on your WeddingWire storefront)! This will help to ensure that your company is easily searchable, build your SEO, and help current and potential clients to access your business easily and efficiently.

Management

To effectively use social media as business tools, it is important to spend a bit of time daily managing your accounts, pushing out interesting, relevant information, and interacting with your audiences. If you get a comment or tweet, take the time to acknowledge the user. This will help to build a relationship, and can generate positive conversation and content. If faced with a negative comment, you can acknowledge them and work to take the conversation to a private space to solve any issues.

Become a Resource

Keep engaged in your local market and industry on upcoming events, both online and live and spread awareness for events that your audience may want to attend. Sharing information on valuable events establishes you as an indispensable resource. Also, be sure to attend the events in order to keep updated on industry happenings, provide relevant event feedback and network to meet your potential clients!


Connect with other local businesses and consumers

Create an active presence online through conversations and social media. Connect with people that live locally, other wedding industry professionals, and businesses that are doing interesting things in your city or field. Keep in mind it’s important to stay locally connected and network with people even if they’re not directly related to your industry or are a potential client at this time. Check out our Pro Forums if you would like to connect with other WeddingWire Pros, pose a question to peers, or share your expertise!

For additional advice on how to creatively use social media for your business, read the full article here.

 

» Social Media Button Guide #1: Follow vs. Share

Social media is a great tool for marketing your small business. With the growing number of platforms, and the ever-changing layout and tools, it can be difficult to differentiate when to use which of the networks, and how to best share content and connect with your audience.

Hubspot created a great, comprehensive guide to understand the differences between the share and follow buttons and links for four of the top social media sites, and how to implement them on your business website and blog, which we will share with our Wedding Pro Community over the next few posts!

Follow Buttons vs. Share Buttons

The first step in understanding the nuances of all the various social media buttons is being able to differentiate between social sharing buttons/links and social media follow buttons, and identify which type of button to use.

Social Media Follow Buttons:
These buttons serve to promote your business’ presence on various social media sites and help you generate fans/followers for those particular accounts. By placing these buttons on your business’ website, you can help to create visibility for your social media accounts and easily extend your reach on the sites. You can place these buttons on your website, and we recommend at least placing these buttons on your website’s main homepage, your ‘About Us’ page, and your blog’s homepage. Buttons of note include the “Official Twitter Follow Button,” “Facebook Like Box,” “LinkedIn Company Profile Plugin,” and “Google+ Page Button”, which will be individually covered in upcoming posts in more detail.

Social Media Share Links/Buttons:
These links and buttons enable your website visitors and content viewers to easily share content that is on your site with their social media connections and networks. Adding these buttons to your content allows you to expand the reach of your content to a larger, new audience, and can generate new visitors back to your website. You should add social media sharing links/buttons to every piece of content you create, including landing pages, web pages, individual blog articles, and email content. The “Official Tweet Button,” “Tweet This Link,” “Facebook Like Button,” “Facebook Share Link,” “LinkedIn Share Button,” “+1 Button,” and “Google+ Share Link” all serve as social media sharing buttons.

Next post, we will share the social media button breakdown specifically for twitter!

» HOW TO: Use the Pro Forums

WeddingWire Pro Forums allow wedding industry professionals to connect with one another, pose questions and share valuable tips and information.

Interested in learning more? Access the Pro Forums and take a look around by following these simple steps:

  • Login to your account
  • Click on the Pro Forums tab
  • Review forums by clicking Recent Posts, New Discussions or Most Popular tabs directly under the Pro Forums tab in the top left-hand corner
  • To start a conversation, click the Start a Discussion button on the top right-hand corner

Forums are organized so you can easily browse by category or use the search option on the right to find discussions about a specific topic.

Additionally, you can browse Wedding Forums by clicking the tab on the left of the screen, and leave comments and advice to engaged couples’ questions.

You can keep track of your participation in forums by clicking the My Activity tab to the left of the Pro Forums tab. Here, your discussions, comments and any comments that you have left in the Wedding Forums are tracked.

Forums great way to stay up to date on industry news, make connections with other professionals, ask questions to get an outside point of view and share your own expertise!

» Inside WeddingWire: Meetings Galore!

Continuing our new ‘A Look Inside WeddingWire‘ series, take a sneak peak into our meeting yesterday. The WeddingWire Marketing Team had an Email and Analytics lunch and learn with our resident Email Specialist and Customer Acquisition Specialist. Here we are diving into Google Analytics and reporting:

» Google’s New Search Results

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘Google’s New Search Results’ as part of our monthly webinar series. Each one hour webinar for upgraded WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This week Sonny helped listeners learn:

  • Details about recent Google search algorithm changes
  • Why Google+ does or doesn’t matter
  • How to optimize your business’ content and social interaction
  • What you need to do to ensure potential clients easily find them online

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. Stay tuned for our next webinar in March!

» Top 5 Free Online Tools to Help Run Your Business

At WeddingWire, we are always looking for new and effective tools to help companies run as smoothly as possible. From finances to surveys, see below for some of our favorite free tools to help you stay organized, engaged with your audience and on top of your business!

Mint.com

Mint.com is a great online tool for financial management. You can sync your expenses, bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more to keep track of your spending, funds and budgets. Mint automatically categorizes your transactions and keeps you updated on how you are spending, as well as providing assistance to set your budget and savings goals.

Evernote

Evernote is a virtual notepad service that enables you to save, organize and share notes, images and ideas for future use. You can keep your notes in organized categories,  and they can be shared  with others. You quickly and easily can access Evernote from your computer, internet browser, and mobile application from your smartphone or tablet.

HootSuite

HootSuite is a tool designed to help you manage your social networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Simultaneously, you can track your followers, mentions and personal accounts all in one place, in real time. Multiple team members can manage the social media accounts, without having to share passwords and login information. You can also tweet and post directly from HootSuite, so no need to go back and forth between your accounts or miss any important mentions! HootSuite conveniently allows you to schedule outgoing messages, so you don’t always have to be online to be posting relevant information and connecting with your audience.

Prezi

Prezi is a dynamic web-based powerpoint presentation tool designed to create a more engaging presentation experience. Self described as “a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides,” this tool is perfect for a creative presentation. You are able to add in multimedia features to highlight your business or show video from a recent event which adds color and personality to your presentation. Prezi is an “idea” based blank canvas, so you are not limited to traditional slides. The tool compiles all your ideas, which enables you to organize and control the direction of the slideshow.

SurveyMonkey

Looking for quick feedback on a recent event or interested in conducting business research from your clients? SurveyMonkey is an easy to use tool that enables you to create quick, customized surveys online that you can distribute and track results in real time. SurveyMonkey also provides convenient tools to help you analyze your results such as charts and filters.

 

Have you used any of these tools for your business? Are there any other free online tools that you would suggest? We would love to hear from you!

» Tips for Effective Time Management



One of the keys of small business success is effective time management. In the busy, chaotic and often small team wedding industry, time management is critical. Between balancing multiple events per weekend in the busy seasons, to working long and unusual hours to create the perfect experience for your clients, it can be very difficult to balance your time.

If you struggle with time management, check out our helpful tips and feel free to comment with any feedback or recommendations of your own to share with the Wedding Pro community!

Take Time to Reflect

No matter how busy you may be at any given time, it is important to set aside time both daily and weekly to reflect on your goals, workload and priorities. Spending one hour at a designated time a week can help you lay out your strategic plan to move your projects and business forward. Spending 10 minutes daily to review your weekly priorities and projects can help to give focus to your day, and avoid falling behind by simply reacting to items that will undoubtedly arise. Allowing yourself this “quiet time” will help to keep you organized, focused and can help calm workload stress. We recommend setting the time reoccurring on your work calendar every week so it doesn’t get overlooked.

Personalize Your Schedule

Notice when you are most productive and try to plan your schedule accordingly. What is the most effective time of the day for you to do your creative work, meet clients and respond to emails? This is not the same for everyone, so try different approaches to see what works best for you and create a schedule. If you do your best work in the morning, set that time aside for your daily tasks and projects. If you need afternoon breaks, use that time to meet with clients. Do you enjoy looking for inspiration when you finally have some time to relax? Sundays can be the perfect time to catch up on your favorite blogs and boards while enjoying your morning coffee. Also, setting aside specific times daily to reply to email helps to avoid your time getting caught up in the reactive. Work to use these designated times to respond to all non-urgent emails.

Continue reading

» Top Creative Facebook Posting Tips for Your Business

Are you searching for ways to take your Facebook engagement to the next level but are worried about generating enough creative content? Explore using the following types of posts that have proven to drive interaction and keep your followers interested in your brand.

Images
Photos, pictures and video clips are popular with followers and fans! Additionally, the wedding community loves to see creative and inspiring examples of your work, and what better way to display your talent and promote your business?

Ask Questions or Play a “Game”
Popular ways to increase community engagement include posing a question to your followers or a fill-in-the-blank “game.” For example, you could ask “What is your favorite part of a wedding?” or “My best piece advice to newlyweds is ______.” You may be surprised by your number of responses and the interesting conversation that stems from these games! Participate by sharing your opinions, driving conversation to the next level and, of course, and thanking your followers for their thoughts.

Personality
Humanize your business page to your followers! Work to generate interest by sharing event or style tips, favorite things, emerging trends and industry news. Show the person behind the brand by sending messages of thanks when you reach milestone goals, wishing your followers happy holidays and replying to people who post. This interaction builds a friendship with your community while providing valuable content. It is important to not use your page to purely push marketing and sales, as followers are quick to disengage with social media sites if they feel the brands are being overly promotional.

For additional creative Facebook positing ideas, read more here.

» Washington Post Live’s What Works Recap

We wanted to share a few photos and thoughts from today’s Washington Post Live panel discussion, Ideas and Innovation, featuring DARPA Director Dr. Regina Dugan, Google VP of Research and Special Initiatives Alfred Spector, WeddingWire CEO Timothy Chi,  and Moderator, Mary Jordan (Editor, Washington Post Live). The three discussed a range of topics applicable to small and large businesses alike and how urgency often inspires greater innovation. Jordan posed the question, what one phrase or mantra do you keep on your desk and try to keep in mind during your day. The answers?

 “We don’t encourage failure. We discourage the fear of failure.”

–  Dr. Regina Dugan,  Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

“Try very hard to say ‘yes’.”

– Alfred Spector, Google

“And if you’re going to fail, fail fast.”

–  Timothy Chi, WeddingWire

 

While there were many takeaways from such an intelligent and experienced panel of speakers, some key things to consider and apply to your business:

1. Urgency inspires greater innovation.

2. A team increases the likelihood of success.

3. Innovation isn’t always a linear process.

 

Photos thanks to Ralph Alswang Photography

 

» Congrats to Our Business Insight Survey Winner!

We are pleased to announce our most recent WeddingWire Pro winner: Stephen Cihanek of Stephen Cihanek Photography!

Congratulations to Stephen for winning a free Kindle Fire as the lucky winner from our giveaway as thank you for participation in our Business Insight survey, featured in the January WeddingWire Pros newsletter.

As the leading wedding technology company, we want to better understand your business needs! The Business Insight Survey was designed to address the following questions: What are the top areas where you need assistance? How do you convert your prospects to booked clients? How do you get photos of your work?

Thank you to all who participated; we appreciate your time and feedback!

» American Competitiveness: What Works

Join us on Tuesday, February 14 as WeddingWire’s CEO, Timothy Chi, participates in Washington Post Live’s (the live journalism division of The Washington Post) 4-day summit (Feb. 13-16), American Competitiveness: What Works.  Tim will be among local and national innovators, leaders and executives from Google, JetBlue and Honest Tea, discussing forward-thinking in American Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, and Workforce, Veterans and Reservists.

If you’re in the area, start your Valentine’s Day with us at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium to observe Tim’s panel discussion, Ideas and Innovation, with Dr. Regina Dugan (Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Alfred Spector (VP of Research and Special Initiatives, Google) and Moderator, Mary Jordan (Editor, Washington Post Live). If you can’t make it in person, we encourage you to join the conversation via live stream, available here on Tuesday.

Click here for more information and to register. Registration is free but, space is limited.