» WeddingWire Happy Hour North Jersey

Yesterday we were excited to be in North Jersey for another WeddingWire Happy Hour! Members of the WeddingWire team gathered at The Chart House, in Weehawken, with Wedding Pros from the North Jersey area. Similarly to our past WeddingWire Happy Hour events in Philadelphia, San Diego and Richmond, North Jersey Wedding Pros had the opportunity to mix and mingle with other local Pros across all service categories and listen to brief remarks by Sonny Ganguly, CMO, WeddingWire.

A special thanks to:

The Chart House for the gorgeous space with amazing views!
SCE Event Group for the wonderful music, entertainment and lighting!
My Daughter’s Cakes for their delicious treats!
Daniel J Photography for capturing the highlights from the event seen below!

Want to keep the conversation going? Visit this thread on our Pro Forums to connect with those you met or missed at the event!


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» Social Media Guide #4: LinkedIn

Next, in our blog post series breaking down Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide for Creating Social Media Buttons is LinkedIn. With over 150 million members, it is important for your business to create a presence on the world’s largest professional network.  LinkedIn’s social media buttons are described below:

LinkedIn Company Profile Plugin

What It’s For: Like Facebook’s one-click Like Box and Twitter’s one-click Follow Button, LinkedIn’s Company Profile Plugin serves as a follow button for your business’ LinkedIn Company Page. Installing it on your website will allow visitors to follow your company on LinkedIn with just one click, enabling you to generate more followers for your LinkedIn Company Page and expand the reach of the content you share through your LinkedIn Company Status Updates.

How to Implement It: Build your Company Profile Plugin by visiting https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/company-profile-plugin, entering your company name, and selecting your desired display mode. Further customize based on your preferences, and grab the code to embed the plugin onto your site.

LinkedIn Share Button

What It’s For: Adding LinkedIn’s Share Button to your website, blog, and landing page content enables visitors to easily share it with their connections on LinkedIn. Like Facebook’s Like Button and Twitter’s Tweet Button, incorporating this button can help extend the reach of your content to the LinkedIn audience and drive traffic back to your site.

How to Implement It: To create and install this button, visit https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/share-button, specify the URL you want to generate traffic to, and choose your button’s style. Then generate your code and add the HTML to your site where you want the button to display.

To view all of LinkedIn’s official social media plugins in one place, visit:  https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins.

Check out our previous entries in the Social Media Button Guide series: follow vs. share buttons, twitter and Facebook.

» Fuse Online and Offline Marketing Techniques

In order to make the most of your business’ marketing reach, it can be helpful to fuse traditional marketing techniques with some of today’s online tools. With the exponential growth of websites being accessed through mobile and tablet devices, it is more important than ever before to manage your online accounts and usability. Now is a great time to incorporate more unique marketing techniques to make your business stand out!

See the examples below of fusing online and offline marketing techniques to improve your business’ visibility, and read more about the topic on Hubspot.

Create a Call-To-Action

Give your client a reason to interact with your business with a compelling call-to-action. A great tool to connect from print or an in-person interaction at industry events to your web presence is the use of QR (Quick Response) codes. QR codes give mobile users instant access to your business and client reviews.

QR Codes

Clients and the public can learn more about your business through QR codes. Easily scan QR codes by using a downloaded QR code Reader App for your mobile phone, and taking a screenshot of the QR code image. It will then lead directly to the website or information linked to the QR code.

WeddingWire creates a free, personalized QR code for all vendors, located on the My Dashboard and My Reviews section of your WeddingWire account.  This personalized QR Code lets potential customers instantly learn more about your business and read your reviews by visiting a mobile version of your WeddingWire Storefront using their mobile phone.

Display this QR code on your website or blog so customers can use their phones to quickly access your Storefront and read your reviews!  To access your QR code:

  • Log In to your WeddingWire account
  • Locate your personalized QR code on the My Dashboard or My Reviews section of your WeddingWire account
  • Right click on your personalized bar code and save the image to your computer
  • Place the image in the desired location of your blog or website

Additionally, you can print your personalized QR code poster to display at your business and special events for an easily scan-able display piece!

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» Google’s New Search Results #3: Google+

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

Google+

If you haven’t already created a Google+ profile, now is the time to do it! Released in June 2011, Google+ is the driving force behind these new search results. While the growth of Google+ has been slow up to this point, their new social network will continue to play a role in the future of the world’s largest search engine.

To create a Google+ profile, first sign up for a Google Mail (Gmail) or a Google account and sync your social networks with Google search for a more personalized search experience and recommendations. As Google continues the rollout of these changes to users, we will continue to see growth and personalization of search results. Don’t be surprised if you see Facebook launch their own search results in the future to compete more directly with Google.

As a wedding professional, if a client reviewed your services or liked your website, when their friends or acquaintances search your business may be pulled to the top of their personalized search! Even if your business website may not be listed in traditional search results until page 3 or 4, you could bump up to the top based on these personal connections.  That makes “Search Plus Your World” potentially very powerful, but we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

Google is constantly working to review your site, optimize its search, and discover new avenues to connect its users with the best content on the web. By understanding how Google Search works, maintaining fresh content on your website and recognizing the importance of social activity, your business will be well prepared for the future of search!

Read more about Google’s recent Panda update focused on new ways to determine search rankings based on the quality of content, and the future of personalized search!

» Join the ISS Experience in North Carolina!

WeddingWire understands the power of education so we’re eager to share this special opportunity coming to North Carolina! The ISS Experience is kicking off the 2012 Tour in Durham, NC on April 23-24, 2012. Come and experience 2 days full of exciting networking opportunities and inspirational and educational seminars designed specifically for wedding industry entrepreneurs.

Register today and you will have the opportunity to learn from experts like Preston Bailey, Stacie Francombe and more! Details include:

  • How to make money during A Conversation with Preston Bailey
  • How to brand or rebrand your business
  • Proven techniques for getting published
  • How to get on TV and its effect on your brand
  • How to use social media to book more business
  • Key strategies for running a successful business

Register by tomorrow to save $100! Space is limited so sign up today!

Click here to learn more!

» Today’s Wired Bride

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘Today’s Wired Bride’ 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:

  • How to effectively reach your desired customers
  • What are recent trends and statistics about the virtual bride
  • How to stand out among your competition
  • What tools you can leverage to maximize your business

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

» Google’s New Search Results #2: Search Gets Personal

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

Search Gets Personal

Google recently unveiled its newest endeavor called “Search Plus Your World” this January.  This new adjustment focuses on personalizing search results to include a mixture of personal results along with standard search results. “Search Plus Your World” represents quite possibly the largest change ever made to how Google’s search results are displayed.  It is a strong indicator of the future of search engines, with the big idea being that People Matter. 

The update is focused around four primary features:

  • Includes photos from you and your friends in search results
  • Content from your connections on Google+, Google’s social network
  • People’s profiles in search results, which is similar to Facebook people search
  • Related people and pages as you search, which bears some resemblance to twitter

“Search Plus Your World” provides users with a toggle to see results that are based on Google’s algorithm as before or a new button to shift to personalized results. Based on your previous interests and friends’ interests, Google will provide personalized results for whatever you may search for. For example, if you were to type in “best restaurants in Miami” your typical search results will pull back popular restaurants with their ratings and reviews.  With the new changes, you will have the ability to get personalized results for the “best restaurants in Miami,” which would include any reviews from your friends or pictures from when they dined at a restaurant.

In the future, when you ask a search engine to tell you the “best movie playing”, it won’t give you an answer based on popularity or box office results.  Rather, you will get recommendations that are more based on your social graph and what movies your friends, family and like-minded people enjoyed.  “Search Plus Your World” combines Google’s algorithm with the social world, and it has taken some of those cues from Facebook and twitter.  In the next two years, expect search results to become more tied to social networks and activity.  Why? Because people and their connections matter!

Read more about Google’s recent Panda update focused on new ways to determine search rankings based on the quality of content, and check back soon to for insight on the impact and future of Google+!

» Google’s New Search Results #1: The Giant Panda

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

It’s no surprise that Google is the largest search engine in the world, with approximately 65% of the US Search Engine Market Share.  It leads the other “big three” search engines by a large majority, with Bing and Yahoo! having roughly 15% market share each. Getting top ranking on Google search has to be a priority for your business.

What you may not know is that Google is constantly updating its search algorithm to screen for the best search results for its users. So even if you have strong SEO rankings, your results may vary over time based on these updates.  Over the past year Google has made significant changes to its search algorithm that changes how results are displayed.  In order to improve your SEO rankings in the future, you need to be aware of two recent updates called “Panda” and “Search Plus Your World.”

 

 

The Giant Panda

Google released a large update called “Panda” in 2011, which focused largely on new ways to determine search rankings based on the quality of content. Many sites with dated content saw their results decline sharply soon after the updates, while sites with high quality content saw strong improvement.  The Panda update emphasized 3 key elements:

  1. Freshness of content
  2. Content depth and corresponding traffic
  3. Quantity of advertisements on websites

As wedding professionals, it is important to understand how Google rates your websites and how you can improve rankings over time.  Remember: Content Matters!

Freshness of Content

The more frequently your content is updated, the more interesting Google finds your site! Updating the content on your website or blog reminds Google’s robots to crawl your site often and subsequently boost your search results listing. When content is stagnant, Google returns less frequently, and your site may lose relevance.  In essence, the search engine robots are a bit lazy!  It takes frequent content updates to remind them to come back and visit your site.

Content updates do not have to be a large undertaking.  You don’t have to re-design your site or adjust the basic web copy. What we want to do is create an area on your site where content is more dynamic vs. static.  In fact, creating fresh content can be easy! Here are some of the ways we create content:

  • Creating a blog and posting at least a couple times per week, preferably once per day.  We suggest using WordPress to build your blog.
  • Adding your blog as a navigation item on your main website.  This will give your main website a big boost in freshness!
  • Adding social media buttons and enabling sharing of content from your site.
  • Adding photos and videos to your site from your recent weddings.
  • Creating press releases to highlight new accomplishments.
  • Getting new ratings and reviews from past clients.

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Austin

This past Monday was our WeddingWire Networking Night Austin at the Lakeway Resort & Spa. Similar to past events in Philadelphia, Miami, New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Raleigh, Seattle and Dallas, local Wedding Pros had the opportunity to mix and mingle with other area Pros across all service categories. Additionally, we provided a bit of education to help grow your business from WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, who presented on upcoming Social and Mobile trends.

We would like to take a minute to thank the wonderful Wedding Pros who helped make the event possible:

Congratulations to our drawing winner, Jason Buck from Spinning Leaf Films! Jason will receive a WeddingWire prize pack and HD flip video camera. 

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» Social Media Guide #3: Facebook

The next featured tool in our overview of Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide for Creating Social Media Buttons is Facebook.  Learn more about how to effectively use Facebook’s Like and Share buttons to promote your business!

Facebook Like Box

What It’s For: Like Twitter’s Official Follow Button, the Facebook Like Box enables your business to promote its Facebook business page on your website/blog, highlight other users who have already liked your page, and feature recent posts on your page. The box also allows visitors to become a fan of (AKA ‘like’) your Facebook business page with just one simple click without leaving your site, enabling you to promote your Facebook presence and easily increase your page’s fan count.

How to Implement It: To generate a Facebook Like Box for your website, visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like-box/. Include the URL for your Facebook business page as well as your customization preferences. Then generate the HTML code, and place it on your website where you want it to appear.

Facebook Like Button

What It’s For: Facebook’s Like button is basically a button that enables visitors to easily give a virtual thumbs up to your content. By clicking the Like button, a story also appears on the user’s Facebook profile and in their friends’ News Feed with a link back to your web page, whether it’s a blog post or a specific landing page. Use this button to make it easy for visitors to endorse your content and share it with their Facebook connections.

How to Implement It: Visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/ to customize your Like button and grab the code to place on your website.

 

 

 

Facebook Share Link

What It’s For: While Facebook no longer supports its official Facebook Share button and has officially replaced it with the Like button, there are still some valuable use cases for implementing a Facebook share link on your content, and it’s not difficult to do. While the Like button does automatically share content to the user’s profile and get displayed in their friends’ News Feeds, the button still doesn’t enable users to add a comment or message to the content they’re liking. Creating your own Facebook share links provides your visitors with the option to customize their messaging around the content they’re sharing. These links can then be added to web pages, blog articles, landing pages, or within content like ebooks/whitepapers.

How to Implement It: To create your own Facebook share link, replace the red highlighted URL with the URL of the content you want to promote. Then link the full URL to the anchor text you want to appear in your content.

http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http://bit.ly/vOKpgC

Interested in learning more about what Facebook offers? Review all of Facebook’s official social media plugins in one place: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/.

For additional posts in our Social Media Button Guide series, we gave an overview of follow vs. share buttons, and twitter. Also, be sure to check back for overviews of LinkedIn and Google+!

» Inside WeddingWire: Meet Our New Editor, Kim!

WeddingWire Headquarters has been a very busy place lately, and we are thrilled that our team has been growing quickly. We are happy to introduce one of our latest additions, Kim Forrest!

Kim has joined the WeddingWire team as an editor, bringing years of wedding editorial experience and industry passion to our team. As an editor, Kim will be creating content for WeddingWire and EventWire, with a particular focus on bridal fashion and Real Weddings.

After her first week at WeddingWire, this self-described “wedding nerd” reports that she loves the high-energy and helpful team, our huge computer monitors, and the ample supplies of food wherever she turns (I have to admit, I agree with all three)! She is particularly excited about covering bridal markets in Chicago and New York and reporting back on all the newest wedding dress trends to our WeddingWire communities.

Before joining WeddingWire, Kim worked for our network partner, Brides.com as well as Brides Local Magazines where she specialized in bridal fashion and covered leading bridal markets. Kim has also served as the associate bridal editor at Washingtonian Bride & Groom Magazine and Washingtonian.com. This New York native attended Williams College and has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Kim is obsessed with reading and writing about weddings. In fact, she has almost 200 blogs on her Google Reader! She loves talking to both brides and vendors from all over the country about what’s new in the industry, and is particularly passionate about the creative aspect of wedding planning. If any Wedding Pros have an idea of a blog post or topic for WeddingWire, she would love to hear from you!

Welcome, Kim!