» What’s Next in Social Media: September 2013

What's Next in Social Media

What's Next in Social Media: September 2013Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next!

Here’s what you need to know for social media news and updates from September 2013!

Facebook Plays with Auto-Play

Facebook is testing videos that play automatically on mobile, similar to how Vine and Instagram default their videos. The videos will be silent when they appear in a user’s newsfeed, but have the option to be expanded and un-muted when clicked.

This option will only be available for individual users during the test, but Facebook said it would “explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.” The social network is taking it slowly when developing this feature, as it would dramatically change the user experience.

In addition to users showing off videos with auto-play, Facebook is planning on offering this functionality to advertisers. This means ads would play automatically as well, stopping only when the user scrolls past them in the newsfeed.

Read more details on TechCrunch >

Twitter’s Next Major Upgrade

Twitter is planning its next move in the wake of its IPO announcement – a complete overhaul of its mobile apps. Twitter is trying to tap into the highly-engaging visual content that Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have already adopted.

The new design will enhance the visual experience for users, most notably adding a photo stream. The traditional four tabs at the bottom of the app’s screen will also be replaced with swiping functionality to get to the different streams. The Twitter feed we all know and love will stay, as well as the Interactions stream, with a few tweaks.

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» Collect Reviews to Stand Out for Engagement Season!

Collect Reviews to Stand Out for Engagement Season!On your website and WeddingWire Storefront you have a ton of space to describe how excellent you are at what you do, but what others have to say about you is becoming more and more important for engaged couples. Today, 95% of engaged couples use online reviews to select their vendors, meaning that it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what your customers are saying!

Reviews, ratings and referrals all play an important role in your ability to get more business. A client sharing his or her positive feedback with other couples searching for their wedding professionals online is very valuable for your online reputation, and so you should make collecting reviews a high priority.

Check out some of the reasons why reviews are important:

  • Create consumer trust with reviews. Consumers are typically less trustful of messages coming directly from a business than they are of messages from peers – 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations! Build trust with your potential customers by showcasing the great things others have to say about you.
  • Show off consistency in work with more reviews. Seeing that other couples are all saying the same good things about you helps other couples to know what they’re getting into by hiring you! They’ll be more likely to choose you over a company with mixed or negative reviews.
  • Increase your number of inquiries with reviews. The more great reviews you have, the more likely you are to be chosen by engaged couples. In fact, average Storefront traffic increases 106% for wedding professionals with 11-20 reviews!
  • Make purchase decisions easier for engaged couples by giving them all the information they need in one place. Engaged couples already using WeddingWire can search for your business and find examples of your work, an explanation of your services, your contact information and your reviews all in one place! This makes it easier for them to make decisions since they don’t have to search multiple sites to find out about you.
  • Easily monitor and manage your online reputation. You’ll be notified every time you receive a review, so it’s easy to monitor what everyone is saying. Remember to thank all your reviewers for taking the time to share their opinions! Even if you receive a less-than-positive review, leaving a constructive and friendly reply will show others that you stand behind your service!

Why should you start collecting reviews right now? Continue reading

» Engaging Your Audience with Curated Content

Engaging Your Social Audience with Curated ContentWhether you’re new to social media or a seasoned pro, every brand inevitably hits it: the content wall. You know you need to be posting on all your social properties several times a week (or several times a day in the case of Twitter), but just how many times can you alter the same, “Check out today’s post!” messaging? If you’re struggling to keep your queue topped off, curated content may be the answer.

What is curated content? Simply, it is sharing great content from a trusted, reputable resource (with appropriate attribution and links!), on your social networks, blogs or site.

Before you go there, we know it’s somewhat counter-intuitive – why would you post someone else’s content? While you always want to position yourself as an industry expert, that doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself as a resource for your social audience and the wedding and/or events industry at large.

To get you started with your content curation strategy, here are four reasons you should take the plunge!

  • Curating content from industry leaders and/or communities makes you a resource. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing that someone in your industry knows a lot about the way your industry works. In fact, sharing other people’s knowledge helps establish you as a resource in your community. As an aggregator of interesting and helpful content, your audience will value your level expertise and perceive you as constantly “in the know.” Even better, your audience will also value your point of view more when you do post original content, as your business is seen to have a finger on the pulse of the industry!
  • Curating content from industry leaders and/or communities builds relationships. The biggest concern for businesses that choose to curate content is that they’re worried about being perceived as plagiarists – a concern that can easily be absolved by always linking to the original article/post and giving due credit. The benefit of following this golden rule is that you’re bound to get some attention from your sources. They’ll be happy you’re sharing your content because, well, who wouldn’t want free publicity?! They’ll most likely thank you for sharing (if they’re polite) and remember you later. If you’re diligent, the relationships you build on social media can carry over into the offline world in the form of referrals!
  • Curating content from friendly firms and partners enhances both of your networks. You’re likely to have a few friends in the industry (hello, WeddingWire!), or partners with whom you’ve worked a few events. They’d love a shout out! Not only will this deepen your relationship with a given business, they’re also likely to reciprocate. This can help grow both your audiences if you’re in the same vertical, as well as help you cross-sell for each other! You can never go wrong with showing your friends some love.
  • Curating content provides a break from posting the same content over and over. If you’re posting your own sales-y content every day, your social media properties are going to quickly lose steam. If a person or company wants to know about your products/services specifically, they can always visit your website. You’ll need to provide some other value in order to gain and keep your social media fans. By providing your fans with a mix of your own content and other content relevant to their needs, you’ll not only get them to your page, but you’ll also keep them there.

Sharing other businesses’ content can provide your business with a wealth of benefits – social media audience growth, engagement, and retention to name a few. The relationships you build on social media properties are similar to those cultivated at networking events in that you’re growing your network of fans and brand advocates that will lead to more happy customers.

While we’re on the subject of social media thought leaders – head over to our Facebook page and be sure to follow us on Twitter for helpful tips for wedding industry pros!

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» Wedding PR: Dealing with Unhappy Clients

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding PR, please contact us today.

One of the biggest benefits of real wedding submissions is being able to share the good news of a feature with a former client.  It can be the proverbial cherry on the sundae if you already had a fantastic relationship with them!

Sometimes, however, you will find yourself in the midst of an unhappy bride or groom – whether it be because of unwanted attention or the media placement of the actual submission.

There are ways to handle this scenario, but the first question you need to ask yourself is how can this situation be avoided? Very simply put –prepare, prepare, prepare.  Make sure your contract cites that you may use images and information from the wedding for marketing and public relations services.  If you’re working with a couple that is particularly visible in their community, consider running the idea by them once again just for good measure.  This will be your best line of defense if you run into a “well I didn’t know you submitted weddings” situation.

Additionally, gather all of the information you need prior to the wedding so that you don’t need to involve them in the submission process at all. This allows you to avoid having to discuss your intentions or worse, feeling pressured to reroute your submission due to their wishes.  If they do know your intentions to submit, keep their expectations reasonable and do not guarantee that the wedding will be picked up. There are far too many variables outside of your control to be able to do so.

Furthermore, I would strongly urge you to not submit weddings of particularly difficult or press hungry brides. There is no media mention worth it in the world if it means you have to continue staying in contact with a former client that you’d rather just file under “glad their wedding day has come and gone.”

So what if you still have an unhappy client on your hands?  Honesty will always be your best policy.

Respond to them promptly and with a phone call, if possible.  If they are unhappy that they were featured, then assure her in the most sincere way possible that you had nothing but good intentions and were thrilled to see that an Editor loved the wedding as much as you did. If they are unhappy with the placement itself, you can potentially encourage her to resubmit to her favored media outlet, as long as she has permission from the photographer and includes a mention in the submission that the wedding has been featured elsewhere.

Ultimately, a real wedding feature is almost always going to be cause for celebration. In the unlikely event that you face push back from your bride, keep your chin up and the above tips in mind.

» Gearing up for Wedding MBA 2013!

Wedding MBA

WeddingWire is excited to attend and present for the 6th consecutive year at the Wedding Merchant Business Academy (MBA) convention next week in Las Vegas!

Wedding MBA is the nation’s largest educational event dedicated to the business side of the wedding industry. Each year, Will and Patti Hegarty bring together wedding industry specialists to provide expert advice and tips for all types of wedding professionals.

This year, WeddingWire will be sharing our expertise on a variety of topics in four sessions:

1. Tuesday, 11:00am – Star Tech Generation: Boldly Go Where No Tech Has Gone Before

WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly and CEO Timothy Chi detail the latest emerging technologies and their growing importance in our daily lives.

2. Tuesday, 5:00pm – Planet of the Apps: How to Tame the Mobile Jungle

Sonny shares his secret mobile tips to help you embrace your mobile future.

3. Wednesday, 5:00pmWhy Clients Buy: How to Develop, Manage and Succeed

Boost your business reputation with our advice for developing stronger relationships with your customers and effectively managing your client interactions.

4. Thursday, 11:00am – Your Playbook for Success: Take Home the Winning Strategies for Your Business

Join Sonny to learn how you can be your business’ MVP using a variety of tools to market your business and reach your desired clients.

Also look out for WeddingWire Education Expert Alan Berg, who kicks off the first seminar on Tuesday and closes out the conference with the last seminar on Thursday.

Finally, be sure to stop by our booth (6104)  to chat with WeddingWire experts for one-on-one account support  and to get some fun swag items. Additionally, stop by one of our three Power Stations and charge up your devices during the day!

Want to receive mobile text updates about our sessions, resources and swag from the conference? Text WMBA to 69979 to opt-in to our SMS messages! (Standard messaging rates apply.)

Can’t wait to see many Pros next week in Vegas for Wedding MBA 2013!

» Inside WeddingWire: Activate!

The WeddingWire team works hard all year long to make sure we are providing you with the best resources, tools, customer service and more to power your business, and provide couples planning their wedding with the tools and resources they need to make their planning process easy and fun.

Our team thinks that it is important to come together and celebrate our accomplishments periodically throughout the year – and we have team celebrations to look forward to each season.

This September, we held our second annual WeddingWire Activate, a day of fun for the WeddingWire staff and families at a local park to enjoy the outdoors before the weather cools off!

Highlights from the day included:

  • A dunk tank where everyone got a chance to soak their favorite Exec team members
  • Facepainting and other fun games and activities
  • Lots of great food and drinks
  • Photobooth fun with friends and family (by DC Photobooth)

Check out some photos, below!

Interested in our other celebrations? Review posts from past events – Collaborate, our off-site of team-building in Annapolis, Maryland, and Celebrate, our annual holiday party!

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Activate family fun

» Common Mistakes in Real Wedding Submissions

Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more.

The editorial team and I peruse dozens of real wedding submissions each and every day and often encounter issues that make photos – even those of clearly beautiful weddings – difficult or impossible for us to publish. Here are some of the most common “mistakes” that we wanted to share to hopefully help make your submissions stronger and rack up those publication credits.

Just a note before we get started – these are just some common themes and I speak only from my experience at publications I have worked for. All publications are different, so be sure to read their specific instructions before sending along a submission (here are our guidelines for WeddingWire and Project Wedding, in case you’re interested).

Common Mistakes in Real Wedding SubmissionsMistake #1: Too Many Black & White Images
Yes, black & white photography is classic, artistic, and frequently stunning. However, a blog wants to show a wedding’s color scheme to help inspire its readers. So while a few carefully chosen black & white images can be a lovely addition to a submission, keep the majority of your images in color.

Mistake #2: Not Enough Details
Again, a real wedding is all about inspiring readers – and readers want to see details, and lots of them! Send photos of the cake, the floral arrangements, the escort cards, the favors, and on and on. Blogs can only show a few couple portraits, so put the focus of your submission on the details – and make sure they are photographed clearly, individually, and straight-on.

Mistake #3: No Solo Shots
All too frequently, we receive real weddings that only feature photos of the couple together with no images of a bride and/or groom solo. Readers want to be inspired by a bride’s hair or makeup, or a groom’s style – so be sure to include solo shots (as well as close-ups of hairstyles for the brides) in your submission.

Mistake #4: Too Many Horizontal Photos
Publications need to receive a mix of horizontal and vertical photos to create a visually-appealing layout. Vertical images also look and perform better on Pinterest, which is a major source of traffic for most sites.

Mistake #5: Night Photos
If you’re photographing details, try to get photos during the day rather than at night. It’s so important for details to be well-lit in order to capture the interest of readers. Continue reading

» Announcing the 2013 WeddingWire FallBook

2013 WeddingWire FallBookWe are so excited to share our 2013 WeddingWire FallBook, the look book we create seasonally with the latest trends, real wedding inspiration, fashion and more

This year’s FallBook is focused on décor – everything from centerpieces to stationary. Read up on expert advice and draw inspiration from any of the five real weddings included. There’s plenty to discover on a variety of wedding-related features, but we’ve listed a few below!

  • Take our beauty quiz to find your best hair and makeup looks
  • Check out the latest in wedding fashion and see our suggested styling tips
  • Upload a photo of yourself and test the results with our new WeddingWire Makeover Tool
  • Take a sneak peek at some exciting new WeddingWire features on the way
  • And much more!

We’ve made this year’s edition of the FallBook super easy to share – so please do! Whether you’re passing along the whole book to your clients or pinning some of the most inspiring images to your own boards, we’ve got you covered.

We hope this issue will provide you and your clients with unique ideas and endless inspiration. Check out the full WeddingWire FallBook and let us know what you think!

» Best Practices to Stand Out with Reviews

Webinar Recap!

Best Practices to Stand Out with ReviewsYesterday, we held our monthly educational webinar, focused on showcasing your business expertise through reviews! WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, along with several WeddingWire Pros who have collected over 100 Reviews, detailed their top tips and strategies to build a strong reputation.

In the fast-paced and competitive wedding and events industry, reviews, ratings and referrals all play an important role in your ability to get more business. Today, 95% of engaged couples use online reviews to select their vendors. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to what your customers are saying, see the value in sharing their feedback with other couples searching for their wedding professionals online, and actively work to build up your reviews.

Below are some of the most interesting takeaways from this month’s webinar:

  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Collecting feedback about your business should be part of your sales cycle
  • Feedback can come in the form of reviews, endorsements, testimonials, and social sharing
  • The magic number of reviews for consumers is 11 or more
  • Average traffic increases 106% for wedding pros with 11-20 reviews
  • Consumers look at the quality, quantity, recency, and consistency of your reviews
  • The biggest obstacle to receiving reviews is not asking!

Finally, remember should you receive a less than perfect review (which is bound to happen from time to time for all Pros), keep your cool, take the high road and be polite – other couples will see your reaction!

Ready for more education or want to watch this webinar in its entirety? All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar!

» WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Indianapolis!

Yesterday afternoon, Wedding Pros gathered at the Skyline Club Indianapolis for WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Indianapolis!

At the Mix & Mingle, Pros from the Indianapolis area had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief educational presentation by WeddingWire’s Senior Brand Manager, Kate Hoffman. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including Kate’s educational presentation, the WeddingWire Education Guide, and great photos from the evening (as seen below).

We would like to say a special thank you to the great event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, congrats to Julie Davis of Your Budget Catering, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

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» The Importance of Twitter for Your Business

Debating if you want to jump on the Twitter bandwagon or have you let your Twitter account become inactive? With a near 200 million people using Twitter every day; you may want to take a look at some of the reasons why iMarketing Factor makes the case for how important it is to use Twitter for your business!

  • Twitter helps you connect to your customers: Since so many people are on and joining Twitter daily, it is a good place to look for those future customers and connect with them.
  • Twitter helps you build relationships: Once you have a following on Twitter it’s important to keep them engaged with useful or helpful tweets. Make sure you don’t too much in a certain time frame of they could end up as spam.
  • Use Twitter to create brand awareness: If you’re a smaller company you want to get your name out there, so its easy to present your logo so that followers can recognize your company name and logo together.
  • Use Twitter to market new products: Twitter is a great place to Tweet about your business updates, including services, events and more! Promotions of a new product through social media can make a bigger impact then traditional ways of advertising. You can also let your followers know what you are up to, Bridal Shows and events you are planning to attend, and more.
  • Use Twitter to provide information: Twitter is the cheap way to spread the word. Something new going on, tweet it and all your followers will see it right away!
  • Use Twitter to survey and gain feedback: Follow the conversations about your company or products. This can help you gain knowledge on what people want. You can gain a lot of information through a poll as well.
  • Use Twitter to manage your online reputation:Make sure you are following the tweets about your company and products. If there is an unhappy customer or competitor you want to make sure you are aware so there is not negative publicity.
  • Twitter can boost sales with special offers and discounts: Everyone loves a discount or giveaway! What better way to get that information out quick than with a tweet (and encouragement to RT to their followers and friends!).
  • Twitter allows you to keep an eye on competition: ‘Twitter Search’ is a great way to keep your eye on what your competitions activity.
  • Twitter can be viral: Once you have the following on Twitter your tweet can be re-tweeted a number of times gaining more popularity.
  • Twitter is a great place to promote your company’s blog: Have a blog? Share it! This will help you also gain traffic to your blog and get more shares and brand awareness.
  • Access great education: Follow industry leaders and news and educational sources that matter to you and your business for instant updates and resources. Be sure to follow @WeddingWireEDU!

So, why not get a Twtter account and start tweeting, or boost your business’ Twitter account to the next level?

Create an account today, and check out these tips for being a social media posting Pro!

» Inside WeddingWire: DC Fest

Last Thursday, September 5th the WeddingWire team had the pleasure of attending InTheCapital’s DC Fest, an outdoor festival that brings together top DC brands and products while celebrating the best food, drink, and music the District has to offer.

Each year, DC Fest holds a Coolest Companies Competition in which they honor the top 10 coolest companies in DC with some street cred and cool prizes from event sponsors. This year the focus was on cool tech startups in the area, and we’re thrilled to announce that WeddingWire made the list!

Check out the video about why we’re one of the coolest companies in DC, and visit our Careers page to see more about why we were selected as a great place to work!

Below are some pictures from the event from InTheCapital event photographer Carey Dougan.DC Fest 6

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