» Happy Social Media Day!

Happy Social Media Day!Today, we’re celebrating Mashable’s fifth annual Social Media Day!

Mashable launched the event in 2010 as a way to recognize this ever-growing marketing channel. Each year, thousands organize meetups to discuss social media and its broad impact on the digital world.

Even if you’re not attending a local meetup, Social Media Day is a great day for your business to think about social media marketing and your business’ strategy moving forward. It’s a day to look back at all the changes that have happened over the past few years and how your business has evolved with it!

Below are a few ways you can participate in Social Media Day 2014:

  • Take some time to evaluate your social audience. When was the last time you followed or liked new businesses you support or could learn from? Are you following any accounts that are no longer relevant to you? The more relevant users you’re following, the better your experience will be!
  • Update your social networks if you haven’t in a while. Upload a more recent profile image or cover photo, or update your About Us section. Keep these pages looking fresh so that your followers know your information is up-to-date.
  • Check out our infographic from earlier this year to see which social networks Wedding Pros love the most. If you want to connect with other wedding and event professionals, use our infographic to guide your decisions for choosing your next social network.
  • Follow the official hashtag #SMDAY on Twitter, Instagram and Google+ to see what others are doing to celebrate, or even register to attend a local Mashable Meetup.
  • Don’t forget to connect with WeddingWireEDU on FacebookTwitterPinterest, InstagramLinkedIn and Google+ to get updates and education, just for wedding professionals!

We hope you have a great time celebrating this special little holiday!

» Pro Tips for Developing Blog Content

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings. 

Developing and writing blog content on a consistent basis is the most challenging part of building and maintaining an audience of prospects, peers, and the media. Even just coming up with fresh topics each week or month can seem daunting for beginners. Writing down blog ideas when they hit you is the key to consistently coming up with new topic ideas! Don’t just trust your memory – write down the concept, finished title, or just the essence of an idea.

When developing blog content, consider these important guidelines to start:

  • Don’t make it all about you/your company. You are far better off to make about 75% of your content about clients you work with, industry developments and inspiration. If too much of your content is about patting yourself on the back, readers will drift away.
  • Allow posts to ‘breathe’ by taking liberal paragraph breaks and using bullet points. Online readers tend to scan, and long paragraphs are not reader-friendly.
  • Use bold text, not italics, as visual speed-bumps to cue the reader to pause on important words or phrases.

Pro Tips for Developing Blog ContentExamples of Post Topics

As you begin your blogging journey, ideas will find you in many forms. TV commercials, magazines, event experiences, trade show, collaborations, retail transactions (with you as the customers). If you need some help getting started, try out some of these post examples below:

1.  Praise a collaborating business: Identify the little things, maybe even the unseen things that make a fellow wedding professional exceptional. It may be his specific techniques for calming the client, or her ability to keep other wedding professionals in-the-loop. Emphasizing the subtleties of excellence in execution can be as praiseworthy as the work itself. Always link back to the business website or Storefront, and send them a quick email to let them know you’ve been saying nice things about them!

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Business Peaks, 2014 Trends and More

The WeddingWire Pro Forums are a great place to meet and connect with other Wedding Pros across the country to grow your network. Every day, Pros are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Here’s what Pros are talking about this month in the Pro Forums!

Pro Forum Buzz: Business Peaks, 2014 Trends and MorePeaks in business

When do you start seeing peaks in your wedding business? Is there a specific time you start seeing more inquiries, and is there a specific time you start working more events? Pros from all categories discuss the seasonality of the wedding industry.

Share your peaks >>

The value of national associations

A Pro wondering about the value of joining a national association asks for advice. Does joining an association like ABC give you credibility? Pros weigh in on the opportunities for education and potential referrals gained from being a member of an association.

Join the discussion >>

2014 industry trends

As Pros head into high gear for the 2014 wedding season, a few business trends have begun to appear. Last-minute bookings and smaller, more intimate ceremonies have been growing in popularity this year.

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» Top 5 Lessons from the WeddingWire World Tour So Far

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

Now that we have two of the five WeddingWire World Tour stops for 2014 under our belt, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on what I’ve seen and heard, not from the stage, rather from offstage. I’ve met so many great wedding and event Pros, exchanged business cards, heard your stories and listened and answered your questions. I’ve often said that the best part of many conferences for me is what happens in the hallways, at the meals and at the bar, and these WeddingWire World events were no exception.

Top 5 Lessons from the WeddingWire World Tour So FarSo, here are five things that stood out for me as some of the lessons I’d like to share with you (and if you haven’t made it to a stop on the WeddingWire World Tour yet, there are still three more coming up later this year!):

1) Free and cheap are worth exactly that.

Don’t be lured in by free/cheap websites and business cards. One of my presentations was specifically about your printed marketing materials (business cards, brochures, postcards, etc.). Printed marketing is a multi-sensory experience. When someone hands you their business card you unconsciously take notice of the feel of the card, the weight of the paper and the texture. Then you look at the quality of the design and printing. You’re making judgments about the quality of the business based upon the quality of the card. Don’t believe me? Has someone ever handed you a thin business card? What did you think of it? You probably didn’t think they were the highest quality business, did you?

2) What does your email say about you?

Almost half the business cards I collected had email addresses that were not matched to that company’s website URL. Instead they had Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo or their internet provider (Verizon, Comcast, RoadRunner, etc.). When I survey audiences they always say that using a Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. email address makes you look like a new or part-time business, no matter how long you’ve been in business or how high your quality.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: June 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social 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 in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from June 2014:

Facebook’s latest algorithm change

Facebook has updated its News Feed algorithm yet again! This change, though, should make users a bit happier: the change will assist Facebook in serving users videos that are most relevant to them. Now, a video’s “weight” or value in the News Feed will be partially determined by how long a user watches a video and the number of engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares. If you typically watch a lot of videos when browsing your News Feed, you’ll start seeing more of them with this new change! The good news for businesses is that the videos that are popular and being watched will reach a larger audience than those that have low engagement.

What’s Next in Social Media: June 2014Read more on Facebook’s newsroom >>

Instagram adds new editing options

After years with no upgraded photo filters, Instagram releases its biggest update so far! Rather than adding new photo filters, the photo-sharing app has improved its editing options for existing filters. Users can select a filter and use a slider to determine how much of the filter’s effect they’d like to apply. Then, users can also choose from eight new photo adjustment tools that many editing programs offer, such as brightness, contracts, saturation, highlights and more. Businesses can use these new tools to really have more control over images posted on Instagram, which makes it easier to keep a brand identity flowing through on your social networks!

Get more details on Wired >>

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» Power Your Client Management System with WeddingWire

Did you know you can manage your entire business through your premium WeddingWire account? Over 60% of our first year Pros have tried our Client Management tools as a way to digitally send contracts, invoices, questionnaires and more!

Power Your Client Management System with WeddingWireEven if you already have a customer relationship management system in place, WeddingWire’s Client Management tools offer a number of advantages over an outside system. Below are a few reasons why managing the whole client relationship process using your WeddingWire account will benefit your business!

Because our tools are within your WeddingWire account they’ll save you time, and they’re also extremely user-friendly for your clients. Potential clients can submit inquiries through your WeddingWire Storefront and receive word back from you via customizable auto-reply emails. When they decide to book your business, you can easily see your upcoming, past and completed events at a glance to track your past and current inquiries and booked weddings in one place.

In addition to easily managing your inquiries and bookings, WeddingWire makes it easy for you to send contracts and receive signed copies back quickly through the e-signing feature. Your clients will be directed to a customizable Client Site that is password-protected and secure. They’ll be able to view whatever you publish for them, such as a contract, invoice, or questionnaire in a safe and client-specific environment. You can easily customize your client site by changing the color scheme, or adding an image or logo so each site is branded as an extension of your business website but personalized for your client with their details. Keep in mind your clients do not have to have a WeddingWire account to access the client site and it is completely mobile friendly!

When you’ve used your Client Site to send documents back and forth securely and you have your signed contract ready, you can also accept online payments using your WeddingWire account. Our ePayments feature allows online payments to be received via each Client Site and sends them directly to your bank account, while automatically tallying the amount against the invoice for ultra-easy bookkeeping. Received a check in the mail? No problem. You can always manually record any payment you receive anytime.

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» Get Published in our FallBook!

Get Published in our FallBook!We hope you’ve had a chance to look at our brand-new, interactive SummerBook, chock full of fresh inspiration, creative ideas, and lots of advice from Wedding Pros like you! The Editorial Team is already hard at work on our FallBook, and we’re looking for gorgeous fall real weddings to feature.

If you’re selected for a real wedding feature, we’ll link to your WeddingWire Storefront, as well as the Storefronts of the other Pros who participated in the wedding.

We’ll link to your WeddingWire Storefront, and the Storefronts of the other Pros who participated in the wedding. A real wedding feature is a great publicity opportunity for your business and your fellow Pros – they are among the most popular features in our interactive magazines!

Interested in sharing your work? Head over to RealWeds.com for more information and to submit photos (just be sure to check the box for “FallBook” in the form)!

Please make sure you have the permission of the couple and photographer before contacting us – if your wedding submission is accepted, we’ll want to reach out to the couple for a brief interview. All submissions are due by July 7th, 2014.

Any questions? Post any questions in the comments section and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We can’t wait to see your real weddings!

Photo by Grace Hill Photography

» Blog Your Way to a Better Business

Blog Your Way to Better BusinessWebinar recap!

Do you ever wonder what impact that blogging can make for your business? This month’s educational webinar for premium members focused on the power of blogging for your business’ online exposure. WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly welcomed new Education Expert Andy Ebon as the host of this session. Andy shared his insights on why blogging matters, how to stand out online, and tips for taking your content efforts to the next level.

Check out these top tips based on common blogging questions:

Interested in starting a blog and wondering what platforms to review? Check out WordPress, blogger, tumblr and typepad and see which suits your business needs and personality best.

Want to take your blog to the next level? Once you start a business blog, be sure to use plug-in and add-ons to make your blog more dynamic and user-friendly. Common helpful updates include SEO optimization, search functionality and blog mobilization.

Want to drive traffic from your blog back to your Storefront? Add your free, customizable WeddingWire widgets to show off your WeddingWire reviews, schedule appointments, add a contact form to your blog and more.

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» WeddingWire World Tour 2014: DC

We had a great time at WeddingWire World DC!

The WeddingWire team was thrilled to come together with Wedding Pros for a day filled with education and valuable information from industry experts, along with networking and fun surprises. Thanks to all our Pros who attended the event!

Our guests received great educational information to power their businesses from our team of presenters. Sessions included “More Sales in 3 Easy Steps” by Alan Berg, “Tools for Marketing Success: You Need a Megaphone, a Measuring Cup and a Magnet” from Sonny Ganguly, “Unlock the Superhero Within” from Andy Ebon, and “Wed We Can: Defining, Reaching & Serving Modern Couples” from Kathryn Hamm! We were also pleased to include a panel of wedding professionals, featuring Jennifer Reitmeyer of MyDeejay, Miriam Liggett of Soliloquy Bridal Couture, Angela Dimopoulos of Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center and Raquel Shutt of Wedding Savvy, Inc.

WeddingWire World DC also featured three breakout session tracks, which gave attendees the option to choose between “Collateral Damage: Are Your Marketing Materials Killing Your Business?“ from Alan Berg, “Reach. Attract. Impress. WeddingWire Tools for Success” from Kyle Mihalcoe, “Make Blogging Your Business” from Andy Ebon, “Walk the Talk: Refining Your Same-Sex Wedding Skill Set” from Kathryn Hamm, “Ready, Set, Submit! How to Be Your Own Publicist” from Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting, and “Peer Insights: More Business, Less Stress” featuring Jimmie Espo of 617 Weddings.

We hope all our Pros enjoyed the day as much as we did! In addition to the main presentations and educational sessions, some highlights from the day include:

  • Starting the day learning more about guests in attendance and playing a special version of bingo at the Networking Breakfast
  • The opportunity for Pros to meet with our Customer Success team members one-on-one to discuss their WeddingWire accounts
  • The great key takeaways tweeted throughout the day to @WeddingWireEDU using the hashtag #wwworld
  • Fun photobooth shots from TapSnap 1020
  • Announcing the winners to our raffle prize drawings, including an iPad mini, WeddingWire prize pack, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center and National Harbor gift pack and tickets to WeddingWire World 2015 in DC
  • Free t-shirts and luggage tags for attendees

Finally, a big thank you to our fantastic partners who helped make this event a success: our event photographers from Lux Photography, DJ extraordinaire Adam Skuba of Skuba Entertainment, the photobooth masters from TapSnap 1020 and the lovely venue provided by the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center!

For more information on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014 and to see where we’ll be headed next, be sure to check out www.WeddingWireWorld.com.

Check out some of the photos below, and see our full event album on the WeddingWire Greater DC Facebook community!

WeddingWire World DC

WeddingWire World DC

WeddingWire World DC

WeddingWire World DC

WeddingWire World DC

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» How to Boost Your Social Media with Images

Social media is an extremely important part of your wedding business. While you may be posting statuses about your business to build brand awareness, a recent study shows that posting images may be the best way to take advantage of social media.

This summer, amp up your social media game by using more images! Below are a few things to take into consideration as you begin to leverage more images:

How to Boost Your Social Media with ImagesUse images to convey positive emotions. Did you know that posts with images are four times more likely to convey positive emotions than posts with just text? This means that when one of your customers sees that you posted an image, they are more likely to think positively about you. Images also allow more positive engagement with your customers – it’s much harder to complain about a photo than it is to complain about text.

Know where and how best to post an image. When posting an image to one of your social networks, think about your audience on that network.. A recent study revealed that Instagram posts have 58 times more engagement than a Facebook post and 120 times more engagement than a tweet, so Instagram could be your best bet. Remember, though, that since most updates on Facebook and Twitter are text, an image may help your brand stand out a bit more. Consider where you’re posting and how your audience usually interacts with your updates.

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» Today is WeddingWire World DC!

WeddingWire World DCWeddingWire World DC is the second of five stops on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014!

Today, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, hundreds of wedding and event professionals will get motivated and prepared to succeed across all of the most important business channels including sales, reviews, marketing, business management, networking and more!

Attendees will not only have the unique opportunity to hear from leading wedding industry professionals, our Customer Success Management team will be available all day for on-site consultations to answer questions to help our members take advantage of everything their WeddingWire account has to offer.

Below are a few other helpful notes for attendees:

  • Our Networking Breakfast will be from 8am-9:15am, where you can catch up with and create new connections with your fellow Wedding Pros.
  • Download the ProWire mobile app in iTunes or Google Play and select WeddingWire World DC so that you’re able to access everything you need to know, on the go!
  • Earn raffle tickets throughout the day to be entered in our drawing to win an iPad Mini, Gaylord National Resort & National Harbor gift pack, and tickets to WeddingWire World 2015!

Be sure to follow along with the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter! @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting all day with key takeaways, Pro feedback and more. You can also see some behind-the-scenes photos on the WeddingWireEDU Instagram account.

Be sure to check back later this week as we continue to share event photos and highlights.

Thanks to all the Pros joining us!

Join the WeddingWire World Tour in a city near you! Check out the schedule and sign up to get updates to find out when tickets are available by visiting http://weddingwireworld.com/.

» Inside WeddingWire: DC Capital Pride Parade

It’s officially Pride Month, and WeddingWire was happy to kick off the celebrations in the nation’s capital by walking in the 39th Annual Capital Pride Parade!

WeddingWire staff, along with LGBTQ-friendly couples and wedding professionals, showed support for same-sex couples and gay marriage supporters throughout the nation by walking in the Capital Pride Parade. Our team was also joined by Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com. The parade was just one of a number of celebrations hosted by Capital Pride of DC, including poetry readings, a 5K, bike party, music festival and more!

Capital Pride is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the LGBTQ community and its partners through educational events, entertainment, community outreach, and celebrations of diversity. The Capital Pride celebration as we know it now traces its history back to the first LGBT festival in Washington, DC in 1975. The tradition has continued, and only gotten stronger.

We are thrilled to have been involved in DC’s Pride Month celebrations. The WeddingWire team was at Capital Pride in both 2012 and 2013 to help festival-goers learn about and join the Wed We Can campaign, but walking in the parade was a new and humbling experience for all of us.

Thank you so much to all the WeddingWire couples and Pros who walked with us in the parade! Check out some of our photo highlights below.

Capital Pride Parada

Photo by Terri and Angela of DJ Angie D Entertainment

Capital Pride Parade

Photo by Terri and Angela of DJ Angie D Entertainment

Capital Pride Parade

Photo by Terri and Angela of DJ Angie D Entertainment

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