» To Snap or Not to Snap: Snapchat Marketing Explained

To Snap or Not to Snap: Snapchat Marketing ExplainedThe numbers are in: Snapchat, the image-sharing mobile app, is officially a success. Nearly one in five Americans will use Snapchat this year, and the app’s user base is exceeding Twitter and Pinterest in the U.S. for the first time. Yet despite its recent acclaim as most popular app among teens and its tremendous potential as a marketing tool, Snapchat’s marketing capabilities remain a mystery to many small business owners. The app already has various features, such as geofilters and Stories, that could undoubtedly be useful for advertising.

If you’ve never used Snapchat before, here’s a quick guide to the fast-growing mobile app:

  • Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to share photos and videos that are only available for a short period of time. The user sending the snap selects the amount of time it will be available for viewing. After the photo or video’s time limit is up, it’s no longer visible to the recipient!
  • Users can add text, emojis, and filters to their snaps. Recipients can reply with text or with a snapped photo or video of their own. Snapchat filters range from photo-enhancing color filters to silly animated filters built for selfies to geo-filters that only appear when users are in a certain area.
  • Recipients can save a photo snap through a screenshot – and the app lets the sender know when a recipient takes a screenshot. However, as the sender, you can save the photo or video to your smartphone even before sending it along.
  • The latest Snapchat feature, Memories, offers a way to save and share old snaps in a private archive within the app. Users can set their Memories as private, or share them with others. Memories can also be combined with new snaps to create a longer narrative.
  • There are two ways to snap – you can send them directly to other users, or add to your Story. A Snapchat Story is a series of snaps in chronological order, and they’re available for viewing more than once. Although they don’t immediately disappear, Stories are only available for 24 hours.
  • Snapchat users can add friends by their username, by phone number, Snapcode (a unique scannable code), or by searching for nearby users. Similar to Facebook, both users have to approve when someone wants to follow and send snaps to the other. Users who don’t accept when another user follows them simply don’t receive the snaps.

Though it may seem silly and sophomoric, Snapchat is reported to have overtaken Facebook as the most-used social network among 12-24 year olds. In fact, WedInsights data suggests that among individuals between the ages of 25-34, Snapchat is among one of the most-used as well (albeit behind Pinterest and Instagram). Your target audience is on Snapchat, and they’re using it daily.

Some businesses are becoming early-adopters of Snapchat and attempting to use it for marketing purposes. Snapchat marketing is a bit less traditional from other social networks, particularly because posts disappear and there’s no way to send or post links. However, in January of 2015 Snapchat released Discover, a version of Snapchat Stories for editorial and brand teams. While Discover is reserved for massive brands and news outlets, the added flexibility and advertising implications indicate more to come for businesses on Snapchat in the future.

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» Facebook Advertising: Getting Started

Facebook Advertising: Getting StartedIn addition to advertising partners like WeddingWire, you have many online channels available to your business – email, website, social media, search, just to name a few – so it can be hard to keep up with all the options to know what you could be missing! But when it comes to easy-to-use platforms that work with a wide range of budgets, Facebook Advertising is definitely an option worth noting.

Using Facebook Advertising, you can reach your audience as well as friends of those in your audience. There are several ad types to meet a variety of needs, and you don’t need a large budget to start testing. You’ll be able to see exactly how your ad is performing with access to advertising metrics for each ad you create. Below we share everything you need to know to get started with Facebook ads!

Creating your ads

Creating your ads on Facebook is a fairly simple process, but it does require some forethought. Do your research by taking note of any ads you see that got your attention, and think about the combination of words and imagery that made the ad so successful. It’s easy to find inspiration from other ads – even those that are not related to the wedding industry – if you pay attention!

To create your ad, you have two options for the ad creative – the images or videos you use:

  • Use existing post: Did one of your posts perform well? Put money behind it! You can select an existing post to promote to your desired audience instead of starting from scratch. Just remember that you can’t change the link destination of your post, since the post was previously published with that link.
  • Create new ad: Create something new and unique for your Facebook ad! Combine a great message with photos or videos of your work to attract new clients. Use the text box to write up to 90 characters above your ad’s image. Use the headline (25 characters) to lay out a clear call-to-action for those who want to learn more about your ad. You also have a link description box beneath your headline to write up to 30 characters more about your business. For images, you have the following options:
    • Single image: Select a single image to make a splash and get attention. If your image has text, be sure that the text doesn’t cover more than 20% of the image or your ad will likely be taken down. To make sure you’re following guidelines, use Facebook’s grid tool.
    • Multiple images: If you’d like to feature several photos of your work in your ad, select the carousel ad format. Showcase 3-5 images in your ad that all direct to your website. This is a great way to feature several products or service types in a single advertisement.
    • Video: Video is all the rage on social media these days, and now you can incorporate video instead of images in your advertisements. It’s great if you have professional videos or clips at your disposal, but it doesn’t have to be fancy – try recording a short video and posting it organically on your page to see how your audience reacts before you spend money on it.

For a full description of all the ad types available on Facebook’s platform and their design/text requirements, check out the Facebook Ads Guide!

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» Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day: Part 2

Pro to Pro Insights

Kathy DalPra, Bride AppealThis post was written by Kathy DalPra. Kathy is the owner of Bride Appeal. She takes the overwhelm out of SEO, sales and website conversion so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into high paying clients. Kathy’s strategies began to develop during her time as bridalpreneur when she took a struggling website to the top of Google; gaining targeted traffic, press mentions and celebrity customers along the way. Today Kathy shares her methods with other event professionals at brideappeal.com.

Welcome to the second installment of my tips for boosting your rankings and getting your brand in front of more prospects by investing just 5 minutes a day on social media. If you’re just joining us, start with Part 1 and continue on below!

4. Link Love

If you’re new to SEO, let’s get you up to speed on a critical ranking factor: links to your website. Also known as “backlinks.”

When quality websites link to your website, it’s kind of like receiving a vote for the value or authority of your website. It sends a signal to search engines that other online resources and real people feel your website content is valuable and worth sharing.

In other words, getting backlinks helps your website rank higher.

And based on recent comments from Google and Bing, it sounds like social sharing may affect your website authority, and subsequently your ranking, in a similar way.

While Google doesn’t come right out and confirm that having your webpage links shared across social media can help your webpages rank higher, they certainly hint strongly at it:

“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results.”

In the same interview, Google also said that a link does carry more weight depending on the person who shares it on Twitter or Facebook.

And Bing echoed Google’s statements with this:

“We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.“

These statements suggest two things:

  1. If one of your webpages or blog posts is shared on Twitter (and likely other social platforms as well), Google and Bing can see this and possibly list it in their search results or, at the very least, recognize that your page is gaining in value because it is being shared on social media.
  2. When your website pages or posts are shared often and by influential users on Twitter, it increases the weight, or perceived importance, of your website page, giving it a ranking boost. The more these activities, or signals, add up, the more chances your page has to rank higher.

This means that if a major industry influencer on Twitter retweets your website link, it could give your domain and that specific page a little SEO boost, helping it to rank higher over time.

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» Social SEO in 5 Minutes a Day: Part 1

Pro to Pro Insights

Kathy DalPra, Bride AppealThis post was written by Kathy DalPra. Kathy is the owner of Bride Appeal. She takes the overwhelm out of SEO, sales and website conversion so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into high paying clients. Kathy’s strategies began to develop during her time as bridalpreneur when she took a struggling website to the top of Google; gaining targeted traffic, press mentions and celebrity customers along the way. Today Kathy shares her methods with other event professionals at brideappeal.com.

You can snatch up more rankings and get your brand in front of more prospects by investing just 5 minutes a day.

In this article, I’ll show you how to do so even if you’re not a technical SEO jedi.

Every week I hear from wedding and event professionals who are putting off their wedding SEO altogether because they think they have to ‘get it perfect’ before it will work.

Listen, even my SEO is not perfect and yet Google is my #1 source of traffic.

There are hundreds of SEO strategies we can employ in our business, but we only need to start with a few simple ones to reap the rewards.

So why not begin with an activity you’re already doing? Social media networking!

By simply leveraging the social media accounts you’re already toying around with each week, you can get your company more visibility in both search engines and within the social networks themselves.

All you need to do is view your social activity like an SEO strategy and invest 5 minutes a day.

So let’s dive into Part 1…

1. Dominate Google with Your Social Profiles

A few years back a wedding photographer called me in a panic because competitors who shared her business name in the same geographical area were outranking her in the search engines.

She was losing business left and right to fresh prospects who recently heard of her, but were landing on someone else’s website!

She might not have had that problem at all if she knew how to dominate Google’s first page for her brand name.

Kind of like this…

ocial-profiles-in-search-results

Yes, your social media accounts can rank in search engines too.

When people search for your company name, personal name or even your profession on a local level, they can stumble on one of your social media profiles, not just your website.

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» 4 Simple Steps for Wedding Vendors to Get More Traffic From Pinterest

Pro to Pro Insights

Christopher Lin, Lin & Jirsa PhotographyThis post was written by Christopher Lin. Chris is the co-founder of Lin and Jirsa, an award-winning Los Angeles wedding photography and cinematography studio founded in 2006. Chris has used his marketing, SEO and business expertise to help build Lin and Jirsa into a company that shoots over 300 weddings annually serviced by over 30 talented creatives. Along the way, Chris and his two business partners also created SLR Lounge, where an international team of writers and photographers share their education with the community.

Pinterest and weddings are a perfect marriage; brides and grooms need a place to gather and share ideas and Pinterest provides that perfect, pretty, organized platform.

But as wedding professionals, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. Whether you’re a photographer, florist, planner, or any other wedding vendor, you’ve probably all had clients send you links, saying, “I want something that looks like this,” with a link to a board they created. So how do you take advantage of this situation to drive traffic to your website? For our photography studio, Lin and Jirsa, we receive around 12% of our traffic from Pinterest, as you can see in the screenshot of our Google Analytics below:

Lin and Jirsa Pinterest analytics

Here are the 4 simple steps to getting more traffic from Pinterest (modified from our book, Photography SEO and Web Marketing):

Step 1:  Upload Images to Your Blog or Website

Pinterest can drive a ton of traffic to your site because the images on Pinterest are linked directly to the site from which it is originally pinned. So, the first step is to upload images featuring your work on to your blog or website. Do not upload images directly to Pinterest, because then you lose the link value.  

Step 2: Add The Ability to “Pin” Directly On Your Website  

If your website is on WordPress, there are plugins like Pinterest Pin It Button. If you’re on Squarespace, follow these instructions here. Every content management system should have an easy solution.  If you can’t figure it out, hire an expert – this is an investment worth making. Continue reading

» Social Media Trends: 2015 Year in Review

What's Next in Social Media

Social Media Trends: 2015 Year in ReviewIf you’re just now deciding whether or not to start a new social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news and updates before you start planning for the New Year. Check out our 2015 year in review to see the overarching social media trends that defined the year!

Video

2015 was a big year for video. With live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope launching early in the year, other networks worked hard to integrate those capabilities or create their own version (see Facebook’s Live product for public figures). In late June, Facebook announced that it will take into account video actions such as turning on sound or playing the video in full screen to prioritize videos in the News Feed. Pinterest even took steps to join the video game, though not quite as far as Facebook; user testing showed that Pinterest users found auto-play ads interruptive, so instead they released animated Cinematic Pins to take advantage of the full-motion trend.

What this means for you: Make it a priority to create more video in 2016. Statistics show that 73% of all U.S. adults are more likely to purchase a product or service after watching an online video. Don’t let your wedding business fall behind – use our infographic to learn the six keys to video marketing success from our video partner, Animoto, so your business can start creating and sharing more videos.

Personalization

After releasing a few minor updates to the balance of friends and pages in April, Facebook announced in July that would be giving users more control over their News Feeds by allowing users to select friends and pages they’d like to see first. By allowing users to self-select what they’re most interested in, Facebook can serve up more personal and relevant content. In an effort to get more men using the female-dominated social network, Pinterest followed suit on personalization by updating its internal search feature to display personalized results based on users’ gender selections.

When Twitter launched audience insights in May of this year, advertisers gained access to additional targeting methods for reaching demographic groups. In July, the network began to allow businesses to apply those demographics to their ad campaigns and tailored audiences. A new persona targeting feature was also added to enable brands to target shorthand categories of audiences, including Millennials and small businesses.

What this means for you: Social media is getting closer and closer to becoming a one-to-one channel, where your business can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time in their decision-making process. Think about how you can segment your audience to start taking advantage of these new features. Perhaps you know that couples tend to book you within the same time frame during the planning process, or that certain regions/cities tend to book one of your services over others. Use whatever data you have to deliver more personalization marketing messages!

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» What’s Next in Social Media: November 2015

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 November 2015:

Instagram Now Testing Support For Account Switching, No Log Out Required

Image via TechCrunch

Instagram finally tests multiple accounts

Instagram is rumored to be beta testing an account switching feature that would allow users to enter in another set of login credentials to their current account. A new selector feature allows you to switch between multiple accounts, and a banner notification makes it clear when you’ve switched accounts. The initial test appeared on the Android version of the social network, and it’s unclear when and how this feature will be rolled out.

What this means for you: Sick of logging in and out of your personal Instagram account when you need to post on your business account? When the update is live for all users, you’ll be able to switch between accounts easily. This update would also presumably allow you to see notifications across both accounts, making it more efficient to check in on notifications from your followers. Being active on your business Instagram will be much easier for those who are also active on their personal accounts!

Read more on TechCrunch >>

Pinterest app becomes more useful

Pinterest has updated its mobile experience to highlight more recent pins and make your content easier to find. Previously, user’s profile pages were organized by board with the first pin ever added serving as a “billboard” for the collection – making it hard to find recently pinned content and impossible to search. The new profile design highlights the user’s six more recent pins, and it also added the ability to sort pins alphabetically or by topic. With this update, users can easily find their products and projects for later use.

What this means for you: This update encourages users to revisit their pinned content, thereby extending the life of your business’ pins. Once a bride or groom pins your content, they can easily find it again to click through. It also serves as a better reminder when users log on, since seeing that dream wedding dress or beautiful bouquet again jogs the user’s memory so they can continue their research or reach out to your business. Plus, with the ability to sort pins alphabetically or by topic, users can find your content again if they haven’t thought about it recently.

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» Share Your WeddingWire World #TBT Memories this November!

WeddingWire World 2016 is quickly approaching, and we love to look back on the past conferences to reminisce on our favorite moments, and see how it has evolved over the years!

Since we are just three months from the conference, this November we’re celebrating Throwback Thursday (also known as #TBT) all month on @WeddingWireEDU – and we want you to join in the fun!

How can you participate?

Every Thursday of November, share your favorite #TBT WeddingWire World or industry conference photos with @WeddingWireEDU on Instagram or Twitter. Simply post your photo and caption, but don’t forget to tag @WeddingWireEDU and use #TBT and #WWWorld.

The best part?

Not only will we be liking and re-sharing our favorite photos and memories, but you could win a pair of tickets to the event! Every Friday in November, @WeddingWireEDU will announce our weekly winner, who will get two free standard WeddingWire World 2016 tickets to the conference (a $1098 value!). See official rules for more details.

Since our inaugural one-day conference at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2012 with several hundred wedding professionals, to our multi-city ‘World Tour’ in five cities throughout the US in 2014, to our two day event at the Gaylord National Resort with over one thousand pros in 2015, we’ve had a lot of fun along the way – and 2016 will be the biggest and best conference yet!

Check out the great speakers and agenda for this year’s event, and register if you haven’t already done so. Don’t worry: any #TBT winners will be refunded for their tickets, so don’t let that hold you back!

Here are some of our favorite throwbacks from years past:

WeddingWire World 2012

WeddingWire World 2012
WeddingWire World 2012
WeddingWire World 2012 Continue reading

» What’s Next in Social Media: October 2015

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 October 2015:

 Pinterest Place Pins Now Allow Customers To Contact & Find Local Retailers

Image via Marketing Land

Pinterest to add location information to Place Pins

While Pinterest Place Pins are not new, the social network announced its plan to add more and more information to the pins themselves. Location information like a map preview, address, phone number, and hours of operation will now become available on Pinterest, meaning that users operating the network from their phones will be able to take action without switching to a new app (like Google Maps, for instance). Place Pins are currently powered by Foursquare, meaning that the location’s information must be updated there to provide the most accurate information.

What this means for you: In addition to your business reaching potential wedding clients who are looking for inspiration on Pinterest, your business can now connect with those potential clients without them having to leave the site or app. This is especially valuable for wedding venues, since couples can now essentially tour your venue virtually and then call to schedule an appointment in one click. By simplifying the information-gathering process, Pinterest is shortening the time it takes for a potential client to connect with you.

Continue reading on Marketing Land >>

Facebook unveils Instant Articles

Earlier in the month, Facebook rolled out its latest product, Instant Articles. Currently only available for iPhone users, the new feature allows media companies like The New York Times and The Huffington Post to publish articles directly on Facebook instead of driving traffic back to their own properties. Instant Articles provides a smoother and faster experience for readers, making it easier for companies to reach new customers on Facebook.  Continue reading

» What’s Next in Social Media: September 2015

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 September 2015:

Find out about Facebook's plan for business pagesFacebook announces new plan for Pages

In addition to the news that a dislike button is coming soon, Facebook announced this month that the social network will open up two new sections for business pages – shopping and services. These sections allow businesses to feature their products and services directly from their Facebook pages. The original social network expanded these features as part of its plan to help small business owners connect with customers and communicate easily through the platform.

What this means for you: Potential clients can find your business on Facebook, and now they can contact your business or purchase directly through the social network. If your business has already dabbled in Facebook advertising, now is the time to take full advantage so you can start building up your audience in preparation for the upcoming shopping/services section.

Read the rest on Mashable >>

Twitter experiments with polls

This month, Twitter revealed that it has begun experimenting with embeddable polls in tweets. The polls, currently available to those with verified accounts, offer only two responses for users to choose from when answering. After participating in the poll, Twitter users can see results in percentage points to understand how their responses stack up. The new polling feature is anticipated by many brands who would be able to use native polls to survey followers.

What this means for you: Want a quick opinion on which bouquet looks best, which cake flavor is most popular, or which songs wedding guests will be most requesting this season? Twitter’s poll function (when it’s out of testing!) will allow your business to get quick feedback from your clients and followers. Look out for the news from Twitter when they decide whether or not to open up polls for unverified Twitter users.

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» Wedding Planning on Social Media: 5 Statistics

WedInsights

Five statistics about how couples use social media for wedding planningSocial media isn’t something that existed for your wedding business as recently as seven years ago. It requires time and effort, and making sure it’s at least a small piece of what you do every day is no easy task for a busy wedding professional. Have you ever wondered just how important social media is to the wedding planning process and whether or not it actually affects your bottom line?

Check out these five statistics from Volume 5 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to find out how couples are wedding planning on social media and how you can maximize your business’ presence.

74% of internet users are active on social media and 89% are between the ages of 18-29

There’s no doubt about it: data shows that your target demographic is on social media. Due to the significance of social media during the planning process, not having a social presence on these sites could negatively impact your brand’s reputation.  In fact, 62% of couples say that vendors who are not on social media seem “outdated.” If you have not yet created a social presence for your wedding business, now is the time to start.

34% of couples say they’ve contacted a vendor though social media

Many social networks have become curated content streams for consumers to keep a pulse on the people, topics, and products they care about. Instead of flipping through magazines, today’s couples are scrolling through online feeds to find vendors for their big day. This is your chance to stand out and wow potential clients with content that appeals to your audience. Try posting examples of your work, aspirational photos, useful advice and tips, or interesting and funny links.

61% of couples ‘follow’ or ‘like’ a vendor’s page so that they can see the quality of their work

If a couple wants to learn more about your business, they’re likely to visit your Storefront or website. But what about those other factors that may not be easily seen through your own marketing materials? Social media allows for a more personal experience and should be a place for your clients to get to know you. Your customers want to work with people they enjoy being around, so show them a little bit of your personality!

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» What’s Next in Social Media: August 2015

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 August 2015:

Facebook introduces live streaming for public figures

Image via Facebook Media

Facebook introduces live streaming

As part of the Facebook Mentions app for public figures, celebrities, and other influencers, Facebook has introduced Live, a new way for public figures to share videos with their fans on Facebook. The new feature allows for a more direct connection between the influencer and their fans, but it also takes advantage of new live-streaming technologies being rolled out like Periscope and Meerkat.

Read more on the Facebook Media blog >>

Twitter expands Audience Platform

For advertisers who want their Twitter campaigns to go beyond the social network, Twitter has expanded its platform to run advertisements on other publisher sites and apps. Additionally, Twitter added new ad objectives and ad formats to help advertisers accomplish a variety of goals across the Twitter Audience Platform. Users will be able to retweet or favorite ads directly from the ad unit.

Learn more from TechCrunch >>

Instagram allows more photo formats

For those frustrated by Instagram’s square photo requirement, the social network has released an update that drops the requirement and allows for both landscape and portrait photos and videos. Instagram made this change based on user feedback that for some photos, square formatting is not a good option. Now users can post their photos and videos in the formats they were originally intended, or crop to be square.

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