» Announcing Our Second Annual #justsaidyes Campaign!

Tell your wedding clients to share their #justsaidyes moment with WeddingWire!We’re thrilled to announce that our #justsaidyes campaign is back and better than ever this year!

The WeddingWire #justsaidyes campaign for consumers is held annually during peak engagement season. The campaign asks couples to share their engagement moment on social media with #justsaidyes and @weddingwire for a chance to win a honeymoon and $5,000 registry.

This year, we’re proud to announce that Shawn Johnson, the recently-engaged Olympic Gold Medalist, “Dancing with the Stars” champion, and ESPY Award Winner, has joined the campaign as she plans her own big day and inspires other couples to share their own special engagement celebrations!

With approximately 40% of engagements happening between November and February, engagement season is the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the hundreds of thousands of newly engaged couples beginning their wedding planning journey.

The #justsaidyes campaign encourages couples to upload photos and videos of their unique engagement story on social media for a chance to win prizes, including a wedding registry courtesy of Macy’s and a honeymoon courtesy of Marriott, as well as be featured on WeddingWire’s social media sites, and possibly receive a shout-out from Shawn Johnson herself.

To be eligible to win, couples must follow WeddingWire on Instagram and share their favorite engagement photos by tagging @WeddingWire with the hashtag #justsaidyes starting today through February 19, 2016. The grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 Registry from Macy’s and a $2,500 gift certificate to use at the Marriott of the winning couple’s choice for their honeymoon.

We encourage you to promote the #justsaidyes contest to your newly-engaged clients on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! The more money they can save on their registry and honeymoon, the more budget they can allocate elsewhere in their wedding planning journey. All couples – whether they use WeddingWire or not – are eligible as long as they are currently engaged and not yet married.

For more information about the campaign and instructions for submissions, please visit the official #justsaidyes website.

» How SEO and Social Media Work Together

How SEO and Social Media Work TogetherSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex process that involves many moving parts. Our Search Engine Optimizer helps you to optimize your Storefront for search engines by researching keywords and incorporating them into your website and Storefront, but that’s just part of the battle for top placement.

In recent years, Google has also gotten better at weeding out those websites that are chocked full of popular (unrelated) keywords or those that use plug-ins and other technologies in an attempt to trick Google into giving them higher placement. As a result, more legitimate businesses are gaining back their deserved SEO traction.

How does SEO work? Google’s algorithms take many elements into account when evaluating your website. Yes, keywords are important, but what many businesses might not realize is that social engagement is a key factor in how search engines determine your search placement!

As search engines like Google become more focused on fresh, quality content, they’ve begun to acknowledge that your brand’s website is not the only place where you have a presence online. Your business likely has a presence on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and now search engines are placing an increasing amount of importance on how your social conversations influence your brand.

Check out our suggestions below to determine how your brand can make SEO and social media work together!

Start conversations on your business’ Facebook page.

Stimulate engagement with your Facebook fans by posting interesting content often. You can ask questions, provide information or even just post information that is relevant to your brand, like photos from your last event or service. Think of your Facebook page as a community, where you interact with your fans. This will help you to start conversations with your audience and boost your online reputation.

Boost your Twitter activity.

Search engines are looking for your Twitter account’s activity, not just your number of tweets. Your tweets should be written in a way that encourages clicks, retweets, favorites and mentions. Search engines are looking for indications that your brand deserves a high ranking; other users interacting with your tweets shows that your brand has a lot of social clout.

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» Why the Wait? Improve Customer Satisfaction

According to a recent study done by Harvard Business School, you can improve customer relationships and sense of value of your services by being more transparent. What they’ve deemed the “labor illusion” explains that customers  who see or understand what tasks are taking place while they weight, are typically happier with services rendered. Sometimes even happier than those who didn’t have to wait at all.

You’ve seen this concept used before though you may not have realized it, Kayak for example shows search results being aggregated as you wait to find travel deals. Rather than seeing a blank screen, you see progress being made while you wait for your final results. The study showed that in simply showing what is going on behind the scenes, customers are more willing to wait and tend to hold more value in the service provided.

Other companies have incorporated this theory into their strategies interacting with customers. Apple added a prerecorded sound of typing to their automated voice response system. The US Postal Service now shows customers each step postal workers take to help them. Even Starbucks has started requiring baristas to steam milk for each drink to show customer’s what process goes into making their cappaccino or latte.

So how can you incorporate this practice into your business? Often just touching base with your clients or explaining the process upfront can help you yield more satisfied customers. Check in to tell them where you are in the process or even share what you’ve done so far.

What strategies have you used in the past to ensure transparency and happy couples?

» 3 Steps to More Subscribers

So you created a blog for your business, now how do you make sure you drive traffic and keep them coming back for more? Beyond creating fresh and interesting content, take a look at the 3 simple steps below to retain your visitors.

1. Get out there and spread the word. Guest blogging allows you to reach a greater audience who may not have heard of your business otherwise. Ask any and all of your contacts or your favorite blogs if you can write for them. Then be sure to feature some of your best content, linking back to your own blog.

2. Roll out the welcome mat. Create a page or section of your blog explaining who you are and what you do. Include any general information or special tidbits you want to be sure new visitors see. You could even create a personal YouTube video posted on the sidebar of your blog to welcome new readers. “Meeting” you face-to-face will help them establish a personal connection and they will be more likely to return.

3. Make it easy to come back. A new visitor might stumble onto your blog and love it, but how will you ensure they come back? Making it easy for them to bookmark your page, or even helping them subscribe to your RSS or email will do just that. Here is a great plugin to help you do just that.

For more information and ideas, check out this article. Try them out and be sure to monitor your traffic to see your numbers go up! Let us know what strategies work best for you.

» Benefits of Social Media

Check out the results of a survey, summarized in eMarketerand Mashable yesterday, that outlines the benefits of embracing social media marketing.  Respondents were from the Marketing Executives Networking Group.

Customer engagement took first place, with 85% of surveyed executives citing it as the main benefit of using social media marketing.  Only 21% of executives, however, think that it is a “great lead generation source”.  That means most of those surveyed do not think social media directly impacts sales.

Regardless, the majority of respondents agreed that there are numerous benefits to engaging in social media marketing, given it is low in cost, it can be used a source of feedback and results, and it allows for direct customer communication.

Although this was a small survey, I think the take away message is that it would be beneficial to utilize social media marketing as one of your marketing mediums for 2009.

What do you think the benefits are for using social media marketing?  Do you plan to incorporate more of it in 2009?