» 3 Reasons Why You Need a Facebook Group (Even If You Have a Facebook Page)

facebook group wedding pro

Let’s talk about Facebook. Specifically, moving beyond your trusty Facebook page. Facebook groups have the power to attract engaged couples nationwide or in your area while they are wedding planning. You can use the group to give daily tips, ask questions to learn about your target market, pitch your services, and connect couples with other vendors. You may be wondering why you can’t just post all of this content on your business page, and why you should post it in a group instead. Here are 3 reasons why:

Facebook groups will help you reach more people and get higher engagement for free.

Have you ever posted something on your Facebook page that you were super proud of, only to get zero interactions from your followers on it? Don’t be too discouraged. There is a reason for this, and it’s not your fault. Facebook pages get almost no organic visibility anymore, thanks to Facebook’s news feed algorithm.

Facebook’s algorithm favors posts written by friends or in groups over posts from businesses, which is why starting a Facebook group for your business is quickly becoming one of the best ways to reach potential customers and make sales. The benefit to posting in groups rather than pages is that the posts get ranked higher in the news feed than business page posts, so you get more organic visibility and don’t have to spend money on ads to get seen.

Managing a Facebook group will establish credibility and trust for your business.

When you create a Facebook group, you become the expert. Couples who join the group will see you running the show, ask you questions, and refer their friends to your group when they need help wedding planning. They will see how amazing you are, get to know you as a person, and trust what you have to say. Then, when the same people need your product or service, you will be the first person they think of to buy from.

However, in order to be successful in establishing trust and credibility, you have to give more valuable content than sales pitches. Make your group 80% value and 20% sales. Here are some ideas on what you can post in order to provide value:

  •      Tips about wedding planning, especially if they relate to your product or service
  •      Facebook Live videos with Q&A or advice
  •      Discussion questions about what couples are struggling with, dreams for their weddings, and how you can help them

Every person who joins your group has the potential of becoming a customer.

Make your group a resource for couples in your area so that way you will attract users who have real potential of becoming customers. When they join, the credibility, trust, and relationships you build with group members will help you be able to close sales and book couples. Here are a few tips to ensure you attract the right users to your group:

  •      Include the name of your city, state, or region in the name of your group.
  •      Include the year in the group name to attract couples who are actively wedding planning. You can change the group name each year as you go.
  •      Include the word “wedding” to help couples find the group.

Building a new Facebook group will take more work in the beginning and become less time consuming as they grow, but will generally only take a couple hours of your time per week. If you decide to start your own Facebook group, remember that they do take time to grow, but the work you put into it will be worth it in the end.

» 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 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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» Facebook Like Gate Changes

Facebook Like Gate ChangesThe day has come – those who rely on contests or promotions with a “like gate” (meaning a user must first like the page before entering) are losing the feature forever.

Like gates are used to increase likes quickly by requiring those users to like the page before they can see or interact with the page’s content. The problem with like gates is that once the user likes your page to access whatever they were looking for, they’re likely to unlike or unfollow your updates. Even if they do remain one of your fans, likes acquired through like gating are often less qualified as actual fans of your business.

Like gates go against the new user experience Facebook has been implementing since March of this year. With the big News Feed algorithm update, Facebook announced that engagement (likes, comments, shares) played a much larger role in what is displayed for each user. Facebook began displaying the most relevant content based on engagement and prioritizing those posts over others that you don’t engage with as frequently.

So, what can you do? Unfortunately, like gates are likely to go away sometime this month and there’s no way to keep them in place. However, you can take the following steps to continue your social media strategy beyond Facebook like gate changes!

Think about what high like counts contribute to your business

Does it really matter if you have 100 likes or 1,000? Sure, a higher number may be desirable, but is it actually useful? Facebook can help your business reach new customers and build brand awareness whether you have a huge following or a modest one. Here, the quality is much more important than the quantity. You don’t need to trick users into liking your page – acquire them in more natural ways such as through your website, Storefront or other tactics. Even just asking clients to like you on Facebook during face-to-face conversations helps!

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» Infographic: How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand

In today’s marketing landscape, 72% of internet users are active on social media and 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision. Those are impressive statistics! Is your wedding business taking advantage of these statistics to reach couples planning their wedding?

If you need help building a buzzworthy brand in the wedding industry, our infographic has tips for using social media to grow your business’ presence!

Infographic: How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand

» 5 Ways to Build Engagement on Facebook

5 Ways to Build Engagement on FacebookIf your wedding business has a Facebook page, you know it can be a challenge to not only post consistently but also to get likes, comments and shares on your posts! Many businesses make the mistake of approaching Facebook for business in the same way that they approach Facebook for personal use, and the two could not be more different.

On your personal Facebook account, people you know will friend you simply because they know you; they don’t expect anything except for your friendship and a view into your life. On your Facebook business page, people will like your page because they want to gain something by following your updates. They might seek more information, deals, discounts or even just updates into your business, but they are looking for value. Your page should provide value through your Facebook posts, but how?

If you want to build engagement on Facebook and get your message out there to more users, incorporate the strategies below into your social media strategy!

Use more photo and video

As your users scroll through their News Feed, photos and video stick out much more than text posts. It’s hard to ignore a large, colorful photo, and just think about all the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos sweeping Facebook right now! Adding a photo or video to your post will earn you more attention, which means more engagement from users interested in your brand. Upload a photo from a recent event (giving the photographer credit where necessary) or create a quick video of your last event with our Video Builder. It may take a little more time than just a text post, but it’s worth the time to stand out that much more to your customers and potential customers.

Ask questions

When you do post text or a link, try to use questions to engage with your audience. Social media is a two-way medium, allowing for communication between both the poster and reader. Take advantage of this nuance by asking questions of your audience to prompt them to comment with an answer. If you’re a wedding planner, try asking your audience if they prefer one wedding trend over another. If you’re a photographer, ask your audience which poses they view as the have-to-have poses for their wedding albums. You can post a question each week on a certain day, or you can just add them into your social schedule as you see fit to provide some variation in your posts.

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» The New Rules of Facebook Engagement

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.

Facebook has many moving parts. It may be more accurate to describe being a Facebook user as “being caught in the crossfire.

Facebook is no longer simply a social media platform but a communication eco-system. No longer a place just to meet people, it’s now a sharing and marketing machine.  At every turn, your ‘friends’ are giving concert, movie and restaurant reviews, promoting/recommending almost anything they like, and painfully detailing a frustrating experience from the day.

Sponsored and promoted posts now pepper your News Feed, and ads now take up your precious computer screen real estate. At the same time, our minds race with infinite thoughts, competing for our primary attention in real time. Whether it’s good news, bad news, humor, recommendations, or our innermost thoughts and feelings, Facebook is a powerful magnet for expression.

The New Rules of Facebook EngagementIt’s becoming more and more important to understand the new rules of Facebook engagement. If you want to be noticed on Facebook or want to use it to drive business, you’ll need to follow these rules.

Use the “Who Cares?” test

As a general rule for status updates on Facebook, ask yourself, “Who would really care about what I’m about to post?” I often see many businesses or business owners posting this sort of status update:

“Thanks to Patty Harrison for choosing me as her engagement shoot photographer! I’m so excited to shoot your session on Monday!!!”

To most of us who might read that post, it’s name-dropping, spam, or both. The better action is to thank Patty directly with a handwritten card, a voicemail or a private Facebook message. It’s a personal, one-to-one communication, showing appreciation – not a general announcement. Using the “Who Cares?” test before you post will save you from adding more white noise to the mix.

Check your sharing settings

You have the option to share with Friends, the Public (that means EVERYONE on Facebook), or an assortment of other options (including Close Friends – those you have designated with a Gold Star). Being more selective about whom you share what with will help you be more relevant.

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» Where Has My Facebook Engagement Gone?

Pro to Pro Insights

Ariane Fisher

Ariane Fisher is the Co-founder of Storymix Media. Their WeddingMix product is a fun and easy way to crowdsource photos and videos from guests to create an edited wedding video. Ariane is an Apple Certified Professional Video Editor and has been published in Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, WeddingMBA, and Rangefinder Online. She has been featured on the ABC evening news in Chicago and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

The writing was on the wall 2 years ago when Facebook debuted newsfeed ads. As businesses began to pay for placement in the newsfeed, it was inevitable that organic reach (unpaid posts) would plummet. And without organic reach, engagement plummeted as well. Bye, bye, free Facebook.

Yes and no. By staying on top of the latest updates, you can continue to enjoy great engagement with your existing and potential clients.

In this article, you’ll learn what type of posts are actually shown to your fans, how to get the content for your posts and how to actually post them.

What is organic reach and engagement?

Organic reach is how many of your fans actually see your posts without you paying for it. If you have 1000 fans that you worked hard to gain, prior to newsfeed ads, Facebook may have shown your posts to 250 of them – for free. Now you can pay $5 – $30 to reach that many of your fans.

Engagement is any interaction between your fans and your post – like, comment or share. It’s what tells you that your fans are alive and paying attention to you.

What posts will Facebook show to my fans?

Facebook uses a mathematical algorithm to decide which posts they will show the most. Facebook’s latest algorithm changes favor something near and dear to my heart – video.

As you can see from the photo below, they are showing posts with video more than the others.

Where Has My Facebook Engagement Gone?

The important thing to notice is the engagement. The more your fans like, share, comment on your posts, the more Facebook shows other posts, like status updates, links and photos. In the case of video posts, they also consider if the fans watched a video for more than a few seconds in determining engagement.  Continue reading

» 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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» How to Incorporate Facebook into Your Marketing

Running your business is a full time job, and it may seem like taking on additional responsibilities would be too much to handle. With all the talk about social media and other online tactics, there’s a lot of confusion over what’s necessary for your business and how to get started. Even if you’ve started using social media for your business, it’s easy to get stuck in the same pattern of not knowing what to post or posting the same content over and over.

How to Incorporate Facebook into Your MarketingHowever, if social media is something you’re interested in incorporating into your marketing strategy, create a Facebook business page! Facebook business pages are free, and they have a variety of different benefits over using a personal Facebook account. And with over 1 billion active users on Facebook, you’ll be opening up your business to more exposure as well as another way to connect with your clients.

If you’re ready to get started, below are a few topic ideas to consider when writing your next (or first!) Facebook post:

Use your Facebook Page to Request Reviews

A Facebook status is a great way to reach out for reviews without having to personally email your clients. Posting a status including your personalized review URL is an easy way to solicit reviews, especially if you’ve tried sending personal requests and haven’t heard back from them all.

Pro Tip: Consider sharing this post on a monthly basis!

Share something from “Behind the Scenes”

Give your followers a glimpse from behind the scenes of one of your events. Your followers would love to see a post/picture of what goes into each wedding! This idea also lays the ground work for a follow-up post – the following week you can post a photo of the finished product.

Pro Tip: If you’re a florist, post a picture of your van packed full heading to the event. If you’re a photographer, share a story about the great lengths you went to secure the perfect shot.

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» Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Business Pages

Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Business PagesWhen Facebook first began to gain popularity with businesses, organizations and companies in addition to individuals, there weren’t many professional options. As a result, many business owners created personal accounts for their businesses which allowed them to “friend” their customers and grow a following that way. These accounts functioned for a while, but Facebook quickly realized that there was a growing need for a different type of access for entities.

Then Facebook Business Pages were created, and Facebook began offering different products to businesses because they have different needs than individuals. Whether you created a personal profile for your business because there were no other options at the time or you just don’t want to make the change, it’s time to switch to a business page! This tool will better serve your business’ needs, and there are a lot of benefits to having a business page rather than a personal profile.

Here are a few reasons why your business should make the switch from a personal profile to a business page (if you haven’t already), or why you should get started with a Facebook business page today if you don’t have one:

Professionalism

Even with constant changes to Facebook’s look and feel, it’s easy to tell the difference between a personal profile and a business page and business pages look more professional.  Also, since “friends” have access to each other’s profiles, you may be preventing potential customers from creating a relationship with your business because they may not want to share all of their personal information with you, or may be unable to search for your business by a personal name.

Multiple users

Using a business page for your business means that you can add multiple users with different levels of permissions. You don’t have to sign in and out or share your password with other employees who need access; you can just add them as administrators and they’ll be able to access from their own accounts. Facebook also added a new feature that allows only admins to see who posted on behalf of the page, so you’ll always know who posted what should anything go awry.

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» Using Social Media for Customer Service

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your business should be social in some way. Connecting with your potential clients has become harder than ever with the amount of marketing messaging being aimed at consumers, so you need to reach them in a more natural way. Reach them where they’re already spending time – social media!

If you haven’t already set up a social media presence for yourself, first evaluate your audience and check out resources like this infographic to decide which social channels to target based on your audience’s needs. You don’t have to have a presence on them all (especially if you have limited time and resources), but a little effort can go a long way.

Using Social Media for Customer ServiceMost businesses are aware that social media can help your business grow through brand awareness and brand recognition, but did you also know that social media has quickly become an important and effective customer service tool?

Find out how your business can leverage Facebook and Twitter for customer service with our tips below!

Managing Customer Care on Facebook

One of the biggest trends businesses should be aware of is the tendency of unsatisfied customers reaching out publicly through Facebook. For wedding and event professionals, many of your current and past clients will leave a review rather than reach out on Facebook, but Facebook is very easy to access, especially on the go. If you do receive a negative post or comment on your business’ Facebook page, respond quickly and try to take the issue off of the public domain by working it out through private message, email or a phone call.

Pro Tips

  • Apologize for anything you may have done to make them feel that way, or for any inconvenience they may have experienced
  • Respond quickly so that the situation does not get worse with time

Responding to Customer Issues on Twitter

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