» Are You Using Social Media Correctly?

Setting up your business’s social media accounts is important, but going into social media with the right mindset is also very important. Like other areas of your business, social media requires skills and experience as well as strategic thinking! Social media can be a powerful part of your business, if done correctly.

Use these questions as a checklist to see if you’re effectively using social media!

Are You Using Social Media Correctly? | WeddingWireEDU BlogDo you have a plan? Your business should have not a “tweet-by-tweet” strategy! All your social media posts and decisions should be based around a social media strategy. Your strategy should be developed based on what your audience needs from each social property, so that you can constantly be sure you’re providing them with valuable and relevant information.

Are you working with others? The key to a great social media strategy is coordinating your efforts with other departments (if you have them) so that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Another idea is to work to share content and expertise with your network. Reach out to Pros You Know to see if you want to work together to share relevant content and get added exposure to each other’s audiences. Networking is very valuable and establishing mutually beneficial relationships in the industry pays off. Not only does working with a variety of people spurn more creativity, but it also helps your social media efforts to be more effective and less boring!

Have you identified thought leaders? Identifying the key influencers and top educational resources in your given industry and posting their content makes you a resource, and enhances both your networks. Follow their good examples when planning your strategy and build relationships with them by mentioning their accounts when you post!

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» 10 Trending Social Media Sites

Technology drives our world, and social media has quickly become a center of many people’s daily lives and is evolving at a very rapid pace. It is hard to stay on top of what’s trending with social media, from the top sites you should be on for your business, and sites to watch. This infographic keeps you up to speed on the trending social media sites you need to know about!

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» What Do Couples Want to See on Facebook?

Christine Dyer is a social media expert and the founder of BridalTweet.com. Christine shares her social media expertise with the wedding industry through a series of free wedding marketing videos. As a testament of Christine’s social media success, BridalTweet now has over 10,000 Facebook fans, 37,000 Twitter followers, and 3,000 Pinterest followers. Prior to launching BridalTweet, Christine Dyer was the Director of Social Media Marketing at American Express where she led the development and growth of their Facebook fan pages, which had 1.6 million fans. Christine received a B.S. and M.B.A. in marketing from Fordham University.

Many wedding professionals use Facebook as just another channel to push out press releases and product promotions. Engaged couples don’t care about that stuff. Instead, the biggest factors that motivate their participation on social networks are 1) to find/share wedding ideas and 2) to get answers to their wedding planning questions. By consistently delivering this type of information on social networks, you’ll attract clients. And better yet — you’ll build a trusted relationship with them.

Having said that, here are the necessary steps that you will need to take in order to transform your Facebook marketing into more wedding sales:

1. Create an attractive Facebook business page. Your page needs to give people a reason to become a fan, showcase your work and link to your website. Another great idea is to add functionality to your page that captures email addresses. This is a great way to build your bride and groom lead list.

2. Build your Facebook fan base. To do this, add a Facebook icon to all of your marketing materials.  This should include all of your website pages and your email signature. The icon should link directly to your Facebook business page. And why not send an email to your friends and family inviting them to ‘Like’ your Facebook business page.

3. Select a few big ideas for your content. Consistently post about one specific theme or niche. Having a theme will create a perception that you are an expert on that particular subject. More importantly, it will signal to fans as to what they can expect from your Facebook page. If it is a theme that they are interested in, then they will likely respond to your page often. To choose a theme, think about what you are passionate about and what you are good at. For example, wedding photographers can publish a ‘wedding photo of the day’.  Wedding planners can publish a wedding planning tip of the day. Or consider posting about celebrity weddings — brides love that stuff. Whatever your big ideas are, they will help distinguish you and your business. And they will attract attention.

4.  Get into a routine and frequently publish those big ideas on your Facebook page. Try to post engaging questions or content on your Facebook business page in order to get free exposure for your business. I consider content to be engaging if it delivers valuable/helpful information to your fans and if it encourages your fans to Like or Comment on the content. Once your fans Like or Comment on your posts, then their friends will also see your business in their News Feed. Posting valuable information will increase your chances of rising to the top of thousands of newly engaged couples (and their friends’) News Feeds. Again, this results in free exposure for your wedding business.

5.  Save time! Spend only 10 minutes a day on social media by automating your Facebook posts. I use Facebook’s free scheduling tool. This service is invaluable to me because it frees up my time during the day and helps me to focus on what’s most important — my customers.

What are the big ideas behind your Facebook marketing strategy?

» Why We #Like Facebook Business Pages: Part 2

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire. You can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

In part two of the Why We #Like Facebook Business Pages series, we will discuss how to set a custom URL on the leading social network, and how to monitor your Facebook Insights which are key analytics to tracking your audience and reach online! Missed part one? Learn about how to create and design your Facebook business page!

Step 3: Set a custom URL

Once you have designed a great business page, it is time for you to set your personalized URL— a customized web address for your Facebook page (for example: www.facebook.com/weddingwire). A custom URL is critical to ensure that those who are searching for your business are able to find you on Facebook, and also improves the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your business page. Get started by logging in to your account on Facebook, visiting www.facebook.com/username, and selecting ‘set a username for your pages.’ There, you can enter your desired username for your business, and finalize by selecting ‘confirm’ to set your custom URL.  Once done, you can use your new custom URL in your advertising and marketing materials to entice Facebook users to visit your business page.

Step 4: Monitor Facebook Insights

Be sure to take advantage of Facebook Insights, a powerful (and free) analytics tool that can help your business evaluate the effectiveness of your Facebook presence. You can easily target specific sets of people with your messaging as well as get a clear picture of your business activity and highlight potential areas of improvement. Once you have at least 30 Facebook fans, your Insights will be available on your business page admin dashboard. From there you can select ‘see all’ to learn about your page’s activity and reach, or visit Facebook Insights for more details.

Here’s a quick overview of Insights:

  • Overview: This tab shows the main activity and statistics about your business page, including the total number of ‘Likes,’ activity of people ‘talking about this,’ your overall reach over the last four weeks, and the engagement levels of your most recent posts.
  • Likes: The Likes tab breaks down the demographics of those who ‘Like’ your page, including gender, age and location, as well as tracking the main sources where your new ‘Likes’ came from so you can better understand your audience.  You’ll get to know quite a bit about who likes your business and whether you are reaching the right audience.
  • Reach: The Reach tab provides analytics on who has actually viewed your posts, including demographics and location, unique visitors, the number of visits to your page and more.  This tab provides great insight into how to improve your posts and which ones are resonating.
  • Talking About This: This tab analyzes who is actually engaging with your page and sharing the content you post.

For additional information, Facebook has a helpful ‘Page Insights Guide,’ available for download in the Insights Center that we recommend reviewing as you continue to develop your analytics tracking.

Check back soon for the final installment in this series!

» When’s the Best Time to Get Social?

While posting relevant information is the best way to showcase your business and attract clients on social media, keep in mind that the time you’re sharing could affect your social traction.

Check out this awesome infographic, designed by Raka with information provided by bitly, for the best times to post for maximum interaction!

Best times to Tweet:

  • Twitter gets the most traffic 9AM to 3PM, Monday through Thursday
  • Avoiding tweeting after 8PM on weeknights, or 3PM on Fridays

Best times to post on Facebook:

  • For the highest average clicks to your content, post Wednesday at 3PM
  • Facebook traffic is highest during the work day: 9AM-4PM, Monday through Friday

Also, be sure that your posts and tweets contain relevant content; otherwise, if you’re sharing anything and everything, your posts could be considered “noise” by your audience. Engaging posts that encourage your audience to take an action (for example: comment, “Like”, retweet) are great – you want your audience to be sharing and commenting on your posts! Additionally, if you ever have a giveaway or promotion, be sure to post it on Facebook! Who doesn’t love a freebie?

For more information on how to maximize social media for your business, check out our recent webinar for premium members: Get Social, Whether You #Like It or Not.

» Best (and Worst) Times for Social Engagement

Being active on social media is a great way for your business to connect with your audiences, and engage with potential clients while sharing your business personality and industry expertise.

However, it is important to keep social media best practices in mind when you are posting, commenting, tweeting and connecting!

Here is a quick list of findings on the best and worst times to be posting on Twitter and Facebook (in Eastern Standard Time), based on a recent study from link shortening service, Bitly.

Twitter Best Practices

  • When tweeting with links that you want followers to open, the best time is early afternoon from 1:00—3:00pm
  • The best days for tweeting are Monday through Thursday
  • It is not very effective to tweet after 8:00pm during the week for high levels of engagement
  • Tweets after 3:00pm on Fridays do not perform well

Facebook Best Practices

  • Wednesday at 3:00pm is the highest time for clicks on links in your posts
  • Generally, links posted mid-week from 1:00—4:00pm drive the highest engagement
  • Facebook traffic is highest between 9:00am and 4:00pm
  • 11:00am is a high engagement time period, so aim to post anything with links at this time during the work week (for example, if you would like to drive to a specific blog post)

As always, we encourage our Pros to Get Social, and be smart for the biggest impact!

» Unique Ways to Promote Your Social Media Accounts

In order to have a successful social media strategy for your business, it is important to keep in mind the need to promote your social accounts outside of just positing on Facebook and Twitter to ensure your content reaches a broad audience.

Here are some unique ways to promote your social media accounts:

  • Add to your Strorefront, website and blog: Be sure your social media accounts are active on all your important online business sites so people who are interested in your company are able to follow you. Also, add share buttons to allow your followers to share your content and reach a broader audience.
  • Add to your business cards and email signature: Reach people you interact with offline. By adding your strong social media accounts to your business contact information, they will be able to reach you in a new, fun way while you build your followers.
  • Include on your promotional items and marketing materials: If you have brochures, fun promotional items, signage and more, add your social media accounts.
  • Create a contest: Creating a contest or give-away is a great opportunity to drive traffic to your social media accounts and add followers. Prizes can be gift cards, complimentary services or a personalized prize for an engaged couple. Promote your contests at bridal events and through your own networks. 
  • Mention it in conversations: Social media drives so much online conversation, but few people discuss it offline! At your next event, bridal show or networking experience, mention your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. If people do not know you are using social media to promote your business, they will not know to look for you and the valuable content you provide.

Social media is an important way to promote your business expertise and showcase your work. If you are working to build great content and connect to your audiences, you should be sure to share your accounts actively.

Do you have unique ways that you have shared your social media accounts or built new followers?

» How To Leverage Facebook Insights for Your Business

Did you know that 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook? The new Facebook Insights is an invaluable tool for your business to gain insight into how to maximize your exposure for your business page and effectively engage with your audience.

Facebook Insights allow you to:

  • Understand the performance of your business page
  • Optimize how you publish to your audience so that your followers will share with their friends
  • Learn more about who you audience is, and how to best connect with them!

To view your Insights page, click on the Insights tab on the top left hand side of your page. The four metrics at the top of your Insights tab allow you to quickly understand the size and engagement of your audience through the following:

  • Total Likes: number of unique people who Like your page
  • Friends of Fans: number of unique people who are friends with your current fans
  • People Talking About This: number of unique people who have created a story about your Page in the last week
  • Total Reach: number of unique people who have seen any content associated with your page

Keep in mind that posting to your page regularly with engaging content encourages more people to talk about your business and share it with their friends, which means you will reach more people! Need ideas for content that will interest your audience and encourage sharing? Post unique wedding ideas, links to industry events in your area, photos from a recent event, inspiration you love, or wedding tips and advice for your audience!

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» Social Media Guide #3: Facebook

The next featured tool in our overview of Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide for Creating Social Media Buttons is Facebook.  Learn more about how to effectively use Facebook’s Like and Share buttons to promote your business!

Facebook Like Box

What It’s For: Like Twitter’s Official Follow Button, the Facebook Like Box enables your business to promote its Facebook business page on your website/blog, highlight other users who have already liked your page, and feature recent posts on your page. The box also allows visitors to become a fan of (AKA ‘like’) your Facebook business page with just one simple click without leaving your site, enabling you to promote your Facebook presence and easily increase your page’s fan count.

How to Implement It: To generate a Facebook Like Box for your website, visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like-box/. Include the URL for your Facebook business page as well as your customization preferences. Then generate the HTML code, and place it on your website where you want it to appear.

Facebook Like Button

What It’s For: Facebook’s Like button is basically a button that enables visitors to easily give a virtual thumbs up to your content. By clicking the Like button, a story also appears on the user’s Facebook profile and in their friends’ News Feed with a link back to your web page, whether it’s a blog post or a specific landing page. Use this button to make it easy for visitors to endorse your content and share it with their Facebook connections.

How to Implement It: Visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/ to customize your Like button and grab the code to place on your website.

 

 

 

Facebook Share Link

What It’s For: While Facebook no longer supports its official Facebook Share button and has officially replaced it with the Like button, there are still some valuable use cases for implementing a Facebook share link on your content, and it’s not difficult to do. While the Like button does automatically share content to the user’s profile and get displayed in their friends’ News Feeds, the button still doesn’t enable users to add a comment or message to the content they’re liking. Creating your own Facebook share links provides your visitors with the option to customize their messaging around the content they’re sharing. These links can then be added to web pages, blog articles, landing pages, or within content like ebooks/whitepapers.

How to Implement It: To create your own Facebook share link, replace the red highlighted URL with the URL of the content you want to promote. Then link the full URL to the anchor text you want to appear in your content.

http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http://bit.ly/vOKpgC

Interested in learning more about what Facebook offers? Review all of Facebook’s official social media plugins in one place: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/.

For additional posts in our Social Media Button Guide series, we gave an overview of follow vs. share buttons, and twitter. Also, be sure to check back for overviews of LinkedIn and Google+!

» Market Your Business With Facebook Timeline

Have you visited a friend’s Facebook page recently and exclaimed, “What in the world is up with their page?!” “Why does it looks like this?” “What is going on?” Well, you’re not alone. It’s called the Timeline and it is being rolled out in phases by Facebook. This new format reorganizes your Facebook into, literally, a Timeline of all of your past posts, photos, etc. With this big change, we wanted to address some big questions:

What’s this big photo?
It’s call your ‘Cover’ and it allows you to add a unique image in addition to your profile photo. Facebook says to choose an image that “represents you best” but we say for your professional Facebook to choose an image that represents your past work best! Show off to potential clients and their friends with high quality photos of weddings or other events you’ve done previously.

Will my fans still see my posts?
The short answer is yes however it is important to keep in mind that with this new format and influx of posts, they will likely see your posts for a shorter time span. According to bit.ly (a URL shortening service), the mean half life of a link on Facebook is 3.2 hours. The old rule used to be to keep your posts to about 1 a day, but now you can post more as long as you ensure you are still sharing valuable content. Read this article for more details.

How do I get it?
Visit http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline to learn more, watch a short video, get tips from Facebook, and get your own!

Have you changed your Facebook over to the new Timeline yet? What do you think?

 

» SEO Benefits of Being ‘Liked’

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Adding the ‘Like’ button to your website’s homepage can improve your search engine optimization (SEO). In the past year, Google, Yahoo! and Bing have updated their algorithms for how they rank websites. Where you rank is dependent on numerous factors, including the content on your site, the keywords you use and the number of other sites that link to you. What has changed is that search engines now count the amount of social activity on your site and one of the largest drivers of that is the facebook ‘Like’ button. The goal of a search engine is to provide the user with the best possible search results and they have found that a critical factor is including the number of ‘Likes’ a website gets into the equation.

So if you are on page one for specific keywords in Google, but your website does not have much social activity (shares on facebook, twitter, etc) then over time you may lose some ranking. On the other hand, if you are sitting on page two but people have been hitting the ‘Like’ button and sharing your website on social media sites, your rankings will get a boost. So adding the ‘Like’ button to your homepage not only will get people to visit your website from facebook, but it will also make sure you show up higher in search results! The ‘Like’ button will improve your SEO over time.

» It’s OK to Be ‘Liked’

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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We all enjoy being liked by our friends and family! As humans, it is our nature to want those around us to like us. It is no different in the online world either. You want your brides and grooms to like not only you, but also your business, your website, your blog, your facebook page and more. The great thing about being liked online is that it is easy for everyone to see your popularity!

Facebook has made the ability to ‘Like’ products and services easier than ever before. All it takes is a simple click of the mouse to let people know what things you like in the digital world. In fact, it is so easy that people like items they see on Facebook, but also quickly like their favorite movies, celebrities and products. For instance, I personally like Coca-Cola, Saved by the Bell, Beyonce and more. I have over 170 different items that I have ‘Liked,’ including numerous wedding businesses.

Many times we are afraid of whether people would actually want to ‘Like’ a business, or in particular your business. Today’s customers are built in a different way. They are happy to like all sorts of things and then share it with the world. You will find that your brides and other wedding professionals will like you without much effort. You just have to make it easy to get liked!

Over the next week I’ll share with you: