» 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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» 6 Ways to Boost Your Success on Social Media

Tips for achieving more on social mediaRunning your wedding business is a full time job, and it may seem like taking on additional responsibilities would be too much to handle. But with all the talk about social media and other online tactics, it’s important to fully understand how social media marketing contributes to the overall success of your business.

Having a presence on the top social networks is not enough to maximize the effect social media has on your business. Below are six easy ways your business can boost your success on social media and start seeing an impact on your marketing goals!

Always read what you post

If you’re posting a link to an article or website, make sure you read it in its entirety before sharing with your audience. While it may seem innocuous (especially if it’s coming from a reputable source), it’s still imperative that you make sure you agree with all the points and suggestions made. When you post something on behalf of your business, it reflects on your business. Make sure what you’re posting is something that you feel represents your brand.

Balance your post types

Do you ever get tired of seeing the same old posts over and over from the accounts you follow? Your clients do, too. If you’re constantly posting links back to your website, try something new! Post a photo of a recent event, or a link to an article you have a particular point of view on that would be of interest to your audience. Ask questions or take polls to find out how your followers feel about new trends or styles you’ve been seeing. You can also work your personality into your social presence with a few personal posts – just remember to keep your tone professional.

Proofread your posts

Proofreading is so important, and not just for blog posts! Your social posts and tweets need a second glance, as well. Read it a second (and even third!) time and think about how you could improve your post or add to it. Look out for grammatical mistakes and typos as these are easy to make when posting from a smartphone or in a hurry. Double-check any tags or mentions you include to ensure you’re tagging the right people. You’ll be surprised by all the little tweaks you end up making!

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» How to Use Social Media Effectively

How to Use Social Media Effectively

In a tech-savvy and social media-centered world, wedding businesses must have a strong online presence to keep up with competition. One of your first steps should be creating a great website (or mobile site if your website isn’t responsive) and hopping onto – at least – the top social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ve already done those things, that’s great! But to be most effective on social media, you should pay attention to what you’re posting, when you’re posting, and how often you’re posting. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you use social media effectively and make the most of your online presence!

  • Post regularly. Staying up to date on your social networks is crucial to engaging followers. Try to post at least once a day on Facebook and 2-4 times a day on Twitter.
  • Post at peak times. What time do people start to get antsy at work? That’s the time to post on Facebook! Weekdays from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. are prime time for Facebook posts – Wednesdays at 3 p.m. is the top time during the week. Tweeting from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. will get you the most views because people tend to scroll through Twitter during their lunch breaks.
  • Add photos to your repertoire. Posting photos on Facebook and Twitter not only livens up the pages, but it also helps you capture people’s attention. Instagram can also be a great source for drawing business because any business can use Instagram. Makeup artists can post before and after photos of brides, florists can share photos of different bouquets, and venues can post the different ways to decorate their event spaces.
  • Ask for follower opinions. If you’re a florist, post pictures of two different bouquets and ask followers which one they like better. Not only does this draw more potential views, but it also helps you know what couples are loving. If you’re a photographer, you can post a city shot and a country shot and see which scene draws more likes. The possibilities are endless!

If you want more tips and ideas for using social media effectively, check out our other blog posts about what’s next in social media, Twitter tips, and creating shareable blog posts.

» 4 Reasons to Use More Images on Social Media

4 Reasons to Use More Images on Social MediaWith more and more brands creating a presence on social media, more and more content is being consumed. Forrest reports that content volume is growing at a rate of 200% annually, which means it’s becoming critical that your business stand out. One of the biggest trends in social media for 2015 and beyond is the increase in visual content – images and graphics.

In fact, we recently redesigned the look and feel of WeddingWire Storefronts to bring more attention to photos of your work, and we’ve seen that visitors who click the new Storefront photo carousel view an average of 22 photos per session. Images can have a big impact on your business, no matter which channel couples are using!

If you’re not sold on the power of images on social media, check out these statistics to convince you to start incorporating more images in your posts on some of the top social networks:

  • Facebook: In a study of the top 10% of posts by over 30,000 Facebook pages, posts with photos accounted for 87% of total interactions. Photos are more shareable and users can recall visual content longer than text. Creating photo albums of your work is a great start, but you should also include those photos in your posts whenever appropriate.
  • Twitter: Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. Tweets are such quick, disposable posts that an image in your tweet can help it stand out from the rest of the tweets with just text and links. Think about how your business can tweet more photos, or attach more images to your links on Twitter.
  • Google+: According to Quick Sprout, Google+ images receive 9.4% more +1s than regular text posts, and animated GIFs receive 39% more +1s than regular text posts. With Google+ it’s important to still add links to your posts, but big, eye-catching graphics will definitely stand out more among the rest in your circles.
  • Pinterest: OK, so Pinterest is all images – but there’s a method to the madness! Curalate has an entire infographic on the topic of Pinterest images, but here are some of the most important points for your business:
    • Vertical images with an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 4:5 get 60% more repins than very tall images
    • Brand images without faces receive 23% more repins than images with faces
    • Images with multiple dominant colors have 3.25 times more repins than single dominant color images

Using more images on your social networks will help you build engagement with your current followers and help you acquire new followers. The more people engage with your content, the more likely your business is to show up in other users’ news feeds and streams. Start focusing on boosting engagement with more images today and your business could see more likes, retweets, repins, clicks and more!

» Social Media: De-Cluttering Your Connections

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.

In the early days of email, it was exciting to hear that ‘ding’on AOL, and the voice, saying, “You’ve got mail!” It didn’t take long before the trickle of email became a river, and now, a tsunami. Not as much fun.

The dawn of social media platforms, in particular Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, created a new magnetism between people from all over; from your past, present, personal and business. But what happens when you accumulate too many connections and they begin to clutter your social presence?

Social Media: De-Cluttering Your ConnectionsCollecting Friends and Followers is Easy – Maintaining them is another thing entirely.

Before you start wildly un-friending and disconnecting, begin by reconsidering your purpose for each social media platform, its structure and features which serve you, and categorizing the remaining connections. Social networks afford you to assign people to lists, so try grouping them by purpose.For example:

  • Specific trade association or networking group (local and/or national)
  • Industry (general) i.e. Wedding Industry (local and/or national)
  • Business category i.e. Wedding Photographer (local and/or national)
  • Media – magazines, websites, bloggers

Facebook

Facebook is often the hardest network to cut your Friends list, as connections on Facebook are reciprocal and so the connection will definitely notice if you remove them. Luckily, you have choices beyond the Friend category that help you to further filter out what you see in your News Feed (and what you don’t): Continue reading

» 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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» 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

» 10 Easy Ways to Get More Facebook Fans

WeddingWire Education Expert

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 14,000 Facebook fans, 44,000 Twitter followers, and over 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.

On April 10, 2009, I launched BridalTweet.com without any social following. At that time, all I had was a BIG idea – to create a more open wedding community where vendors could have complete editorial freedom to write about their businesses and post photos for free. That would lead to a place that engaged couples could turn to for free advice, planning ideas, giveaways, local events and more.

Flash forward to five years later, BridalTweet is a thriving community with 18,000 members, 47,000 Twitter followers, 30,000 Facebook fans and 4,000 Pinterest followers!

10 Easy Ways to Get More Facebook FansSo, how did I do it, and how can this positively impact your business? I attracted the attention of brides and wedding vendors by consistently writing engaging posts on Facebook. I consider Facebook posts to be engaging only if posts deliver helpful information to your fans and if they encourage your fans to ‘Like’ or leave a comment on the content. Posting helpful information will increase your chances of rising to the top of hundreds of newly engaged couples (and their friends’) News Feeds.

Becoming influential on Facebook is bound to help your business, too. It will create more opportunities and it will drive referrals for you, and it’s something that anyone can do! But the big challenge lies in engagement. You’re certain that your latest Facebook post would inspire fans to ‘Like’, respond and share, yet there’s been little (or no) response. You keep hitting the refresh button and wondering why no one’s listening.

In celebration of BridalTweet’s 5th birthday, here are my 10 ways to get more Facebook fans to help you boost your page’s engagement!

  1. Create an attractive Facebook business page. Your page needs to do three main things: give people a reason to become a fan, showcase your work, and link to your website. You can also add the functionality to capture email addresses from your Facebook page to assist in building your lead list.
  2. Build your Facebook fan baseAdd a Facebook icon linked to your page to all of your marketing materials, including all of your key website pages, your WeddingWire Storefront, and your email signature. You can also send an email to your current or past clients and friends and family inviting them to ‘Like’ your Facebook business page to drive some initial engagement.
  3. Act like a magazine. To understand what I mean, check out BridalTweet’s Facebook page. I’ve gotten into the habit of creating regular posts that include an inspiring wedding photo with a compelling headline or question that links back to the source of the photo (usually on my website). This formula attracts couples and is easily shareable.  Continue reading

» 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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» 5 Ways to Stand Out This Engagement Season

WeddingWire Education Expert

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 14,000 Facebook fans, 44,000 Twitter followers, and over 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.

It’s a fact — Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day are the most popular days for engagements.  As a result, brides are more likely to browse the web to find wedding professionals and planning ideas from December through February. So are you prepared for this coming engagement season? Here are five ways to stand out on Facebook and to give you an edge this coming engagement season:

  • Attract newly engaged brides with 2014 wedding trends. I’m a huge advocate of posting ONLY quality content on BridalTweet’s Facebook page. If it isn’t something that I think is share-worthy, then I won’t post it. And this definitely holds true for this coming engagement season. I recommend that you collect a series of wedding trends that you think will be popular in 2014. Then, post one trend per day on your Facebook page. Or create a special report of 5-10 trends and promote it on your Facebook page. You can even require brides to give you their contact info in order to read the special report. Pagemodo.com is a service that lets you set up a custom tab on your Facebook page, which will have this type of lead generating functionality. You’ll just have to create the special report, set up the custom tab, and promote the tab through your Facebook posts. If you don’t know what the trends will be for 2014, then casually survey your wedding vendor friends and ask for their opinions on this topic. I’m sure they will come up with some inspiring ideas. They might even have some beautiful photos to share!
  • Post once a day and when you think engaged couples will be listening. Play around with this and see when you are getting the best response. A report from the link-shortening service, bit.ly, says:
    • The most optimal time of the entire week to post Facebook content is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.
    • The highest average click-throughs on links within Facebook messages resulted from posting between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET.
    • Traffic peaks midweek between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET.
    • Content attracts the least attention before 8 a.m. ET and after 8 p.m. ET. Continue reading

» 6 Posts that Build Engagement on Facebook

The building blocks of social media focus around connecting and sharing with people, audiences, and businesses of interest.

As a wedding and event professional, it is important to establish a presence for yourself on Facebook and other leading social media sites where you can add a personality to your business, connect with clients and future clients, gain online exposure, and work to build your brand.

We know that it sometimes be difficult to stay motivated or inspired in your posts, and it can be tempting to continuously share the same types of content – which may not always be super engaging to your audience.

Find below 6 types of posts that have been proven to build engagement on Facebook from Mashable:

  • Photos: Pictures are a great way to grab someone’s attention! An interesting image catches the eye of users. Photos that are large, colorful or unique particularly stand out (and generate ‘likes’). Consider sharing a snapshot from your latest event, a ‘work in progress’ shot of your set-up or service prep, or your favorite latest inspiration image.
  • Fill in the Blanks: Status updates with a ‘fill in the blank’ option are great at driving engagement with your post, as viewers are directed to reply. This gives your audience a chance to contribute, show their creativity, and connect with your business. Consider asking them to describe their perfect wedding or event in two words, a short caption for how they are feeling today, and more. Be sure to participate in responses, and encourage communication between your repliers when relevant.
  • Photo Captions: Next time you post a photo, ask your audience to come up with a caption! Most people love a good ‘caption contest’ and enjoy the chance to get creative and share their thoughts. Keep an eye on your responses and use your favorite with attribution (and thank everyone else for their great ideas!).
  • Questions: Asking questions is probably one of the easiest methods to get your audience to comment and share their thoughts. Ask a question along with a link the next time you share a link to your blog or an interesting article you read. Without asking a question, people might just read the article and move on, but asking for their thoughts or additional ideas starts the conversation.
  • Tips: Share your Pro tips! Your followers will be interested in your knowledge, and welcome your experience. For example, share your tips for staying cool during a summer outdoor wedding, etiquette best practices for the rehearsal dinner, how to get an unforgettable bridal party shot and more. Consider doing a themed ‘tip of the week’ for a fun and timely post.
  • Quotes: Quotes are one of the easiest and most popular ways to get ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on Facebook (and is very applicable to the wedding industry!). Quotes are often inspirational, making it personal in nature and memorable to your audience, who may, in turn, want to share it with their community.

Overall, Facebook posts should be fun, engaging and relevant to your business. These top 6 types of posts are a great way to get out of a ‘Facebook rut’ and gain more attention to your Facebook page.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any to add to the list?