» WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at the Separk Mansion for WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte!

At the Networking Night, Charlotte pros had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned about how to better reach engaged couples through social media from WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the enjoyable evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Tammy from Blissful Honeymoons & Destination Weddings!

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Fort Lauderdale

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Venue Fort Lauderdale for WeddingWire Networking Night Fort Lauderdale!

At the Networking Night, Fort Lauderdale pros had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned more about local industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media during a brief presentation by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Megan Hayes.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and amazing photos from the evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Yamille of DoubleTree Ocean Point Resort & Spa!

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» Engaged Couples Don’t Just Like, They Love Snapchat!

snapchat-geofilters

Snapchat is a quickly growing social media site — and the favorite site of many of your current (and future) couples! In fact, it’s the top social site in growth this year, and 10 billion photos and videos are being shared on the site daily! As social sharing moves more visual than ever before and video grows in importance, getting comfortable on visual-first social sites like Snapchat is important.

One of the biggest social trends we have seen this year is that many weddings are getting shared live on Snapchat. From venue details to behind the scenes looks at the wedding party to the reception celebrations and speeches — couples and their guests are sharing the full wedding experience with their followers.

Couples love to see their day celebrated by their guests, and also want their wedding experience to be special. A great way to encourage posts and customization is by adding a Snapchat Geofilter for their wedding day. To help, WeddingWire has made it easy for couples to pick a design and get it set up with Snapchat for their big day with our free Geofilter designs!

How to Geofilters work? Couples can simply select their favorite design, and easily click through to set it up on Snapchat by uploading their design, picking a time and geofence for the filter and then submitting it to Snapchat for approval (there is a fee required by Snapchat).

If you haven’t set up a Snapchat account, we encourage you to give it a try! If you would like to start posting on Snapchat for your business, focus on becoming a storyteller for your business and authentically capture content in the moment. Share behind-the-scenes photos and videos of you wedding prep, peeks at your daily lives, and of course the beautiful finished product of your work. To grow a following, cross-promote your Snapchat account across your marketing materials and other social channels. Learn more about Snapchat Marketing by reading this recent post!

Photo by Krista A. Jones Photography

» How to Incorporate Instagram into Your Marketing Strategy

How to Incorporate Instagram into Your Marketing StrategyInstagram is one of the most popular social media apps, with over 500 million monthly active users. The mobile-based photo-sharing social network, launched in 2010, has had an undeniable impact on the social media industry. But many businesses still question whether to take the plunge and allocate time and resources to creating an Instagram presence. If you’re still on the fence about using Instagram for business, it’s officially time to re-evaluate.

Instagram and Millennials

Recent research shows that 26% of online adults use Instagram, a number that has increased from 17% in 2013. With a combined 75% of adults on Instagram falling between the ages of 18-29 and 30-49, Instagram is one of the best ways to reach Millennial couples who are recently engaged or approaching engagement.

Instagram is beloved by its users, who primarily use the app to effortlessly edit and add filters to both photos and videos from their mobile devices. The visual focus, when first launched, offered a simpler alternative to Facebook, with fewer status updates and links. Studies indicate that consumers are able to recall visual content longer than text, which keeps users coming back. Today, Instagram is the second most used social network, with approximately half of their users accessing the site daily.

Couples often engage with social media when they’re multi-tasking, whether at work or at night when they’re unwinding in front of the TV or in bed. This makes it that much more important to post interesting content so that you can capture the short attention span of your prospective clients. Our research shows that 34% of couples say they’ve contacted a vendor though a social network, and Instagram is quickly moving up the ranks in popularity.

Instagram as a marketing strategy

If you haven’t yet incorporated Instagram into your social media marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered! Follow these 5 easy tips to get started with Instagram for your business: Continue reading

» To Snap or Not to Snap: Snapchat Marketing Explained

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

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

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

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

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

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» Facebook Advertising: Getting Started

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

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

Creating your ads

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

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

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

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

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» Updates to Your WeddingWire Account: November 2015

Check out the latest updates to your WeddingWire account this November!

9.7-StorefrontNew Storefront Edit Mode

We are excited to share that your account editing options have been improved to better build out your business’ Storefront. Updates include a streamlined design that gives you the ability to update your listing from all devices – mobile to desktop to tablet!

Plus, thanks to feedback from Pros like you, we have added additional popular social networks you can now add to your Storefront, including Instagram, Vimeo and YouTube. Plus, we updated the About Us formatting so you can more easily customize your profile, and preview your Storefront on WeddingWire, EventWire and GayWeddings.com, based on the site’s you are listed on.

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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.

» 5 Ways to Market Your Business in the Busy Season

5 Ways to Market Your Business in the Busy SeasonAs we move into the warmer-weather months, wedding professionals across the country face an extremely busy time of year: wedding season! Though we know the majority of weddings happen in the spring and summer, it’s critical to remember those couples who are still in the process of planning autumn and winter weddings. Here are a few ways your business can continue your marketing strategy to keep new clients coming in despite all the rushing around you’ll be doing in the busy season.

Keep gathering reviews

With all your weddings and events happening in the spring and summer, it’s important to gather as many client reviews as possible. Each review is another chance for your clients to spread the word about your business, and each review is valuable for potential clients who are researching your business and other professionals in their area. Plus, recency is still a big factor when couples are evaluating your wedding business, so it’s essential to continue collecting them even if your calendar for the next few months is full!

Tailor your content

Blogging is a great marketing tool no matter what time of the year! Continue creating great content about your business with an off-season twist – think about where your potential clients are in the planning process and try to appeal to them with the right content for that stage. Are there things couples should know about your business when they first start planning? Is there a particular time period couples should focus on your business category versus others in the planning process? Gain more readers by targeting them with the right message at the right time.

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» 5 of the Most Shareable Blog Post Types

	5 of the Most Shareable Blog Post TypesComing up with ideas for blog posts can be time consuming, especially when you get stuck in a rut of posting the same types of articles all the time. Adding more variety to your post types will not only make writing easier, it will also pique the interest of your readers by providing a new format. If you’re not sure how else you can format your business’ content, we’ve got some great data to share.

NewsCred, along with Fractl and BuzzStream, recently analyzed 220,000 articles from 11 verticals over six months to determine what content resonates best on social media and when to post for maximum impact. We’ve broken down their data below to provide you with the most shareable blog post types!

1.  List Posts

Study results: 22.45% of total shares

Best months for sharing: June, September, October

List blog posts offer a number of points on a particular topic that support a general conclusion. List posts have become very popular due to popular news sites like Buzzfeed, which publishes a number of list posts each day. List posts, like infographics, are easier to read and understand because of their simple formatting. Think about the various options a couple has when booking your business and list them, or provide a list of ideas for each season.

2.  ‘Why’ Posts

Study results: 22.32% of total shares

Best months for sharing: September, October, November

‘Why’ posts provide readers with a reason or purpose and provide details that support a given conclusion. These posts serve to convince your readers that your conclusion is the right conclusion! Here’s your chance to really persuade your audience on your own viewpoints. For some wedding professionals this type of post could be a piece on why engaged couples need a Pro in your service category, and why they should book your wedding business.

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» Twitter Tips for Wedding Professionals

Twitter Tips for Wedding ProfessionalsWith WeddingWire World 2015 less than a week away, we’re getting excited for the flurry of social activity from our wedding professionals in attendance. We love seeing what you all have to say, and it’s great to open up a dialogue both during and after the event. Because we know you’re excited, too, now is a good time to talk about Twitter tips and etiquette to help your business stand out.

If you’re just getting started with Twitter, these Twitter best practices for wedding businesses will help you start connecting with new potential customers and building industry connections. If you’re ready for some more in-depth Twitter tips for wedding professionals, check out our list below!

Tweet at least once a day

Tweets are short and disposable, so it’s essential that you tweet at least once a day to fill up your own timeline. Just as inactivity is frowned upon on Facebook, it’s also a problem on Twitter! In addition to indicating that your business is alive and well to your Twitter profile visitors, tweeting consistently increases the likelihood that your tweets are seen by others. The best time of day to get click-throughs on your tweets is 12pm, and the best time of day to get retweets is 5pm. Note that both these times of day are when people are active on their smartphones – during lunch and after work – so they’re looking for something to keep them occupied during a few spare minutes. Reach them then!

…But not too much

Although tweets are short and disposable, too many of them can easily add up to be overwhelming for your followers. If you’re constantly tweeting and updating your followers on your every move, your followers may be tempted to ‘Mute’ you or, even worse, ‘Unfollow’ you. Target your tweets during those peak times mentioned above and add a few more tweets to your queue if you have something to say, but don’t tweet so often that you become frustrating to your followers.

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