» Social Media Tips for When You’re Stumped

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

The importance of social media to wedding businesses can’t be denied. Used properly, social media is completely free marketing platform that is unsurpassed in its ability to cement your brand identity, create meaningful relationships with your clients and other wedding professionals, and give your business a real, human voice that resonates with people more than a static website or a print ad ever could.

On the other hand, social media can seem completely overwhelming. Most wedding business owners use at least one social media platform for their personal interactions, but knowing how to manage a complete social media marketing program for your business is a different skill altogether. Here are my top five social media tips to make it easier.

Top social media tips

  1. Decide which platforms are most useful for your business. It seems that new social media technologies are being offered all the time (this very topic was one of the highlights of Sonny Ganguly’s presentation at WeddingWire World 2015!). I think it’s safe to say, though, that the most mainstream platforms are the only really essential ones for the wedding industry. All wedding businesses can benefit from having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, because they support easy information-sharing in the form of words and images, and are highly interactive. Pros in more creative and visual fields (or who are good at remembering to take photos of everything) can get a lot out of Pinterest and Instagram, too. LinkedIn can also serve as a good way to network with other business owners. Remember that it’s totally fine to start with just one or two of these platforms – you can learn more, and build your presence, as you go. The most important thing is that you keep up with your social media usage on whichever platforms you choose.
  1. Identify the voice you want to use. Most wedding pros that I know are personally invested in their business, and their brand is largely a reflection of their personality and values. It makes sense, then, that you should put some thought into exactly how you want to represent yourself on your business social media accounts. Do you want your posts to be strictly professional, sharing advice/information and announcing company news? Or do you want to incorporate personal successes and struggles as well, for a more “human” approach? Having a clearly defined voice for your social media presence will make a big difference in how you craft your content, and how your message is perceived.

Continue reading

» Is Your Digital Content the Right Length?

Creating digital contentWhen it comes to writing for your wedding business, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. The messaging in your blog posts should be consistent with your content your website, and your emails and social media posts should also reflect the same tone and voice. With all of those considerations, it’s easy to write too much (or sometimes too little) to keep it all straight!

If you’ve ever wondered how long your pieces of digital content should be, you’re not alone. Luckily for you, there’s a ton of research on exactly how long your digital content should be for ideal exposure and views on the various channels. Below are some of the findings:

Facebook. Research shows that posts shorter than 40 characters (meaning words and spaces or punctuation) had 86% higher engagement rates than longer posts. This isn’t to say that long Facebook posts are useless – in a lot of cases, there’s no way to condense information into less than 40 characters. If you can squeeze posts to under 80 characters, they get 66% more “likes” and comments.

Twitter. Twitter, unlike Facebook, is already very limited in the amount of content users can post. Ideal post length on Twitter is actually longer than ideal post length on Facebook, but it’s an easy number to remember: 100 characters. Twitter’s own research shows that medium-length tweets get the most re-tweets. Why? If users want to “quote” the tweet or retweet and add their own thoughts, they have enough characters left to do so. For optimally shareable tweets, aim for 70-100 characters.

Headlines. If you have a blog, pay close attention to this one! Just like people scan blog posts, (sad, but true) they scan the headlines. The maximum word count for headlines is just six words. Research shows that if a headline is longer than that, readers only look at the first three words and the last three words. Consequently, keeping headlines to six or fewer words ensures that readers pay attention to the whole headline. Plus, Google typically only displays 50-60 characters of the title in search results, so the shorter, the better!

Continue reading

» 4 Components of a Great Social Media Post

Social media postsWe’ve written about the importance of social media for wedding businesses, detailed upcoming changes to the popular social networks, and explained how to effectively use social media, but there’s still a ton of social media strategy and tactics to cover!

In addition to posting at the right times with the right frequency, there are a few key components you should include in your posts to help your posts get noticed. Below we list the top four components of a great social media post:

Tags and mentions. Networking is important in the wedding industry, and it’s just as important online. Tagging, mentioning, or sharing posts from fellow Pros opens up the channels of communication between you and your peers, but also between you and prospective clients. A “ripple effect” is caused when you mention or share a post from another Pro – you’re now reaching their audience in addition to your own. Tagging and mentioning other professionals in the industry often leads to a friendly relationship with that business, which can lead to more online exposure for both parties.

Examples of your work. The best way to generate leads through  social media is by providing your followers with plenty of examples. Sharing a photo or two of your most recent or favorite wedding gives couples a glimpse into your work and helps them get to know you better. Sharing experiences and work from real weddings also gives prospective clients an idea of your style, so they can determine if it matches their wants and needs. WeddingWire also has a real weddings website where couples and wedding professionals alike can submit weddings to be published on the site.

Professional voice. If you wonder what “voice” means in terms of social media, you’re not alone! Just as it is in blogging, your voice on social media is the tone and feel of the posts. This voice should be consistent across all your social networks, and it should reflect your business’ professionalism. Posting in text/email speak isn’t a good idea, and it’s best to find other ways to shorten your posts without abbreviating words or phrases. We get it – staying under 140 characters can be hard, but abbreviations often come across as juvenile and unprofessional. For example, “Brides love our hairstylists and you’ll love the way you look on your wedding day!” looks much better than “Brides luv our hairstylists & you’ll love the way you look on ur wedding day!”

Continue reading

» 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.

Continue reading

» Updating Your Brand Presence for Wedding Season

Updating Your Brand Presence for Wedding SeasonAs we move into the spring season, Pros across the country are preparing for a busy wedding season full of events. While you may have already booked most of your weddings through the fall, couples are still seeing your business as they continue to search for their wedding professionals. It’s essential that your brand presence remain strong while you’re otherwise occupied!

Below we break out the individual areas that affect your brand presence online, with tips for updating each area in preparation for the wedding season.

Brand: Add professional photos

It’s important to take time several throughout the year to update your Storefront with recent photos and information. Before you reach for that cell phone camera, though, consider getting some more high-quality images! Featuring high-resolution, professional photos that showcase your business is an important way to make your Storefront and website more appealing to visitors. We recently redesigned the look and feel of your Storefront 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. The more visitors to your Storefront who check out your photos, the more time they’re spending on your Storefront considering your business. Make the decision easy by giving them plenty of great photos to choose from!

Public Relations: Submit a real wedding

One of the most crucial aspects of developing strong wedding PR for your business is getting published. Whether you’re a DJ, florist, venue, caterer, wedding planner or any other wedding professional, getting published will expose your business to an even wider audience. If you’re taking our advice and adding more professional photos, your Storefront will look more attractive to our Editorial Team, who spend a lot of time browsing WeddingWire Storefronts to look for Wedding Pros to interview and feature. We also created RealWeds.com to streamline the process of submitting real wedding photos to WeddingWire and our sister site, Project Wedding. Whether you submit your own photos or your business is selected by our Editorial Team, being published on WeddingWire will help your business reach even more engaged couples.

Continue reading

» Social Media Marketing: What Not To Do

Social Media Marketing: What Not To DoRunning 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 that your business fully understands social media marketing and what you should (and should not) do.

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. We’ve got some of the biggest social media marketing don’ts so you can know how best to proceed!

Don’t create accounts you’ll never use

There are new social networks being launched each month, and while it’s important to pay attention to the features and benefits of each, don’t spread your business too thin by thinking you have to be present on every social network. Most businesses only have enough time or resources to manage a few social networks, so try for quality, not quantity! If you’re already overwhelmed with Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest, don’t create a new account on any network until you have time to dedicate to it.

Don’t just post about yourself

Although the purpose of a business account on social media is to promote your business, you shouldn’t just post about yourself. Don’t just post links back to your website constantly, and don’t post multiple times a day if you don’t have anything new to say. In addition to the occasional link back to your website, your posts should add value for your fans and followers. If you have a blog, remember to post your blog posts on your social networks to help educate and inform potential clients, and be sure to share any relevant news from industry websites or communities.

Continue reading

» What’s Next in Social Media: January 2015

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from January 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: January 2015

Image via Business Insider

Facebook’s Place Tips

In late January, Facebook unveiled a location-based recommendation feature called Place Tips. When Facebook users with enabled GPS/wi-fi settings are close to a location that Facebook believes they would like, they’ll receive a notification in their News Feeds. The notification itself directs users to access reviews, photos and posts from friends who have visited the location, making the information more personalized and relevant. This feature is part of the main Facebook app, not a spin-off app like Messenger or Groups.

Continue reading on Business Insider >>

Twitter “While You Were Away” feature

For Apple iOS users, Twitter has added a new feature that recaps tweets you may have missed since the last time you used the Twitter app. Because users who do not sign in or use the app often may miss tweets as they appear chronologically, Twitter’s new feature displays the top tweets for you based on an algorithm that takes into account user habits and engagement. The goal for this feature is to connect with users – even when they aren’t using the app – and boost engagement.

Learn more on Mashable >>

New Pinterest search filters

Pinterest’s internal search feature has evolved once again to display personalized results based on users’ gender selections. In an effort to get more men using the female-dominated social network, Pinterest has made this change to maximize its usefulness for men. When you create a profile, you’re asked to select whether you’re male or female; this filter is based on that original selection. This filter, in addition to other filters in Pinterest’s guided search, can be turned on or off at will – meaning that female users can still search men’s products, and vice versa.

Continue reading

» A Beginner’s Guide to Using Pinterest

A Beginner’s Guide to Using PinterestBy now, you’ve probably heard from other wedding professionals that Pinterest can be a big driver of traffic for your website. Pinterest helps users discover things they want to plan, buy or do sometime in the future. As an image-centric social network, Pinterest is one of the best ways to reach potential wedding clients because brides (and grooms!) will often use Pinterest for wedding inspiration.

If you’re a Wedding Pro with a lot of great photos, blog posts or other content you want to get out there in front of potential clients, Pinterest is a social network you should consider. Below are the elements you’ll need to optimize for your business when you begin using Pinterest!

Business Name/Username: When creating a Pinterest account for your wedding business, it’s important to use your business’ name so clients and potential clients can find you. It’s also important that you remain consistent across as many channels as possible so that all your networks can be found when searching for your business. With Pinterest, your business name is how your Pinterest account is displayed, and your username is what determines your account’s URL. If your business name is very long, you can shorten in the username and leave the full name as your business name.

Profile: Other elements of your Pinterest profile include a picture (which should be your logo if you have one) and a short “About You” section. This section should describe your business in a little more detail. It’s also a great place to include any keywords for your service category! There are also fields for your business’ location and website. You can verify your website to show Pinterest users that you’re a trustworthy source – instructions here.

Pins: On Pinterest, the content you post is called a Pin. You can pin from a website or from a file on your computer. Adding a Pin from a website is the best way to take advantage of Pinterest – you simply paste the URL of the page you’d like to pin and Pinterest pulls any images on that web page for you to add to your account. The benefit to pinning from a URL is that if users click on your Pin, they’ll be taken to the web page the image came from. Many wedding professionals use Pinterest to further the images they add to their blog and drive traffic to their website. However, if you have something you want to add as a Pin that isn’t on your website or blog, you still have the option to upload from a file. When you pin something, that Pin is public so that people searching Pinterest in the same category or topic as your Pin will see it. You’ll also be pinning it to your own board.

Continue reading

» 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!

Continue reading

» Twitter Best Practices for Wedding Businesses

Twitter Best Practices for Wedding BusinessesSince many wedding professionals focus on Facebook or Pinterest for their social media marketing, it seems like Twitter is sometimes lost in the mix – but it shouldn’t be. In fact, 23% of millennials follow a brand on Twitter, and 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website! With these strong statistics, it’s hard to avoid Twitter as a marketing tactic.

These Twitter best practices for wedding businesses will help you get started with Twitter so you can start connecting with new potential customers and building industry connections.

Optimize your profile

Customizing your Twitter profile is really easy and only takes a few minutes to give your business a professional look. Twitter has instructions and image dimensions here, but the basics are to:

  • Upload a profile photo. Since this profile is for your business, use your wedding business’ logo as your profile photo. If you don’t have a business logo, try using a photo of your finished product or a photo from a recent wedding. Try to avoid using your own image as your profile photo – remember, this is supposed to represent your business, not you!
  • Select a descriptive header photo. Your header photo appears at the top of your profile, and Twitter will overlay your business’ bio, location and website overtop, so keep the photo simple. Don’t use a lot of text and avoid overly bright or dark images. Be sure to check out how your header photo looks with your profile photo to ensure brand consistency.
  • Write your bio. Beneath your Twitter handle on your profile, Twitter will display your business’ name, location, website and a short description. Describe your business in this space to make it clear to anyone who stumbles across your profile. Also include keywords where appropriate – Twitter profiles do show up in search.
  • Choose a background. This step isn’t necessary; Twitter gives you several options for “themes” and you can leave your background blank if you’d like. If you have a design you’d like to use, upload it as your background. Don’t use a tiled version of your logo, though, as that often appears busy and unprofessional.

The bottom line for your Twitter profile is to keep it consistent with your business’ branding. Your Twitter profile could be the first time a new user interacts with your brand, so make a good first impression.

Know what to tweet

Continue reading

» 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

» How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand on Social Media

How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand Webinar Recap!

How social is your business? Today’s couples are highly engaged on social media and love sharing, posting and liking as they plan their wedding online and on-the-go. 72% of internet users are active on social media and 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision – and this includes decisions for their big day! Social marketing is a must for your brand in the wedding industry.

WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganuguly hosted this month’s educational webinar for premium members and shared his tips for how to stand out online and build a strong brand using social media.

Check out these tips for building a buzzworthy brand on top social media sites:

  • When posting on Facebook, the largest social network, keep in mind the highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1-3pm, and post engagement is 18% higher on Thursday and Friday. Be sure to post great content at these times!
  • Twitter users are three times more likely to follow brands than Facebook users. Learn more about your followers by reviewing the recently launched analytics.twitter.com and tailor your sharing according to your user interest and engagement style.
  • Google+ is the 2nd largest social network in regards to amount of users. While they still working to increase user engagement on this site, take advantage of the boost it can give your posts! Posts see a +350% increase when shared using the +1 button so be sure to add this button to your posts and create a business Google+ account. Not only are 6 billion hours watched per month on YouTube, but it is also the #1 network for 18-34 year olds.

Continue reading