» 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.

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» 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.

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» 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.

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» 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.

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» Facebook Like Gate Changes

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

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

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

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

Think about what high like counts contribute to your business

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

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» 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

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» 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.

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» 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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» An Advanced Guide to Using Google+

An Advanced Guide to Using Google+If you use Google+ personally or professionally, you know that there are many benefits to setting up a profile for your business. One of the most common reasons for using Google+ is to reap the SEO benefits of your links being indexed and listed faster, but that’s just one facet of the social network. There are a number of advanced strategies for using Google+ which you can employ to better your page!

In addition to the basics of using Google+ we wrote about a few weeks ago, there are also a number of bonus features and elements you can take advantage of for your Google+ page, including:

Authorship: If you personally write a lot of content for or about your wedding business, consider setting up a personal Google+ account (if you haven’t already) and linking that account with the website or blog where you publish your content. This method, known as Google Authorship, allows you to optimize your personal branding so that all the content you write can be aggregated on your Google+ profile. Your name will show up beneath the title of the article automatically, which is great exposure. Just make sure your personal Google+ account lists your business as a place of work, and you and your business will benefit. Learn more about Google Authorship and how to link accounts here.

Google Analytics: If you use Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic, you can connect it with your Google+ page to better understand your Google+ page followers and how they relate to your website visitors. This connection adds another layer to your business’ online and social activity and allows you to deepen your knowledge about how clients and potential clients interact with your business. Find step-by-step instructions for optimizing this integration from Google Developers.

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» The New Rules of Facebook Engagement

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

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

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

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

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

Use the “Who Cares?” test

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

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

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

Check your sharing settings

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

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» A Beginner’s Guide to Using Google+

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Google+Google+ is one of the most under-used social networks for the U.S. population at large, but especially for wedding and event professionals. We often focus so much of our energy on networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest that Google+ gets lost in the shuffle, but it’s worth a second look.

Many users and businesses have Google+ accounts and pages, but the general consensus is that the engagement levels still have not yet reached those of Facebook. Consider, though, that the number of people who interact socially with any Google product now exceeds 500 million per month! There are plenty of people posting and using the network professionally, and it’s time to catch up.

Below are the elements you’ll need to fill out and optimize for your business when you begin using Google+!

Page Title: The page title for your Google+ page should be your business’ name – it’s a representation of your business. Your Google+ page is indexed and will show up in search, but you shouldn’t try to keyword-stuff your page title. Keep it simple!

Page URL: When you first create your Google+ page, you’ll access it through a long link with a string of numbers, but it can be customized. Once you’ve set your custom URL it can’t be changed, and can be preassigned based on things like your name or the name of your linked website. You may also need to add a few letters or numbers to make it unique to you. Visit Google’s support page to get full instructions on customizing your link and the requirements to do so.

Page Tagline and Introduction: In the About tab of your Google+ page, you’ll be asked to fill out your business’ tagline and introduction, both of which serve to provide a little bit more information about your wedding business. Your tagline should be short and to the point, while your introduction will provide a bit more detail. Don’t repeat your tagline in your introduction, though – Google will pull these both to act as the meta description for your page in search results. Together, they should describe your business and use some of the best keywords for your service category and location.

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