» 5 Unique Ways to Attract Couples With Facebook Live

facebook live wedding business

Have you started using Facebook Live to market your business yet? If not, it’s a must-have in your social media marketing strategy. Here are two reasons why:

  1. Facebook’s algorithm is making it increasingly difficult for businesses to reach an audience on the platform. You may notice that most posts hardly get seen. However, Facebook loves Live. They prioritize live videos in the news feed and will even notify a handful of your followers whenever you start a live video to help you build an audience.
  2. Your followers will love it! The beauty of Facebook Live is that it is spontaneous and unscripted. Your authenticity and brand personality will shine through, and you’ll get to have genuine interactions with your audience. This establishes trust, which is key for getting couples to book you.

You may be wondering, “What would I even talk about or do in a live video?” You can always go live for Q&A sessions and to give advice to your audience, but those are very common Facebook Live topics. Here are 5 unique ways to use Facebook Live to stand out and attract couples:

Interview past clients

If you really want to stand out amongst other competitors who use Facebook Live, interview past clients live using a tool like BeLive.tv. This tool allows you to go live in split screen, so that way two people can host a live video together from anywhere – And you can interview past clients about their experience working with you!

This Facebook Live tactic is powerful because your audience can see your past clients unfiltered testimonial about working with you. After establishing trust through your Facebook Live interview, encourage those watching to visit your WeddingWire profile to read more reviews about your work.

Give a sneak peek behind-the-scenes

Photographer? Show yourself editing some photos live. Caterer? Show your chefs in the kitchen. DJ? Go live while preparing for a wedding. Whatever you do, there’s always lots of behind-the-scenes work that couples don’t necessarily get to see. Facebook Live is your time to give them a sneak peek.

Share your story

Why did you get into the wedding industry? What makes you excited and passionate about your job? Hop onto Facebook Live and share it with your audience! Couples will love to hear you share your story. Getting real and talking about your “why” with your audience will prove to them that you are in business to help make their wedding dreams come true, not just to make money.

Walk through your process

What is your process with clients? Think about all of the steps you take when you first talk with a client all the way up until their wedding day. Now identify what makes your process unique compared to other vendors. For example, a wedding planner who puts a special focus on tablescapes and event design has a very different process than a planner who focuses on logistics.

Go live on Facebook and talk about it – explain your process, what makes it different, and why it will benefit the couple.

Go live at a wedding

Now that we’re in wedding season, use Facebook Live at a wedding (with the permission of the couple, of course). No matter what role you have at the wedding – officiant, hair stylist, makeup artist, caterer, photographer, DJ, planner, etc. – you have the ability to go live and show potential clients how you interact and work at an actual wedding.

This is one of the best ways to use Facebook Live because couples who view the video will be able to picture you at their own wedding, which will make them want to book you.

» @WeddingWire’s Top 10 Instagram Posts + 10 Social Tips for Your Business

This article was written by Halie Greening, Senior Social Media Specialist at WeddingWire.

As the social media team behind the @wedddingwire handle, we spend our days analyzing the content that resonates with engaged couples, developing creative ways to connect with our audience, and staying on top of trends in the social sphere. In honor of WeddingWire’s 10th Anniversary this month, we compiled our top 10 Instagram posts of 2017 with the highest engagement, along with 10 social media insights that you can use today to boost your business’ social media strategy.

Tip #1: Heartfelt Moments Boost Engagement

Our followers love the moments that tug at their heartstrings, and rightfully so. There’s something special about reading the raw emotion that shines through this sweet note from a groom to his soon-to-be-wife on their wedding day that made this post so popular. Heartfelt moments target your followers’ pathos; find everyday moments that hit home and you’ve got yourself your next successful Instagram post. (Photo by @sarabeephoto)

Tip #2:  Your Followers Are Your Best Content Creators

Some of our best content, which is often ring selfies and celebratory #justsaidyes moments, comes from our biggest fans – our followers! Sharing content from your followers will make them feel heard and loved, AND it’s a great way to curate authentic, on-brand imagery (without having to create it from scratch). Get into the habit of regularly asking your clients if you can repost their photos. Always be sure to ask permission first, and of course tag them in the photo. Are you a florist? Ask your couples to tag you in their wedding photos so you get notified when you’ve been mentioned. Their #TBT to their gorgeous wedding bouquet = your Saturday morning post to remind your followers to “Stop and smell the roses!” (Ring: @brilliantearth)

Tip #3: Candid Moments Are ALWAYS a Good Idea

Posed portraits and carefully arranged photos can achieve a specific aesthetic, but sometimes it’s the relatable, candid moments that deliver the highest engagement. Moments like this one of a groom crying as he sees his beautiful bride for the first time will captivate your audience and bring in the likes. Consider sharing authentic behind-the-scenes photos of you in action, or maybe a genuine moment between you and your clients. The most compelling posts are often those unplanned shots. (Photo by @jordanvoth)

Tip #4: Find Your Brand BFFs and Build Each Other Up

If your brand or business were a person, who would they hang out with? What would you have in common with your circle of friends? We’ve got a few brand BFFs (all of our amazing wedding professionals!) who we admire for their unique brand stories. Two ways we strengthen our friendships are content swaps and contests (like this Lilly Pulitzer giveaway photo). Whether it be an overlapping demographic or a similar aesthetic, find wedding pros you consider to be your brand friends and coordinate content swaps with them. Do you arrange amazing bouquets and they bake drool-worthy cakes? Why not switch up your content mix with a photo of a delicious sweet treat, and offer them a photo of some stunning stems to share.

Tip #5: Find the “me” and “we” that makes your content relatable!

Ever tag your friend in a post you come across in your social feed because it instantly reminds you of them? Choose content that will make your audience think, “that’s SO me” or “my fiancé and I would TOTALLY do that.” Even if it’s just a shot of you and your Monday morning coffee in a cute mug with a cheeky caption, or maybe a fun peek into your weekend plans, it showcases your human side. Your followers will love to see what you have in common. (Photo by @michellelangephoto)

Tip #6: Find an Aesthetic That Fits Your Style and Stick With it

Just like your outfits, you don’t want your Instagram grid to clash. Keeping a consistent feel to your photos and ensuring that your feed looks cohesive is key making a strong brand impression. Give yourself a color palette you want your imagery to stay within. Create a grid for the week to layout how your images will look alongside one another. Find balance. Love a black and white photo to break up the feed, but typically post vibrant pictures? Balance it out by breaking them up in rows or squares, thinking of your feed in a more symmetrical manner. Whatever your style, create guidelines for yourself and stick with it. (Photo by @sarahlibbyphoto)

Tip #7:  Strong CTA’s = Strong Engagement

Want new followers? Want more likes on your photos? Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to ask! One of our best practices is the classic, direct “call to action” in a caption. Nothing encourages engagement more than telling your followers exactly what it is that you want them to do. Even better, if you’re ever stuck on a catchy caption, pull a “Double tap if…” a “Tag someone who…” or a “Comment below with…” out of your back pocket and not only have you solved your writer’s block, but you’ve also just told your audience exactly what you’re expecting from them when they look at your photo! (Photo by @maycarlson)

Tip #8: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it…build on it!

Donuts, dogs and jaw-dropping ceremony backdrops. What do these all have in common? They get people double-tapping like there’s no tomorrow. As a social team we’ve seen how well photos with these themes perform time and time again on our feed due to how strongly they resonate with our audience. Knowing that these pieces of content easily capture our followers’ attention, we are always on the lookout for content with these elements. Start by auditing your feed and identifying which types of content have performed the best in the past to help guide your content choices in the future. Taking a peek at popular posts from other wedding industry feeds will inevitably provide content inspiration, too. (Ring: @tacoriofficial)

Tip #9: Take note of what’s on trend, then tweak it!

Part of having a strong social media strategy is not only paying attention to what works well for you, but also staying in-the-know about current trends. Whether it’s the Pantone color of the year or the latest decor craze, showcasing trends on your social media tells your followers you are a knowledgeable, reliable source for what’s current in the wedding industry. Of course, staying on-brand and sticking to your style is important, so be picky about the trends you embrace and explore ways to incorporate your unique perspective. (Photo by @bretthickmanphoto)

Tip #10: Stop Their Thumbs in Their Tracks

Ever find yourself mesmerized by a video of a cocktail being made or a delicious dish coming together, ingredient by ingredient? THOSE are the videos that are pure gold. We quickly realized after re-gramming a video by Laura Hooper Calligraphy how much our audience enjoys watching calligraphy come to life before their eyes. So what did we do about it? We met up with Laura Hooper to have her write a variety of phrases that we could capture on video and add to our Instagram arsenal. Try taking quick videos of content relevant to your business. Speed them up, slow them down, reverse them. You’ll captivate your audience and stop those thumbs right in their tracks! (Calligraphy by @lhcalligraphy)

» #WeDoTBT Contest: Share Your Favorite Throwback Wedding Photos

In honor of our 10th Anniversary, we’re taking a look back at how wedding trends have changed over the years (80s puff-sleeve wedding dresses, anyone?).

Join us in our trip down memory lane for a chance to win! Throughout the month of May, we’re giving out prizes to our wedding professionals for sharing their favorite throwback wedding photos or videos on Instagram.
How to participate:

  • On Instagram, share a past wedding photo or video, include the hashtag #WeDoTBT and tag @WeddingWireEDU in the caption.
  • Each Thursday in May, we’ll select the winning photo or video from the week to repost to our @WeddingWireEDU Instagram account.
  • Every throwback wedding photo or video counts, and whether you decide to go back days or decades, each post will be considered. Post as much as you like before May 25th for a chance to win!

Prizes include:

  • $100 Massage Envy Gift Card
  • Amazon Echo Dot
  • JBL Portable Bluetooth Speaker
  • Tile Mate 4-Pack

We can’t wait to see everyone’s fun photos and videos this month!

Terms and conditions apply.

» How to Be a Social Media Rockstar During Wedding Season

The warmer months mean peak wedding season, which means spending less time at your desk and more time preparing for upcoming weddings. During this busy time, it’s easy to forget about posting to your social media accounts or responding to that message you got on your Facebook page.

However, wedding season gives you the opportunity to stand out among competitors who completely neglect their social media during this time, as well as impress couples who are planning their weddings for winter or next year’s peak season. Here’s how to keep up with your marketing and be a social media rock star throughout wedding season:

 

Narrow your focus

You don’t need to be on every social media platform to be effective. All you need is three: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. That’s right – I give you permission to ditch Twitter and LinkedIn (at least for the time being!) and focus all your efforts on only three platforms.

Why these platforms? Our research shows that Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are the top three social media sites visited by engaged couples. Furthermore, 89% of couples say that they visit Facebook pages of vendors that they are considering for their wedding and 96% use photo sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram for wedding inspiration.

 

Post often & consistently

Social media algorithms favor accounts that post often and consistently. This means that if you take a week off from posting, the next photo you publish is going to be seen by far fewer people, and you’ll get much less engagement than normal.

How often should you post to be effective? You should be posting on Facebook at least 3-4 times per week, but 5-7 times per week will help you reach the most people. Post at least once per day on Instagram, and pin at least 15 times per day on Pinterest. I know this sounds overwhelming, but scheduling tools can make it super easy to manage and keep up.

 

Plan and schedule content in advance

Imagine glancing at your phone near the end of your day to find dozens of ‘likes’ and comments from brides on a photo posted to your Instagram that day. The best part? You don’t need to touch the Instagram app once for this to happen!

How is this possible? Social media tools like Buffer and Hootsuite (both totally free!) allow you to schedule content for your social media accounts in advance, this way you won’t have to worry about remembering to share something or forgetting to post for weeks. Tools like BoardBooster or Tailwind allow you to pin tons of content on autopilot, so you never even have to look at your account the entire wedding season.

Here’s how to get started: Sign up for an account with Buffer or Hootsuite and link your Facebook and Instagram business accounts. Set aside one hour per week to sit down and schedule your next week of content for both accounts. Pro tip: Don’t schedule the same content for both platforms. Mix up the photos and articles you share so that potential customers have a reason to follow you in both places!

Next, sign up for a BoardBooster or Tailwind account and link your business’s Pinterest. Set your account to automatically pin relevant content to each of your boards daily. If you use BoardBooster, you can also set your boards to ‘loop’ pins. This means that BoardBooster will recycle old pins, pushing them to the top of your boards. Once you set this up, your Pinterest following and engagement will start to grow without even lifting a finger for the rest of wedding season!

» 4 Simple Ways to Outsmart Pinterest’s Smart Feed

Most couples (about 96%, actually) use photo sharing sites like Pinterest in the ‘dreaming’ phase of wedding planning. That means all those couples are using Pinterest for wedding inspiration, ideas, and planning. However, Pinterest is not a social networking site. It is a search engine. Pinterest users do not use the platform to interact with peers. They use the platform as a tool to plan purchases, find inspiration, and view tutorials.

Since Pinterest is a search engine, they have an algorithm called the Smart Feed, which determines what pins show up in a user’s feed at any given time. In order to succeed with Pinterest, you will have to show the Smart Feed that your account shares quality content that Pinterest users will love. Here’s how to do it:

Makeover your profile 

Start by sprucing up your profile. You want couples to land on your profile, fall in love with it, and take action by following you or clicking on your website. Here are a few key elements to update:

  • Ditch your logo, and use a headshot or staff photo as your profile picture. Pinterest users are more interested in content from people, not companies, so this will appeal to them more.
  • Make sure you include keywords like your service category, your location and your style in your display name, bio, board descriptions, and pin descriptions. This will help you get found in search results.
  • Delete old pins that have few repins and/or favorites. You may love your content, but the Smart Feed will lower your ‘quality score’ if they see lots of pins that no one is taking action on. Removing them will help future pins get seen.

 

Use board covers to make your profile stand out 

Board covers are used to visually label each of your boards. It helps your profile appearance match your branding, and makes you stand out when couples click to see your profile. Make 800×800 pixel board covers (you can use a site like Canva if you aren’t Photoshop proficient), then upload each cover to the corresponding board. Click to edit each board and select your uploaded image to set it as the board cover.

Pinterest Board Covers Example

 

Pin 15+ times per day

This may sound super overwhelming, but the Smart Feed favors users who pin frequently and consistently. Once you start pinning at least 15 times per day, you will start to see growth in followers, repins, and favorites. Plus, the more your pins are seen, the more clicks to your website you will get! Use an application like BoardBooster to automate all of your curated pins, then manually add 5-10 original pins per week, each with a link to your website.

 

Optimize your pins

When you post your own original content, follow these guidelines:

  • Always post vertical photos, not horizontal. In fact, the taller your photo is, the better. 735×1102 pixels is the recommended photo size, but my pins sized at 735x1305p pixels perform best.
  • Use bright, high-quality images. Do not post them if they are grainy or blurry.
  • Include a keyword rich description for every pin. Never pin without a description.
  • Pin each photo to one board, then repin each to all other boards with topics that it relates to in order to increase your quality ranking in the Smart Feed.

Take all of these steps to start sending Pinterest couples to your website and dramatically increase your Pinterest statistics. It will take some time for Pinterest to start showing your pins in couples’ feeds more, but it will be worth it in the long run. Happy pinning!

» 3 New Instagram Updates You Should Be Using

instagram wedding professionals florist

The wild, wacky world of social media is ever-evolving. Case in point: Instagram and its bevy of new features for marketers. While change was slow in the four years since the company was acquired by Facebook, the visual blogging site has hit the ground running in recent months to integrate with Facebook and offer similar tools for audience engagement.

Here’s a rundown of the big changes:

1. Stay Top of Mind With Instagram Stories

We’re sure you’ve seen those little circles above your Instagram timeline by now. The Stories feature is Instagram’s attempt at replicating the immediacy and fleeting nature of popular new networks like Snapchat. So far, it’s been a wild success, capturing 150 million daily users in the first 25 weeks.

How it works is pretty simple: From the home screen, click the little camera symbol on the top left corner. This will activate your phone’s camera and you’ll have the option to shoot a live video (more on that later), a normal photo, a Boomerang video or a hands-free video. You also have the option to use photos and videos taken within the last 24 hours by pressing down on the bottom of the screen and swiping up. Once you’ve taken or selected an appropriate image, you can simply add it to your story. This will stay visible to your followers for 24 hours. You can continually add an infinite number of photos and videos to your story, each adorned with text, drawings, time stamps, location stamps or accessories like crowns and sunglasses.

2. Take Advantage of Shared Facebook-Instagram Business Tools and Go “Live” on Instagram

You probably noticed last year that there were a lot more business tools for Instagram users, including the ability to add a “contact” button to your page and to see detailed analytics within the Instagram app. These tools come as Facebook finally integrates the two social media platforms, allowing businesses to reply to comments from both platforms from the Facebook Pages app, manage campaigns across both platforms through Facebook’s Business portal and employ some of the bigger network’s most popular features, including the ability to go “Live.”

Instagram Live works in a similar fashion as Facebook Live, in that followers are alerted that you’re live. However, unlike Facebook Live, the video content is not archived and disappears as soon as you stop broadcasting.

3. Encourage Engagement by Liking the Likes

Engagement is super-important to wedding pros looking to connect with couples and peers. Social media should always feel like a conversation between you and other folks—not like a rally where you’re blasting your message out through a megaphone. Which is why it’s a pretty big deal that Instagram now allows you to like comments on your posts as well as making it even easier directly reply to the user. As you grow your social media presence, it may not always be possible or make sense to reply to every comment (although you should aim to go into the comments on a regular basis!), but a simple like is a great way to show that you’ve read it and you appreciate it.

Learn more about how Instagram can fit into your overall marketing strategy

» 3 Key Ways Millennial Couples are Different from Past Generations

WedInsights

	3 Key Ways Millennial Couples are Different from Past GenerationsMillennials (also known as Gen Y), whose current age ranges from 16-34, account for roughly 25% of today’s US population – making them the largest living generation. By 2017, U.S. Millennials are estimated to spend roughly $200 billion annually and will make up 75% of the workplace and comprise of the majority of the consumer market within the next 10 years.

Why does this matter for your business? The Millennial generation is at the age where major life events are taking place, like graduating, buying a house, and getting married. In fact, more than 80% of WeddingWire couples are Millennials! Knowing where they are in their life stages is key for understanding how to communicate with this important group.

Below we share some critical stats from WedInsights Volume 13: Keeping Up With The Millennials to explain the habits and needs of today’s Millennial couples.

Millennials are willing to spend more to personalize their weddings

Over the past 10 years we’ve continued to see overall guest count decrease, regardless of age, whereas the total spend per guest is on the rise. Couples are willing to spend extra on each guest in order to really personalize their big day and make it memorable and unique. Millennials spend on average $31,000 on their wedding, whereas GenX spends $24,000 on fewer guests. A few other points of differentiation between Millennials and their older counterparts:

  • Engagement Length: 13 months for Millennials, 11 months for GenX
  • Number in Wedding Party: 10 for Millennials, 7 for GenX
  • Number of Vendors Hired: 11 for Millennials, 9 for GenX

87% of Millennials report having their smartphones on them at all times

Millennials are the “mobile generation”, everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go, so a non-existent or bad mobile website can be an instant deal breaker for this group! Make mobile a priority by doing a full sweep of your online properties from your mobile website to your emails and make sure the content is easily digestible (and layout is responsive) on smartphones and tablet devices. Continue reading

» Oh Snap! Tips to Connect with Today’s Millennial Couples

August-Webinar_OhSnap!TipstoConnectwithToday_sMillenialCouples_TileWebinar recap!

Many of today’s engaged couples are considered Millennials, in fact 80% of WeddingWire couples are in that age range! For your wedding business to succeed in connecting with this tech-savvy and social group, it’s important to keep a close eye on the top trends, preferred communication methods, and best ways to stand out on and offline to ultimately win them over.

In this month’s webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker, and Editor, Kim Forrest, provided an inside look into the mindset of today’s couples from how they prefer to connect with pros to the wedding content they are loving.

Here are some of the top take aways from the webinar:

  • Millennials now make up the largest group of the US population! There are 80 million individuals who are between the ages of 16-34, and are your average customer.
  • On average, they are engaged for 13 months, have 130 guests attend their big day, and hire 11 vendors to make their wedding come to life.
  • Millennial couples share the same top challenges when it comes to wedding planning as their more senior Gen Xers. These include budgeting, making decisions, tracking expenses, knowing they are on the right track and finding their vendors.
  • They look for their wedding pros on social media, so it’s important to have a presence and share your work and personality on top sites including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and beyond. Mostly they are looking for inspiration, to see the quality of your work, and to find your business info.
  • Aim to connect with your clients through visual content as much as you can. They love videos, listicles, infographics and visual-first social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Create your own images or share some you love, and add images of your work.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new social sites! Millennials are loving Snapchat and Facebook Live to name a few – so if these appeal to you, give them a whirl! You can also enlist Millennial employees to teach you about the sites or run accounts for your business if you lack time to coordinate the efforts yourself.

To learn more, watch the full webinar now! Plus, all past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime and learn about the topics that matter most to your business.

» 10 Best Practices for Communicating with Millennials

10 Best Practices for Communicating with MillennialsSuccessfully communicating with Millennials can sound like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with their heavy reliance on mobile devices. After all, Millennials are the “mobile generation”: everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go. They have around the clock access to email, news, social media you name it, they can do it!  So how do you possibly get their attention in a time when there are literally thousands of modes of interaction? The key is to understand three of the most popular (and efficient) ways Millennials are interacting with the world around them: texting, email, and social media.

To give you an idea of just how “mobile” this generation is, consider this: Millennials spend an average of four hours and 22 minutes on smartphones each day, and 87% of millennials have their smartphones on them at all times. According to the same data, 80% of Millennials said that the first thing they do when they wake up is check their smartphone, and 60% said that they believe everything will be done on mobile devices in the next five years. Looking at your audience specifically, engaged couples spend 30% of their time planning their weddings on mobile devices each week. The world is shifting to become much more mobile-based, and it’s essential to adapt your business’s marketing strategy accordingly. Is your business catering to these individuals?

If your answer is no, don’t worry. By following a few simple mobile etiquette tips and adjusting your current marketing strategy to account for this mobile generation, you’ll be equipped to successfully communicate with Millennials via email, social media, and even text messaging.

Email

  1. Make your emails mobile-friendly. According to the 2016 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, about 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which demonstrates how important it is that all of your business’ emails can be opened from a mobile device. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg refers to this practice as “mobile end-to-end,” which means that the Millennials who are constantly on-the-go can access your content on a desktop or mobile device and enjoy the same experience.
  2. Don’t get lost in the (inbox) crowd. Once you reach your client’s email inbox, it’s important to direct them to your email amidst the hundreds of others they’re probably receiving. To do this, use a short, descriptive subject line that grabs their attention and provides all of the important information. This strategy is crucial for a generation that often weeds out emails based merely on the subject lines.
  3. KISS. This acronym – Keep It Short and Simple – is the golden rule for your email content. Millennials’ time is precious; they’re a busy generation with very little time to read through lengthy boring content. So once you’ve grabbed their attention with a catchy subject line, make your emails concise and exciting. Use images and large font to engage your clients, and be sure to keep the message short enough so you don’t lose their interest.
  4. Respond ASAP. Remember to respond as quickly as you can, because besides being courteous, doing so lets your clients know they are important. Our data suggests that most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours, so aim for that at a minimum.

Continue reading

» Blog Your Way to a Better Business

Blog Your Way to Better BusinessWebinar recap!

Do you ever wonder what impact that blogging can make for your business? This month’s educational webinar for premium members focused on the power of blogging for your business’ online exposure. WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly welcomed new Education Expert Andy Ebon as the host of this session. Andy shared his insights on why blogging matters, how to stand out online, and tips for taking your content efforts to the next level.

Check out these top tips based on common blogging questions:

Interested in starting a blog and wondering what platforms to review? Check out WordPress, blogger, tumblr and typepad and see which suits your business needs and personality best.

Want to take your blog to the next level? Once you start a business blog, be sure to use plug-in and add-ons to make your blog more dynamic and user-friendly. Common helpful updates include SEO optimization, search functionality and blog mobilization.

Want to drive traffic from your blog back to your Storefront? Add your free, customizable WeddingWire widgets to show off your WeddingWire reviews, schedule appointments, add a contact form to your blog and more.

Continue reading

» What We Learned at Digital East 2013

What We Learned at Digital East 2013This week, members of the WeddingWire team attended Digital East 2013, DC’s premier gathering of marketers, entrepreneurs, web strategists and other professionals in the digital realm. Speakers included representatives from industry leaders such as Twitter, Buzzfeed and Facebook. WeddingWire’s own Senior Email Marketing Manager Matt Byrd also spoke on email trends, tools and tactics.

We had a great time learning about content strategy, mobile marketing, customer engagement, social media, email marketing, search marketing and more, so we can share some of the best education with you and work to apply it here at WeddingWire!

Check out our highlights of upcoming digital trends from the conference:

  1. Only 20% of what you post on social media should have a conversion goal (get a new lead). The other 80% should be split between providing information, entertaining your followers and prompting interaction. Prompt interaction whenever possible – remember, interaction is the “social” in “social media.”
  2. Visual content is on the rise. In fact, on average, articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than articles without images. Try out visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram. Make sure your blog posts have images to break up your text and link posts on Facebook and Twitter with images for increased engagement.
  3. The growth of mobile is driving new strategies for content creation, content consumption and advertising. Businesses need to be smarter about how they are interacting with consumers on mobile devices. The first step? Make your site mobile-friendly!
  4. Marketing is becoming more and more data-driven. The ability to track the success of marketing tactics is becoming more important in determining the true return on investment (ROI) for marketing dollars. This trend can be seen across all industries, from business to politics.
  5. Interacting with customers on a variety channels is becoming the norm. New technologies will not kill older forms of media – just as TV didn’t actually kill off radio – but they will change the way we consume certain types of media. It’s important to keep all these channels in mind, such as social networks, websites and blogs, when coming up with strategies.
  6. Changes in search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and regulation are making it more important than ever to not only understand the keywords your customers are using, but also what those keywords say about the customer’s behavior. The better you know your customers, the better you can anticipate and predict their needs to be their top business choice!

We enjoyed meeting the best of the best in the digital world, and we’re so excited to use what we’ve learned to help power our Pros! What do you think about these trends?

» Engaging Your Audience with Curated Content

Engaging Your Social Audience with Curated ContentWhether you’re new to social media or a seasoned pro, every brand inevitably hits it: the content wall. You know you need to be posting on all your social properties several times a week (or several times a day in the case of Twitter), but just how many times can you alter the same, “Check out today’s post!” messaging? If you’re struggling to keep your queue topped off, curated content may be the answer.

What is curated content? Simply, it is sharing great content from a trusted, reputable resource (with appropriate attribution and links!), on your social networks, blogs or site.

Before you go there, we know it’s somewhat counter-intuitive – why would you post someone else’s content? While you always want to position yourself as an industry expert, that doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself as a resource for your social audience and the wedding and/or events industry at large.

To get you started with your content curation strategy, here are four reasons you should take the plunge!

  • Curating content from industry leaders and/or communities makes you a resource. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing that someone in your industry knows a lot about the way your industry works. In fact, sharing other people’s knowledge helps establish you as a resource in your community. As an aggregator of interesting and helpful content, your audience will value your level expertise and perceive you as constantly “in the know.” Even better, your audience will also value your point of view more when you do post original content, as your business is seen to have a finger on the pulse of the industry!
  • Curating content from industry leaders and/or communities builds relationships. The biggest concern for businesses that choose to curate content is that they’re worried about being perceived as plagiarists – a concern that can easily be absolved by always linking to the original article/post and giving due credit. The benefit of following this golden rule is that you’re bound to get some attention from your sources. They’ll be happy you’re sharing your content because, well, who wouldn’t want free publicity?! They’ll most likely thank you for sharing (if they’re polite) and remember you later. If you’re diligent, the relationships you build on social media can carry over into the offline world in the form of referrals!
  • Curating content from friendly firms and partners enhances both of your networks. You’re likely to have a few friends in the industry (hello, WeddingWire!), or partners with whom you’ve worked a few events. They’d love a shout out! Not only will this deepen your relationship with a given business, they’re also likely to reciprocate. This can help grow both your audiences if you’re in the same vertical, as well as help you cross-sell for each other! You can never go wrong with showing your friends some love.
  • Curating content provides a break from posting the same content over and over. If you’re posting your own sales-y content every day, your social media properties are going to quickly lose steam. If a person or company wants to know about your products/services specifically, they can always visit your website. You’ll need to provide some other value in order to gain and keep your social media fans. By providing your fans with a mix of your own content and other content relevant to their needs, you’ll not only get them to your page, but you’ll also keep them there.

Sharing other businesses’ content can provide your business with a wealth of benefits – social media audience growth, engagement, and retention to name a few. The relationships you build on social media properties are similar to those cultivated at networking events in that you’re growing your network of fans and brand advocates that will lead to more happy customers.

While we’re on the subject of social media thought leaders – head over to our Facebook page and be sure to follow us on Twitter for helpful tips for wedding industry pros!

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