» The Importance of Twitter for Your Business

Debating if you want to jump on the Twitter bandwagon or have you let your Twitter account become inactive? With a near 200 million people using Twitter every day; you may want to take a look at some of the reasons why iMarketing Factor makes the case for how important it is to use Twitter for your business!

  • Twitter helps you connect to your customers: Since so many people are on and joining Twitter daily, it is a good place to look for those future customers and connect with them.
  • Twitter helps you build relationships: Once you have a following on Twitter it’s important to keep them engaged with useful or helpful tweets. Make sure you don’t too much in a certain time frame of they could end up as spam.
  • Use Twitter to create brand awareness: If you’re a smaller company you want to get your name out there, so its easy to present your logo so that followers can recognize your company name and logo together.
  • Use Twitter to market new products: Twitter is a great place to Tweet about your business updates, including services, events and more! Promotions of a new product through social media can make a bigger impact then traditional ways of advertising. You can also let your followers know what you are up to, Bridal Shows and events you are planning to attend, and more.
  • Use Twitter to provide information: Twitter is the cheap way to spread the word. Something new going on, tweet it and all your followers will see it right away!
  • Use Twitter to survey and gain feedback: Follow the conversations about your company or products. This can help you gain knowledge on what people want. You can gain a lot of information through a poll as well.
  • Use Twitter to manage your online reputation:Make sure you are following the tweets about your company and products. If there is an unhappy customer or competitor you want to make sure you are aware so there is not negative publicity.
  • Twitter can boost sales with special offers and discounts: Everyone loves a discount or giveaway! What better way to get that information out quick than with a tweet (and encouragement to RT to their followers and friends!).
  • Twitter allows you to keep an eye on competition: ‘Twitter Search’ is a great way to keep your eye on what your competitions activity.
  • Twitter can be viral: Once you have the following on Twitter your tweet can be re-tweeted a number of times gaining more popularity.
  • Twitter is a great place to promote your company’s blog: Have a blog? Share it! This will help you also gain traffic to your blog and get more shares and brand awareness.
  • Access great education: Follow industry leaders and news and educational sources that matter to you and your business for instant updates and resources. Be sure to follow @WeddingWireEDU!

So, why not get a Twtter account and start tweeting, or boost your business’ Twitter account to the next level?

Create an account today, and check out these tips for being a social media posting Pro!

» All About Embracing Video Marketing!

Have you considered adding a personalized business video (or videos!) to your business website or WeddingWire Storefront? Take a look at a few highlights of these recent statistics from Hubspot regarding the influence of video on potential clients to help make your decision!

  • 40% of people will respond better to a visual then to text
  • 46.1% of people believe that the design of a business website shows their credibility
  • Adding videos will attract 3x the traffic as just text
  • 85% of online users in the US watch videos
  • 60 hrs of videos are uploaded on YouTube each minute
  • 100% more time is spent on pages with videos
  • 85% of people are more likely to purchase something after they have watched a video

So, you can see that video content is important! We make it easy to create a customizable video by taking advantage of the Video Builder tool in all premium WeddingWire accounts! Already have one? You are able to create unlimited videos, so consider creating different themes to show off your breadth of skills and work in action.

Just follow this user-friendly step by step guide:

  • Sign into your WeddingWire account, and navigate to the Marketing tab
  • Click on ‘Video Builder
  • Click ‘Create New Video’
  • Select the type of video you want to create from the drop down list (Commercial, Events, Holidays, Real Weddings, or Seasons)
  • Select your theme. When scowling over each theme with your mouse, hit the ‘preview’ button to see a sample video using that specific theme
  • Hit select when you find your perfect theme
  • Add anywhere from 10-25 photos from your WeddingWire albums by clicking on the photos you would like to add.Once you have added your photos, you can click and drag them to  a specific order. Note: You are not able to add video within the video builder.
  • Now hit ‘Next: Add Soundtrack’
  •  Pick a song from the music library that is the best fit for your video. Note: You are not able to add your own soundtrack, but there are a lot of great options here!
  • Now hit ‘Next: Create Video’
  • Add text to your video. First give your video a title! You also have 4 boxes to add your business tagline and facts.
  • Hit ‘Create Video’ once you have added your text and you’re done!

To find your finished video look in the Marketing tab and under the ‘Video Builder.’ Click on the video name and then hit “yes” to display the video on your Storefront. Once it is published to your Storefront, you are also able to share it on your website and social media networks to get that great traffic and exposure to potential clients! Have questions about the tool? We’re here to help!

Interested in more video marketing tips? Check out this past post!

» What’s New in Social Media

Technology drives our world, and social media has quickly become a center of many people’s daily lives and is evolving at a very rapid pace. Yesterday, our monthly educational webinar, What’s New in Social Media, focused on all the latest in social media!

WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, shared social media statistics and surprising updates from leading sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and also discussed the newest and most quickly growing sites and apps that have hit the social scene. From Vine, Instagram Video, Tumblr, Path and more, Sonny shared insights into why these sites have people buzzing, and why they may matter for your business.

Check out some interesting take aways from this month’s webinar:

  • Half of the world’s population uses Facebook (and there are 1.1 billion monthly active users!)
  • 6 billion hours of YouTube is watched every month
  • The leading two factors that will drive social media growth in 2013 are mobile and older users adoption
  • 27% of total US internet time is spent on social networking sites, and 15% of total mobile internet time is spent on social sites
  • Google+ is now the second largest social network, after Facebook
  • Path is a new social site that is a more personalized social network, allowing you only up to 150 people to share content and posts with
  • Tumblr powers over 126 million blogs
  • 80% of Pins on Pinterest are Repins
  • Instagram boasts over 130 million users and gets 575 likes per second

Be sure to review the full webinar in our Education Center for all the interesting social media stats, and the latest #trending apps! Remember, all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium members, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar.

» Tools for Creating Great Infographics

Today, great visual content is key. At WeddingWire, we love infographics! Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge intent to present complex and engaging content quickly and clearly. Still not sure what an infographic is? Check this out!

We think that infographics are a fun and unique way to combine top industry tips, the latest statistics and important information into an engaging visual!

Check out some of our latest infographics designed just for Pros like you, including: How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market, How to Make Blogging Work for You, Are You Too Busy to Be Successful?, 6 Steps for SEO Success, and What’s Next in Tech!

Interested in making your own great infographics? These visuals are a great way to show your business expertise, and your creativity! Brainstorm ideas for an infographic you would like to share with your clients or other Pros in the industry. Some ideas include: top tips for planning your wedding, wedding trends this summer, 10 steps to a great photo, how to write your own vows in 5 steps, and much more!

Once you have your topic in mind, get started on the copy! Remember to keep it short and sweet so the infographic and images can tell the story for you. When you are ready to create your infographic or visualization, check out some online resources we have complied to find the best fit for you.

Here are some tools for creating simple visualizations:

  • Infogr.am: Infogr.am is a popular tool for creating free, interactive infographics. Chose from a variety of themes that are provided, and create custom charts using real data. Additionally, you are able to add your own images or video if you would like. When complete, you can embed it on your website and publish it directly on Infogr.am.
  • Visual.ly: Using this tool, create a free infographic for your business using their gallery of themes. Then, connect with your social media accounts to get sharing! The tool encourages use of your social media network and hashtags for added online exposure for you content.
  • Piktochart: This web-based tool provides six free infographic themes for creating simple visualizations. Simply drag and drop different shapes and images and customize your copy, and you are able to add in any graphs you may have. Then, you can export your image as a PNG or JPG in print or web copy for sharing.
  •  Easel.ly: This is another free tool for creating infographics that is currently in beta (which means the initial stage of launch). It is great for storytelling and has a wide selection of designed objects you can include, as well as a good selection of backgrounds. Also, you are able to upload your own images if you would like.

After you have created your infographic, be sure to share it! Consider embedding it into your website, sharing it with potential clients as an added resource, posting on your social media accounts and more.

For the latest leading inforgraphics for wedding and event Pros, be sure to follow WeddingWireEDU on Pinterest and pin your favorites!

» Top Tools to Help You Work Less!

On Tuesday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘Top Tools to Help You Work Less’ as part of our monthly webinar series. Each one hour webinar for upgraded WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This week Sonny helped listeners learn:

  • Top online tools to help businesses stay organized, engaged with audiences and working effectively
  • Website tips, small business insight and analytics, social media management tools, and more to market your business’ services and maximize online exposure

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. Register for May’s webinar, ‘WeddingWire Turns 5: Our Lessons Learned‘ today!

» Google’s New Search Results #2: Search Gets Personal

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

Search Gets Personal

Google recently unveiled its newest endeavor called “Search Plus Your World” this January.  This new adjustment focuses on personalizing search results to include a mixture of personal results along with standard search results. “Search Plus Your World” represents quite possibly the largest change ever made to how Google’s search results are displayed.  It is a strong indicator of the future of search engines, with the big idea being that People Matter. 

The update is focused around four primary features:

  • Includes photos from you and your friends in search results
  • Content from your connections on Google+, Google’s social network
  • People’s profiles in search results, which is similar to Facebook people search
  • Related people and pages as you search, which bears some resemblance to twitter

“Search Plus Your World” provides users with a toggle to see results that are based on Google’s algorithm as before or a new button to shift to personalized results. Based on your previous interests and friends’ interests, Google will provide personalized results for whatever you may search for. For example, if you were to type in “best restaurants in Miami” your typical search results will pull back popular restaurants with their ratings and reviews.  With the new changes, you will have the ability to get personalized results for the “best restaurants in Miami,” which would include any reviews from your friends or pictures from when they dined at a restaurant.

In the future, when you ask a search engine to tell you the “best movie playing”, it won’t give you an answer based on popularity or box office results.  Rather, you will get recommendations that are more based on your social graph and what movies your friends, family and like-minded people enjoyed.  “Search Plus Your World” combines Google’s algorithm with the social world, and it has taken some of those cues from Facebook and twitter.  In the next two years, expect search results to become more tied to social networks and activity.  Why? Because people and their connections matter!

Read more about Google’s recent Panda update focused on new ways to determine search rankings based on the quality of content, and check back soon to for insight on the impact and future of Google+!

» Key Ways for Your Business to Engage with Social Media

One of the most exciting and unique elements of social media is the personal experience that it provides to consumers. The ability to engage with and relate to consumers in your community is a strong benefit for local businesses. If you haven’t done so already, take advantage of this powerful (and free!) marketing opportunity by investing some time to establish and build your social brand.

Wondering how to stand out in the crowd? Follow these creative ways to use social media and see your contacts grow as you solidify yourself as a local business leader in a competitive field:

Information

One basic but important element of social media success is to make sure you’ve filled all your social media outlets out with adequate information about your business and what you do, where people can find your business, what you offer, and how to contact you (also, be sure you have completed as much information as possible on your WeddingWire storefront)! This will help to ensure that your company is easily searchable, build your SEO, and help current and potential clients to access your business easily and efficiently.

Management

To effectively use social media as business tools, it is important to spend a bit of time daily managing your accounts, pushing out interesting, relevant information, and interacting with your audiences. If you get a comment or tweet, take the time to acknowledge the user. This will help to build a relationship, and can generate positive conversation and content. If faced with a negative comment, you can acknowledge them and work to take the conversation to a private space to solve any issues.

Become a Resource

Keep engaged in your local market and industry on upcoming events, both online and live and spread awareness for events that your audience may want to attend. Sharing information on valuable events establishes you as an indispensable resource. Also, be sure to attend the events in order to keep updated on industry happenings, provide relevant event feedback and network to meet your potential clients!


Connect with other local businesses and consumers

Create an active presence online through conversations and social media. Connect with people that live locally, other wedding industry professionals, and businesses that are doing interesting things in your city or field. Keep in mind it’s important to stay locally connected and network with people even if they’re not directly related to your industry or are a potential client at this time. Check out our Pro Forums if you would like to connect with other WeddingWire Pros, pose a question to peers, or share your expertise!

For additional advice on how to creatively use social media for your business, read the full article here.

 

» Top 5 Free Online Tools to Help Run Your Business

At WeddingWire, we are always looking for new and effective tools to help companies run as smoothly as possible. From finances to surveys, see below for some of our favorite free tools to help you stay organized, engaged with your audience and on top of your business!

Mint.com

Mint.com is a great online tool for financial management. You can sync your expenses, bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more to keep track of your spending, funds and budgets. Mint automatically categorizes your transactions and keeps you updated on how you are spending, as well as providing assistance to set your budget and savings goals.

Evernote

Evernote is a virtual notepad service that enables you to save, organize and share notes, images and ideas for future use. You can keep your notes in organized categories,  and they can be shared  with others. You quickly and easily can access Evernote from your computer, internet browser, and mobile application from your smartphone or tablet.

HootSuite

HootSuite is a tool designed to help you manage your social networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Simultaneously, you can track your followers, mentions and personal accounts all in one place, in real time. Multiple team members can manage the social media accounts, without having to share passwords and login information. You can also tweet and post directly from HootSuite, so no need to go back and forth between your accounts or miss any important mentions! HootSuite conveniently allows you to schedule outgoing messages, so you don’t always have to be online to be posting relevant information and connecting with your audience.

Prezi

Prezi is a dynamic web-based powerpoint presentation tool designed to create a more engaging presentation experience. Self described as “a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides,” this tool is perfect for a creative presentation. You are able to add in multimedia features to highlight your business or show video from a recent event which adds color and personality to your presentation. Prezi is an “idea” based blank canvas, so you are not limited to traditional slides. The tool compiles all your ideas, which enables you to organize and control the direction of the slideshow.

SurveyMonkey

Looking for quick feedback on a recent event or interested in conducting business research from your clients? SurveyMonkey is an easy to use tool that enables you to create quick, customized surveys online that you can distribute and track results in real time. SurveyMonkey also provides convenient tools to help you analyze your results such as charts and filters.

 

Have you used any of these tools for your business? Are there any other free online tools that you would suggest? We would love to hear from you!

» The 5th Annual Mashable Awards – Vote for Us!

We’re very excited to announce that WeddingWire’s CMO, Sonny Ganguly, is a finalist in The 5th Annual Mashable Awards as “Must-Follow Business Personality on Social Media”! Mashable recognizes companies, people and projects that have made the biggest impact on the digital landscape this year with their Annual Mashable Awards.

Sonny Ganguly steers the social media wheel at WeddingWire, so please join us in supporting the innovative, digital and social media features of WeddingWire by voting for Sonny! Voting ends on December 16th and winners will be announced on December 19th. (One vote per category per day is accepted.)

Click here to vote!

 

» Following Is Easy

Twitter recently came out with a new “Follow” button so that you can allow your website visitors to follow your handle directly from your website. If the user is already logged in to their account, they press the button and voila! You have a new follower. If they aren’t logged in, they will receive a pop up prompting their username and password, then, you will have a new follower!

The process is surprisingly easy, check out the steps below:

  1. Log into your Twitter account and visit this link
  2. Your username will prepopulate, make sure it’s correct
  3. Select your website background color
  4. Do you want to show how many people are also following you on Twitter? Select Yes if you’ve built up a good number, hold off if you are a new user
  5. Choose your language
  6. Copy the code from the right side of the screen and add to your website or provide to your web developer

Have you tried out the new Follow button yet? How has it worked for your business?

» 10 Ways to Make the Search Engines Angry: Part II

This post written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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As we discussed in Part I, the keys to your SEO efforts are  consistency and patience. However it is also important to avoid these top 10 ways to make search engines angry. See the rest of the list below:


6. Penalized Sites
You want links from trustworthy sites, not from those that sit in the penalty box. If a search engine has penalized or banned another site and it links to you, that penalty may follow to your site as well. Again, make sure that you only link to sites that use SEO best practices.


7. Invisible Text
Many sites include invisible text by changing the font color to match the background color. This technique may have worked in the past, but search engines have become smarter and will catch this trick. It is ok to create separate areas on your site or in your footer for SEO purposes, but do not try to hide content and keywords from search engines.


8. Incorrect Redirects
If you move pages around on your site, you will create a redirect to tell the search engine the new location of the page. You want to issue a 301 redirect code, which tells the crawler that the page has been moved permanently. Many sites use a 302 redirect, temporarily moved, to fool users and redirect them to a different page than the one indexed by the search engine. Make sure to use 301 redirects when moving pages around, as you will get the benefit of the old page and not be penalized by Google.


Continue reading

» Things to Keep in Mind & Keep Your Facebook Friends

Beyond Zuckerberg’s original concept of a social networking tool for college students, Facebook has become a primary marketing component for businesses of all sizes.  Requests to be ‘liked’ and ‘friended’ are common phrases used on networking blogs and vendor forums.  But what about ‘unfriending’?

Students at the University of Colorado Business School launched a study and found the top three reasons for ‘unfriending’ someone on Facebook are if their posts are:

Facebook Unfriend

  1. Boring
  2. Ranting
  3. Rude

In a very real way, this study shows how and why online relationships end.  So how do you avoid these common pitfalls and keep your Facebook relationships?

Keep their Attention: If you constantly flood your customer inbox’s with the same product announcement or update – without any novel content or ‘wow’ factor – you are likely to lose their interest.  Remember, the average person has a very short attention span.  If you don’t grab their attention right away (think 10 seconds) you are likely to lose it forever.

Keep it Short and Sweet: Once again, your marketing strategy must be precise, efficient, and to the point.  Long-winded explanations and lengthy proposals will quickly lose the interest of any potential or existing customers.

Keep in Touch: Think of every customer, potential and existing, as important.  Just because they’ve never purchased something from your company before, doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.  Remember if you take existing customers for granted with the mentality of “we already got you so we’re not going to put effort in communicating with you” they will notice.  Especially when these potential customers are being flattered by another company for new business.

Now that Facebook has evolved into a valuable marketing tool for your business, be sure to keep these strategies in mind to avoid the dreaded ‘unfriend’ button. Check back tomorrow for some more ways you can integrate your Facebook account with your WeddingWire account!