» Everything You Need to Know About Live Streaming

Pro to Pro Insights

Ashley Jones, Ashley Ann EventsThis post was written by Ashley Jones of Ashley Ann’s Events. As a talented, award-winning wedding and event designer, Ashley has made a name for herself by offering unique and professional designs and productions. Ashley is a Master Flower Builder with a knack for transforming unconventional spaces. In the business world, Ashley offers speaking engagements for entrepreneurs on a variety of topics, including social media lead generation, sales funnels, and business growth. She has been featured on CNN Money, Fox News, KATV, STAND’s 30 Under 30, and several other media outlets and publications. 

By now, you’ve probably noticed that many celebrities and businesses are leveraging live streaming apps like Facebook Live or Periscope to reach wider audiences with fresh, engaging videos. Rather than recording a video and uploading it later, live streaming allows you to instantly connect with your followers in a more organic (and less time consuming!) way. Live streaming gives everyone in the world access to you instantaneously.

	Everything You Need to Know About Live StreamingI’m a huge fan of live streaming. One of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed is how quickly you can build a wider audience of followers. Using Periscope, I’ve been able to build an audience of a little over 20,000 followers in only about 5 months. I have followers in Russia, Canada, Australia, the UK, and of course the United States. It takes much more time on other social media platforms to build an organic audience of this size.

Another reason I love live streaming is its emphasis on the visual. As wedding professionals, our livelihood is based on not only the visual appeal of our work, but also our personality and friendliness towards our clients. Because it’s instantaneous, live streaming allows potential clients to see you and get a much better view of your personality than a scripted and pre-recorded video. Plus, research shows that visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s a much faster and more effective way to connect.

Another recent study shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%, and I can personally attest to this – when I post a video on my Instagram compared to a photo I consistently get 3 times the views and engagement. Periscope, in particular, is a great platform because Periscope users consume nearly 40 years of watch time every day. Continue reading

» To Snap or Not to Snap: Snapchat Marketing Explained

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

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

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

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

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

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» 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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» Optimizing Social Descriptions for SEO

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.

Search engine optimization is a moving target, with your SEO strategy within your website as the anchor. Your website is the preferred destination for engaged couples looking for a business like yours. However, there are also whole host of social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.,) that serve as information conduits for prospects to find your business and direct them to your website.

Optimizing Social Descriptions for SEOHaving an active social media presence on one or more platforms often results in additional listings in search engine rankings. One area that wedding businesses often overlook is the description for each social network, which can be optimized for search just as your website content.

Social networks will often offer multiple length options (measured in words or characters). A social description is the first strip of text seen when the page or site comes up in a search.  These social descriptions can be short or long, depending on the network. Below I outline how you can optimize these descriptions to help boost your off-site SEO.

Short Descriptions

A short description for a social media page is written much like those embedded in a website. This description is usually written as a complete sentence, but that is not absolutely necessary. Google, for example, skips over prepositions and conjunctions, only considering nouns and relevant adjectives. A short social description might read like this:

Music Man is a San Francisco based mobile music service offering DJs, Emcees, and specialty lighting for weddings, parties, and a wide array of special events.

If the description shown above is too long for a network’s social description, it could be edited for brevity, like this:

Music Man, San Francisco mobile music service. DJ’s, Emcees, specialty lighting for weddings, parties, special events.

It’s not as smooth as the full version, but it clearly includes keywords describing the where and what of the business.

Long Descriptions

Often 3-4 sentences, these may include more detail about company history, the owner(s) bio, awards, and so on. Not as tightly search engine specific, long descriptions combine targeted keywords with company details like overview and personality.

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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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» 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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» 2014 Favorite Social Networks for Wedding Pros

What’s your favorite way to stay socially connected? We asked our Pros to vote for their favorite social networks earlier this month – check out the infographic below to find out which networks are the favorite social networks for Wedding Pros in 2014, and how each ranks in popularity.

And, don’t forget to connect with WeddingWireEDU on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ to get updates and education, just for wedding professionals!

2014 Favorite Social Networks for Wedding Pros

» Top 5 Ways to Network on LinkedIn

Many wedding and event professionals are members of a small business, and certain service categories may require only one employee to constitute their wedding business. Officiants, DJs and Photographers, and others fall into this category. For those individuals who may solely represent their wedding business, personal branding and networking can be big drivers of referral business.

As busy professionals, it can be hard to forge these connections in addition to all the duties and responsibilities associated with your business. Networking events and association meetings are great ways to establish relationships with other Pros, but what can you do on a daily basis to network? LinkedIn is a great way for wedding and event professionals to network and build relationships with other Pros!

Top 5 Ways to Network on LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks differ from LinkedIn in that those channels are great places to represent your business and attract potential couples, but are not designed to build your personal brand on a professional level. You can create a business page on each to represent your company, and improve your brand awareness. LinkedIn is not likely to put your business in front of couples looking to book a wedding vendor. Rather, look at LinkedIn as a tool to grow your individual brand as a wedding professional.

If you don’t have a personal LinkedIn profile, signing up is easy and free. Once you get started on LinkedIn, follow these steps to help you network on the world’s largest professional network!

Fill out your profile completely. LinkedIn has a great feature that will help you fill out your profile and provide easy step-by-steps on what you should do next. You’ll add your full name, a professional photograph (no selfies, please!), a summary of your professional experiences and a description of your business and your associated duties. You can also go so far as to include any relevant school information or awards and honors that may set you apart as an expert! Even if you have an account set up, check in to make sure you have completed your profile as much as possible to maximize your exposure and keep your virtual resume up-to-date!

Connect with other Pros. Here comes the fun part – connect with Pros you know as well and connect with new industry contacts! Try finding your Pros I Know, Preferred Pros or other Pros you interact with in the Pro Forums through LinkedIn search. LinkedIn will also suggest other connections based on your connections, so you can easily expand your network to reach those you may not have met in person yet! Since LinkedIn is a dedicated social network for professionals, connecting with others in your industry (even if you don’t know them) is encouraged. Just remember to include a short note in your request explaining why you think the two of you should connect.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: 2013 Year in Review

What's Next in Social Media

2013 was a big year for social media! Even though many of the networks in the post below are several years old, they’re still finding new ways to innovate and introduce new features and functionalities that constantly influence the way businesses conduct online marketing.

What's Next in Social Media: 2013 Year in Review

If you’ve been busy the past few months or you’re just now deciding whether or not to start implementing a social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news before you start planning for 2014. Before you spend time searching the news stories to find out what’s next in social media, start here!

Below are the biggest updates to the major social networks in 2013!

Facebook

Although Facebook is the oldest social network in this post, there were still several big changes this past year. Early in the year Facebook announced Graph Search, the new functionality that allows anyone to search and find terms in posts, pages, groups, and comments from your friends or those who post publicly. This was the first update toward allowing users to dig deeper into trends and conversations. Facebook then announced it would begin using clickable hashtags to help users further follow conversations they are most interested in. Both of these updates allow Facebook users to expand their reach beyond their own friends and make new connections. Businesses can use both of these features to build their customer base and reach fans in real-time.

Twitter

In addition to Twitter going public with a late-year IPO, Twitter made a few visual changes to expand its use past 140-character tweets. Twitter completely re-designed their mobile app to enhance the visual experience for users, most notably adding a photo stream. The traditional four tabs at the bottom of the app’s screen were replaced with swiping functionality to get to the different streams. Additionally, in the home stream, Twitter made it so images automatically appear (previously, users had to click on a tweet to reveal the photo). These changes mean that businesses can give their followers a more complete picture of their business by incorporating images into their Twitter conversations.

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» Photo Editors: The Next Big Thing

This past week, Instagram pulled functionality from Twitter. What does this mean? Users can still post links to pictures, however, the actual photo will no longer show up in the Twitter feed. Instagram was purchased by Facebook earlier this year, so this has been an anticipated change as Twitter and Facebook are two of the top unique social networks.

Unsurprisingly, this week, Twitter announced that it would be releasing a new photo editing tool, with similar functionality to Instagram. The editing tool will allow users to post photos that they’ve enhanced and adjusted directly to Twitter. Android users already have access to the new app, and an app should be available for Apple users before the end of the month, so stay tuned!

Currently, Twitter is only offering 8 filters compared to Instagram’s 18. These both seem minor compared to the functionality of the new Snapseed, the new photo enhancing system provided by Google. This app allows for manipulation of smaller parts of the photos and for multiple enhancements on the same picture, all with simple taps, slides and pinches!

With all of these photo editors being released, we expect a lot of pictures to pop-up this holiday season. Photos are a great way to showcase your work and creativity, so be sure to participate!

Remember to follow @WeddingWireEDU for the latest tech updates, as they are released!

» Coming Soon: Track Your Twitter Impact

Ever wondered, How much of my content is being shared on Twitter? How much traffic is Twitter sending my way? How well are my Tweet Buttons are performing?

Well the folks at Twitter are working on answering your questions. They have announced the upcoming release of the new Twitter Web analytics which will be completely free and show you a tangible impact of your tweets.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted with a full “how-to” once this new product is released.

» HOW TO: Edit Your Videos on YouTube

Utilizing video capability on YouTube should be a part of your marketing efforts. Whether client testimonials, videos from past event, or a personal introduction to potential clients, you can use YouTube to further market your business.

YouTube makes it easy to edit your videos online, even without any experience. Easily add effects, transitions, crop your videos on your timeline, and even add songs to the video from the approved selection in their library.

Click here to get started with YouTube Editor. How have you incorporated videos into your website or blog?