» Social Media Trends: 2015 Year in Review

What's Next in Social Media

Social Media Trends: 2015 Year in ReviewIf you’re just now deciding whether or not to start a new social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news and updates before you start planning for the New Year. Check out our 2015 year in review to see the overarching social media trends that defined the year!

Video

2015 was a big year for video. With live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope launching early in the year, other networks worked hard to integrate those capabilities or create their own version (see Facebook’s Live product for public figures). In late June, Facebook announced that it will take into account video actions such as turning on sound or playing the video in full screen to prioritize videos in the News Feed. Pinterest even took steps to join the video game, though not quite as far as Facebook; user testing showed that Pinterest users found auto-play ads interruptive, so instead they released animated Cinematic Pins to take advantage of the full-motion trend.

What this means for you: Make it a priority to create more video in 2016. Statistics show that 73% of all U.S. adults are more likely to purchase a product or service after watching an online video. Don’t let your wedding business fall behind – use our infographic to learn the six keys to video marketing success from our video partner, Animoto, so your business can start creating and sharing more videos.

Personalization

After releasing a few minor updates to the balance of friends and pages in April, Facebook announced in July that would be giving users more control over their News Feeds by allowing users to select friends and pages they’d like to see first. By allowing users to self-select what they’re most interested in, Facebook can serve up more personal and relevant content. In an effort to get more men using the female-dominated social network, Pinterest followed suit on personalization by updating its internal search feature to display personalized results based on users’ gender selections.

When Twitter launched audience insights in May of this year, advertisers gained access to additional targeting methods for reaching demographic groups. In July, the network began to allow businesses to apply those demographics to their ad campaigns and tailored audiences. A new persona targeting feature was also added to enable brands to target shorthand categories of audiences, including Millennials and small businesses.

What this means for you: Social media is getting closer and closer to becoming a one-to-one channel, where your business can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time in their decision-making process. Think about how you can segment your audience to start taking advantage of these new features. Perhaps you know that couples tend to book you within the same time frame during the planning process, or that certain regions/cities tend to book one of your services over others. Use whatever data you have to deliver more personalization marketing messages!

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» What’s Next in Social Media: October 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 October 2015:

 Pinterest Place Pins Now Allow Customers To Contact & Find Local Retailers

Image via Marketing Land

Pinterest to add location information to Place Pins

While Pinterest Place Pins are not new, the social network announced its plan to add more and more information to the pins themselves. Location information like a map preview, address, phone number, and hours of operation will now become available on Pinterest, meaning that users operating the network from their phones will be able to take action without switching to a new app (like Google Maps, for instance). Place Pins are currently powered by Foursquare, meaning that the location’s information must be updated there to provide the most accurate information.

What this means for you: In addition to your business reaching potential wedding clients who are looking for inspiration on Pinterest, your business can now connect with those potential clients without them having to leave the site or app. This is especially valuable for wedding venues, since couples can now essentially tour your venue virtually and then call to schedule an appointment in one click. By simplifying the information-gathering process, Pinterest is shortening the time it takes for a potential client to connect with you.

Continue reading on Marketing Land >>

Facebook unveils Instant Articles

Earlier in the month, Facebook rolled out its latest product, Instant Articles. Currently only available for iPhone users, the new feature allows media companies like The New York Times and The Huffington Post to publish articles directly on Facebook instead of driving traffic back to their own properties. Instant Articles provides a smoother and faster experience for readers, making it easier for companies to reach new customers on Facebook.  Continue reading

» What’s Next in Social Media: September 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 September 2015:

Find out about Facebook's plan for business pagesFacebook announces new plan for Pages

In addition to the news that a dislike button is coming soon, Facebook announced this month that the social network will open up two new sections for business pages – shopping and services. These sections allow businesses to feature their products and services directly from their Facebook pages. The original social network expanded these features as part of its plan to help small business owners connect with customers and communicate easily through the platform.

What this means for you: Potential clients can find your business on Facebook, and now they can contact your business or purchase directly through the social network. If your business has already dabbled in Facebook advertising, now is the time to take full advantage so you can start building up your audience in preparation for the upcoming shopping/services section.

Read the rest on Mashable >>

Twitter experiments with polls

This month, Twitter revealed that it has begun experimenting with embeddable polls in tweets. The polls, currently available to those with verified accounts, offer only two responses for users to choose from when answering. After participating in the poll, Twitter users can see results in percentage points to understand how their responses stack up. The new polling feature is anticipated by many brands who would be able to use native polls to survey followers.

What this means for you: Want a quick opinion on which bouquet looks best, which cake flavor is most popular, or which songs wedding guests will be most requesting this season? Twitter’s poll function (when it’s out of testing!) will allow your business to get quick feedback from your clients and followers. Look out for the news from Twitter when they decide whether or not to open up polls for unverified Twitter users.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: August 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 August 2015:

Facebook introduces live streaming for public figures

Image via Facebook Media

Facebook introduces live streaming

As part of the Facebook Mentions app for public figures, celebrities, and other influencers, Facebook has introduced Live, a new way for public figures to share videos with their fans on Facebook. The new feature allows for a more direct connection between the influencer and their fans, but it also takes advantage of new live-streaming technologies being rolled out like Periscope and Meerkat.

Read more on the Facebook Media blog >>

Twitter expands Audience Platform

For advertisers who want their Twitter campaigns to go beyond the social network, Twitter has expanded its platform to run advertisements on other publisher sites and apps. Additionally, Twitter added new ad objectives and ad formats to help advertisers accomplish a variety of goals across the Twitter Audience Platform. Users will be able to retweet or favorite ads directly from the ad unit.

Learn more from TechCrunch >>

Instagram allows more photo formats

For those frustrated by Instagram’s square photo requirement, the social network has released an update that drops the requirement and allows for both landscape and portrait photos and videos. Instagram made this change based on user feedback that for some photos, square formatting is not a good option. Now users can post their photos and videos in the formats they were originally intended, or crop to be square.

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» 6 Ways to Boost Your Success on Social Media

Tips for achieving more on social mediaRunning 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 to fully understand how social media marketing contributes to the overall success of your business.

Having a presence on the top social networks is not enough to maximize the effect social media has on your business. Below are six easy ways your business can boost your success on social media and start seeing an impact on your marketing goals!

Always read what you post

If you’re posting a link to an article or website, make sure you read it in its entirety before sharing with your audience. While it may seem innocuous (especially if it’s coming from a reputable source), it’s still imperative that you make sure you agree with all the points and suggestions made. When you post something on behalf of your business, it reflects on your business. Make sure what you’re posting is something that you feel represents your brand.

Balance your post types

Do you ever get tired of seeing the same old posts over and over from the accounts you follow? Your clients do, too. If you’re constantly posting links back to your website, try something new! Post a photo of a recent event, or a link to an article you have a particular point of view on that would be of interest to your audience. Ask questions or take polls to find out how your followers feel about new trends or styles you’ve been seeing. You can also work your personality into your social presence with a few personal posts – just remember to keep your tone professional.

Proofread your posts

Proofreading is so important, and not just for blog posts! Your social posts and tweets need a second glance, as well. Read it a second (and even third!) time and think about how you could improve your post or add to it. Look out for grammatical mistakes and typos as these are easy to make when posting from a smartphone or in a hurry. Double-check any tags or mentions you include to ensure you’re tagging the right people. You’ll be surprised by all the little tweaks you end up making!

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» What’s Next in Social Media: July 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 July 2015:

New Facebook News Feed controls

Image via Facebook Newsroom

Facebook updates News Feed controls

In an update following the initial News Feed control tools announcement in November 2014, Facebook has released additional ways for users to personalize their News Feed. In addition to quickly unfollowing or hiding certain posts or people, Facebook has added controls to allow users to select friends and pages they’d like to see first. Facebook has also taken a page out of Instagram’s book and made it easier to discover new pages based on the types of pages users (and their friends) have liked in the past.

See the details in the Facebook newsroom >>

Twitter introduces persona targeting

When Twitter launched audience insights in May of this year, advertisers gained access to additional targeting methods for reaching demographic groups. This month’s update allows businesses to apply those demographics to their ad campaigns and tailored audiences. Furthermore, the new persona targeting feature enables brands to target shorthand categories of audiences, including Millennials and small businesses. Additional targeting can be applied, but persona targeting offers a great starting point for businesses to reach their target audiences.

Continue reading on Marketing Land >>

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» What’s Next in Social Media: June 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 June 2015:

Facebook mobile appFacebook favors video

In late June, Facebook announced that it has made yet another News Feed tweak – this time to take more video engagement into account. Previously, Facebook tracked whether you watch a video and for how long. This new update takes into account even more video actions, such as turning on sound or playing the video in full screen. These actions taken on videos affect the prioritization of videos in your News Feed, so the more you interact with videos, the more videos you’ll see.

Continue reading on Forbes >>

Pinterest unveils Buyable Pins

Though the social network has been building towards more integrated e-commerce for a while, Pinterest has finally unveiled a new type of Rich Pin that allows users to purchase things directly from Pinterest partner retailers like Macy’s or Nordstrom. Pinterest users will be able to see prices, select details about the product (like color), and purchase with one tap of a button with a credit card or though Apple Pay. Buyable Pins will also show up in Pinterest recommendations and search.

Find out more from TechCrunch >>

Twitter adds Product Pages

Twitter has taken a page out of Pinterest’s book with new Product Pages and Collections. These new features include multiple tweets from a brand, but they also have basic product information and the ability to actually purchase those products. Collections look like normal tweets with multiple images, but when a user opens it they get more information and more images which all link to actual product pages. Twitter plans to extend this initial test to provide more personalized and relevant information to users.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: May 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 May 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: May 2015

Image via Mashable

Twitter and Google make tweets searchable

Twitter has teamed up with Google to allow tweets to be surfaced within search results. Before this collaboration between Twitter and Google, the only way to search for a Twitter username or specific tweet or hashtag was to search internally on Twitter. Now, for example, searching “WeddingWire twitter account” on Google will pull up results that include WeddingWire’s handle, WeddingWireEDU’s handle, and WeddingWire Support’s handle. This update will go into effect the week of May 26 in the U.S. and will apply to both mobile and desktop Google searches.

Read the full article on Mashable >>

Facebook releases Instant Articles

Earlier this month, Facebook announced its release of a new product for publishers: Instant Articles. Like LinkedIn’s Pulse, Instant Articles gives publishers the opportunity to create and publish long-form articles to share directly on the social network. Instant Articles provides a great alternative for those businesses who do not have a website or blog but have content to provide for potential customers and other industry experts. The articles are interactive and mobile-friendly.

Learn more from Facebook’s Media room >>

Pinterest introduces Cinematic Pins

Pinterest is implementing the use of Cinematic Pins, which are animated ads that show up on users’ feeds. The preview ad released by Pinterest is similar to a .gif because it doesn’t contain audio, and it only moves when the user is scrolling down. In addition to the rest of the Pinterest Advertising suite (including Promoted Pins), the network also plans to add new forms of audience targeting. These new products are being rolled out with a few brand partners to start before becoming available to all brands.

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» How to Use Social Media Effectively

How to Use Social Media Effectively

In a tech-savvy and social media-centered world, wedding businesses must have a strong online presence to keep up with competition. One of your first steps should be creating a great website (or mobile site if your website isn’t responsive) and hopping onto – at least – the top social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ve already done those things, that’s great! But to be most effective on social media, you should pay attention to what you’re posting, when you’re posting, and how often you’re posting. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you use social media effectively and make the most of your online presence!

  • Post regularly. Staying up to date on your social networks is crucial to engaging followers. Try to post at least once a day on Facebook and 2-4 times a day on Twitter.
  • Post at peak times. What time do people start to get antsy at work? That’s the time to post on Facebook! Weekdays from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. are prime time for Facebook posts – Wednesdays at 3 p.m. is the top time during the week. Tweeting from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. will get you the most views because people tend to scroll through Twitter during their lunch breaks.
  • Add photos to your repertoire. Posting photos on Facebook and Twitter not only livens up the pages, but it also helps you capture people’s attention. Instagram can also be a great source for drawing business because any business can use Instagram. Makeup artists can post before and after photos of brides, florists can share photos of different bouquets, and venues can post the different ways to decorate their event spaces.
  • Ask for follower opinions. If you’re a florist, post pictures of two different bouquets and ask followers which one they like better. Not only does this draw more potential views, but it also helps you know what couples are loving. If you’re a photographer, you can post a city shot and a country shot and see which scene draws more likes. The possibilities are endless!

If you want more tips and ideas for using social media effectively, check out our other blog posts about what’s next in social media, Twitter tips, and creating shareable blog posts.

» What’s Next in Social Media: April 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 April 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: April 2015Facebook updates News Feed algorithm (again)

Facebook has once again updated the way its News Feed algorithm distributes page posts from users and brands. In an effort to improve the balance of posts between other Facebook users and brand pages, posts or articles from brands are being reduced in favor of non-business content. It’s unclear how much these updates will affect businesses, as there are a number of factors that determine placement in the News Feed – but be sure to watch your Insights over the next few weeks.

Learn more from Facebook >>

Twitter acquires Periscope

Earlier in the year Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope, a live streaming app that allows users to broadcast their streaming video via Twitter. Previously, an app called Meerkat made live streaming video popular, but Twitter’s Periscope makes sharing your live streams easier and faster. Because it’s integrated with Twitter, sharing a live stream can be accomplished with the same experience as sharing a tweet with your followers.

Continue reading on TechCrunch >>

Pinterest releases Marketing Developer Partner

Pinterest has debuted a new program called Marketing Developer Partner, which allows Pinterest partners and publishers to create, schedule and publish Pins and boards for their clients. Currently, social media management platforms like Hootsuite do not allow for scheduling or publishing within their platforms, but a new API would change that. Pinterest also announced plans for an Ads API to give outside ad platforms the ability to push ads to Pinterest.

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» 4 Reasons to Use More Images on Social Media

4 Reasons to Use More Images on Social MediaWith more and more brands creating a presence on social media, more and more content is being consumed. Forrest reports that content volume is growing at a rate of 200% annually, which means it’s becoming critical that your business stand out. One of the biggest trends in social media for 2015 and beyond is the increase in visual content – images and graphics.

In fact, we recently redesigned the look and feel of WeddingWire Storefronts 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. Images can have a big impact on your business, no matter which channel couples are using!

If you’re not sold on the power of images on social media, check out these statistics to convince you to start incorporating more images in your posts on some of the top social networks:

  • Facebook: In a study of the top 10% of posts by over 30,000 Facebook pages, posts with photos accounted for 87% of total interactions. Photos are more shareable and users can recall visual content longer than text. Creating photo albums of your work is a great start, but you should also include those photos in your posts whenever appropriate.
  • Twitter: Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. Tweets are such quick, disposable posts that an image in your tweet can help it stand out from the rest of the tweets with just text and links. Think about how your business can tweet more photos, or attach more images to your links on Twitter.
  • Google+: According to Quick Sprout, Google+ images receive 9.4% more +1s than regular text posts, and animated GIFs receive 39% more +1s than regular text posts. With Google+ it’s important to still add links to your posts, but big, eye-catching graphics will definitely stand out more among the rest in your circles.
  • Pinterest: OK, so Pinterest is all images – but there’s a method to the madness! Curalate has an entire infographic on the topic of Pinterest images, but here are some of the most important points for your business:
    • Vertical images with an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 4:5 get 60% more repins than very tall images
    • Brand images without faces receive 23% more repins than images with faces
    • Images with multiple dominant colors have 3.25 times more repins than single dominant color images

Using more images on your social networks will help you build engagement with your current followers and help you acquire new followers. The more people engage with your content, the more likely your business is to show up in other users’ news feeds and streams. Start focusing on boosting engagement with more images today and your business could see more likes, retweets, repins, clicks and more!

» What’s Next in Social Media: March 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 March 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: March 2015

Image via Re/code

Facebook Messenger allows payments

Facebook’s standalone app for messaging, Messenger, has introduced the ability for users to tie their debit cards to their Facebook accounts in order to send money to peers through messaging. Money sent through Messenger is transferred to Facebook before the network sends it along to the user’s bank. Peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo and Square already exist, but this new functionality is novel as many users are already using Messenger to have conversations that culminate in payments which they could not do through the network. Facebook has combined both the organization and payment for events, trips and other peer-to-peer payments.

Read more on Re/code >>

Twitter strikes deal with Foursquare

Twitter recently announced its partnership with Foursquare to allow users to include their location in tweets. Users can include location in tweets now, but the new Foursquare partnership would allow users to be more specific in their locations. Foursquare exists now to allow users to recommend restaurants and other venues based on preferences and location, and Twitter is eager to access that data and leverage it on its own network. Twitter’s goal is to use Foursquare information to be proactive with recommendations and location data, which is a big move for both companies.

Continue on Fortune >>

Instagram introduces new standalone app

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