» Profile of a Wedding Photography Expert

How do you establish yourself as an expert in your industry? Paul Van Hoy II of Fotoimpressions has been working since the age of sixteen to do just that. After receiving his MFA in Fine Arts Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and winning Microsoft’s “Photographer of the Year” award in 2008, he has striven to establish himself as a skilled and knowledgeable photographer in the wedding industry.

How did he do it? Take a look at some milestones below and get inspiration for your own business:

Start a Website or Blog – Van Hoy is the co-founder of WPW (WeddingPhotographyWorkshop.com) which is a free, online, Internet sharing and resource for aspiring and established wedding photographers. The site offers a number of articles as well as educational sessions to help fellow photographers.

Showcase Your Expertise- Published in 2011,  Wedding Photojournalism: The Business of Aesthetics focuses on how to stay competitive and continue winning new assignments, despite  challenges. Van Hoy advises fellow photographers on a wide range of business operations from improving marketing to converting client contacts.

 

Build Relationships – Lowepro, “The Trusted Original” camera bag producer,  showcases Van Hoy on their website as a feature photographer. Building relationships helps increase credibility for your business.


Have a recent idea or accomplishment that you’d like to share with your fellow Wedding Pros? Leave a comment below or send us an email.

» “Pimp My Social Media”

Last Tuesday, WeddingWire’s CMO, Sonny Ganguly, discussed How to Successfully Embrace the Social Web 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 discussed how social media has evolved through the years and how as we know it has become a multi-billion dollar industry that drives  how we search for and consume information.

Don’t worry if you missed it, past webinars are added to Education Center and available for all upgraded Pros. In March Sonny will discuss the 5 Steps to Closing the Deal, helping listeners learn how to successfully close a sale.

» Four Free Social Media Tools to Try

It seems like new social media tools you “gotta try” pop up almost every day. Well we’ve compiled some of the new tools you may have not seen that can really help impact your business impact, efficiency and growth.

1.

Screenr is a web based recorder that allows you to quickly and easily create “screencasts.” You can record what you are doing on your screen and then automatically is formatted and shareable. Use this tool for how-to’s or any thing you’d like to show your clients. Of course the best part is, its free!

2.

Oneforty brands themselves as “your social business hub.” At-a-glance you will see the most up to date tools, trends, and pros you can follow for more information. Use oneforty to keep on top of the newest tools, look at ratings, and decide for yourself which ones you should try.

3.

Hashtracking allows you to track your Twitter campaigns so you can compare your marketing efforts. A number of available metrics allow you to see information about who uses the hashtags as well. This gives you the tools you need to measure your influence.

4.

Instagram is a free iPhone app that allows you to edit and share photos. There are a number of available filters to make your camera phone images look beautiful. Use instagram and Twitter together to keep your followers up to date and interact further by showing them just what you’re doing! (Again, totally free.)

We’d love to hear what you think of these or if you have suggestions of your own – leave a comment below!

» HOW TO: Use QR Codes to Grow Your Business

A QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or type of 2D code) that is readable with specific barcode readers and camera phones. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, you’ve probably seen them around and wondered – what is this strange black and white box? In short, these QR codes connect people to mobile sites or information but what it is is not nearly as important as what is does.

According to an article recently featured on Mashable, 2D code usage quadrupled last year and can help increase your sales, customer loyalty, and revenue per customer. While popularity is increasing, that doesn’t mean all consumers have encountered these codes yet. Mashable recommends a short caption to help users understand how to download a reader to their phone and generally explain the process.

Great news – since your on WeddingWire, we automatically have created a personalized QR code for you! To access it, login to your account and click on the My Reviews tab. At the bottom of the page you’ll see your unique code. When a potential client scans your code, they’ll be taken directly to your Storefront and Reviews.

Some great suggestions on where to add your code:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Business Cards
  • LinkedIn and Facebook Pages
  • Bridal Show Posters
  • Flyers
  • T-shirts

To make it as easy for your to jump in and stay ahead of the trends, we’ve also created a printable QR poster. With the click of a button you can have a formatted poster with your business’ code and information about how it works.

Any creative ways your business has used 2D codes?


» Show Off Your Events & Your Creativity

The Events section of your WeddingWire account gives you the opportunity to showcase your business’ upcoming open houses, trunk shows, and bridal shows to potential clients. Engaged couples can quickly search by their location or zip code to find all upcoming events in their area. To see how this appears for brides, click here.

Adding an event is simple:

  1. Login to your account
  2. Click on My Storefront
  3. Click on the Events tab
  4. Click Add New Event
  5. Enter the details (date, time, location)
  6. Thats it – just remember to Save!

**Note: WeddingWire will only allow the host of the event to post it on their storefront.
Be sure to check the box confirming you are the host before saving.

So you have an event you’d like to post – how do you make it stand out to potential clients? Continue reading

» Did You Know WeddingWire Integrates with Facebook?

Your WeddingWire account is built to automatically integrate with your business’ facebook account. Quickly and easily share the link to your Storefront so your friends, clients and other Pros can “Like”  your business listing just by clicking the button under the main image on your Storefront. Use this functionality to run a promotion, drive traffic or however else you choose!

How? Simply mention the option for your contacts to click the “Like” button in your every day interaction. Whether it’s in the signature of your email, on the phone  or in person – let them know how easy it is for them to visit your Storefront and click “Like.” This one is up to you but don’t be afraid to get creative!

Why? Well, there are many reasons why you should do it, but here are some of the main ones:

Increase Referral Traffic – When clicked, a link is published to the person’s Facebook feed, building your online credibility and driving referral traffic tor your WeddingWire Storefront.

Build Relationships – Facebook alone has more users than some countries have people! The more likes you get, the greater the potential for others to hear about your business and grow your traffic.

Generate Buzz – We’ve already done most of the work for you! The “Like” button makes it easy to run a promotion and/or offer a discount off your services for those individuals that click on it!

Continue reading

» Rated: Truly in Love

Do you often hear couples looking for a unique way to put their own spin and personal touch on their wedding? Adding creative options and ideas to your repertoire can help you attract more clients to your business.  Delack Media Group created a romantic movie trailer for Chicago couple Christen and Mike’s Save the Date – perfect to share with you on Valentine’s Day! We hope you all have a wonderful day with your special someone. Click image below to view the trailer and hopefully get a little inspiration.

» Time to Play Foursquare

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.
____________________________________________________________________

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare…Ohh My!  Social networks have been growing like weeds over the past couple years.  Facebook has crossed over 600 million users, while Twitter recorded 25 billion tweets in 2010!  Last year another trend in social networking started to emerge: Location Based Networks.  The leader in this space has been foursquare, which has millions of people leaving a trail of where they are.

The concept of location based networks is simple, which leverages the best of social media and mixes in your physical location through your mobile device.  This trend started to take off in 2010 due to the rise of smartphones, with iPhone and Android leading the pack.  A location based network allows users to communicate with each other like on social networks, but also allows them to share details of where they are physically located.

Foursquare has considerable competition in this space, such as GoWalla and brightkite, which also allow users to share their locations with friends.  Even more interesting is that Facebook and Twitter have tried to add location data to their sites as well.  Facebook last year launched Places, which allows you to share your location with your existing Facebook connections.  Twitter now allows you to add your location to posts, whether from your computer or your mobile device.   Location based networks allow for a whole new type of interaction, but it also does raise some security concerns.  Let’s focus on foursquare and what it means for your business.

Why do people care about checking in and sharing their location?

Because you can become a Mayor!  Foursquare has made their location based network into a type of game that blends virtual activity with the real world.  If you ‘check in’ to the same location more times than anyone else, you will be crowned the Mayor of that particular location.  You must continue checking into that location to maintain your mayorship, otherwise someone  else will  unseat you.  Another component that drives ‘check ins’ are the ability to get Badges, which are virtual icons to symbolize your achievements on foursquare.  As  you ‘check in’ to various locations, you may be awarded a badge to show off.  Here are some of the badges you can get:

Adventurer – Check in to 10 different places

Barista – Check in to 5 different Starbucks locations

Don’t Stop Believing – Check into 3 different venues tagged as ‘karaoke’ in a month

Gym Rat – Check into a venue tagged ‘gym’ 10 times in 30 days

I’m on a Boat – Check in and include the word ‘boat’ in your post

School Night – Check in after 3am on a school night

Continue reading

» Take It From the Pros: “Getting WeddingWired”

Before we get started – why are reviews important anyway?

“As soon as brides began telling me they were reading the reviews and using them to guide
them on who to call
, I knew we had to be there” – Silva Entertainment

“Reviews have helped me branch out of my local demographic into other more populated
areas” – Wisconsin’s Riniker Rhythm

“In my opinion, these types of reviews convey much more to a prospective client than
some random scanned thank-you notes posted on a company’s website” – The Music Place

Recently featured in an article called “Getting WeddingWired” in the DJ Times, many Wedding Pros shared their thoughts and tips on garnering the most success for their business. Getting reviews from past clients is one of the easiest and most rewarding action items, but what else can you do? We’ve broken down the some top things to do below.

Top 3 Ways to Go Above and Beyond

1. Use Social Media to Share Success – When you get a new rave review, tweet it. After a great event, be sure to post it on Facebook. The Music Place not only links directly to their Storefront from their website, they are also sure to “publicize each new review via social media to let our fans know that we continue to be at the top of our game.”

WeddingWire aims to make this easy for you by providing a simple to use Social Media Checklist for our upgraded Wedding Pros. Simply login to your account, click on the Social Media Checklist icon and click to share your exciting news on Facebook and Twitter.

Continue reading

» The Time to Tweet, and How To Do It ‘Just Right’

There is no denying how powerful Twitter can be for your business, but the key is when to Tweet and how often. Beyond the actual content of your Tweets, it’s important to take a look into your Tweeting schedule and strategy to ensure the best reach and response. Like many small businesses, you may still be trying to get the hang of all the different social media tools out there. Twitter is one of the easiest and least time consuming ways to connect with your consumers.

The “Goldilocks Rule” applies to Twitter when it comes to how often you should Tweet – aim for somewhere in the middle, not too much or too little. Depending on your audience, the amount of “just right” does slightly vary so take the type of people who follow you and your business goals into consideration before you Tweet. As far as the types of Tweeting, there are different kinds of messages you can send. Conversational Tweets are a good way to start off and generate a little buzz. Your “money Tweets” are your targeted marketing messages and should be your main focus. Also keep in mind that you’ll want to be sure to respond to anyone who says anything directly to you which doesn’t count toward your Tweeting total.

Continue reading

» A Great Time in Philly!

This post written by Tim Chi, CEO of WeddingWire. Follow him on Twitter @wwtim. Tim first developed the concept of WeddingWire shortly after getting married in 2005 (to his lovely wife Tracey). As an experienced entrepreneur, Tim sought out to assemble a team and build a technology that would help both engaged couples and vendors in the wedding industry.
____________________________________________________________________

LOVE StatueIt’s a fitting name for Philly indeed, “The City of Brotherly Love”.  On Monday, Jan 24th, 2011, I (along with members of the WW Executive Team) had the great pleasure to meet up with local Wedding Pros in downtown Philadelphia.

WeddingWire hosted our first “Networking Night” of 2011, complete with food, cocktails, entertainment, and a quick (yet informative) presentation from WW CMO, Sonny Ganguly (follow on Twitter @sonnyg).  Sonny covered a few of this top New Year’s Marketing Resolutions for 2011 and shared them with the audience.  When we launched WeddingWire a little over 45 months ago, we made a commitment to share our knowledge back with the wedding industry.  We work very hard to stand-out and differentiate ourselves to brides by following the latest technology trends and adapting them for our industry.  Sonny often covers these concepts and techniques in his monthly webinars (which can be found in the WW Vendor Education Center).

I truly enjoyed meeting such a talented,  ambitious group of Wedding Pros that embody the true spirit of entrepreneurship.  Not only did I learn a great deal about your own individual businesses, I learned (and sometimes was told flat out) about ways that WeddingWire could improve our offering as well.

The entire experience reminded me of a book I read last year that masterfully illustrated the importance of listening to your clients and how to do so effectively in today’s tech-driven society – Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed By Social Technologies.  Thumbs up recommendation for anyone looking to learn how to listen effectively in today’s social (and very vocal) world.

Hats off to you Philly Wedding Pros!  Thank you for sharing your evening with us!  Looking forward to next time already…

» WeddingWire Celebrates 3 Years!

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Yeah, for us too! Three years ago, in May 2007, WeddingWire.com went live! To celebrate we had an official launch party in downtown Washington, DC. Invitations went out to about 600 local brides, and over 1,300 were in attendance. The evening was a great success, and we all knew it was a sign of good things to come.

Since then, we have helped over 10 million brides and grooms plan their wedding and have built the largest database of over 100,000 reviewed Wedding Pros across the country! We have all of you to thank for such great success.

“It’s amazing to think that 3 years ago, we were all working out of my living room! A big thanks to all of our wonderful clients who support our business and help drive our product vision and strategy.“ – WeddingWire CEO, Timothy Chi

Continue reading