» Be a Social Media Posting Pro!

Today, developing a strong and engaging social media presence can be a big part of running a successful business and interacting with your community. What you’re posting, when you’re posting it and where you’re posting are all important factors in the success of your social media outreach (and we are here to help!).

When posting on social media, it is important to understand how you clients and audiences would like to interact on leading social sites if you want to leverage these platforms to grow your business. For information on how consumers interact with business on Facebook and Twitter, check out this [INFOGRAPHIC] from market research company, AYTM (Ask Your Target Market).

Overall, the Infographic showcases that it is important to keep your social updates short and to the point to gain your fan’s attention (ideas include: news about your business, congratulating a new couple, a blurb about a current event, or favorite inspiration). Users of Facebook and Twitter like to mention and share posts by businesses – so be sure to give them content to share! In addition to sharing information about your business, it’s a good idea to include coupons, promotions and discounts in your posts. This is a great way to keep your audience involved with your social media outreach, and also to continue to drive business to your company.

Learn more and get started implementing this great tool for premium members!

» Tech Update: Facebook News Feed Facelift

Yesterday, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, announced that Facebook’s News Feed will be changing to a more visually appealing layout.

The News Feed will move to a design that focuses on images and video content. Another notable change is that Facebook’s new look will appear the same on your computer as it does your tablet and phone. This is yet another example of how the world is going mobile first!

Zuckerberg is comparing the new Facebook’s News Feed to a “personalized newspaper” where you will be able to organize and categorize your feed based on the type of content. For example, you’ll have the ability to create a Friends feed, a Music feed, a Photos feed, an Industry feed, and so forth to categorize your updates based on your interests. Also, the more you check a certain feed, the more important it will become to your account and will show on the top of your list of feeds in order to make the entire experience of the Facebook network more customizable. Check out the full overview of redesigned News Feed from Mashable. The new version started rolling out yesterday, so stay tuned for these changes to your feed!

Are you excited for the new Facebook News Feed? Do you think it will impact your business?

» Choose a Stand-Out Main Image

What is the first thing that couples notice when reviewing the WeddingWire vendor catalog? Your business’ main image! It is extremely important that this image is clear, professional, and attention-grabbing. The main images that get clicked the most by engaged couples are real photos that are fun and joyful. Aspirational images that show a couple or a party celebrating are very engaging to potential clients – and can be applicable across categories. Couples like to see an image of what they envision for their big day and evoke feelings of love, celebration and happiness!

If you have a logo that you love, we encourage you to include it in your About Us section of your Storefront instead of showcasing it as your main image. Besides the fact that potential clients prefer real photos, there can also be sizing and formatting issues when you attempt to use a logo as your main image. With certain logo design dimensions, sometimes they will get cut off or distorted because of the size of the thumbnail in the catalog. Additionally, since the main image is a thumbnail, it is challenging to read text in a small window, which isn’t a positive experience for engaged couples reviewing their options for Wedding Pros in your category.

Once you select your main image, be sure to view your listing in the vendor catalog. That way, you will be able to view your image from the perspective of a potential client, and determine if you love your selected image or whether a different photo might be a better choice. Switching your image every few months is a fun way to keep your catalog updated, and you can select an image you love by season, and test out different images to see what generates the most leads to your business. Have fun with your Storefront!

» Social Search: Bing and Facebook Collide

Earlier this year, Facebook announced their new feature, Graph Search. Following this announcement, Bing revealed that its search results will now include 5 times more content from users’ Facebook friends. The concept of search results being customized and personalized by user based on their social networks is referred to as Social Search and is a huge technology trend for the future.

What type of content is shared with Social Search? Search results on Bing will include status updates, links, and comments. Now, Bing will show your organic search results on the left side of the results page, paid per click advertisements in the center, and social media – primarily Facebook – results on the right hand side.

So, what does this mean for your business? This announcement by Bing, one of the top three largest search engines, is yet another reason why it is so important for your business to be on Facebook and developing a consistent presence on top social media sites by sharing valuable content with your audiences. To develop a strong presence, you should post on a regular basis, but also be sure to engage with your fans and get them sharing and liking your posts and comments by providing them with relevant education, fun topics and asking for their feedback.

What do you think about the future of Social Search and Bing’s recent announcement?

» Reviews 101 – Getting Started

Here at WeddingWire, we believe that it is important for Pros to have many reviews to showcase your work through the eyes of clients! Engaged couples browsing our vendor catalogs are more likely to click into a listing with 10 reviews than a vendor with 1 review. Consider when you are shopping online at a site such as Amazon. Do you purchase from a seller with only one review (even if it is a perfect score), or do you go for the more consistent seller with a very strong but not perfect rating, but over 20 reviews? The large majority go with more reviews, which indicates consistency.

We know that reviews can be a pain point for some Pros. Sometimes, no matter how amazing your services were, it can be impossible to please a couple which can result in a not-so-great review, or you may feel uncomfortable making the request. We encourage Pros to request reviews from all clients, to grow a strong, consistent database of valuable client feedback. Having many reviews also helps to deflect from the one review that may not have been as positive as you would like. WeddingWire provides you with tools to make requesting and tracking your reviews easy.

How do I get reviews?

Make sure that you’re discussing reviews early in the planning process with your couples. If you mention that you’re going to be asking for a review from the couple early in your relationship, then when you actually request the review it will simply serve as a reminder for them. Keep in mind: couples do not have to make accounts on WeddingWire to write you a review. They simply have to provide us with an email address and password in case they want to edit their review or if we need to contact them regarding the validity of their review.

The easiest way to request reviews from past clients is to use our Review Collector Tool, located in premium member’s Home tab under “Reviews.” In this tab, we provide easy ways to upload your clients contact information, an email template that can be personalized, and a tracking tool to see if the request was received and added.

With these helpful tips and tools, requesting reviews from previous clients is easy! Check out Reviews 101 part two – Showcasing Your Reviews!

» Effective Ways to Get More Inquiries

All businesses want inquiries. Every Wedding Pro wants potential clients actively reaching out and requesting information about their services for their upcoming wedding or event. Simply creating a listing about your business doesn’t guarantee you business. It’s important that you develop, manage, and maintain your listing over time to maximize your business exposure and that you are showcasing your work to engage with interested parties.

Here at WeddingWire, we often use a billboard analogy. If you buy a billboard on the highway and don’t put anything on it, that billboard is not going to bring about much business for you. You need to make sure that you have eye-catching content and information that pushes couples to contact you.

Customer Success Managers and Account Managers are often asked by Pros, “How can I get more inquiries?” While there is no finite formula to get couples clicking and calling to encompass all Wedding and Event Pros, we do have some effective tips and best practices to drive interest and therefore, inquiries!

In addition to considering premium placement, which lists your business before basic listings and highlights your account, having a ton of great reviews will help to bring potential clients to you Storefront.

If you believe that you could be getting more inquiries from couples calling and emailing you saying they found you on WeddingWire, it could be time for a Storefront face lift.

Here are some top tips for changing the appearance of your Storefront:

Swap out your Main Image. Even though your Main Image could be your favorite picture, it might not be helping to drive couples to your Storefront. Remember: couples looking at WeddingWire and our partner sites tend to respond to “aspirational” images. Your Main Image should showcase a couple or wedding party celebrating or using your product. Make sure that your pictures are bright, clear and colorful! Double check your Main Image in the vendor catalog after you choose it. You don’t want any important parts cut off or zoomed-in too far.

Change your Tagline. Your Tagline appears along with your company name, Main Image and number of reviews in the vendor catalog. If you’re not getting the clicks that you want, change it up! Instead of saying “Since 1942” for your Tagline, try “Hosting Gorgeous Weddings for Decades…” Instead of “Photojournalistic and Editorial Photography” try “The Beauty of Your Big Day Captured for a Lifetime”.

Edit your About Us section. Is your About Us section too long? Does it take several “scrolls” to get to where your Photos section is? Shorten it! Do you have only one sentence in this section? Add more content! Your About Us section should be a teaser that not only provides information about your company, but also pushes couples through to your website and to other sections of your Storefront. Make sure that there aren’t any typos or spelling errors and that the format looks clean.

Pick new pictures. For premium members on WeddingWire, there are an unlimited number of albums and pictures that you can add to your Photos section. Upload a new album (or two) with 15-25 professional pictures and change the order of your albums. This way, you’re adding content for couples to click through. By swapping your old albums for your new ones, you’re changing the look of your listing.

Add a video. Videos not only help to boost the SEO for your listing, but they also keep potential clients on your page for longer. Make new videos using the Video Builder, or embed videos from this past wedding season.

Highlight a recent review. A lot of the time, upgraded Wedding Pros will highlight a review on their Storefront and never bother to choose a new one. It’s important that the review you have highlighted is not only flattering to your company, but it also should be from a wedding within the past calendar year to show you consistently get great reviews, and have recent experience.

Most importantly: keep getting great reviews! Try using our Request Reviews Tool. You can also use our Reviews Widget and you can send out your Personalized Review URL to your past clients. All couples will want an idea of what to expect from your business. Make sure that you have a lot of examples!

» 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!

» New Ability to Email Tweets!

Recently, Twitter announced a new function to be able to share tweets via email directly from Twitter’s website.

This new feature is being rolled out over the next few weeks, with the addition of a new “More” button below each tweet, in addition to the pre-exsisting “Expand, Reply, Retweet, and Favorite” buttons. When you select the “More” button, you will then see the option “Email Tweet.” Find an example below, and if your account does not have this new button, it will soon!

What does this mean? Now, if there is a tweet that you would like to share with friends or colleagues who are not yet on Twitter or you think they may miss, you can actually email them the tweet, including any images or links that are attached to the tweet. You’ll also be able to add comments to the tweets in your emails that will not be seen by the rest of your twitter community. So, if you see an interesting tweet with an informative article attached, or with a link to register to a Wedding industry event you are interested in, you can email it to yourself to view later or to a colleague to keep them in the loop!

The fact that Twitter added this “Email Tweet” button under a “More” category leads many users to believe that there will be added functionality coming soon to our Twitter accounts, and WeddingWireEDU will bring you the latest news and updates that may impact your business. Stay tuned!

» When’s the Best Time to Get Social?

While posting relevant information is the best way to showcase your business and attract clients on social media, keep in mind that the time you’re sharing could affect your social traction.

Check out this awesome infographic, designed by Raka with information provided by bitly, for the best times to post for maximum interaction!

Best times to Tweet:

  • Twitter gets the most traffic 9AM to 3PM, Monday through Thursday
  • Avoiding tweeting after 8PM on weeknights, or 3PM on Fridays

Best times to post on Facebook:

  • For the highest average clicks to your content, post Wednesday at 3PM
  • Facebook traffic is highest during the work day: 9AM-4PM, Monday through Friday

Also, be sure that your posts and tweets contain relevant content; otherwise, if you’re sharing anything and everything, your posts could be considered “noise” by your audience. Engaging posts that encourage your audience to take an action (for example: comment, “Like”, retweet) are great – you want your audience to be sharing and commenting on your posts! Additionally, if you ever have a giveaway or promotion, be sure to post it on Facebook! Who doesn’t love a freebie?

For more information on how to maximize social media for your business, check out our recent webinar for premium members: Get Social, Whether You #Like It or Not.

» Spruce Up Your Storefront: Engagement Season is Here!

November marks the beginning of what we like to call “Engagement Season!” 43% of engagements happen between November and January as couples spend time with their families and friends during the holidays. Check out our WeddingWire Infographic on wedding planning seasonality for full details on the most popular engagement days, when couples are planning their wedding throughout the week, and what seasons are the most popular for weddings.

Newly engaged couples will be excited to start planning their weddings, and the WeddingWire Network will be a popular place for them to begin their searches for their perfect Wedding Pros. Follow these tips to ensure that your WeddingWire Storefront is ready!

Main Image – Take a look at your main image. Are the colors clear and bright? Are you showcasing a couple or group celebrating? Make sure that it looks right in the vendor catalog (ie: the image isn’t stretched or shrunk too small). Remember that text is hard to read in the vendor catalog, so typically logos will perform better in your About Us section, and we recommend using a photo as your main image.

About Us – Re-read your About Us section. Does it portray your company in a way that you want couples to perceive your business and services? Does it provide enough information without being overwhelming? Double check that there are no typos and add your phone number and email address so that it is easy for interested couples to contact you after reading a description of your company. This is also the best place to showoff your logo!

Photos – Have you updated your pictures since this past wedding season? Your first album should showcase your best and newest work, since that is the one that couples will be clicking through the most. You can always rearrange the order of your albums in the Photos section by clicking and dragging them.

Videos – When did you create your most recent video? Keep this section updated as well, as it showcases your work in an interesting and engaging way! As you’re adding in new photo content, premium members can also create new and unlimited videos and publish them to your Facebook, website, social media and more using the WeddingWire Video Builder.

Reviews – Make sure that you highlight a review on your Storefront by selecting the ‘Reviews’ tab in your Storefront. This review should be from this past year, if possible. Try using the Review Collector tool to gather great reviews from your clients over this past wedding season. The more reviews you have, the better!

Follow these simple tips to maximize your WeddingWire Storefront and be well-prepared for engagement season and set-up for booking more new clients!

» Does Your Business Need a Message Makeover?

The first key to booking more business is connecting with your potential clients!

Whether an engaged couple is reaching out to you to learn more about your business and services, connect for your first consultation or reach you with a question about their big day once you are booked, it is important that they are easily and effectively able to connect with you.

We encourage the ability to connect with your business in a variety of ways, including submitting a contact form, scheduling an appointment directly on your website or Storefront, or simply picking up the phone!

At some point in the planning process, the couple will call your business. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to reach you! If you miss a potential client’s call, you don’t want them to have to jump through hoops to leave you a message, which too often can be the case in the hectic wedding industry where Pros are always on-the-go an balancing lots of events.

With engagement season approaching, it’s important to be reachable!

Book more business by following these easy 5 tips to effectively connect with potential clients:

  • Make sure that your voicemail is set up: With so many new phone releases, many of us have picked up new devices or service providers. Double-check that your voicemail is activated and personalized. How can a potential client let you know that they’re interested in your services if there is no way for them to leave you a message, or if they are not sure they reached your personal or business line without a personalized voice message?
  • Remember to check your voicemails: If a potential client is calling you and they cannot leave you a message because your voicemail is full, it gives the wrong impression. Hearing a recording saying that your voicemail is full tells the client that you’re not around to check your voicemails or that you’re unresponsive and unprofessional.
  • Be concise: If your voicemail has a ton of options, it discourages couples from sticking through to the end of them (engaged couples are busy too!). Be sure that the phone number you have listed on your WeddingWire Storefront, website, and business pages goes straight to a person, not a menu, and be as direct as possible to avoid confusion and frustration.
  • Clarity is key: If you are sticking with a menu, ensure that it is clear what extension or person the caller should reach ultimately. Providing their name and title or a very brief summary of what they are responsible for will help to effectively direct calls, and lose less leads.
  • Respond in a timely manner: In today’s fast-paced world, people seek instant gratification. It is fair for these couples to expect a response within 24 hours – reach back to them sooner rather than later, at the very least thanking them for their inquiry and setting a time to follow up with a more in-depth conversation or more information.