» Twitter Best Practices for Wedding Businesses

Twitter Best Practices for Wedding BusinessesSince many wedding professionals focus on Facebook or Pinterest for their social media marketing, it seems like Twitter is sometimes lost in the mix – but it shouldn’t be. In fact, 23% of millennials follow a brand on Twitter, and 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website! With these strong statistics, it’s hard to avoid Twitter as a marketing tactic.

These Twitter best practices for wedding businesses will help you get started with Twitter so you can start connecting with new potential customers and building industry connections.

Optimize your profile

Customizing your Twitter profile is really easy and only takes a few minutes to give your business a professional look. Twitter has instructions and image dimensions here, but the basics are to:

  • Upload a profile photo. Since this profile is for your business, use your wedding business’ logo as your profile photo. If you don’t have a business logo, try using a photo of your finished product or a photo from a recent wedding. Try to avoid using your own image as your profile photo – remember, this is supposed to represent your business, not you!
  • Select a descriptive header photo. Your header photo appears at the top of your profile, and Twitter will overlay your business’ bio, location and website overtop, so keep the photo simple. Don’t use a lot of text and avoid overly bright or dark images. Be sure to check out how your header photo looks with your profile photo to ensure brand consistency.
  • Write your bio. Beneath your Twitter handle on your profile, Twitter will display your business’ name, location, website and a short description. Describe your business in this space to make it clear to anyone who stumbles across your profile. Also include keywords where appropriate – Twitter profiles do show up in search.
  • Choose a background. This step isn’t necessary; Twitter gives you several options for “themes” and you can leave your background blank if you’d like. If you have a design you’d like to use, upload it as your background. Don’t use a tiled version of your logo, though, as that often appears busy and unprofessional.

The bottom line for your Twitter profile is to keep it consistent with your business’ branding. Your Twitter profile could be the first time a new user interacts with your brand, so make a good first impression.

Know what to tweet

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» Wedding PR: Book Yourself as a Speaker

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire and NACE Education Chair for 2014-15. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

When you think about public relations, and Wedding PR specifically, real wedding features is probably one of the first strategies that comes to mind. But public relations, by definition, is the management of one’s reputation in the marketplace, and promotional tactics can extend far beyond simply submitting events for exposure.  Public speaking, for example, is a fantastic way to increase brand awareness for your company while also building your reputation as an expert in your field.

Wedding PR: Book Yourself as a SpeakerBuilding a career in speaking, if for the above reasons or to assist with building an additional revenue stream for your company, can be an intimidating notion. The good news? If you’re familiar with the process of pitching to the media, you’ll find the learning curve is much less so.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Finalize your goals: If you’re going to add speaking to an already busy career, you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Are you looking to increase your wedding business or get in front of other wedding professionals? Different organizations attract different audiences so you want to make sure you’re ultimately targeting the ones that will put you in front of your audience.
  2. Consider your topics: What are you an expert in? If the goal is to speak in front of engage couples, then it should be related to planning a wedding, but you can expand on that if your audience is industry wide. Put and all thoughts down and be ready to visit this after step #3.
  3. Do your research: Now is the time to start combing your area for opportunities. Do you belong to any organizations that regularly feature speakers? Are there industry associations regionally that may be a fit? And think above and beyond the event world. If you are a small business owner, for example, seek out groups dedicated to serving that niche. Look into local chambers of commerce as well as rotaries.  Just keep in mind that larger conferences will expect you to have considerable experience so focus on smaller gigs to start. Continue reading

» It’s Here! The 2014 WeddingWire FallBook

It may still feel like summer outside, but at WeddingWire we’re dreaming about fall foliage, pumpkin-flavored everything, apple-picking…and of course, fall weddings! That’s right, our 2014 WeddingWire FallBook is finally here, and we’re thrilled to share it with you! As always, our newest interactive magazine features fresh inspiration and advice from Wedding Pros like you – in fact, over 200 WeddingWire Pros are featured in this issue. Check out just a sampling of the features:
It’s Here! The 2014 WeddingWire FallBook

  • We interviewed over 30 caterers for our WeddingWire Catering Guide, where the Pros share their top advice for wedding-planning couples.
  • Our Groom’s Guide will help guys with the wedding planning process from start to finish (there’s even some tips from the grooms on the WeddingWire team!).
  • We received an incredible number of real wedding submissions on RealWeds.com, and had the hardest time narrowing it down to just four! Check out the amazing real weddings featured in our FallBook.
  • Plus, you’ll find beautiful vineyard wedding venues from around the country, reception styling ideas, unique bouquets, colorful accessories, and more!

Be sure to check out our full 2014 WeddingWire Fallbook and feel free to share your comments and questions with us. Interested in being featured in our upcoming e-magazines or WeddingWire in general? Check out RealWeds.com for more information on submitting real weddings. While we’re not officially on the hunt for winter real weddings just yet, watch this space for the big announcement!

» 4 Tips for a Better Website

4 Tips for a Better WebsiteWhen was the last time your wedding business revamped your website?

As technology continues to improve, so should your website! New techniques and trends may be available that you’re missing by not re-evaluating your website. As a wedding professional, it’s imperative that your website be up to date! Consider these 4 tips for a better website to increase traffic and retention so you can boost the amount of leads and revenue your website drives.

Add video content

Video content is not only a strong component of search engine optimization, but it is statistically proven to increase the likelihood of a customer purchasing your product. Because video content is more eye-catching, it also increases the likelihood of a customer returning to your site. Consider an engaging video of your work space, or of your unique product!

Check your loading time

Does your site load quickly? Keep in mind if your site takes too long to load, you could lose customers before they even see your product. In today’s fast-paced environment it is crucial to have a speedy site, in fact, 57% of consumers abandon a site if it does not load within 3 seconds. Try testing out your page speed from time to time to make sure everything is functioning properly.

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» Networking for Wedding Pros: 4 Tips

As busy professionals, it can be hard to forge professional connections in addition to all the duties and responsibilities associated with your business! Especially for those individuals who may solely represent their wedding business, it’s hard to find the time to devote to networking.

Even though you’re a busy Pro, personal branding and networking can be big drivers of referral business. Networking for Wedding Pros doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking – try our tips!

Networking for Wedding Pros: 4 TipsGet to know people before you pitch them

One of the most off-putting parts of networking events is when another Pro homes in on you and starts pitching you about their business! Yes, one of the biggest benefits of networking is building connections with other wedding professionals to further your knowledge or identify opportunities for collaboration, but you shouldn’t walk in and start talking about yourself immediately. Spend time talking to other attendees and getting to know a little bit more about them first before you start wheeling and dealing!

Make a list of questions

If you’ve followed some of our previous tips and started the event with a goal in mind, you should make a list of potential questions you’d like to have answered. If you’re looking to further your knowledge or you’re seeking advice from other Pros, it’s important to come prepared with a few questions you’d like answered. At the very least, they’ll serve as talking points so you can get the conversations flowing easily. At most, you’ll leave the event wiser than when you walked in.

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» Set Yourself Apart With Storytelling Marketing

Pro to Pro Insights

Kylie Carlson

Kylie Carlson is the founder of the Wedding and Event Institute, a certification and training company offering courses in wedding planning, event planning and event design. With campuses in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Kylie is a sought after international speaker on the business of weddings and events. She has also helped to launch the businesses of over 250 wedding planners around the world and is on the Advisory Board of Event Solutions Magazine.

Stories have been told throughout the world for as long as anyone can remember. A story aims to evoke an emotional response and triggers the senses of the listener, thereby creating that all-important connection between the storyteller (you, the business owner) and of course the listener (your client).There is your key: you want your potential client to connect with you and that is the power behind storytelling.

Compared to ten years ago, when we only had the more traditional forms of media available to us, we now have the world at our fingertips. How and where your story is played out has changed. So your story needs to change with it. It needs to be sharp and snappy – something that will catch the eye and create a connection with the reader so it stands out among all the tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and more.

Set Yourself Apart With Storytelling MarketingWhy storytelling marketing?

I don’t know about you, but facts and statistics have never stuck in my brain. They may travel through, but they never seem to take up residence until anchored by some kind of meaning. The way our brains are programmed allows us to really connect emotionally with a story and gives us the ability to process information more effectively in story format.

So what is the link between storytelling and brands? The strength of a brand is based on the stories people relate about their experiences, assumptions and judgments. Without realizing it, we are telling a story about our experiences with a brand nearly every day. How many times have you raved about something to friends and family? Maybe it was an experience you had at the supermarket or trying a new product for the first time. All of these experiences are touch points and by us relaying the information we are spreading the word about a product or service. Effectively we are helping to promote a brand by telling the story of our experience with it.

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» 5 Steps to Running Your Business When You’re Sick

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities.  Read more at http://weddingiq.com.

Whether it’s stress, allergies or just the change in seasons, it seems that everyone’s under the weather lately. Unfortunately for small business owners, it’s often hard to take a sick day – and even harder when your illness requires a longer break from doing your work. That’s why it’s essential for every Pro to ensure his or her business can remain functional even when its owner has to take a step back.

5 Steps to Vaccinate Your BusinessHere are my five steps to running your business smoothly even when you’re sick:

  1. Systematize your business as much as possible. This topic is covered well in business books such as Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week. The basic idea is that by simplifying your essential business functions into a series of clearly-defined systems (or standard operating procedures), it will be easier for you to prioritize your work and delegate where possible.
  1. Identify your most essential tasks. These should be the things you absolutely have to get done to keep your business afloat. For me, that’s responding to new client inquiries, processing client contract, and ensuring my DJs get to their weddings. That’s it. Your business will obviously vary, but your essential task list shouldn’t include more than a few items. I promise nothing terrible will happen if blogging, networking, or any of the other “extras” fall by the wayside while you rest and recover.
  1. Take stock of your resources. What, or whom, do you have at your disposal to help with these essential tasks? Do you have a colleague, assistant or contractor that might be able to fulfill some of your responsibilities? If not, consider a virtual assistant or even training your partner or a family member on the basics. Perhaps some of your essential tasks can also be automated – email auto-responders and online payment processing systems are just two examples.

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» Social Media: De-Cluttering Your Connections

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.

In the early days of email, it was exciting to hear that ‘ding’on AOL, and the voice, saying, “You’ve got mail!” It didn’t take long before the trickle of email became a river, and now, a tsunami. Not as much fun.

The dawn of social media platforms, in particular Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, created a new magnetism between people from all over; from your past, present, personal and business. But what happens when you accumulate too many connections and they begin to clutter your social presence?

Social Media: De-Cluttering Your ConnectionsCollecting Friends and Followers is Easy – Maintaining them is another thing entirely.

Before you start wildly un-friending and disconnecting, begin by reconsidering your purpose for each social media platform, its structure and features which serve you, and categorizing the remaining connections. Social networks afford you to assign people to lists, so try grouping them by purpose.For example:

  • Specific trade association or networking group (local and/or national)
  • Industry (general) i.e. Wedding Industry (local and/or national)
  • Business category i.e. Wedding Photographer (local and/or national)
  • Media – magazines, websites, bloggers

Facebook

Facebook is often the hardest network to cut your Friends list, as connections on Facebook are reciprocal and so the connection will definitely notice if you remove them. Luckily, you have choices beyond the Friend category that help you to further filter out what you see in your News Feed (and what you don’t): Continue reading

» WeddingWire Named in the Inc. 500|5000 List for Third Consecutive Year!

WeddingWire Named in the Inc. 500|5000 List for Third Consecutive Year!We’re excited to announce that WeddingWire has ranked on the Inc. 500|5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies for the third consecutive year since 2012!

This year, we’re ranked number 741 out of 5000. The list is an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, presenting the most comprehensive look at America’s entrepreneurial businesses, while recognizing superior innovation and industry initiative.

Last year, WeddingWire ranked second among Maryland job creators in the second annual Inc. Hire Power Awards (our second consecutive year on the list!), 79th on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ and, 309th on the Inc. 500 list in 2012.

Every year we look forward to raising the bar by creating innovative technology solutions for our valued clients, and we’re continually grateful to our outstanding network of wedding and events professionals who have been our partners in success. Thanks to all the Pros who’ve helped us reach this point!

Read more about this exciting announcement in our official press release.

» Top Google Apps for Wedding Professionals

Top Google Apps for Wedding ProfessionalsIn the wedding industry, a day of work extends beyond 9am-5pm for many wedding professionals. Between actual client events, appointments with prospects and other business errands, you often find yourself out of the “office” more than you’re actually in it! With all the back and forth, you want to have access to everything your business needs.

If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you may be using outdated business tools simply because they weren’t available when you first started your wedding business. Google offers a suite of apps that help businesses get work done faster, and the functionality is only getting better by the day. Read on below for the top Google apps for wedding professionals today!

Gmail

For those old-school Pros who prefer Outlook (or Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.) for their email needs, Gmail is worth a second look! Google’s email product, Gmail, provides a number of helpful features for wedding professionals in particular. Because Gmail is a web-hosted email service, you can access your account from any computer, tablet, smartphone or other device with Internet access! This means that no matter where you are or how you’re accessing the Internet, you’ll be able to communicate with prospects and clients. And with 15GB of free storage, you don’t have to worry about deleting emails to make room. The best feature, though, is that you can also get a custom email with your company’s domain name which runs through Gmail! It’s free for personal users, but for a few dollars a month you’ll get the professional look you’re going for and never lose access to your business’ needs. Check out our list of Gmail tips and tricks to help you save time!

Google Drive

Ever want to share a document with a colleague or collaborate with more than one other person? If you’re emailing Word documents or Excel spreadsheets back and forth, you may experience issues dealing with the multiple versions. Google Drive is the perfect solution for wedding professionals who need lots of data and information at their fingertips at all times! With Google Drive, your business can go wherever you go. You can organize, edit and share documents from any computer at drive.google.com, or on-the-go with the Drive mobile app. Multiple users can be in your documents at one time, and you can add comments/track changes as you would in a Word doc. The spreadsheets in Google Drive are also extremely useful to keep track of all your event information and expenses. You can also upload photos, videos and other files to keep them accessible to multiple people from multiple devices.

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» How to Build Strong SEO in 4 Ways

Building strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for your wedding business’ online exposure. There’s so much information available about SEO it may be difficult to know what you should, and should not, be doing for your business. Regardless of all the confusion, the goal remains the same: you want your business to be found by engage couples searching for their perfect Pros.

Most wedding professionals are concerned about SEO for their website, but your website is not the only place where you have a presence online. Your business should optimize your presence across your website, blog, social networks and online listings. We break down what you need to know to build strong SEO by optimizing each, below!

How to Build Strong SEO in 4 WaysOptimizing your website for search

Your business’ website is a great place for potential clients to learn even more about your wedding business, but it’s not much use if it can’t be found! For those couples who use a combination of WeddingWire and search engines to find their Perfect Pros, you should make it as easy as possible to be found!

Search engines are looking for the following from your website:

  1. Include relevant keywords in all aspects of your website, including your domain name, title tags, meta tags and long-tail URLs. You can also use keywords within your page content, and use HTML cues like the <H1> tag and the <Alt Tag> on images. Begin by focusing on 10 keywords, and a good strategy is to include the word “wedding,” your service category and your business’ location.
  2. One of the most obvious detractors is lack of quality content. Websites that aren’t trustworthy rarely take the time to write intelligent, descriptive content, so make sure your website doesn’t fall into this trap. Create quality content that is specific to your business and keeps your customer in mind.
  3. Think about your customers’ experience on your website. Is it easy for them to navigate from page to page? Are there any outdated web pages or dead-end links that should be removed? Asking these questions will help improve your website’s functionality to make it more user-friendly, which is another factor in most search algorithms.
  4. Create relevant inbound links back to your website by guest blogging for partners who will link back to your website when they mention you on their website or blog. You should never buy inbound links in bulk from mass directories.

Optimizing your blog for search

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City

Tuesday night, Wedding Pros gathered at This is the Place Heritage Park for WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City!

At the Networking Night, Pros from the Salt Lake City area had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief educational presentation. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, the WeddingWire Education Guide, and great photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City board in the Pro Forums!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack! Congrats to Irene Bozich of Utah Vows!

Finally, as mentioned at the conclusion of the presentation, we encourage you to take advantage of your free registration for WeddingWire World SoCal! As a WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City attendee, you may use the promo code provided at the event for your free ticket. Please email events@weddingwire.com if you have any questions!

WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City

WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City

WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City

WeddingWire Networking Night Salt Lake City Continue reading