Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Embracing Social Media

 Greetings from the WeddingProfessional.com Team!!

When Social Media(SM) is mentioned, it can have some extreme reactions from those you are speaking to.   I have had folks that jump right into the conversation, providing their full analysis of their goals/strategies/results while others develop a pained and confused look on their face.  It is likely that when you mention your new plan to engage social media your employees will fall into one of those categories.  The involvement of your employees is important and their reactions are based on both excitement and fear.  These emotions can be calmed with a few simple steps that will put everyone's mind at ease.

  1. Encourage Employees to embrace - Let you employees know why you are implementing SM and what you hope to gain from doing it.  The purpose of SM is to drive more traffic to your business - which is good business for EVERYONE.  Make sure they understand it is NOT intended to simply be a forum of chit chat an mindless activity - but will provide an opportunity for team involvement.
  2. Develop an overall game plan - Write down your goals and develop a strategy to get there.  What are you going to implement, What results are you expecting, When do you anticipate these results etc.
  3. Appoint a Social Media Leader - If you are not going to take it on yourself, then you need to find someone within your company that will be ready to take on this task.   This person does not necessarily have to do all the work, but they will be the one to implement the "game plan" that was outlined in step 2.
  4. Determine how much time will be spent on implementing the game plan.  This will be very important for your time management - social media can be consuming - and really, you could spend all day, every day learning about the latest strategy.  Your social media leader needs to understand what portion of their day/week you expect them to devote to social media and the priorities that should fall within that time period.
  5. Determine guidelines for the frequency and subject - This is just another time management tool. Determine how many posts to Facebook, Tweets on Twitter, Blog Posts (etc) you want per day/week/month.  Also, don't forget - this is YOUR business, communicate with your leader the content and subject of your posts.  
  6. Integrate others into the game plan - Everyone within your company can play a role in your game plan.   Although some will have a bigger part, all of your employees could "LIKE" your page, "Share" your post, Re-tweet your tweet and subscribe to your Blog - AND they can ask all their friends/connections to do the same.
Social Media can be powerful - do not be afraid of it, but DO have a game plan so that you and your team can win at the Game of Social Media!!!
 
For more tips and marketing advice, please....

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The 5 Rules of Business Social Media Etiquette

Greeting from the Team at WeddingProfessional.com !!

I don't think I am alone when I say that I have physically cringed after reading some public comments through social media.  Typically,  this reaction is caused by one of two things 1) The comment is obviously offensive or 2) A customer is leaving less than flattering feedback and NO ONE is responding.  Comments or lack of comments are the virtual image that you portray to clients or potential clients.  Ask yourself, "Would I be successful if that post/tweet/blog were on a billboard in the middle of my community?  If the answer is NO, then it probably should not be included in your business social media communication.

Here are 5 basic rules/suggestions on how to keep your business page free of damaging messages to your clients or potential clients.

  1. RESPECT - be respectful in your comments.  If you type a questionable comment, then before you hit enter, ask yourself...Would you say that in front of your mother, your boss, your pastor?   Although some businesses are infamous for being "in your face" - most businesses that attempt this strategy will offend AND lose clients and potential clients.
  2. RECIPROCATE - if someone "LIKES" your page or "Follows" you - reciprocate!!   This holds true on almost any other business unless, of course the business is a questionable establishment that would harm the image of your company.   
  3. REAL COMMUNICATION - We all use LOL, BRB, BTW and JK - but this is your BUSINESS so use real words and real comments of value.   Your content and comments will give an impression of you and the subject of your comment.  Make sure you are leaving the impression that you desire by providing a qualifying comment.
  4. RELEVANCY - Provide relevant content and relevant comments.   We are constantly taking in information; but the number of times we take in RELEVANT information is low.  Think about it... how many things have you read today?  How many of them were relevant?  How many were you able to apply or plan to apply?  That information that makes you stop, think and consider is influential.  As a business, you should strive to influence those that read your content.
  5. REPUTATION - The reputation of your business is on the line  There are plenty of SM blunders to read about, don't let  your company make the list.  If you are unsure how a comment will be interpreted, then consider asking someone for feedback or deleting the comment entirely.  Hopefully by doing so, you will avoid public backlash.  
For more tips and marketing advice, please....

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For more information on our highly Google-ranked Wedding Planning sites,  please contact MSW Interactive Designs at 573-552-8403 or info@mswinteractivedesigns.com.

Check out our Wedding Planning Portals in YOUR area...

Napa Valley, CA -- Boulder, CO -- Colorado Springs, CO -- Denver, CO -- Fort Collins, CO -- Pueblo, CO -- Rocky Mtn, CO -- Boca Raton, FL -- Ft Lauderdale, FL -- Sarasota, FL -- W.Palm Beach, FL -- Kansas City, KS -- Kansas City, MO -- Lake Ozark, MO -- St Louis, MO -- Detroit Lakes, MN -- Minneapolis, MN, -- St Paul, MN -- Las Vegas, NV -- Raleigh, NC -- Fargo, ND -- Columbus, OH -- Knoxville, TN -- Gatlinburg, TN -- Nashville, TN -- Pigeon Forge, TN -- Dallas, TX

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Basic Organization in 7 Easy Steps

Greetings from the Team at WeddingProfessional.com!!!

Have you ever noticed that you are always busy but you never seem to get anything/everything done?   I can relate....You feel like the busiest parent/employee/person in the world, and yet at the end of many days, you feel unproductive.  How does that happen...you are completely exhausted, you skipped lunch because there's just not enough time to eat, you never even sat down today and rumor around the office is that you didn't even brush your hair today!!!

Your "To Do" list is snowballing and you just can't get ahead.  So, what can you do to change your sluggish ineffective habits and allow you  more time to connect with more brides and potential clients?  Below are some tips to get you on track: 

  1. Take time to Plan - yes, you even have to organize time to get organized.
  2. Set clear goals for your Day, Week, Month and Year - this may seem like a huge hurdle for some - It has been for me.   After all, how in the world am I going to set goals for this week when I am still working on my goals for 3 weeks ago?  Having clear goals will help you stay focused and be more efficient with your time. As Zig Ziglar says "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!!"  This if very true, if you do not know what you hope to accomplish, it is likely you never will.
  3. Plan EVERYTHING - plan your emails, your phone calls, your breaks, your lunch etc.  Your plan should allocate a slot for everything that you do during your day.  Do not underestimate those "little" tasks - each 10 minute "little" task can add up and suddenly you have an entire hour unaccounted for. 
  4. Expect your plan to change - Seriously???  I meticulously planned out my week and now you are telling me to expect it to change?  Yes - Interruptions are not unexpected - you should expect them because they WILL happen. You should anticipate a long phone call from a client, you should anticipate a call from the school needing you to pick up your sick child, you should anticipate a task taking longer than you originally planned, you should anticipate your internet being slow...etc.   
  5. Prioritize your tasks for the day - there are certainly items on your list that are more important than others.   Make sure you complete those tasks first because the interruptions will happen and they will change your day.
  6. Plan your personal time - If you don't plan your "Days off", then your personal time will begin to bleed over into your work week.  When you own your wedding business or have a home office, it is very easy to think you can hop up from your desk to take care of one household chore or errand and find that 2 hours later you are tending to other tasks because they will "only take a second."   Be diligent about your personal time - in the end, it will leave you with more free time to play and a more productive work week.
  7. Evaluate your progress and adjust as necessary At the end of each day, week, month and year.  If you are only allowing 1 hour for emails in the morning and it is taking 2 hours, modify your plan for the remainder of the week.   It will take a little tweeking at first - but soon you will be planning your work and working your plan and THAT is success!! 

For more tips and marketing advice that will help generate more bridal connections for you business, please....

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For more information on our highly Google-ranked Wedding Planning sites,  please contact MSW Interactive Designs at 573-552-8403 or info@mswinteractivedesigns.com.

Check out our Wedding Planning Portals in YOUR area...

Napa Valley, CA -- Boulder, CO -- Colorado Springs, CO -- Denver, CO -- Fort Collins, CO -- Pueblo, CO -- Rocky Mtn, CO -- Boca Raton, FL -- Ft Lauderdale, FL -- Sarasota, FL -- W.Palm Beach, FL -- Kansas City, KS -- Kansas City, MO -- Lake Ozark, MO -- St Louis, MO -- Detroit Lakes, MN -- Minneapolis, MN, -- St Paul, MN -- Las Vegas, NV -- Raleigh, NC -- Fargo, ND -- Columbus, OH -- Knoxville, TN -- Gatlinburg, TN -- Nashville, TN -- Pigeon Forge, TN -- Dallas, TX

Monday, March 12, 2012

You are the EXPERT...Now lets start Blogging!!



Greetings from the Team at WeddingProfessional.com!!!

Does the term "Blogging" make your heart skip a beat, engrave wrinkles to your forehead, bring sweat to your palms or anxiety and fear to your mind...well, I can assure you, you are not alone. Thousands of people feel the exact same way.  It's not easy putting your thoughts and ideas out there for the world to see. After all...What will you write? How do you start? What if no one likes it? What if they don't agree? What if they DO like it, then what will you write the next time?

There are so many reasons to be afraid...and yet every social media expert is telling you that you should...NO, you MUST do this to improve your SEO/Google rankings. So, you grudgingly make the decision that, despite your fears, you will take on this daunting task...now what do you do??

How do you overcome all these fears? How do you even start now that you have made this decision? You do the same thing you did when you began your own business....you dig in and get started. Here are some tips to help you get started, jump these hurdles and overcome your fears.

  • Sign up for an account - You will need a platform for your blog - this is simply where you will create and maintain your blog.  I would suggest using BLOGGER, it is easy to use and like most Google products, it will be beneficial to your SEO/Google rankings.   Of course, there are other platforms such as Word Press, Tumblr, Xanga etc.
  •  Pick a topic - this can be an overwhelming task - after all, there are endless topics, right? First, start by narrowing down to topics related to your business. Second, narrow it down to the most interesting topics of your business. And last, narrow to the topic that you have the most knowledge about. As you go through this exercise, write down the topics you come up with...you will likely need to go back to this for your next blog. And remember, YOU are the expert when it comes to your business - so give the readers VALUE with your content. 
  •  Keep it simple - Blogs are not novels. It needs to be direct, to the point and easy to read. There is no "hard and fast rule" to the length, but 500 words is good rule of thumb. 
  •  Use Interesting Photos - People love photos and images speak louder than words. So, be sure to incorporate photos or videos in your blog.
  •  Consistency - Decide how often you are going to commit to your blog and STICK TO YOUR PLAN. Some like to blog daily, others like to blog three times a week, some stick to once a week. Whatever your plan, make it consistent so your followers know what to expect from you.

Now, CONQUER your fears and lets start blogging!!!

For more tips and marketing advice, please....


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FOLLOW us on Pinterest


For more information on our highly Google-ranked Wedding Planning sites, please contact MSW Interactive Designs at 573-552-8403 or info@mswinteractivedesigns.com.

Check out our Wedding Planning Portals in YOUR area...

Napa Valley, CA -- Boulder, CO -- Colorado Springs, CO -- Denver, CO -- Fort Collins, CO -- Pueblo, CO -- Rocky Mtn, CO -- Boca Raton, FL -- Ft Lauderdale, FL -- Sarasota, FL -- W.Palm Beach, FL -- Kansas City, KS -- Kansas City, MO -- Lake Ozark, MO -- St Louis, MO -- Detroit Lakes, MN -- Minneapolis, MN, -- St Paul, MN -- Las Vegas, NV -- Raleigh, NC -- Fargo, ND -- Columbus, OH -- Knoxville, TN -- Gatlinburg, TN -- Nashville, TN -- Pigeon Forge, TN -- Dallas, TX


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why is everyone talking about Pinterest???


Greetings from the team at Wedding Professionals!!

For some of you, the mere utterance of the word Pinterest makes your mind begin to whirl with thoughts of modge podge, chalk board paint, DE-cluttering your closet, cookie baking frenzies and creating your own wedding (with little regard to whether or not there is even a ring on your finger). Now, for the other dozen of you who have never heard of Pinterest....here is my "nutshell" explanation.

I like to think of Pinterest as a collection of cork boards on my wall, each with a label of what goes on that board. As I find a picture/image I like, I "PIN" it on on the board with the right category. Pinterest is simply a "virtual" space with this same concept allowing you to "pin" your "interests" on boards that YOU can categorize to organize things that inspire you, intrigue you, or interest you. Easy so far, right? Let me warn you, it is EASY and HIGHLY addictive!!

So...how can Pinterest help your business? And why would you bother to spend your precious time on yet ANOTHER social media?

  1. Photos speak louder than your blog. Pinterest focuses on photos AND images speak so much louder and grab attention quicker than your "wordy" blog. One single picture can grab the attention of a bride and link her to your blog, your site, your online store etc. drawing her in for more information.
  2. TRAFFIC... The odds tell me that Pinterest probably has more traffic than your blog (approximately 3.2 million UNIQUE users per month*) - this is an opportunity to tap into a large audience and draw them to your site.
  3. Brides/clients can track and save the things of interest - the internet can be overwhelming with ideas and pages to visit - this new social media allows people to collect ideas and categorize AND REVISIT.
  4. Speak to Brides that are INTERESTED - they have already taken the first step by showing interest and clicking on your PIN. Talk about a qualified lead!! There is no question about whether or not she is interested....she clicked didn't she??? As for me, when I find something of interest on Pinterest, I will click on it for more info, determine the "value" of the Pin - at this point, I can either disregard the Pin and move on because i am not interested in it or I can comment, re-pin or like. Now, my opinion is that a "re-pin" is of the most significance - because when "Susie" re-pins your photo, she is giving an instant "referral" to the her friends....and we all know friendly referrals are golden.
  5. Link to your other social media - of course :) Did you really expect me to leave this step out? This is just another way to "get connected" and talk to people that have similar interest. On a regular basis, let your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blog followers know that you are part of the Pinterest Community and you would like to "follow each other"
*thesocialpenguinblog.com
Keep in mind as you do all of these things, Pinterest is NOT a good place for a sales pitch - make sure you share information like you would share with your friends. This medium is about interests...about sharing resources...finding ideas...I believe brides are embracing Pinterest because they feel non-threatened...so find intriguing pictures, gain their trust, and START PINNING!

We would love to offer you more advice and tips on marketing to Brides, so please....

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and of course...
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Want to learn more about getting in front of the Bride EARLY in her planning process??  Please contact MSW Interactive Designs at 573-552-8403 or info@mswinteractivedesigns.com.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Increase your Conversion Rate in 2 Simple steps

Hello from the Marketing for Wedding Professionals Team!!

Are you interested in increasing your current conversion rate with your Brides? OF COURSE you are! And according to a study done by The Wedding Report, the steps to a higher conversion rate are very quick and very simple.

Publish Your Prices (or price range) -I realize there are mixed emotions on whether or not it is a good idea to put your pricing on your website. You may have the fear that you are too expensive and you will never get the opportunity to even speak to the bride...on the flip side, you may fear that you are too inexpensive and they assume your services will match your price. Either way, you fear that you have lost a potential bride without even saying a word, right? So, are we really suggesting that you consider putting your pricing ON your website for everyone to see? YES... that is exactly what we are saying...and this is why...
  • According to the Wedding Report, 81% of couples searching online said that having prices on the vendor website was "VERY IMPORTANT" to them.
  • “Finding reasonably priced vendors” was one of the top frustrations.
So, if the bride is stating that certain information is VERY IMPORTANT and not being able to find reasonably priced vendors was frustrating; why not give her the information up front? Is it actually possible to increase your conversion rate by giving brides what they want? YES!!! Your conversion rate goes up because you now are speaking with couples that already know they can afford you.
Contact Information - it may seem really obvious and unnecessary to even cover this, but according to The Wedding Report, this was also one of the top frustrations of brides; 77% stated that viewing contact information clearly on a vendor's website was most important.

If you want a bride to contact you, you need to make your contact information readily available and EASY for the bride to find. You would never go to a business meeting with a business card, so why would you have a website without contact information???A bride should never have to search your site to contact you - and if she does, she will likely bounce to the next vendor. As a minimum, I would suggest the following information:
  • Contact Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Hours you are open
  • Map widget or clear directions to your business
  • Social media links (Blog, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media you use)
Contact information should be on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of your site in a prominent spot that would be hard to overlook. And don't forget, your contact information should be accurate AND an active source of communication for you.
Incorporate these simple changes to your website and you will convert more couples into clients.
We would love to share more marketing tips, so please...

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If you need are interested in improving your current website rankings, please call Danae at 573.286.6372.

Or, if you would like to discuss advertising opportunities on our highly Google-ranked Wedding Planning Portal:
please contact MSW Interactive Designs at 573-552-8403 or info@mswinteractivedesigns.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Making "Likes" count on Facebook

Facebook Business Pages - How to make "LIKES" really count....

Did you know that a B2B "like" does not increase your like counter?? “Liking” a fan page from your own fan page does NOT increase the "like" counter viewed on the fan pages. When building your business pages on Facebook, one CRUCIAL part of the puzzle is to make sure that BOTH parties are "liking" from their personal account NOT just their business account.

Obviously, there is no harm in exchanging "likes" through business accounts, but lets face it, both parties are trying to build the status and reputation of their page - so lets do it right the first time and everyone wins!! :)



So here is what you need to do...

First, make sure that you are using your facebook page as yourself (the one with your actual name). FYI - if you have been liking businesses through your business pages, you can still go back and do them the favor of following these steps so they can "count" you. Go to the Facebook page of the business you want to "show love" and "like" them. Easy enough right??


Secondly, this is the important part, you want to get some "love" back right?? Make it easy for the business to reciprocate - include a link in a message on their wall specifically telling them you liked them and that you would like for them to visit you and "Like" you back. If you don't ask, you won't get it. And if you don't make it easy, they WILL lose interest.

Posting a Link:
The easiest way is to create a clickable blue business link by typing... @your business name
....anywhere within your message.

You can also use the "link" button on some walls, which allows you to post a photo link of your shop.

Third,...when you are “liking” in return, make sure you let them know that you are returning the gesture from your (name) shop, so the page owner realizes they’ve already visited your page. ;)

Hope this helps you find your way through the Facebook confusion...



Looking to improve your web presence? Be sure to visit MSW Interactive Designs LLC.  We put the web to work for small businesses ... and especially wedding professionals! 

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