The Wedding Industry 2.0: Utilizing Social Media

As the growth of social sites like Facebook (with over 400 Million users), and Twitter (approaching 100 Million users) continues to climb, there is little question about if you should be using Social Media for your wedding business, but more aptly put, HOW you should use it.

50% of all Facebook users log in daily, while only about 17% of Twitter users tweet regularly.

The bride and groom of 2010 and beyond are very tech savvy and like to communicate in ways that were unheard of just a decade ago. Today, close to 90% of all brides begin their wedding journey with an online search.

As a longtime user of Google myself, it is not surprising that Google Docs has posted 20 wedding related documents. I bring up Google, not as a social site, but the starting place of many if not most web searches. Facebook profiles, events, business pages and Twitter profiles are all now showing up in Google searches. Participation in social media is not about just having a Facebook profile or a Twitter account, there are literally dozens of social sites that fill niche positions depending on who you want to socialize with.

My overview statement about social media is: “The true value of social media is to talk WITH people, not AT them, and create an opportunity to talk TO them.” What this means is, you should participate in conversations with people that you want to interact with, not to bombard them with “buy me” messages or constant sales pitches. Once they value your opinions and ideas, you become a “trusted advisor” rather than a sales person trying to take their money. When you make the decision to utilize social media, be prepared to dedicate from 20 to 40 hours per month in social media conversations and activity.

It is very important to properly and completely set up your profiles and pages so that you are in compliance with the rules of each social site. For example, Facebook requires you to have your profile in the real name of a real person. Then you can, from that profile, manage your official pages (business, brand, fan), your community pages, your groups, your discussions and your events. Click here to set up those pages. If you create a “profile” with a made up name, like using your business name as first and last name, or made up words like “Iamagreatdj call me now” Facebook will delete your profile without notice and you will lose all your friends and followers. This is NOT what you want to happen.

Two key aspects of social media marketing are that your content may become user-generated and can go viral and through online social word of mouth marketing, you can gain lots of visibility and exposure. But you may tend to lose direct control of your marketing message in favor of a community-based, distributed and shared conversation which by itself is not necessarily bad.  Social media can assist you in “top of mind awareness” and word of mouth advertising and referrals. To sum it up in just two words, “Customer Confidence” is the ultimate goal of a social media marketing program.

If you show that you are a trusted advisor, with good participation in conversations, post videos and photographs of yourself and your clients and take the time to participate, you will see measurable results. In the end, customers don’t do business with people that they don’t trust or purchase products they don’t believe in. Through social media, I have made new “real” friends, directly booked weddings, communicated with couples, interviewed a groom in Iraq, and created definable business benefits.

Have you climbed on board the social media bandwagon?

Alan Dodson – “The Wedding Wizard”

Alan Dodson is the Entertainment Director of An Unforgettable Event (ThoseWeddingPeople.com), and has been entertaining at and producing events since the early 1970’s. He has also worked as a voice talent on radio and television, nationwide. Alan specializes in weddings, and is a co-producer of the Tri Cities Bridal Show (tricitiesbridalshow.com) as well as producer of bi-monthly workshops for grooms (aPerfectGroom.com). He has written numerous articles for business and trade magazines, and has been a speaker on implementing social media into wedding DJ businesses. Alan is a founding officer of the E. TN Chapter of the ADJA (adja.org/chapters/etenn), where he now serves as Secretary. He maintains an informational wedding blog on his website (TopDiscJockey.com). Alan can be reached by email at alan@topdiscjockey.com.

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