During these economic times, we are all very lucky that there are so many free resources to promote our businesses. The key is to use free websites that Brides and other Vendors are familiar with. A few examples of these resources are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and BridalTweet. By being active on these sites, you can significantly expand your contacts and prospects. This can lead to more revenue for you.
Right now, Twitter is all the rage. Although you’ll typically hear the most skepticism about Twitter, I believe that it can be an amazing tool for our businesses.
Here is the good news. It is not about sitting around all day on Twitter and figuring out what to say. There are very tactical things that you can do to help your wedding business. So, here are the 10 new rules of marketing that I believe we should all be doing in order to be influential and to join in on the online ‘wedding conversation.’ Most of these tips apply to Twitter as well as all of the other social networks (including BridalTweet!).
Rule 1: First and foremost - think hard when creating your profile.
This rule applies to Twitter as well as any of the other social networks. Your profile is as important as your own website because your photo, username, and description are the first thing that your audience will see. It should look professional.
•TIP: In Twitter, using your real name creates trust. Then, your username can be your business name.
•TIP: Make sure to link your profile to your own personal website. This will improve your own search engine results.
•TIP: Don’t forget to personalize your Twitter background for a totally unique and branded look and feel.
Rule 2: Network.
Most people who sign up for Twitter create a profile and then don’t know what to do next. After you create your profile, start to follow others. Usually about 50% of people will follow you back. Users with the most followers often are people who tweet regularly and post useful information. One of my favorite things about Twitter is that unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter users connect with people with whom they didn’t know before. This makes it easier to expand your personal network and meet “strangers.”
•TIP: You can find people to follow in the wedding industry by using directories like WeFollow.com and Twellow.com.
•TIP: You can follow a greater number of people than the # of people who are following you. However, I would limit that to no more than 100 more than the number of people following you. Otherwise, people might be skeptical of you and might not follow you back.
Rule 3: Listen.
Initially, listen to what people are saying on a network. What is appropriate? How are others behaving? It is great to just observe and take it all in.
Rule 4: Get useful feedback on your product and brand.
Twitter is a great way to gather real-time opinions about your brand or about a topic. Posts on Twitter can be searched immediately. A search engine on the other hand, takes longer to find information. Create a customized search to listen in on developments in the wedding industry. Conduct a Twitter search on, say, wedding photography, and recent tweets with mentions of wedding photography will appear.
•TIP: A simple “thank you” can turn a one-time reviewer into an influencer.
Rule 5: Respond to questions.
Twitter is now a customer-service channel. Instead of writing a strongly worded letter to a customer-service department, people are now complaining on Twitter. Personally responding to customers immediately increases your credibility and authenticity.
•TIP: Make sure you are conversational. It is nice to know there is a person behind the tweets.
•TIP: Post items and comments that favorably build your professional reputation.
Rule 6: Give compliments.
Who doesn’t like a compliment? This is the easiest and nicest way to get others to know about you.
Rule 7: Retweet or RT.
You’ll notice that there is a Group in BridalTweet just for this. Users posts messages that they want others to Retweet (RT).
Rule 8: This is the most important rule. Ready? Ok. BE AN EXPERT.
This is true when you are on all of the social networks. What do I mean? Well, figure out what your niche is. What do you do better or what do you know more about? And then own it! What I mean is - put out great content on your particular area. This will establish you, your brand, and attract contacts/customers. Once you write a blog or respond to a discussion, you can link to it on Twitter or on any of the social networks. People will start to realize that you are the expert in your niche. Search engines also love blogs. They make it easy for the spiders to crawl and categorize online. And Brides love blogs. Blogs shouldn’t be hard sales tools but instead are a mix of marketing and education that Brides can trust.
•TIP: Every blog is a new keyword (search engine optimization) opportunity. Include your keyword in the blog title and throughout the content but remember never to sacrifice consumer experience. Also, be advised that repeating a keyword too many times will show up as spam in the search engines.
•TIP: Make it simple for fans and influencers to talk about your ‘stuff’ by adding content that other people would want to share. Without this, you’re at the very least frustrating your fans and, at most, killing potential word of mouth.
Rule 9: Tweet about specials and discounts.
Or if you are a premium brand, link to photos of people using your product along with information about it. Do not mix the two, however; you need to stay on brand.
Rule 10: Meet offline!
These are sometimes called "tweetups."
Here are my last words of wisdom: Your customers are your best marketers. Empower them to make social media work for you. Once you receive relevant feedback about your product or services, place it where your customers will be influenced by it. Input and opinions help Brides cut through the clutter and find what they’re looking for. The whole point here is to build trust in your offering and encourage Brides and other Vendors to work with you.
About This Blog: Christine Dyer has an MBA in marketing and shares over ten years of marketing expertise with the wedding community. In this weekly blog called Supercharge Your Wedding Business, you'll find advice on an array of wedding business topics such as how to market to brides, social networking, wedding PR, wedding sales, vendor networking, branding, pricing and much more. .Please pass this news along to your own professional wedding network. To receive this advice in your email inbox each week, Sign Up for a Free BridalTweet Membership.