As a part of remaining registered as a marriage celebrant, my colleagues and I are obliged to undertake five hours of professional development annually. This year I was delighted to see that some of the training options finally recognise the role of social media in our industry. This led me to reflect on all the ways the use of technology has 'crept into' and enhanced how we go about the business of being a marriage celebrant.
I needed little convincing to create a website, and saw the advantages to being found online rather than have to rely on the old fashioned Yellow Pages and 'word of mouth'. I remain shocked that there are still celebrants out there with no web presence... not many, but they do exist.
The ability to operate one's office 'remotely', by diverting calls when away from base, and to respond to enquiries via mobile phone has also added a degree of flexibility previously unavailable. Let's face it, people enquiring of your availability don't want to wait weeks or even days to hear back from you.
The use of industry chat groups and online forums enables me to remain professionally connected 24/7, and provides a rich source of ideas. It brings colleagues from all over the country together to share ceremony successes, problem solve, debrief, and celebrate.
Most recently the advent of Facebook and Twitter have forced me to think what advantages these platforms offer, and whether (and how) I should be engaging with them. I am getting there with Facebook and enjoy the immediacy it offers. While I have a Twitter account, I know i am not using it to its full potential. I cannot wait to start this short course I have just enrolled in, which promises to enlighten me on how it can be more effectively used to promote my business and connect with clients, and grow my professional networks.
I am not sure if it is appreciated, but I also like to SMS couples on the morning of their ceremony, wishing them a lovely day, and saying 'I look forward to seeing you both later on?' Such a simple gesture, non intrusive, but showing they're in my thoughts.