Just like every business out there, the wedding industry has been affected by the power of social media. Couples no longer have to wait for wedding magazines to publish new issues and then hit the newsstands, now they can get inspiration instantly by searching Instagram and Pinterest accounts as well as hashtags. But when to use it (and how) is a tricky thing to figure out. We interviewed Samantha Roberts, a Digital Marketing Strategist, and Lindsay Mann, a Content and Marketing Consultant, to get their take on keeping your business relevant in this modern digital age.
The Importance of Social Media
“[One way that] couples can find vendors that work at their specific venues is through Instagram geo-tags,” says Roberts, whose clients include Kleinfeld Bridal among other wedding heavy-hitters. That is one of the many reasons you need to get on top of your Instagram game. Roberts says social media has immensely affected the fashion side of the bridal industry because, “having their own social media channels and doing their advertising themselves through Facebook/Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads and Google Adwords, designers can now control their own ad performance (especially through targeting) & placement.” Lindsay Mann, a Content and Marketing Consultant, agrees, “I think it is always important to remember that while social media can be wonderful for promoting the joys of the wedding world- love, happiness, dancing – it can also open the door for unsatisfied customers to publicly share their negative opinions. Always be cognizant of how your current and future customers will feel about a post, and always ask permission of those who are featured even if you own the rights to the photo.”
The Wedding Guys’ President Matthew Trettel adds “using social media is a great tool to enhance your marketing. We’ve amped up our attendance through social, but we still know we need the traditional advertising as well. That’s why you see us on social, on broadcast [television and radio], outdoor [billboards] and in print.” Trettel warns “Using social as your only marketing campaign misses important touchpoints.” as he’s seen businesses falter when they rely solely on social media.
Instagram Seems to Be the Leader
Since Instagram seems to be the go-to outlet right now in the world of social media, we thought we’d get some tips from these experts on just how to create the best post. When asked how many hashtags should one aim for when creating a post, Lindsay Mann suggested there is not a hard and fast rule, “A highly debatable topic! There is no right answer. The more hashtags, the more possibility for views. However, do you want a million views or do you want to reach your target audience who is more likely to engage with you and your brand? So much about social media, especially in the wedding world is about the presented aesthetic. Posts with too many hashtags look clunky, messy, and mass market. Play around with your tags and see what seems to work, usually a mix of broad tags with a few specific tags as well as something unique to you. If you have a business account on Instagram, you can view the impressions from each of your hashtags on a post. While Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags on a post (and ten on a story post), I believe for a frequent poster three or four is sufficient. When you need to go over it is fine but try to keep it under ten.”
Samantha Roberts advises that while you can include up to 30 hashtags in a post, “I include up to 3/4 in the actual caption and up to 26 more in a comment below the caption. As of right now, this still works! Make sure they are relevant to the actual photo. For example, if it’s an image of a pink wedding reception some examples of relevant hashtags would be #Pinkwedding #reception #blushwedding #PinkCenterpiece.”
For those of you wondering about Instagram Stories, Mann breaks it down for us, “A post stays on your feed and is a great visual for consumers checking out your page. A story is usually seen by someone who already follows you and is developing a relationship with your brand. You have already brought them in, so a story allows you to get to know each other better. It’s less serious and more flirty.”
And how often should a business be posting? Roberts says a variety of factors come into play here, “This depends on what type of business someone has and how many events someone works on and how many images/video pieces they have. If a particular vendor only works 5 events a year, social media will be difficult because they may not have as much to share. I usually say post at least a few times a week on Instagram, once a week on Facebook and keep Pinning consistently!” For promoting an event, such as a trunk show, Mann advises, “To promote a specific event, an introductory post, then a detailed post followed by a reminder is good. If you need to get more attention you can increase posts on your story.”
More Tips on “Playing the Game”
Just like keeping budgets on track and inventory up to speed, social media is now a part of our landscape, so embrace it. Mann reminds us that it’s not just about posting, “Play the game! Don’t just post, follow along. Comment on other accounts and spread the love with likes on accounts you like and share your passions. It’s a great way to see what your consumer is consuming online.” Roberts explains that it’s worth your time and energy. “Dedicate 2-3 hours on it one day and schedule and lay everything out in advance. If you’re outsourcing it — make sure whoever you hire feels as if they are part of the team. They should feel invested in the mission, goals, and performance. I usually say 1 great Instagram post takes at least 1 hour to do. (From finding the photo, writing the caption, hashtags, tags in the photo & double-checking mentions). A great Instagram Story can take 1.5 hours to do! It’s more time-consuming than most people think!”
While it might be time consuming, make sure you keep it fun and your personality shines through, because that will make you stand out. “Don’t be afraid to try different things. Social media often makes it appear as everyone has a perfect life or perfect business. It’s often the REAL things that you share that perform the best. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. You never know, a potential client could have a Golden Doodle just like you do. Or don’t be afraid to share iPhone photos. Often these outperform professional images!” advises Roberts.
Mann reminds us why learning about all of this from Instagram hashtags to pinning images is important, “Social media is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. While you may offer a similar product or service to others in the business, social media can allow you to create your own aesthetic and story. Showing who you and your company are, defining your voice beyond your logo, is the best way to socially connect.”
Lindsay Mann is a Content and Marketing Consultant whose clients have included various Bridal Designers and Couture Fashion Houses.
Samantha Roberts is a digital marketer working in the event and wedding industries. Samantha specializes in social media marketing and helps her clients differentiate themselves on social media & digital platforms while growing their businesses.