This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.
The importance of social media to wedding businesses can’t be denied. Used properly, social media is completely free marketing platform that is unsurpassed in its ability to cement your brand identity, create meaningful relationships with your clients and other wedding professionals, and give your business a real, human voice that resonates with people more than a static website or a print ad ever could.
On the other hand, social media can seem completely overwhelming. Most wedding business owners use at least one social media platform for their personal interactions, but knowing how to manage a complete social media marketing program for your business is a different skill altogether. Here are my top five social media tips to make it easier.
- Decide which platforms are most useful for your business. It seems that new social media technologies are being offered all the time (this very topic was one of the highlights of Sonny Ganguly’s presentation at WeddingWire World 2015!). I think it’s safe to say, though, that the most mainstream platforms are the only really essential ones for the wedding industry. All wedding businesses can benefit from having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, because they support easy information-sharing in the form of words and images, and are highly interactive. Pros in more creative and visual fields (or who are good at remembering to take photos of everything) can get a lot out of Pinterest and Instagram, too. LinkedIn can also serve as a good way to network with other business owners. Remember that it’s totally fine to start with just one or two of these platforms – you can learn more, and build your presence, as you go. The most important thing is that you keep up with your social media usage on whichever platforms you choose.
- Identify the voice you want to use. Most wedding pros that I know are personally invested in their business, and their brand is largely a reflection of their personality and values. It makes sense, then, that you should put some thought into exactly how you want to represent yourself on your business social media accounts. Do you want your posts to be strictly professional, sharing advice/information and announcing company news? Or do you want to incorporate personal successes and struggles as well, for a more “human” approach? Having a clearly defined voice for your social media presence will make a big difference in how you craft your content, and how your message is perceived.
- Create a content calendar. Planning out your content in advance is a great way to ensure your social media accounts stay fresh, engaging, and balanced in the types of content you’re sharing. You can use a paper calendar or a software template (CoSchedule has a free download that’s super simple). Write in major events for your business – these could include conferences you’re attending, major functions you’re sponsoring, your company’s anniversary, whatever – and then add in some recurring topics for social media content, such as wedding recaps, shout-outs to your favorite vendors, and so on. Be sure to leave some room for promoting things as they pop up! By planning out your social media content at least a month in advance, you’ll take some of the pressure off yourself when it comes to generating ideas for posts. (Hint: this works great for blogging, too!)
- Consider automating, delegating, or outsourcing. There are lots of great tools for scheduling your social media posts well in advance, enabling you to spend just a few minutes each week to get all of your accounts populated with posts. This is a tremendous timesaver! Personally, I consider myself a Buffer evangelist, although there are plenty of other social media management tools, many of them free. Another option is delegating your social media management to someone else on your team – you may have an employee, contractor or intern who’s not only an experienced social media user, but also loves doing it. Finally, there are services that offer third-party social media management; I recently launched a company myself that offers this. Whether you choose to make your social media easier to DIY, or to allow someone else to handle it for you, the point is for it not to become a task that you dread.
- Remember, engagement is everything. So many businesses use their social media accounts solely to boast about themselves, when the point is to get – and keep – people interested in what you have to say. Sharing content of value (useful advice, interesting articles, etc.) is a great way to do this, as is congratulating your clients on their weddings/anniversaries or sharing their images that you love. If you prioritize building relationships with others in your industry, you should also be using your social media to promote their businesses. For example, my DJ company has been tagging each wedding’s vendors since 2011, a practice I’ve seen become very commonplace. You can also use your social media accounts to share things your colleagues have posted, or to acknowledge them for their great work whenever the mood strikes. Posting content that is meaningful to other people is a great way to create engagement, and will go a long way toward making your social media efforts more fruitful.
As you plan your marketing budget, remember that a successful social media plan creates benefits that far exceed anything that can be achieved by an expensive print ad or glossy brochure.