Photo by Justin Kunimoto Photography
Instagram’s ability to engage with its audience while having well-integrated metrics and promotion options makes it a very attractive market for those looking to promote their business. Which is why it has become one of the most popular networking sites today with about a billion users.
Many consumers today have started looking at a brand’s Instagram page before interacting with their products or services. Therefore many businesses use this platform as a portfolio to showcase their brand and product offerings. According to Instagram, 60% of people say that they discover new products on the platform and 75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post.
So what does this mean for you as a wedding professional? It means that to thrive in the highly competitive wedding industry, you must incorporate Instagram into your business strategy if you haven’t already. In Education Expert Vanessa Joy’s webinar, Are You Instagram-ing Right?, she discussed how heavily some couples are basing their decisions solely on a vendor’s Instagram. Thus, making it important that your Instagram showcases your services just like a website.
Here’s how to “Website-ify your Instagram:
Step 1: Analyze what your clients see
When someone comes to your Instagram profile, they’re getting a snapshot of your business and making judgments. The first things they will see include your followers, how many people you follow, your description, Instagram highlights and the last three photos you’ve uploaded. Since the description is high on that list, it should detail who you are, what you do, where you’re located and what you can do for them. It’s good to take a step back and think as a client, does your Instagram clearly convey those things?
Step 2: Include all information listed on your website
Since a lot of couples are discovering vendors through Instagram, adding information that may be important and traditionally listed on your website is a good idea. You can use the story highlight feature on Instagram to list your products and services, reviews, packages, and inspiration.
Step 3: Consistently showcase your brand
Posting consistently is vital for engagement. So, make sure you have a schedule set up to keep your Instagram updated. Tools like Planoly or Later are very helpful with scheduling posts ahead of time and they let you see how your Instagram grid will look like before you post so you can maintain a consistent style and visually appealing portfolio to represent your services.
You should also think about your audience and post things that are interesting and relevant to them, which means going beyond the work that you do. Try inspirational posts or fun content for couples, it doesn’t always have to be about the services you offer. Creating video content is another way to showcase your brand as they have shown higher engagement rates and keep your audience interacting with your posts longer. IGTV and Instagram stories are also great features to play with as you work on evolving your Instagram presence.
These tips originally appeared in WeddingWire’s Webinar “Are You Instagram-ing Right? Tips for Attracting Engaged Couples” with WeddingWire Education Expert, Vanessa Joy.
As we know, millennial audiences are heavily invested in social media, spending about 5.5 hours a day on average engaging with social media. For wedding professionals marketing to millennial couples, this means that if your social media pages aren’t up to par, you may be missing out on their business. Not sure what they are looking for? We’ve put together our top social media dos and don’ts to ensure that your business’s social media pages are ready for the eyes of your millennial market.
Do have (and maintain) social media pages. Seems simple enough, but there are still many wedding professionals out there without a social media presence! When millennial couples are beginning their initial wedding vendor search, they will look to your social media pages for a first pass impression. These pages help them visually gauge the quality of services that your business can offer. Without that visual aid, not only do you run the risk of looking outdated, they may pass you by altogether. So if you are currently missing from the social media world, it’s time to sign up!
Do prioritize Facebook and Instagram. These are the two most popular platforms among millennial audiences. While there are many other platforms to choose from, millennials truly value your presence on these two. Aim to use these platforms as regularly as possible, post only your strongest content and engage with your audience frequently through the comments. If you do those three things on each platform, your brand awareness will see positive impact and millennials are sure to be impressed with what they see.
Do favor quality over quantity. While you might use another platform, like your website, to feature all of your content, you should be incredibly selective of what you post to Facebook and Instagram. Instagram in particular should be the “trophy case” for your best and most recent visual content. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to upload too regularly or post without a direction, that they often lose sight of the quality of the content they are posting. While you should aim to post frequently, if your content isn’t strong and visually pleasing, it’s not going to impress millennials. Additionally, over posting is just as unimpressive as posting lackluster content. We suggest posting no more than twice a day and no less than once a week to keep your followers and prospective clients hooked.
Do utilize Instagram stories. We weren’t kidding when we said to focus on Instagram! Instagram’s story feature is a great way to engage potential clients in a more casual way by sharing what you are doing on the job or behind-the-scenes. This feature also allows you to stay active without always spending the time required to curate the beautiful, consistent flow of visual content on your Instagram feed. Since Instagram stories are only viewable for 24 hours, you don’t have to worry as much about posting “perfect” content. Use stories as a way to build an emotional connection with your potential clients; millennial couples will love to see your genuine personality come through and learn more about you.
Don’t focus on YouTube, Twitter or Blogs. We can’t stress Facebook and Instagram enough. They are where you want to spend most of your time because they have the best payout and visibility. YouTube and Twitter are great social media sites, but connecting with potential clients on these platforms is not as easy. Twitter is best for communicating with other businesses, or for B2B communication, and YouTube probably won’t be needed unless you are a videographer or produce a ton of video content. Blogs can also be a great way to show off your personality and share more about your business, but producing blog content can also be a major time commitment. Unless you are prepared to dedicate a lot of time to writing frequent blog posts, blogs can be nixed, too, in favor of maintaining your social media presence.
Don’t show just the end shots. The majority of photos uploaded are of beautiful end products: the finished floral centerpieces, the intricately constructed updo or the frosted cake. End shots are great to see, but sometimes upload after upload of beautiful end shots leaves us wanting more. Think about it: how many end shots like this do you see when you scroll through your feed? They are the vast majority of all uploads.
People want to see some grit, too! For the same reason we mentioned Instagram stories, millennial couples want to see behind the scenes. Even though these action or behind the scenes shots aren’t typically “polished”, there is still a way to make them look visually appealing. If you are building a bouquet, take a photo of your table with your supplies, tools and loose florals. These shots might require some staging, but couples love these posts because it shows your expertise and dedication to your craft. More importantly, it shows the sheer amount of work that you put in to get the high quality product that they see in those end shots.
Don’t post on Instagram without a direction. Your content should be cohesive and your posts should all build to tell your brand story. Having a direction in mind when you post is integral to maximize your social impact. Think about your brand. Your social media, and especially Instagram, is a highly visual representation of your brand. If you post photos aimlessly, your Instagram’s overall feed is going to look scattered and send a confusing message to couples. Try uploading pictures with a similar color palette, similar lighting, or similar subjects and themes. Uploading photos that look similar, despite the “differing” content is going to help give your feed a cohesive, clean look. Planning ahead can also help you plan out the visual story you are telling; there are some great tools out there like Planoly that can help you plan your Instagram content and preview how it will look in your feed before you post.
Don’t post just text to Facebook. Every facebook post you make should have a piece of content attached to it. Plain text posts on Facebook used to be the norm for the platform, but not in 2018. If you have text to post, attach a photo with it. If you are posting a link, Facebook automatically attaches a thumbnail from the link to add more visuals, but if that thumbnail is plain or broken, attach another photo and remove the thumbnail. From attaching videos to gifs, Facebook posts should never be just plain text! Millennials are a visual generation and you should use every opportunity to showcase your work.
Creating beautiful, cohesive and on-brand social pages take time to build and maintain. Take comfort in knowing that phenomenal Instagram pages don’t just happen overnight! Don’t be afraid to test and try different types of content to see what works best for your business. Mastering social media might have a bit of a learning curve, but if you keep these steps in mind, you’ll be sure to impress those millennial clients. Happy posting!
These tips originally appeared in WeddingWire’s Webinar “Marketing to Millennials” by Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer. Premium Members can view the webinar recording in their accounts.
Photo by Clay Swanson Photography
Engagement season is quickly approaching, and one of the first places couples will research vendors is on Instagram! To prepare, you should make sure your profile is in tip-top shape so that couples feel drawn to you when they come across your content. Once you draw them in, you should also make sure to prompt them to visit your website or send you an inquiry.
Here are five things that your Instagram profile should have in order to stand out to couples this engagement season.
Make your bio shine
When couples land on your Instagram profile, one of the first things they will see is your bio. Instagram bios can be a max of 150 characters, so you must make every character count. Here are a few things to remember to include when writing your bio:
- Succinctly explain what you do and who your ideal client is
- Show your personality
- Include a call to action
Read more about how to write a social media bio that attracts couples here.
Create a clear call-to-action
Just like you should have on your Storefront or website, a call-to-action on your social media channels is a must! You’ve captivated a couple so don’t let them leave without giving them direction to head to your website or contact you. There are two great places to do this on your Instagram profile:
- Your Bio – Give couples an instruction in your bio. For example, you might say, “Click below to see my full portfolio!” or “Message me to learn more!” or “Have a question? Let’s chat!”
- Your Link – When you click to edit your profile in the Instagram app, you will see a field where you can enter your website URL. Use this strategically by linking to your About Me page, a lead magnet landing page, or a portfolio page. This will give potential clients the most important information about your business and motivate them to contact you.
Post quality content daily
After making sure that your profile is captivating and providing direction to incoming couples, make sure that you are staying top of mind! One of the best ways to stand out from your competitors is to have a fresh, up-to-date Instagram feed. This will help showcase your work as for couples that follow you and ensure that you continue to pop up in their feed.
Don’t forget that Instagram is a visual platform, so when posting regularly,make sure that you are posting visually appealing and inspiring content. You want to post aspirational content that makes a couple stop and think “Wow – I want to be THAT couple.” Apply these tips for curating Storefront photos to your Instagram feed.
Show your personality
You may be using Instagram to market your business, but remember – couples also care about the person behind the business, too. Every so often, post photos that tell a bit about you and show your personality. You can share selfies, photos of your work space, photos taken with past clients, or even just photos of things that make you happy throughout your day. This will help you create a connection with couples and attract more ideal clients.
Optimize for engagement
There are two kinds of Instagram engagement that you should focus on. The first is on your profile itself. Couples want to see that your posts have likes and comments. To increase engagement, include relevant hashtags and ask questions in your captions to encourage people to comment.
The second is your engagement with other profiles. Avoid only logging into Instagram to post your own photos. Instead, make sure to spend a few minutes each day browsing through your feed, liking and commenting on others’ posts. You can also search for hashtags that local couples may use in their posts, then engage with their posts. This will grab their attention and encourage them to click through to your profile.
This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Davenport Mansion on the Sound for WeddingWire Networking Night Westchester!
At the Networking Night, wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking panoramic waterfront views of the Long Island Sound while networking in the historic and recently renovated mansion. Guests met other local vendors across all service categories as well as members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media from WeddingWire’s Associate Director of Customer Success, Kyle Mihalcoe.
Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the enjoyable evening below.
We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:
- The beautiful event space, beverages and delicious food including freshly made mozzarella provided by The Davenport Mansion on the Sound
- Gorgeous photos from the evening captured by Montenegro Photography
- Stunning floral arrangements by Mayuri’s Floral Design
Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Rabbi Andrea Frank from Rabbi Andrea Frank – The Jewish Wedding Traveling Rabbi!
If you market your business with Instagram, you know the struggle almost every wedding vendor experiences at some point. You want engaged couples to follow you and see your posts, but no matter how hard you try, it seems like the only people you can get following you and engaging with your posts are other wedding professionals.
There are three main reasons for this:
- Many businesses set up bots that automatically like photos and follow users who use specific hashtags. If you use those hashtags, you may get followed by lots of other vendors automatically. This is a problem that is difficult to avoid, so don’t worry about these likes and followers.
- You may not be using enough or the best hashtags to reach couples.
- You may not be actively searching for engaged couples on Instagram or interacting with them, which makes it difficult for you to reach them. If you have tried to do this, you may struggle with trying to find users who are engaged in your area.
So how can you fix these issues and get real engaged couples to follow and engage with you?
Fix your hashtags
One of the easiest ways to start reaching couples on Instagram is to use hashtags strategically. Start by using 20-30 hashtags per post, and always put the hashtags in the first comment. This will maximize your reach and make sure your caption doesn’t look cluttered with hashtags.
Next, go to the profiles of successful competitors in your area. Take note of the hashtags they commonly use in their posts, and use them in your own. Think about which hashtags engaged couples are likely to search for on Instagram and use those, as well.
Here are some ideas for hashtags to use:
- Location specific hashtags (examples: #nycweddingplanner, #PAweddingphotographer, #nashvilleweddings, etc.)
- Wedding inspiration hashtags (examples: #weddingdetails, #weddingphotoideas, #fallweddinginspiration, etc.)
- Branded hashtags to promote your business (examples: #MADbeautiful, #whitneyweddings, #howbostongetsengaged, etc.)
Use the LLLF strategy to reach couples
LLLF stands for like-like-like-follow. The strategy involves finding couples’ Instagram accounts, engaging with three posts either by liking or commenting, then following them. When you do this, make sure to comment something genuine and thought out, rather than quick and vague. The goal is to get the user to notice all of your engagement, click on your profile, and then follow you back.
So how do you find engaged couples to like, comment, and follow? Here are three great strategies:
- Search for hashtags engaged couples may use in their own posts to find users who are engaged. Make sure you include a location so that you find couples local to you. Here are some examples of hashtags to search: #NYCbridetobe, #dallasengagement, #LAgroom
- Search for engagement photographers in your area and look for users that they tag in their posts, then go to their accounts and implement LLLF. You can also check comments on posts without someone tagged in case the bride or groom commented. If the user is private, you can start by following, then engaging with their posts.
- Search for local bridal shops and jewelry stores, and then look for users tagged in their posts. Lots of bridal shops will post, “I said yes to the dress!” photos, while jewelers will often feature customers with their engagement rings.
If you start implementing these two strategies and spending only five minutes per day reaching out to engaged couples on Instagram, you will start to see more couples following you and engaging with your posts. In time, you may even begin to receive inquiries through your Instagram inbox.
Photo by Something Blue by Susan Elizabeth.
The wild, wacky world of social media is ever-evolving. Case in point: Instagram and its bevy of new features for marketers. While change was slow in the four years since the company was acquired by Facebook, the visual blogging site has hit the ground running in recent months to integrate with Facebook and offer similar tools for audience engagement.
Here’s a rundown of the big changes:
1. Stay Top of Mind With Instagram Stories
We’re sure you’ve seen those little circles above your Instagram timeline by now. The Stories feature is Instagram’s attempt at replicating the immediacy and fleeting nature of popular new networks like Snapchat. So far, it’s been a wild success, capturing 150 million daily users in the first 25 weeks.
How it works is pretty simple: From the home screen, click the little camera symbol on the top left corner. This will activate your phone’s camera and you’ll have the option to shoot a live video (more on that later), a normal photo, a Boomerang video or a hands-free video. You also have the option to use photos and videos taken within the last 24 hours by pressing down on the bottom of the screen and swiping up. Once you’ve taken or selected an appropriate image, you can simply add it to your story. This will stay visible to your followers for 24 hours. You can continually add an infinite number of photos and videos to your story, each adorned with text, drawings, time stamps, location stamps or accessories like crowns and sunglasses.
2. Take Advantage of Shared Facebook-Instagram Business Tools and Go “Live” on Instagram
You probably noticed last year that there were a lot more business tools for Instagram users, including the ability to add a “contact” button to your page and to see detailed analytics within the Instagram app. These tools come as Facebook finally integrates the two social media platforms, allowing businesses to reply to comments from both platforms from the Facebook Pages app, manage campaigns across both platforms through Facebook’s Business portal and employ some of the bigger network’s most popular features, including the ability to go “Live.”
Instagram Live works in a similar fashion as Facebook Live, in that followers are alerted that you’re live. However, unlike Facebook Live, the video content is not archived and disappears as soon as you stop broadcasting.
3. Encourage Engagement by Liking the Likes
Engagement is super-important to wedding pros looking to connect with couples and peers. Social media should always feel like a conversation between you and other folks—not like a rally where you’re blasting your message out through a megaphone. Which is why it’s a pretty big deal that Instagram now allows you to like comments on your posts as well as making it even easier directly reply to the user. As you grow your social media presence, it may not always be possible or make sense to reply to every comment (although you should aim to go into the comments on a regular basis!), but a simple like is a great way to show that you’ve read it and you appreciate it.
Learn more about how Instagram can fit into your overall marketing strategy.
We’re excited to launch our annual Just Said Yes contest for newly engaged couples to share their special moment upon engagement to win great prizes, including a cash prize to be put toward an amazing wedding vendor team like you!
Couples can enter the contest by following these simple steps:
- Get engaged and snap a photo about their engagement experience
- Share the photo via Instagram or by uploading a photo to the Just Said Yes website
- Post the photo and tag @WeddingWire and #JustSaidYes to enter
Lucky winners will be announced throughout the campaign from December to February! One grand prize winner will get $10,000 towards their wedding team, and monthly winners will receive fantastic prizes for their wedding and honeymoon including: a wedding dress from Allure Bridals, a Mediterranean cruise from Celebrity Cruises and a dream registry from Wayfair Registry. See full terms and conditions here.
Share the contest to your clients so they can announce their exciting news to friends and family and be entered to win great prizes! Plus, follow along to see fun engagement posts and engagement inspiration shared on social media this engagement season using #JustSaidYes.
It can be challenging to stay on top of the latest social media sites and trends — especially while you are busy running a successful wedding business. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Social media doesn’t have to require lots of time to make a big impact on your client reach!
This infographic shares the four key social media sites where you will make the greatest impact with your target audience of engaged and pre-engaged couples today. Review these tips from WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly to learn how to leverage the social media four: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.
It’s challenging to stay on top of the latest social media sites and trends — especially while you are busy running a successful business. However, social media doesn’t need to require lots of time to make a big impact on your client reach.
During this month’s webinar hosted by WeddingWire Chief Marketing Officer Sonny Ganguly, we discussed the ‘big four’ social media sites your clients are loving — and where you need to be active this engagement season. Plus, Sonny shared expert tips to effectively leverage each top social media site to your business advantage.
Here are some of the webinar highlights:
- Visual sharing on social sites is key. This is part of the reason that Instagram and Snapchat have risen to popularity so quickly! Overall, 3.3 billion photos are shared on top social sites daily. Don’t miss an opportunity to show off your work on a regular basis!
- Your clients love social media. The majority of today’s engaged couples are Millennials in their twenties and early thirties. 89% consider themselves active on social media and 56% report that they would only consider booking pros they can find on social media.
- How do they use social while planning their wedding? First, they turn to virtual pinboard site Pinterest to get inspired. Next, they move to Facebook to learn more about vendors they are interested in, and also turn to Instagram to see your aesthetic.
- They follow the wedding pros they’re interested in. 61% of couples ‘follow’ or ‘like’ the professionals they want to learn more about. Why? Most commonly to get inspiration for their wedding, to see the quality of your work and to get more info about your business.
- Where should you invest the most of your time? The top four sites to invest your time and connect with your clients today are: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. You can cut back on time on Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr due to a lack of interaction with your clients or general sharing traffic on those sites this year.
For more great social media tips, stats and information about connecting with couples on top social sites, watch the full webinar! Don’t forget that past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps, with over 500 million monthly active users. The mobile-based photo-sharing social network, launched in 2010, has had an undeniable impact on the social media industry. But many businesses still question whether to take the plunge and allocate time and resources to creating an Instagram presence. If you’re still on the fence about using Instagram for business, it’s officially time to re-evaluate.
Instagram and Millennials
Recent research shows that 26% of online adults use Instagram, a number that has increased from 17% in 2013. With a combined 75% of adults on Instagram falling between the ages of 18-29 and 30-49, Instagram is one of the best ways to reach Millennial couples who are recently engaged or approaching engagement.
Instagram is beloved by its users, who primarily use the app to effortlessly edit and add filters to both photos and videos from their mobile devices. The visual focus, when first launched, offered a simpler alternative to Facebook, with fewer status updates and links. Studies indicate that consumers are able to recall visual content longer than text, which keeps users coming back. Today, Instagram is the second most used social network, with approximately half of their users accessing the site daily.
Couples often engage with social media when they’re multi-tasking, whether at work or at night when they’re unwinding in front of the TV or in bed. This makes it that much more important to post interesting content so that you can capture the short attention span of your prospective clients. Our research shows that 34% of couples say they’ve contacted a vendor though a social network, and Instagram is quickly moving up the ranks in popularity.
Instagram as a marketing strategy
If you haven’t yet incorporated Instagram into your social media marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered! Follow these 5 easy tips to get started with Instagram for your business: Continue reading
If you’re just now deciding whether or not to start a new social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news and updates before you start planning for the New Year. Check out our 2015 year in review to see the overarching social media trends that defined the year!
2015 was a big year for video. With live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope launching early in the year, other networks worked hard to integrate those capabilities or create their own version (see Facebook’s Live product for public figures). In late June, Facebook announced that it will take into account video actions such as turning on sound or playing the video in full screen to prioritize videos in the News Feed. Pinterest even took steps to join the video game, though not quite as far as Facebook; user testing showed that Pinterest users found auto-play ads interruptive, so instead they released animated Cinematic Pins to take advantage of the full-motion trend.
What this means for you: Make it a priority to create more video in 2016. Statistics show that 73% of all U.S. adults are more likely to purchase a product or service after watching an online video. Don’t let your wedding business fall behind – use our infographic to learn the six keys to video marketing success from our video partner, Animoto, so your business can start creating and sharing more videos.
After releasing a few minor updates to the balance of friends and pages in April, Facebook announced in July that would be giving users more control over their News Feeds by allowing users to select friends and pages they’d like to see first. By allowing users to self-select what they’re most interested in, Facebook can serve up more personal and relevant content. In an effort to get more men using the female-dominated social network, Pinterest followed suit on personalization by updating its internal search feature to display personalized results based on users’ gender selections.
When Twitter launched audience insights in May of this year, advertisers gained access to additional targeting methods for reaching demographic groups. In July, the network began to allow businesses to apply those demographics to their ad campaigns and tailored audiences. A new persona targeting feature was also added to enable brands to target shorthand categories of audiences, including Millennials and small businesses.
What this means for you: Social media is getting closer and closer to becoming a one-to-one channel, where your business can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time in their decision-making process. Think about how you can segment your audience to start taking advantage of these new features. Perhaps you know that couples tend to book you within the same time frame during the planning process, or that certain regions/cities tend to book one of your services over others. Use whatever data you have to deliver more personalization marketing messages!