Jul.17

Weddings: The Thunderdome of Social Media

Going to the chapel and we’re… going to put it on Instagram.

In the age of #CustomNuptialHashtags, weddings are a bigger business than ever. As grooms and brides publish their weddings online, vendors are put on display—and into competition. The Most Liked Wedding contest is unofficially running 24/7 for all soon-to-be-married 20-somethings on social media. It’s a huge opportunity and challenge for brands in the wedding industry.

Could your organic naked sponge cake, artistically draped with sage brush, get #CraigAndStephanie4Ever more comments than their BFFs #SmithlyWeds2016? Will your bespoke hand-painted barn wood sign edge #ChrisandChrissie ahead on Facebook for the most liked album in their friend group? The answer might decide whether or not you get hired.

Welcome to the wedding thunderdome, where every like, favourite, and retweet counts.

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Getting it right on social media is the key to a steady stream of clients for wedding vendors. There are more than 1,224 wedding photographers, 250 wedding makeup artists, and 400 planners in Ontario alone. How can vendors compete, when social media is awash with picture-perfect weddings?

Define Your Brand

Launching a social media campaign as a wedding vendor can be an intimidating process. How can you compete?

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The hashtag #barnwedding returns more than 100,000 posts on Instagram. Mason jar centrepieces? There are millions of Pinterest pins. Perfect blushing bride makeup? Thousands of Facebook posts. How can you stand out?

Developing a successful wedding vendor business means constructing an original brand and voice that echoes in all the work you share on social. Staying generic (#barnwedding! #sunflare!) might work in the short term by appealing to everyone. But it also means that your posts will get lost online in the deluge of wedding content.

Fab Fete Event Planning, a Toronto company dedicated to “all things pretty”, uses a very specific type of pretty to define its brand on Instagram. Almost every photo shared has a dose of pink or gold, but most aren’t Pinterest-perfect staged pictures. The Crowdbabble table below shows her top posts for July, peak wedding season.

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Fab Fete’s focus on bringing pretty glamour into the real world has helped the company succeed on Instagram, with a high engagement rate.

As shown in the Crowdbabble graph below, Fab Fete’s Instagram uploads usually attract more than 100 likes.

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Fab Fete’s high engagement is the engine for the account’s follower growth (Fab’s current following is 8,845), which extends the reach of its content and helps it find new customers. By tracking engagement rate and other metrics, vendors can find out what content is working and what isn’t — which can help you narrow down your style and audience to define your unique voice. Successful brand development requires social media analytics.

Making your content more specific will narrow your audience… right down to  potential leads. Your social media audience might be smaller, but engagement—and conversions—will be much higher.

Be a Person

Weddings are about the love between two people (and how it can be photographed for Instagram).

Wedding content performs best when it’s posted in the voice of a real person. Vendors, after all, are real people who will be involved in an important day.

Integrating yourself into your social media posts is part of creating a memorable and approachable brand that appeals to people getting married. It’s easy to hate high-maintenance brides, but your social media presence has to communicate that you’re easy to work with.

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Two of the most engaging posts for Fab Fete include its owner: they showcase that she cares about family and is passionate about her business (in the car = busy and hardworking, in a magazine spread = trustworthy and sought-after). By integrating herself into her online content, she expresses values that will help potential customers connect with her.

Love by Lynzie is another Toronto wedding vendor who is also killing it on Instagram. All posts are in first person, by Lynzie Kent, the event planner and owner. Like Fab Fete, Love by Lynzie stands out with a striking visual style. Stepping away from the traditional wedding pink and gold, Lynzie goes for a kaleidoscope of colours: every Instagram upload is a rainbow. Her brand of wedding is well defined: bohemian, but polished.

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Lynzie’s personality shines through in her visual style and captions on Instagram. By marketing herself as upbeat and carefree, she can sell couples on bringing her into their special day. Like Fab Fete, posts with her children shows customers making their own families that she shares their values.

Incorporating herself into her brand has kept engagement for @lovebylynzie high, with an average of 111 comments and likes each day.

Engagement_Over_Time (51)

 

Customers always factor in the person, not just the product, when choosing a wedding vendor. By tracking your social media performance with Crowdbabble, you can find out how much your audience responds to posts that feature you more heavily.

On social media, vendors have the opportunity to showcase their work and how awesome they are to work with. Doing both will turn social media leads into sales.

Use Your Competitors

Partnering with vendors in adjacent wedding categories can help you build your business. They might be competing for the same audience, but they can’t steal your business if they provide different services.

Communities on social media are built, like scaffolding, over top of one another. You can use another vendor’s audience on Instagram to build your own, and vice versa.

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For example, a wedding photographer swapping shoutouts with a cake vendor — one who matches their audience, brand, and voice — can be mutually beneficial.

For Love by Lynzie, likes and comments are the easiest to attract when she engages with other vendors. One of Love by Lynzie’s most engaging Instagrams over the past month, the rainbow piñata pictured above, captured a collaboration with four other brands. In the caption, Lynzie wrote: “On set today with @belairdirect @bemakeful [email protected] teaching you how to make simple, summer fun projects for your next cottage party. I am in love with this rainbow piñata we made!” By tagging collaborators in the description, Lynzie capitalized on their audiences — garnering more likes and comments.

What to do with direct competitors? After you’ve developed your brand, learning more about their strategies with social media analytics can help you get ahead.

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First, you need to identify your direct competitors: these are vendors who are going after the same demographic of engaged lovebirds as you are and offering the same services.

Next, create a competitive report.

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With Crowdbabble’s competitor reports, you can track vendors going after the same audience.

Competitor reports also show the impact of potential collaborations: they compile engagements and followers, giving you an idea of what your total audience might be with cross-promotion.

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By adding their accounts to your analytics dashboard, you can learn from their successes and mistakes. With Crowdbabble, you can discover what your competitor’s most engaging posts, hashtags, and filters are. This insider info will bolster your own social strategy with the knowledge of what their (soon to be your) audience loves.

May the Odds Be In Your Favour

With social media, wedding vendors — from florists to rented tuba players — are put on display in realtime as guests share images and videos. Weeks after the cake cutting has been Instagrammed, the vendor details are showcased online again as the photographer uploads an album to their website and professional pictures are re-shared.

The constant social sharing cycle for weddings is a huge opportunity for vendors, even though keeping up can be a challenge.

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Leverage social media to find new customers by defining your brand, selling yourself, and tracking your competitors. With the plan outlined above, you can use this hyper-competitive arena to your advantage.