You share on Facebook, load photos to Instagram, and continue to Pin to a variety of Boards on Pinterest. You’re nailing your social media marketing to appeal to couples, right? The answer is a solid “maybe.” Social media is primarily an awareness tool for you – it’s up to you and how your social media strategy uses that awareness to translate it into conversion. Wedding and special events venues live in a visual world, but if your social media strategy is limited to simply posting pretty pictures, you’re missing out on one of the most valuable marketing opportunities to convert brides today.
1. Consider launching wedding-specific social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram
For many venues, like hotels, country clubs, and museums, we know your wedding-centric posts are just a drop in the bucket in comparison to all the posts your marketing teams are pushing out. Your ability to drive engagement and leads for weddings seems like a hope and prayer amid all the posts not geared toward brides. The potential solution: Would your marketing team allow you to launch wedding-centric social media accounts that stand alone as a part of their digital marketing strategy? Of course, you’d need to have a plan for who would have the time to post, but it can be a way to reap all of the rewards mentioned below.
2. Where do your posts take brides?
This is the big one, the one we’ll hit you over the head with time and time again: You don’t want to just post good content; you want it to lead back to the sections of your website that you care about most! It’s the premise behind all good content marketing (social media included), and it takes some strategy and foresight. For example, it means you want photo galleries to be constantly updated on your site so you can post and Pin from your site rather than uploading images within Pinterest or Facebook. If you get photos from a recent event and find yourself uploading them natively within those platforms, that’s the indicator that you’re not helping brides on the path to conversion.
3. Get them to fill out a form
Even better than directing brides to the special events and wedding pages of your site via social posts is directing them to a landing page that includes a form for them to schedule a call or site visit. Obviously, you can’t expect them to do that from simply one social post, so you need to be strategic about what you’re offering on that page they land on within your website or drive them to your Contact Us page in one click. Again, your photo galleries page might be a good option with a headline like “Like what you see? Schedule a site visit.” If you have constraints because special events is just a few pages within your bigger site managed by IT or marketing, could you build a custom landing page or wedding/special events microsite that still adheres to your enterprise site’s style guidelines?
4. Tag brides and grooms in Facebook and Instagram
If the above two sections feel daunting, here’s one that’s super simple and a head-smacker if you haven’t been doing it: Whenever you post photos of recent wedding couples who celebrated at your venue, make sure you tag them in Facebook and Instagram. It’s so simple and impactful, since tagging them means their followers/friends will be more likely to see that post (and your venue). Also ask to use the custom hashtags they had for their wedding (ex: #BenNKelse4Ever). It’s the equivalent of digital word of mouth, so make it a part of your best practices within your social media brand guidelines. To make all this simple and OK with your clients, ask for couples’ social media handles (and permission to tag them and use the hashtag) as a part of your planning process with them.
5. Write keyword-rich Pins on Pinterest
Pinterest is now the second-most powerful search engine in the world, behind only Google. So, you want to make sure your Pins are optimized for the terms brides will be searching. For example, instead of a caption like “Amazing wedding at Rosemont Resort,” a better option would be “Amazing blue-and-silver-themed winter wedding at Rosemont Resort.” And, of course, you’d have these photos on your website so you’re pinning from your site, not uploading the images within Pinterest, right?!
6. Reinforce ties with your top photographers and videographers
Since so much of your social media strategy for weddings hinges on top-caliber visuals, you need a continuous flow of new photos and videos of events at your venue from top professionals. You have those relationships so we won’t tell you how exactly to do so, but in the age of social media marketing, it’s more important than ever. Just make it simple. For example, build a system that becomes familiar with them (such as Google Drive or Dropbox folders), and send friendly follow-ups. The easier you can make it for them to send you assets, the better both of your social media presences will be.
7. Build social media relationships with top wedding vendors
In a industry where patting each other on the back goes a long way, social media may be the simplest way for you to increase followers and reinforce your relationships with all types of vendors. You can do this by posting about their work, and most significantly, always tagging them when appropriate (a two-second task). Here’s an example: If you comment on a photographer’s Facebook post and a bride sees it, they will be driven to your Facebook page where they can click on your website, thus broadening awareness of your venue and potentially converting a lead into a customer. Or if you mention a florist in a Pin about last weekend’s wedding, the florist might be more inclined to use a photo of your venue in their next round of posts. If you want to get strategic, invest just a couple of hours building a list of those vendors who are most active on their social media accounts, website content, and blogs. These are the ones you should focus on building social relationships with to maximize your reach and potential leads.
8. Look for newly engaged couples using hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to see what the world is talking about. They are also a useful tool to help you find the people who are talking about what you’re selling. Choose hashtags beyond the broadest, most generic (ex: #bridetobe, #weddingvenue, #weddingplanning) for ones that matter more to your venue and brides, such as seasonal or geocentric options (ex: #charlestonweddings, #fallweddings), then do a search on Instagram to find newly engaged couples using these hashtags. Click on the user’s profile and get noticed by liking or commenting on their wedding-related images. Now that user might be inclined to check out your profile, click your website link, and potentially become a customer. Need help finding the right hashtags? Our blog post on content and keyword tools can help steer you in the right direction.
9. Encourage reviews whenever and wherever possible
We saw a pretty impressive stat from Adweek recently: 77 percent of millennials look to online reviews to make a purchase. That doesn’t just go for their next phone or pair of shoes either. As a component of every single client wrap-up, you should be encouraging every couple who has a wedding at your venue to submit a review. Make it easy by including links to where they can post their reviews. Facebook is certainly one of them with reviews featured prominently. Encourage and incentivize brides to leave a review, and promote those that really make your venue shine (thanking brides – and tagging them! – for these reviews is one easy, natural method). Make sure you don’t put any pressure on them to leave a positive review – you want authenticity. Frame it as another way to tell their story from their big day.
10. Consider paid advertising as a part of your social media strategy
Unfortunately, all social media platforms are taking aggressive steps to monetize in every way possible. (Exhibit A from 2016: Facebook’s algorithm and layout change.) Which means to cut through the competition, you may need to invest in paid reach, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Your most important content that will drive conversion – such as the posts that click to that custom landing page you just built or new video you embedded on your website – are the ones that are worth that added investment. For Instagram, Carousel Ads may be most useful, allowing you to showcase several photos – and giving you that much-coveted link back to your site that your everyday Insta-posting doesn’t allow. On Snapchat, custom geofilters require a small investment and could have a big payoff, and we explain exactly how to get started here.