5 Social Media Marketing Lessons for Wedding Venues from Gary Vaynerchuk

Originally known as “the wine guy” who brought Wine Library from $3m to $60m in revenue, then as an early investor in unicorn startups like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Uber, next as a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and now as the CEO of the fast-growing agency VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk has emerged as one of the most compelling entrepreneurs and marketing thinkers of our time. With an especially discerning eye toward social media, he’s been able to predict where the industry is going and has advised businesses – both those who pay for his company’s services and those of us scooping up his advice on Medium and YouTube – on how to best take advantage.

Here, we channel his social media marketing know-how into five tips for wedding venue marketers to improve their social media marketing efforts.

1. You’re a Media Company whether You Realize It or Not

A couple years ago, Gary started saying that every business is a media company, and he’s still beating that drum today. His point is well-made: with the cost of distribution essentially reduced to zero, and a variety of mediums at your disposal, there’s no reason not to tell stories and build an audience around your brand. The best way to do that is through publishing content consistently — not sporadically, not weekly, but daily, if at all possible.

Time is a precious resource, and you may find yourself thinking that you don’t have enough of it to wholeheartedly adopt this mentality. Consider this, though:  All posts don’t all need to be fully fleshed-out, or even directly relevant to your venue every time. Another trick is to develop formats for recurring posts to anchor your content marketing strategy in order to give your social game some structure – the posts will come easier. If you need some help getting started, check out our post on 5 super simple posts anyone can write.

2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

This is the title of one of Gary V’s books. It basically means, “give, give, give, ask” — you should “give” followers useful or fun content much more frequently than you “ask” them to do something, whether it’s make a purchase, or more likely in the case of wedding venue marketing, fill out a website form to enquire or book a site visit. With today’s highly competitive media landscape, where alternatives are just a tap away, you have to be engaging, entertaining, informative – and preferably, all three – in order to compete. It shouldn’t be a problem, considering all the natural storytelling opportunities there are in hospitality marketing, especially the wedding space.

Our recommendation: Tell couples’ stories, give away your best wedding planning advice, throw some love back on top vendors – then, every once in a while, find a compelling way to make an “ask” that gets brides or special groups to get them over to a landing page to start converting to a lead. Give, give, give, ask.

3. Attention Is Everything

“Don’t be romantic!” Gary loves to proclaim. No, he’s not trashing on the idea of love – he’s referring to how you generate your revenue and how you attract attention. Don’t become too reliant on one or two social platforms just because they’ve worked for you in the past. If you’re all-in on Facebook and you don’t see the need to broaden your strategy, you may be in for a rude awakening next time Facebook decides to change the News Feed algorithm. By being platform agnostic – only chasing attention – and cross-promoting so that your customers follow you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., you essentially build a moat around your content strategy so that you won’t be beholden to any one service.

There’s no hard and fast rule to measure the attention you’re getting on different social channels, because different companies have different goals. For you, it could be follows, likes, comments, conversions, or some combination – whatever it is, determine YOUR method for measuring success, and check in every so often. Allocate your time proportionally according to the attention that your venue is getting on each platform. Digital channels in general – be it search, social, or email – tend to have an expiration date, so never get lulled into a false sense of security or think you can “set it and forget it.”

Our recommendation: Put your social media strategy down on paper (so it can be delegated, too!) and revisit it every six months to make sure the “attention” priorities are still right.

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4. Experiment with the New Platforms

If you’re feeling adventurous, poke around a bit in social’s next frontier – wherever that may be. For every Instagram, there are dozens of Meerkats, Peaches, and Yobongos – social media also-rans that showed early promise but ultimately flamed out months after originally launching. Gary took an early interest in each, though, and you should, too because many of your brides are in their early to mid-20s, and keep up with every turn and shift in social media. Sure, it’s entirely practical to wait for the winners to shake out and then figure out where to allocate your time, but by jumping in early and at least figuring out what the fuss is about, you may discover ways to harness the platform in a fun way unique to your business and benefit from the attention that early adopters tend to get.

Many of these platforms won’t work out, but you’ll learn a little more each time, and you’ll stand to benefit when one does hit. By understanding the functionality and features of each platform, you’ll be able to identify the platforms that are a great fit for your business and then tell better stories and connect with brides more effectively. Brides will also be impressed by venues who can stay abreast of social trends, and will appreciate how that “with the times”  approach to your business will translate to their day feeling fresh and current.

Our recommendation: If you’re not the social maven who’s naturally going to be interested and know about the newest social platforms, find someone on your staff – or even a friend or relative – who is, and check in with them once a month to have them tell and show you about what’s popping up. You can be the one to understand the potential business translation.

5. Realize that No Marketing Channel Is Dead

While social media is eating a larger and larger slice of the global ad spend, it’s not wise to write off older mediums – radio, print, TV – as dead. While the attention those mediums command may be fading, there are still audiences tuning in (or reading or watching) and if the price is right, it can still be a worthwhile investment for your venue. The same thing is true about other forms of digital marketing, like search engine marketing, email, etc. With all this newfound knowledge, don’t become a new media snob – remember that there are opportunities others may be overlooking as marketers re-allocate the majority of their resources to digital.


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