Social media is likely already part of your wedding venue marketing strategy, but if you’re posting the same things across platforms and not utilizing each platform’s features, you’re doing it wrong. It’s time to get creative. It’s time to realize that social media should not be an afterthought in your marketing strategy, but a priority.
Think of the major social media channels as TV networks: NBC, Disney, MTV, TLC…you get the idea. Those channels have different audiences to cater to and different tones in programming. You couldn’t just take a successful Disney program and drop it into MTV’s schedule and expect it to flourish. Social media marketing for wedding venues is no different. While you may have some success cross-posting across the social networks, to get ahead in your wedding venue marketing efforts, you’re better off customizing your storytelling natively for those individual platforms. Here, we describe which kinds of posts work best on each platform, as well as provide our (millennial-approved!) tips on how to engage more effectively.
Instagram is listed first for a reason. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10x higher than Facebook. Newly engaged couples and even “newly engaged couples to be” are not typically going to your website first to get a feel for your venue, they’re going to your Instagram account. Within a few seconds, they’ve formed an opinion on your business and brand and they won’t necessarily give you another look anywhere else if your Instagram presence is underwhelming or messy. It sounds intense, and it is, but if you know how to make and not break that impression, you can beat out the competition. Here’s how to win over millennials in an instant, and ultimately book more weddings.
1. Maintain a Cohesive Account
While your individual posts should offer a variety of photo types (e.g., detail shots, real couples, decor inspiration, and property spaces), your photo grid should feel consistent in color, tone, quality, and frequency (we suggest posting 5 to 7 times per week). It can be as easy as picking out one filter and applying it to each image you post. This will help users know what to expect when following you and the “at-a-glance” aesthetic cultivates your brand identity as one voice.
Pro Tip: Your account should feel like one user, one voice. Every single person on your team should be aligned with your brand’s Instagram identity and the specific persona(s) you’re targeting. To be sure of this, ask questions like: What is our purpose? What emotions do we want to evoke? What are 4 or 5 adjectives that could describe us? Then make sure every time you post, it’s true to those elements.
2. Create Mini-Showcases with the Story Highlights Feature
The Story Highlights feature that Instagram rolled out in 2016 has transformed how users engage. Not only are Instagram stories being used by 500 million users daily, but one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. Use this feature to show off all that makes your venue special. Think of each story highlight as a mini-showcase for the unique elements of your venue. What would a prospective couple want to see? Take a look at what other venues are doing on their account page story highlights. It could be anything from real weddings, behind the scenes, and property shots to testimonials, dog-friendly fun, and sunset ceremonies. Have some fun here – it’s where your personality can shine!
3. Repeat after Us…Engage Often. Reply Always.
Social media is a two-way street, a platform built for interacting! If this is where couples are first discovering your venue, “ghosting” them is a surefire way to lose their business. Check your account’s direct messages often, at least once a day, and reply always – and authentically. Millennials have a great bullsh*t detector, and any robotic or automated replies just won’t cut it. Interact with users by replying to comments or even simply “liking” comments on photos you post, as well as the photos your couples and vendors post. Creating that connection will, at once, win over the initial trust of prospective couples and beat out all idle competition.
Pro Tip: It is especially effective to engage with comments and other users’ posts within the first 60 minutes after posting to your account for Instagram’s algorithm to favor your content. Another way to be more discoverable is to use keywords within your account bio, so make sure your specialty/selling points are within that section (e.g., “Colorado Destination Wedding Venue,” “Boston Wedding Venue,” etc.).
Facebook is cross-generational, so remember that it’s not just the bride-to-be seeing your post – it’s her grandmother, too. Speak to everyone. As long as you have couples’ permission, you should post congratulatory photos of each wedding and tag the married couple to leverage the attention of their friends. But the photos should really show off your venue, not be close-ups of the couple. Don’t forget to also tag the photographers, caterers, entertainment, etc.
Go-to post: Scene-setting shots of every wedding hosted at your venue. Make sure the couple is tagged! Facebook’s News Feed makes it easy for those photos to float into others’ views when their friends comment, like, or share.
Pro Tip: You can use client reviews/testimonials in future content to highlight the community you’ve created and success stories.
Invest in Paid Social Ads
Facebook – and Instagram by default, since it’s owned by Facebook – has the most sophisticated targeted ad platform in social. They allow you to target by criteria like gender, age, location, likes – and marital status. Yes, that means you can target, for example, newly engaged women between the ages of 23 and 45 who live within 40 miles of your venue. How’s that for powerful? We suggest starting with a budget of at least $300 per month and recommend a Carousel or Slideshow ad type to show off several of your venue’s best images. And because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you’re able to build Instagram ads through the Facebook ads interface – but we suggest leaving it up to Facebook’s algorithms to determine how to distribute your ads across their products since they make the most money when your ads perform best.
This may surprise you, but it’s our opinion that you shouldn’t tell any stories on Snapchat. At all. Snapchat is notoriously unfriendly to influencers and business accounts. The entire service is built around the idea of friend-to-friend communication. So what can you do instead? Let your guests tell stories for you by investing in Custom Snapchat Geofilters. Make no mistake, Snapchat remains an important part of your social strategy, but trying to build a following here would mean spending time that would be better allocated to Facebook or Instagram. Also: Keep in mind that rumors of Snapchat’s demise are exaggerated, and it may be worth a small experimental ad spend, as the ad rates are much lower than Instagram’s.
Go-to post: Show off your venue in the most authentic way possible: through the eyes (and snaps) of the wedding guests themselves. Build a fun, Custom Snapchat Geofilter honoring the bride and groom for their guests to use in their own snaps.
Pinterest is not a place to share photos of the happy couple or guests. In fact, a study done by Curalate shows that photos without faces receive 23 percent more repins. This is the place to inspire! Take into consideration your audience: 7 out of 10 Pinterest users are female, and 81 percent of engaged users admit to searching for wedding ideas before actually getting engaged! Highlight the elements and details like lighting, centerpieces, and the other vendor and venue details that made each wedding shine. The images should be clear and crisp and be identifiable as thumbnails, too, since that’s how they’ll be presented on Pinterest in certain views. Contribute to others’ collections and develop your own, and most importantly, always make sure you load images to your site and pin from there (as opposed to posting them natively to Pinterest) so that you get traffic from this platform, not just “likes.” Pinterest is where wedding daydreaming often begins – make it easy for soon-to-be brides (and grooms!) to discover your venue when they click a pin they like.
Go-to post: Capture prospective brides’ attention via longtail keywords by pinning photos that focus on the details that make weddings at your venue unique and beautiful. (For example: “lantern wedding centerpieces,” rather than just “centerpieces.”)
Pro Tip: Include your Instagram handle in the description of your Pins so people can easily find you on Instagram!
Like what you see?
Be sure to check out our new video, Getting Instagram Right: What Works for Wedding Venues, in which two digital natives share their best advice on how to optimize your Instagram presence and take full advantage of all the platform offers. And check out these other blog posts that cover social media and other digital marketing topics for wedding venues:
- How Social Media Ads Delivered a Massive ROI for This Wedding Venue
- How Millennials Shop for Wedding Venues
- Must-Have Event Venue Marketing for Each Stage of the Wedding Buyer’s Journey