Eleanor, bride-in-planning-mode is back!
I’m delighted to welcome back to the blog this lovely millennial bride who is sharing her insights during her own wedding planning journey here to help you as successful wedding venues understand and deliver a great experience from early sales, planning through to the wedding day and beyond to the likes of Eleanor. Today Eleanor is covering your all-important online and on social presence…
An online presence is a real must for wedding and event venues; millennial couples will have expectations and preferences as to the content they see. I can imagine it’s quite challenging for venues to predict what their potential clients want to see and what they definitely don’t – so I’m keen to share my opinion on this to try and help you navigate fantastic and powerful, but potentially challenging, communication channels and touch points with your target market.
I’m going to focus on two main areas in the context of this subject; websites and social media. As websites were around first, I’ll start with this!
A website is essential
It is a basic expectation for a wedding venue to have a website and if you don’t have one then (I’m sorry to say) but I would most likely dismiss the venue as a potential option – it could be seen as ‘cheap’ to not have a site and couples may wonder why the venue doesn’t have one.
In the past, I think websites were quite content heavy (with a lot of information the brand or company wanted to share). But, this is not needed these days – especially for a wedding venue. The key things I, ‘as a bride’, would expect or like to see on a venue’s website are:
Contact details – Including a phone number, email address, location (address & map is great).
Online forms are fine but make sure to include an email address as well so couples have the choice of choosing one (I personally like an email address so I have a record of what I wrote and when – especially if I am contacting multiple places).
I think include contact details for the events team – a photo of each person would be great, accompanied by their role. If a venue would rather the couple contacted them using a general email address then maybe don’t worry about putting a specific email address per person but showing couples who makes up the events team is great. And if anyone is on holiday or off sick, make sure there is an out of office to manage expectations – a warning that the reply may be slightly longer than normal is better than a very late reply!
Information and images of the venue – Including details about where the marriage ceremony can take place.
FAQs – Some key answers that may be useful before a couple contact the venue – e.g. ‘What days of the week can we host your wedding?’ – a friend of mine said she found out after contacting a venue that they only have weddings Mon – Thurs (which she would’ve liked to know before enquiring).
Another could be – ‘when can a visit/show round be booked for?’ – if weekends or evenings aren’t possible then couples would probably want to know this upfront.
Availability calendar – If the couple have a specific date they want, they can easily see if this is available (it saves both the couple and the venue time!)
Pricing – A high level summary of the pricing structure (and what this includes).
Up to date information on wedding showcases/fairs – Advertise any showcase events on the venue’s website – make sure to publish this online in plenty of time to give couples enough notice. And don’t forget to remove any notices about past events as soon as they have happened – leaving information out of date suggests that the venue staff aren’t bothered about the website.
Links to social media channels – this is vital! – Generally, try to ensure brand consistency exists on your venue’s website – think of the website as a customer touch point and an ‘experience’ of the venue that a couple can have without being there.
Your social media presence
So what social channels do couples look at when it comes to wedding venues?
I would say a presence on Facebook and Twitter isn’t essential; these can both be a good point of contact (i.e. sending direct messages) and if a venue has chosen to maintain these platforms then they need to be very very responsive (even faster than by email). I don’t think either of these will really affect a couple’s decision as they don’t tend to fully represent a venue (they don’t tend to look visually as good as other channels) so I wouldn’t say a venue needs to have them and I don’t think a couple will mind at all if these aren’t there.
Editor’s note: I do think Eleanor’s points here from a couple’s perspective absolutely reflect many couples preferences. I do think however that a Facebook presence is a must if you’re looking at sponsored content/ads and Facebook of course has lots of other brilliant features such as groups, events and more.
However, I would very much recommend that a venue has an Instagram and Pinterest account and focus its ‘social media’ energy on these two channels. In fact, a friend who got married recently actually found her venue on Pinterest – she searched for an ‘orangery in Hampshire’ and came across photos the venue tagged with these terms; a great example of how powerful a visual social media channel can be!
Pinterest is fantastic but a little more challenging than Instagram to control content from a venue perspective (so I’m going to focus on Instagram). It’s a brilliant visual social channel, ideal for venues which are aesthetic, have personality and style.
Here are some tips and advice that I would give for venues when it comes to the biggest (and best!) social channel:
Make sure your venue is set up a location – One of my friends used to check images tagged with the location of her venue-to-be so she could see how others were decorating and using the venue for their day – and therefore how it could look. Although you cannot manage the images tagged at the location, you can tag all your images at the location and can see what other images are being taken at the venue.
Look out for direct messages – be responsive!
Post 2 – 3 times per week (any more than this could be a bit too much) – But keep the style/nature of posts varied! I think it’s important to show different aspects and elements of the venue – try not to post the same image/video more than once (or even very similar versions of the ‘same’ photo). I appreciate you may have had a styled shoot or something similar, so try to get as many different shots of different things as you can so you have plenty of content.
Include contact details (phone number, email address, website) on the ‘bio’ section.
Create videos for ‘virtual show rounds’ – Record some short clips to give your followers a tour of the venue. Keep these short, e.g. post interesting things about your venue that help make them unique. Is there a special story about the history of the venue? Or an architectural feature? Or is there a resident peacock?
Maybe involve your recommended suppliers in your posts – Post an image of one of your suppliers ‘in action’ at a wedding at your venue. It’ll increase the chance of your couples choosing the supplier (again, they can see what the venue looks like with the product/service of this supplier) and it’s great to collaborate and tag others in posts! Just make sure you don’t post at or shortly after the wedding it was taken at – the couple may not be happy about this!
Thank you Eleanor. Great tips.
You might also be interested to know that we have an Ask The Bride/Ask the Groom feature new to our private Facebook group Wedding Spaces Going Places, where I interview a bride or groom recently married or soon to be married about their wedding venue experience via a live stream interview. Come and ask your questions and join in here.
PHOTO CREDITS: Person on their phone: Photo via Unsplash // Website on a laptop: Photo via Unsplash // Wedding breakfast set up: Photo via Unsplash // On Instagram Photo via Unsplash // Flowers: Photo via Unsplash // Phone on ta able: Photo via Unsplash // Person holding Samsung galaxy: Photo via Pexels