You have the message that using social media is key to finding, attracting and selling to your new wedding and social events customers. But, do you find that you’re sometimes a little lacking in inspiration for what to actually write and schedule? It’s something I hear all the time from my venue clients, so I’m here with a round-up of social media content that sells:
I really bang on about this a LOT but when you’re selling a unique space and place, it’s not just about the place or space and its features; a big part of a client choosing to hire a venue for a special occasion is getting a feel for the people who run it and bring it together, whether that’s your in-house team or your extended team of supplier partners.
Make sure your faces and your stories are loud and proud and regularly, be it your chef team, your co-ordinator or your founders telling their stories of the why and how you came to be a wedding and events venue, how you operate day-to-day and what makes you tick, what you love about weddings, for example, your favourite part of the planning or your favourite part of the day.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The days of Insta pretty and curated only images are over (cue the bubbles!) – wedding audiences want authentic, real and insightful; they want to see what happens to make your venue what it is whether it’s your build projects, your new bar installation, your wedding team hard at work in the office, a client menu tasting during the planning stages or an event set up day and what goes into that. We all love ‘behind the scenes’ – have a look at your social channels and make sure you’re not JUST showing the finished polished article.
Always be thinking wider than your venue boundary limits – whilst most of your social content should focus on what’s happening at your venue day-to-day and be your own images taken at your events, think about how you can inspire with fresh concepts, whether that’s creating imagery via styled photoshoots to a new design or style or whether that’s sharing content that others have created that just inspires you and you think would suit your venue (making sure you have permission to share and use this content if not your own – see more below). Remember the wedding world is very trend-led and whilst I don’t believe every trend needs to be jumped on (and it has to be right for your target client and setting) you do need to show that you are aware of trends, are keeping up with fresh products and ideas and are excited about trying the new!
NO VENUE IS AN ISLAND
Or maybe it is? I do know some venues that are islands actually but that isn’t the point I’m making. Your venue’s social media is so much more engaging if it’s not just “all about you” – make sure it’s a genuine platform where you showcase your extended team of suppliers whether it’s your caterer, your preferred florists, DJs or your bar company – make sure your social platforms showcase what they do to make your venue sparkle and through this show the service & range that’s possible to fresh new clients.
So you’re scheduling and posting regularly and doing all of the above but are you making any faux-pas? Take a look at how you match up with this quick social media etiquette checklist.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the basic guidelines when it comes to posting on social media as a business; don’t post offensive content, don’t engage in arguments and always represent YOUR specific brand values online. My own rule is that I will never post anything on social media (in a public post or a group) that I wouldn’t be happy for anyone to see and read whether it’s my mum, my best client or an industry “competitor” (I don’t particularly like the term competitor, as I believe we’re all running our own race and all have very personal USPs but that’s another feature!). I certainly recommend giving opinions on social media and they may not be opinions everyone shares but so long as they are polite, positive and constructive then that’s my guideline and one I’d recommend to you.
But what about when it comes to the nitty-gritty of content?
It’s SO important that crediting is taken seriously on social media. I have seen it go wrong so many times and lead to a real break down of perfectly good business relationships, not to mention lack of proper crediting is shooting yourself in the foot and really not tapping into the wonderful opportunity social media creates in the first place.
So what do I mean?
It is important to ALWAYS credit those who have contributed to the creation of an image or images you’re using. So if your venue has hosted a wedding that was planned and styled by a wedding planner, and you are delighted with how stunning your spaces look, ensure you credit that wedding planner as having created that design with your couple. If you are showcasing the edible delights served at a wedding, ensure you give a full shout out to the caterer who designed and prepared it. If you’re raving about a wedding cake, who created and lovingly baked it? There is no shame in you not “doing it all” as a venue and keeping it in-house and modern couples expect you to have niche experts (and a small range of them is fine) on speed dial to help them pull together their version of extraordinary for their wedding.
Of course, above and beyond that, the photographer who has taken any image for you should usually be credited for the use of their images. This is important if you’re using images from a client’s wedding but especially important if you have hosted a marketing event in the form of a showcase or styled photoshoot where suppliers have provided their time and expertise for free to enhance your venue and business. Whilst they may be on your recommended list, the value should also be seen in the social media benefit and proper crediting is a big part of that.
In my view it’s just professional courtesy to credit for work done but the social media benefits are HUGE too – if you credit, tag and mention those featured in any shot, they are much more likely to share, comment and tag their end increasing reach and exposure of your post and growing your audience which can have big wins all around.
If the client hasn’t explicitly given you permission to post images featuring a face from their wedding or event, then don’t. This could leave you in breach of GDPR regulations in a big way and even more imminently and importantly, leave you with some very unhappy clients. Ensure before you get happy snapping and posting images of your own taken on a wedding day, that your couple are happy and OK with this. When it comes to professional images, generally the photographer holds the copyright and their permission is needed before you use images; they generally agree with their couples in advance how far any photos are to be distributed in a marketing context which you need to respect. If you’ve agreed on any kind of special fee with couples on the understanding of obtaining images (perhaps a new venue) make sure you will indeed get those images and ensure that the photographer is briefed on this agreement and OK with it.
The Big No-No
So let’s say you have got permission to take photos yourself of a couple, that’s great, but pick your moments sensitively when posting on social media. I’ve heard horror stories from many a wedding planner, one who told me:
She’ll never forget the day she had a florist post a photo of the bride (with her bouquet) and her father standing in front of the wedding car and post it live BEFORE SHE HAD EVEN LEFT FOR THE CHURCH! So there is a potential chance that those wedding guests and most importantly her groom would have seen her in her dress on social media before in real life– that is absolutely not on!
I’m a total advocate of Insta stories and posting in a timely way and use it highly myself but when it comes to events with a big tradition and emotional element (ie weddings) always allow that timelapse and always allow the guests who are there in the moment to enjoy what they will experience before you go and post it, always checking first that they are happy that you post from their wedding, whether it’s people or design details. So assuming you have permission, wait until they are at the drinks reception before posting ceremony photos, they are enjoying the evening party before posting photos of the wedding breakfast etc is a general rule of thumb.
And finally, keep in mind the following with your social media:
- Make it fun and make it social
- Keep showing up and being consistent – people are looking even when you think they are not
- Show personality and humour
Other photos from: Pexels