Marketing

4 Things To Know If You Use Instagram for Wedding Marketing


Note from Liene: I
originally published this piece as an Instagram post in July. I’m reposting it here today given two pieces of big news this week: the first being that Instagram’s founders both resigned, taking Facebook (which purchased it for $1 billion in 2012) by surprise; and the second being that WeddingWire has acquired XO Group (parent company of The Knot, The Nest, The Bump, GigMasters, etc) for $933 million and is taking it private.

With the second piece of news breaking this morning, I’ve seen many conversations already that basically say, “The ads stopped working a while ago, so you should be focused on Instagram anyway.” While there’s much to be unpacked in that statement, we’ll save that for another day. In the meantime, if you’re going to step up your Instagram game as an alternative to advertising elsewhere, the post below outlines some key things to keep in mind, especially as Mark Zuckerberg turns to Instagram to make up for the hit Facebook has been taking in revenue and reputation.

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Twitter recently deleted 70 million accounts and some wedding professionals lost thousands of followers overnight. Why? The accounts were fake, bots, or purchased. It’s only a matter of time until Instagram does their own purge again, and it will hit people harder than it did in 2014. Here are some tips on making Instagram work without faking it:
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1. Don’t buy followers, ever, even if they’re “real people” (they’re not). Don’t pay for services that use bots to follow and unfollow and leave fake comments (“keep up the great content ❤️”, etc). These get flagged first as priority for deletion.
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2. Curate or don’t, have a color scheme or not, share only professional work or mix in personal — this all depends on your business, brand goals, target market (“brides” is not a target market, dig deeper) and your own values of what you’re willing to share. There’s no one size fits all. Test to see what works for the people who actually pay your bills, and of course for your own sanity.
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3. Algorithms work differently for business accounts versus personal accounts and not always for the better. The changes in the reach of your business account’s posts are real and not in your head. Instagram wants their ad dollars. Anyone who tells you otherwise needs to study up.

(Also, if you already have a business account linked to Facebook, don’t switch it back to a personal account – you’ll be penalized.)
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4. With the introduction of Questions and IGTV, it’s tempting to focus solely on Instagram, which of course they would love because that’s how they make money. As a business owner, you need to focus on YOUR money, not theirs.

Use Instagram’s features to build trust, show off your creativity, and to stay top of mind. Most importantly use it to drive people to a PLATFORM YOU OWN.

I’ve been teaching this for over a decade and it hasn’t changed: your website/blog/newsletters are the house you own. Social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) are the house you rent.

Facebook could shut down Instagram tomorrow for whatever reasons they like (“We’re re-focusing on our core basics”, etc.) and your followers would be gone. Make the house you rent pretty and make it work for you, but invest the majority of your resources (money, time, energy) building equity in the house you own.

This last point applies to other platforms as well. If you’re spending ad dollars with magazines or online planning sites such as The Knot or WeddingWire and not simultaneously investing in your own website, blog or newsletter, you are still throwing money at someone else’s house while neglecting to build equity in yours.

There is no one platform that will act as a magic wand, solving all your marketing woes. It is not a matter of working smarter, not harder. To make it in an increasingly competitive industry, you will need to work smarter and harder.

3 Ways Couples with Million Dollar Wedding Budgets Use Social Media

royal wedding spending.jpeg

At Splendid Insights, our wedding market research firm, we present wedding budgets in six categories in order to get a better look at how brides and grooms from around the world plan their big day at the differing spending levels. The budget segments are Intimate: $1,000 or less (think elopements, city hall weddings, etc); Economical: $1,100 - 10,000Standard: $11,000 - $30,000; Premium: $31,000 - $95,000; Luxury: $96,000 - $500,000; and Ultra Luxury: $500,000 or higher

As noted above, brides and grooms in the Ultra Luxury Wedding segment spend more than $500,000 on their wedding and almost half (47%) pay for part or all of their wedding themselves. Nearly 1 in 4 Ultra Luxe couples spend more than $1 million on their wedding, not including the honeymoon, and 1 in 10 spend more than $3 million. 

Since the ultra luxe royal wedding has more people setting goals of working with high-end couples, today I want to highlight a few ways that brides and grooms in this budget segment use online media in their wedding planning:
 

  1. More than a third of couples in this budget range (35%) find at least one of the wedding pros they hire via social media. 

    It's important to note that these aren't ads they're finding them through, but organic social media posts. Whether you advertise or not, make sure that you're using social media in a way that shows off not only the type of work you do, but your personality as well, as that is another factor they consider important when hiring (no one wants to spend their wedding day around someone they don't click with).

     
  2. 3 in 4 of ultra luxe engaged couples (77%) read wedding blogs at least once a week, and about a quarter of them (27%) hire wedding pros after seeing them featured on the blog. Over a third of this group (40%) started reading wedding blogs before they were even engaged.

    These refer to professional wedding blogs (such as RuffledColher de Chá Noivas, Love My Dress, Style Me Pretty, etc), not your own blog as a wedding pro (though they look at these too, again to get an idea of both your work style and personality).  

    While ultra luxe couples do use print magazines in planning their wedding, they use them less so than the other budget groups.

     
  3. While Pinterest generally comes in first place as the most used social media platform in most of the wedding budget categories, for the ultra luxe clients, Instagram takes the spot of the most used social app for wedding planning.

    Even Meghan Markle used Pinterest and Instagram in her wedding planning, saving photos from the apps to show the wedding professionals she worked with.

    I often hear wedding pros say that they want to move up to a higher budget level so that they can finally work with clients who will stop using social media. It's a common myth that clients who spend more on their wedding will delegate all creative control to the people they hire and won’t look at social media for inspiration, but it is just that – a myth. 


Online marketing, beyond just advertising, will always be a necessity for wedding pros who want to stay relevant, no matter how much their clients spend. While it can feel tedious, boring, and sometimes instill bouts of FOMO, make sure that you continue to make it a priority. Your dream clients are paying attention, even if they don't show up in your follow list or tap the "like" button as they scroll past.
 

The wedding market research reports from Splendid Insights can be downloaded here.


Photo by Nancy Ray, the official photography partner of Splendid Insights.

Originally published May 2018

 

14 Common Marketing Words That Actually Cost You Sales

Here are fourteen commonly used words in marketing that have been proven to increase distrust and skepticism in potential clients, resulting in fewer sales:

  • Innovative
  • Amazing
  • Ultimate
  • Premiere
  • Solutions
  • Turnkey
  • Unbeatable
  • Unique
  • Revolutionary
  • Synergy
  • Proactive
  • Outside the box
  • Integrated
  • Strive
     

If you feel like you're overselling when you're writing your marketing copy, you probably are. Own your success and expertise, don't overstate it.


Originally published February 2013