Guest Post By Academy Student: Loren Jackson Photography
Tis that season again! It’s proposal season, and rings galore! I would be surprised if you didn’t have at least three Facebook friends who won’t get engaged between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s day! According to WeddingWire, 33% of proposals occur during this time period! In other words, one in three women is proposed to in a four-month window! That’s a lot of new Brides looking for wedding vendors.
Wedding vendors will need to start deciding how they will market to these new brides. Will they run Facebook or Instagram ads? Will they increase their presence on social media and be intentional with their hashtags? Will they become very active on their blog writing educational pieces for these newly planning brides? Or will businesses do a combination of these three?
Depending on your business model, there’s no wrong answer. Let’s break it down to hopefully help you discover what is best for you.
Facebook and Instagram Ads
When done correctly, businesses can have great success with Facebook and Instagram ads. This can be one of the most effective marketing strategies if your booking numbers are low for the next wedding season and you need a boost in your numbers.
Some tips for successful ads on social media would be:
- Have an attention grabbing photo with minimum text. Facebook only allows for a small percentage of the photo to be covered in text
- Give all the details of your special in the description of the photo
- Set a “Book by” date to receive the special
- Call it a “SPECIAL” – not a discount. The word discount can have negative feedback on your brand.
- Be very specific in your target audience for the ad. You want your IDEAL bride to see this ad, so decide who she is. Where does she live? How old is she? What are her interests? Where does she shop? Once you have answers to all of these questions, start your ad!
- Have a call to action. Maybe that’s sending the Brides to a blog post with more information. Maybe that’s listing your email directly in the ad. Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear what you want them to do.
- Once your ad is approved and live, set a goal. How many inquiries do you want to receive while it runs? How many of those inquiries would you like to book?
When planning social media ads, plan for a decent size budget for a whole month. If you can spare $100, start there! If you have more in your marketing budget, plan for more. The goal with the Facebook and Instagram ads is that the bigger your ad budget, the more Brides will see it.
Run the ad for at least a month. At the end of the month, look back at the list of goals you wrote down. Did it accomplish what you wanted? If it did and you had great success, consider running it for another month to continue booking.
If the ad wasn’t as beneficial as you had hoped, examine your target audience within the ad manager. Was there information that was put in wrong? Was the photo you chose not connecting with your ideal Bride? Change whatever you think may be the reason the ad wasn’t successful, and give it a go for another month. Sometimes running ads is like a science experiment. You have to go through all the steps to discover what works and what doesn’t.
Consistent Social Media Presence
Being consistent with your social media is essential during any season. But, if you’re going to focus your time and energy on your social media, it’s crucial to do it during engagement season. When businesses are active on their social media accounts, it sends a signal to all of their followers that they are still in business. Being active on your accounts can also send a signal that you’re in high demand when done correctly.
If you’re in the northern states where it’s dark, dreary, cold, and just downright miserable these winter months, you may not have anything new to post. It’s fine to reuse old content.
You’ll want to talk about that couple’s story, the emotion the groom felt when his bride walked down the aisle. Get personal on the couple’s level. Not yours. This is very important. You don’t want your posts to be all about you. Instead, you want your posts to be about your couples! New couples will read what you wrote, connect with the emotion in the photo, and think “I HAVE to have HER/HIM be my photographer!”
A way to reach a new audience is through hashtags and location tagging. Tag the location on every photo you post on Facebook and especially Instagram. If a Bride who booked a venue you just tagged searches that same venue on Instagram, your photos could appear. Be intentional about your hashtags, include hashtags that are local to you. Ask your friends on social media what hashtags they like using.
Wedding Education on Your Blog
Having a series for Brides on your blog is always a good idea. When you post helpful information that any bride can read and benefit from, you’re conveying a couple different messages. Being knowledgeable, trustworthy, and reliable are just a few messages Brides will get from your helpful posts.
When utilizing your blog this way, make sure you’re addressing pain points that all Brides experience. If you’re stuck on ideas of what to blog for the Brides, start with your FAQs. Each FAQ can be one blog post. After that, think about scenarios that went terribly wrong during a past wedding you photographed. Maybe it rained and there was no backup plan. Maybe no one knew when they should get dressed for the day.
Essentially you’re writing a post that solves a problem that most brides experience on a wedding day and you’re providing solutions to that problem. Brides want to know they’re not only hiring a professional, but they’re also hiring a “fixer”.
Take these posts one step further. If you’re not already a member, join the Facebook groups for brides in your area. Brides are always asking for help in these groups. How rewarding would it be to link a blog post to a question someone has. You can even post the links in the group the day you publish the post. This allows for new eyes to see your blog and website, which in turn can translate to new bookings.
As you can see, of these three options, only one requires a budget for it. However, when executed correctly, paying for social media ads can have the largest return on investment. If you’re just beginning your photography career, you may not have the budget for ads. That’s okay! You can post to social media regularly and start a blog series for brides. Those two options only involve your time.
In the next week, write down your action plan. What method of marketing will you use during this engagement season? Will you use all three? Once you’ve decided on your marketing plan, spend an evening designing your ad, scheduling your social media posts, and/or filling out an editorial blogging calendar.
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