Instagram for the Wedding Pro: Mastering the Algorithm & Maximizing Impact

 instagram social strategy wedding industry

In our modern world, we are challenged to strike a happy balance between quality and quantity, particularly on social media. Instagram is always changing and one of their most recent algorithm adjustments have followers frankly confused, searching for answers as to why their posts aren’t gaining the momentum they once did. How do we as an industry combat things? Today, we are sharing a few of our go-to Instagram marketing strategies to maintaining a strong, consistent presence (while keeping your sanity).

Spend More Time Engaging

With Instagram, engagement is key. The Instagram algorithm favors posts with high engagement. Your feed will be automatically curated by what you engage with most and the relationship you have with that user. Meaning, the closer relationship you have with your followers, the more likely your content will actually show up in their feed. Avoid getting your content buried with a few tactics:

  • Respond to all post comments, even if it’s just liking the comment with the heart feature on Instagram. Taking time to engage will reinforce your commitment to followers, and  strengthen your future posts visibility.
  • Prompt questions from your followers in your captions. Encourage a conversation. When you start to create a relationship with future clients and fellow industry leaders, you’re creating champions for your brand, beyond just followers.
  • Optimize your posting schedule, pushing content at high-traffic times of 5-8 pm and around the mid-afternoon lunch break at noon.
  • Boost posts with intention. If you have a beautiful professional photo of your work that has performed well organically, considering boosting it to a targeted audience to maximize exposure (i.e. newly engaged brides in Southern California).

Utilize The Full Bench of Features on Instagram

It is important not to ignore the new features of Instagram, like live video and stories. When a user interacts with your brand beyond posts, your Instagram profile gains authority on their feed. Live video and stories can be used like a virtual consulting and education platform - encourage followers to ask you questions about a variety of topics (like designing a simple, seasonal tablescape for an at-home bridal shower, or even how to build a beautiful welcome box for guests). Your followers will quickly come to think of you and your brand as the true experts, and will start to look forward to the content you deliver them. Utilize stories as a complement to post, tying one to the other, encouraging followers to visit both.

*This post was conceptualized by Neeka Bardi, a valuable member of the In Good Company team

We help our clients build a stronger social media presence and nurture their brand for the long-term. Let's design your personalized strategy together - contact us

Wedding & Lifestyle Marketing Resources To Inspire a Successful 2018

Wedding PR & Marketing Resources 2018.png

Time for a reality check. Truth is, we are conditioned to continually push ourselves past base camp, even after a full year of climbing uphill. But as one year comes to close and we prepare to ring in 2018, it’s important to first toast to our monumental successes. Whether you’re a wedding planner who just wrapped a busy season of destination events, a photographer who has expanded your shooting team or a venue that has undergone a major renovation - take a moment to appreciate the unending commitment you have to your business.

A great way to establish a strong start to your New Year is to first assess your goals at face value, and acknowledge how they may have shifted or evolved over the last several months. Are there opportunities for growth in one area more than another? How are your objectives serving your business best?

It's also a great time to start playing around with few new tools that can be utilized for more effective workflows, and then integrating them into your blueprint for business growth.

To give you a head start, we’ve designed a guide with a few of our favorites (and take a peek at some of last year’s best marketing resources for wedding & lifestyle pros, too)

To keep your sanity and your team aligned: Asana

This online and mobile tool helps you track multiple projects and business tasks all at once -You can see the status on any given project at a glance without needing to schedule a call or shooting them an email. This is a great tool especially for those creative business owners who have remote team members or contractors. The clean dashboard allows you to see all of your tasks in one window along with their categories (ex: blog, client, etc...), due dates, and who they’re assigned to if you’re working with multiple people. Asana also integrates with Google Drive which makes it easy to keep all of your resources in one place. The mobile app means you can access things while traveling, too!

To flex your graphic skills: Canva

You don’t have to hire a professional designer for smaller graphic needs when you use Canva. You can upload your brand’s colors and fonts to ensure all graphics you create stay cohesive with your overall aesthetic. Overlay wording on top of a photo for a creative Instagram post. Mock up a new Facebook cover photo. Design a client presentation, promotion flyer or invitation to your next business event. It’s so versatile and a bit easier to use than Adobe InDesign (which can’t be beat if you’re working with more complex web design projects). Plus, learn tons of design principles and strategies with Canva’s Design School - a blog with a plethora of resources to help you create great visual content.

To make your website work for you: Yoast

Give your website a fighting chance to stand up against the competition with a plugin that can help you optimize your content to better attract new business through Google. Yoast is a great tool to install on your website that will give you tips for strengthening meta descriptions and improving overall search capacity. Check out our guide to understanding SEO here!

To protect your rep: Google Alerts

An oldie but goodie - Google Alerts is a great tool to keep a pulse on your brand (and others) through an easy and effective daily notification. Google Alerts enables businesses to review mentions of their brand name, track competitors or simple keywords about their industry - like ‘destination wedding planner’ or ‘interior design trends.’ It’s particularly helpful when your work is featured in various wedding blogs and magazines, or articles online - keep track of your presence in a measurable way without spending time scouring the Internet.

To execute a defined Instagram strategy: Planoly

Save yourself some time and schedule Instagram content for the week, month, or next year with this desktop site and mobile app. Planoly is aesthetically-driven so it has features that allow you to visually plan and curate your account layout in a way that aligns with your brand. You can also track and reply to comments as well as track your account analytics. These features allow you to view your followers’ activity with your account and determine which posts do best in specific time frames to help you adjust for the future. For more tips of crafting a social strategy that works uniquely for your business, check out some helpful social media marketing tips here.

Cheers to a prosperous 2018!

Interested in learning more about our customized public relations partnership, social media marketing services or a consulting engagement? We would love to hear from you!

A Guide to Developing Your Ideal Client Persona

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How well do you know your ideal client? More importantly - are you reaching them effectively? Are they interpreting your wedding brand the way you intended?

Understanding your ‘ideal’ client ensures that your marketing approach is rooted in research and is positioned to help you attract qualified, promising business leads (the kind you look forward to working with most).

With the wedding season coming to a close and holiday engagements approaching, leverage the opportunity to reflect and reinforce your brand positioning and marketing strategy.

For example, say you’re are a wedding dress boutique owner in the suburbs of Connecticut. Your private shop has won a few local awards and has a strong referral base from many happy brides. You’re ready to take on a few new designers that you hope will draw in a new clientele with a more distinguished style. Getting back to your ‘ideal’ bride - who is she? Time to develop a layered persona of your ideal client.

Grab a notepad and get started. Begin with the basics but get beyond traditional demographics (age, location, economic status, job, etc…)

Think about her personal style and characteristics first, and her behavior second.

  • How would her friends describe her personality?
  • What does she wear on a weekday, running errands? Where is she shopping or what brands does she covet most?
  • How does she spend her weekends?
  • While planning her wedding, is she browsing wedding magazines or blogs? Which ones match her style?
  • What brands does she follow on Instagram?
  • Where is she vacationing?
  • What is she reading on the flight there?
  • What music is playing in her earbuds?

Then, determine what makes your business the perfect place for that bride based on her pain points. How can you fulfill her needs in a way that no other bridal boutique can? Is she working a 60-hour week and has limited time to spend on the weekends shopping? Does her budget pose a challenge? Is she having trouble identifying her unique style? Has she had a negative experience shopping thus far?

Take a look at that notepad you’re holding - it is full of valuable insight. Identify commonalities, connections and attributes between all your notes and begin to shape the persona of your ideal client. By creating that profile with specific attributes, behaviors and traits, you can identify any gaps in your marketing strategy and leverage opportunities to communicate with that ideal client more effectively.

The bridal shop owner found that “Marissa” is a 31 year old marketing director who lives in Connecticut with her fiance and dachshund. She reads two things every morning over green tea on her iPhone: The New York Times business section and a lifestyle newsletter covering current events and culture. She commutes to Manhattan in her Jeep (which also takes her to and from the Hamptons where her family has a summer cottage). Her workday ends with a Vinyasa yoga class in the city. She grabs a latte at a local shop that brews fair trade coffee before heading home for the evening, listening to Spotify's indie-rock lineup. She has always dreamed of a week in London spent getting lost in old bookstores and having afternoon tea. She has planned a wedding for 120 closest loved ones at a historic garden estate in upstate NY in June.

Being able to visualize “Marissa” at the core of her marketing efforts, this boutique owner can better position her brand to attract brides just like her who represent other qualified buyers.

This exercise is one many marketing professionals have encouraged clients to consider. Take time to deeply understand your ideal client from multiple viewpoints. You can also use these insights to influence the content you post on social media and the messaging on your website.

*This post was conceptualized by Samantha Spica, a valuable member of the In Good Company team

Our consulting service helps brands gain clarity on marketing objectives and establish a strong strategy for industry growth. Contact us if you are looking for that perfect partner.

Wedding Industry Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

 wedding industry marketing: A guide to Google Analytics

Let’s be honest - diving into your marketing analytics probably isn’t at the top of your priority list as as a wedding professional or creative small business owner. Over the last few years, Google Analytics has garnered major hype for business large and small. Why? Data.

Interpreting data from Google Analytics can help reveal which marketing strategies are working for your business, and where there are opportunities to actually grow.

While there are layers of information you can access through Google Analytics, this starter guide is designed to give wedding professionals a quick guide to understanding website traffic and your audience, so you can improve your marketing strategy and secure new clients for future wedding seasons.

Website Traffic & Acquisition

One of the most impressive features of Google Analytics is a view of your website traffic from multiple perspectives. Google splits this info into multiple categories through your ‘Acquisition’ tab: Referral, Social Media, Organic, etc. By determining which method most of your traffic comes from, you can adapt your marketing strategies to ensure your efforts are focused appropriately.

For instance, if you notice most of your traffic is coming from organic search, that indicates your SEO is working well. Leverage your primary keywords even further by ensuring they remain prevalent throughout the pages on your website. Likewise, if Instagram is successfully driving new visitors to your website, make sure you are posting engaging content that continues to nurture that audience. Then, look at what channels may need a bit of attention and pivot accordingly. Building external referral links tends to be a challenge for many small business owners, which can be improved through online blog and media coverage that links back to your website, amongst other tactics.

Website Audience & Behavior

So, you know what channels are driving visitors to your website. Now, it’s time to understand who those visitors are how you can keep their attention. Google Analytics can act as a looking glass into where visitors come from, and what they are doing on your website once you’ve captured their attention. You’ll see how long people spend browsing, what pages are keeping them engaged and if they are completing the journey successfully as a new visitor to contact you. For instance, if your blog is ranking a bit lower on that totem pole than you’d like, build a manageable blog calendar to ensure you’re delivering a steady stream of fresh content. Or, see which of your services are resonating most with visitors by comparing one page to another. You can also see if users are new or returning which is a key indicator of how you are nurturing your existing network and attracting new visitors. Ask yourself throughout this process; is there a way to improve or streamline my website experience for a visitor?

Also, take a peek at where your visitors are coming from geographically through the ‘Audience’ tab. Understand which areas of the country or world your visitors come from - perhaps there is an opportunity to market your business to an entirely new demographic you hadn’t considered. For those wedding professionals that provide destination services, you can better understand where your next new client may be.

Pro Marketing Tip

While looking at data, it’s important to mark any sudden changes such as a spike or sudden fall in traffic so you can use successful campaigns to inspire future strategies, and avoid repeating tactics that didn’t work out well. Annotations allow you to take notes on Google Analytics pages so that in the future your data remains clear and informative [follow instructions here, from Search Engine Journal]. Say you launched a boosted Instagram post from a published wedding and saw tremendous traffic from that source in your Analytics, note it with an annotation. In the future, if you look back at your data you’ll be able to see immediately why and how you got this sudden increase, rather than searching through your editorial calendar or Instagram posts to try and pinpoint the source.

A bonus? Use Google Analytics’ newly launched ‘Intelligence’ feature to ask any question like ‘which states are most users coming from?’ and voilà - your answer appears without a deep search mission. It can also give you a snapshot of performance week over week & so much more!

To conclude, a simple view of your Google Analytics on a consistent basis can give you the insights you need to learn about your clients and prospects.

*This post was conceptualized by Samantha Spica, a valuable member of the In Good Company team

Need some personalized marketing help? Our custom consultation may be the perfect fit for your business - let's chat

Creating Engaging Copy for your Wedding & Lifestyle Brand

 wedding public relations

With the pressure to maintain visual relevance in an age when Instagram has taken precedence, the importance we place on the written word can come secondary to a stunning photo.

But trust us - gaining the skills to write persuasive, thoughtful and inspiring copy is a worthy pursuit.

Oftentimes, small business owners are challenged by how to properly translate their brand’s vision and market differentiator through the words on their website, social media and press.

Working alongside clients to help them refine their own unique message, we’re here to share some of our advice to achieving captivating copy, so your brand is represented in the best light and you’re able to create meaningful business connections.

Identify your ideal client. Speak to one, attract many

Creating copy that engages and encourages growth for your end business starts with speaking to the client who you want to work with. Mentally creating a picture and list of characteristics of your ideal client is critical. For instance, the owner of a bridal boutique should understand the overall brand aesthetic of the shop, the designers and styles, and the ‘ideal’ bride who buys a gown. List out words and qualifying characteristics of who she is, where she shops for clothes, what she likes to do in her free time and what her wedding day vision may look like. How does she interact with others and carry herself day-to-day? Speak directly to her every time you write a caption for Instagram, or update your website language, or provide expert tips for an editorial story. Taking a personalized tone and approach to content will lead to more authentic connections with that bride, and others just like her.

Understand your competition + your key differentiator

Using the insights gained from an exploration of your ideal client, ask yourself this; If that client had to give a one sentence description of your company, what would you want him/her to say? What makes your brand relevant and undeniably unique from the sea of other wedding photographers, planning firms or specialty vendors?

Take time to draft written content around these core concepts that reflect your business, from your approach to client service to how you translate your craft into something unique for clients. Then, go back and refine the words you’re using to describe those elements. Try to stay approachable but also true to your brand and the ‘ideal’ client you want to attract.

After your first draft of an Instagram caption, blog post or media Q&A, read through it again and ask yourself;

  • Am I actively connecting to my ‘ideal’ client?
  • Are the virtues of my brand being communicated the way I want?
  • Are there areas to eliminate wordiness and refine messages to be more clear?

Once you’re confident with the flow and message, consider integrating SEO key terms that will help boost the visibility of that content, as appropriate. This is especially useful when adding new messaging to your website or through your blog.

Make it personal

Be sure to put yourself into your work. This sounds simple, but after all of the editing and proofreading it’s easy to get caught up in making your text sound ‘perfect’ rather than authentically your own. If you’re a wedding photographer with a beautiful shot of the couple’s first dance, use the caption to describe what the moment was like, being in their presence. Organic, meaningful copy will always trump anything too formal or canned. After all, you are your brand’s voice, so be deliberate with how you communicate and connect with your audience.

*This post was conceptualized by Samantha Spica, a valuable member of the In Good Company team

We’re writers by trade, so if you need a bit of help in this area, reach out and say hello. We would love to get to know you.