It’s summer time! The sun is shining, I’m starting to work up a sweat whenever I have to walk anywhere, and my social feed is being taken over by pictures of handsome grooms in tuxedos and stunning brides in long, flowing gowns…
Can you guess what this means?
Yep, it’s wedding season!
It’s amazing how much preparation, resources, manpower, goods and services go into planning a single wedding. In fact, in 2016 alone, there were over 2 million weddings in the US. On average, each wedding cost more than $26K, and the combined cost of goods and services involved brought in more than $57 billion in sales.
What goods and services make up the $57 billion wedding industry?
Here’s a “short” list of the typical checklist required for any nuptial ceremony:
- Attire and accessories – wedding dress, dress accessories, tuxedo/suit/other accessories, tuxedo/suit/other rental/purchase
- Beauty and spa -hair service, makeup service, manicure & pedicure
- Entertainment – DJ, live band, musician(s)/soloist/or ensemble
- Flowers and decorations – bouquets, boutonnieres/corsages, event decorations, event flowers & arrangements, event table centerpieces
- Invitations – ceremony programs, engagement announcements, guest book, invitations & reply cards, postage, reception menus, save the date cards, table name & escort/place cards, thank you cards
- Jewelry – engagement ring, wedding ring/band for HER, wedding ring/bad for PARTNER
- Photography and video – digital or photo cd/dvd, engagement session, prints and/or enlargements, wedding album(s) or photo book(s), wedding photographer, wedding videographer
- Planner/consultant – A la carte services, “day of” coordinator, for getting started, full service, month of direction
- Venue, catering, and rentals – ceremony officiator, event accessories, event bar service, event food service, event location, event rentals, hotel room for after the reception, limo rental, other transportation, rehearsal dinner, wedding cake/dessert
- Guest favors – place holders, wedding souvenirs
And that’s not all. Especially if you want flying doves. (This isn’t even counting bachelor and bachelorette parties!)
The wedding industry as a whole is made of various niches, and each niche contains more businesses and companies than you can count – each offering similar goods and services… so how does a single brand or company set itself apart in a massive $57 billion industry?
Stand out in a competitive billion dollar industry with brand awareness
As is the case for any large industry, there are a bunch of companies selling similar goods and services, giving consumers more options than they need. So the big question is: what makes a buyer choose a particular company over others if they all seem to provide the same products or services?
Getting consumers to pick your brand over others is a matter of brand awareness. After all, most of us would be willing to order something from Amazon.com, but not necessarily from ISellStuff.com (or any platform that we’ve never even heard of, much less trust).
The first step in building brand awareness begins with making your brand easy to pick out in a line-up, also known as brand recognition. Once your audience becomes more familiar with your company, it’s time to make them automatically think of it whenever they’re in the market for the kinds of products or services that you offer. If people are able to think of your brand on the fly, then you know your business has good brand recall. And this truly matters to your (potential) customers.
There are a few different strategies that you can execute to measure brand awareness. But how do you increase awareness for your brand in the first place?
I’ve listed a couple methods below that you can easily work into your digital marketing strategy. These aren’t magic beans that will sprout up miles into the sky overnight, but they’re not difficult to implement either. And they will help your company stand out if practiced persistently.
Your brand’s ability to stand out determines: 1) how many people know that your company even exists 2) how many customers choose your company over others.
But where does “awareness” matter most? Should you take out billboards? Television commercials? Magazine or newspaper advertisements? Focus on digital marketing? Where should you be spending your time in order to make a real impact?
With 81% of the US population active on social media, this is where your company needs to be visible…. but that’s not really a secret. In fact, you’ll be competing for the same eyeballs with many (or all) of the other brands in your industry.
So how can your company increase brand awareness and stand out among competitors?
Start implementing the practical tips below ASAP. Be consistent (injecting a little brand personality wherever you can) and your brand will become more recognizable and memorable, carving out a very unique spot for itself in your industry.
Social media for businesses in the wedding industry
Many companies maintain their competitive edge by taking advantage of all that social media has to offer. Providers of goods and services for the wedding industry are no exception. But social media is also filled with noise. A tried-and-true method of filtering out irrelevant topics and media is through social listening. Let’s look at a few ways in which social listening is often used as a tool in social media to:
Increase visibility (build brand awareness)
All eyes on the Newlyweds! 🙂 #nikkiandchip #njweddings #weddingblogger #junebugweddings #njbride #bridebook #vscowedding #huffpostweddings #njweddingphotographer #nikon #nikonphotograpy #weddingexitinspiration #njweddingphotographers #jerseywedddings #wedding #weddings #weddingphotography #Hamilton_Manor #justmarried #bride #groom #couples #love #weddingportraits #hamiltonnj #hamilton
If you’re a wedding photographer, people usually want to see your work before they decide to use your services. Social media is the perfect platform to share your portfolio, especially on Instagram, Pinterest, and other visually-charged sites. Post some of your images online, use wedding hashtags, boost audience engagement with contests – increase awareness for your brand. Especially in places where people are actively discussing weddings (or your particular niche).
Monitor online mentions of wedding-related terms with a social listening tool like Brand24 to find out where people are talking about services and goods that you provide.
Build personal brands
People tend to trust what they know. Increase brand awareness for your company by building your personal brand. Similar to sharing content for your company, you want to monitor conversations where people are talking about your topic. For example, while your wedding photography company might be focused on sharing beautiful photos on Insta and Pinterest, you might be interested in joining conversations about entrepreneurship and how to run your own company.
Manage brand reputation
This could mean defending your company against false rumors; apologizing to unsatisfied customers; protecting yourself against brandjacking; thanking satisfied customers for sharing their good experiences with your company, etc. There are a lot of ways that you can manage and take control of your brand reputation, but they all demand that you monitor your customer experiences so that you’re aware of your reputation in the first place.
Engage with audiences
I’ve got an online shop + lots of other options! 🙌🏼 and I’m a fit queen! So you can always message me with size questions! ☺🙌🏼
— Paige Ehnle (@paigeehnle) May 29, 2018
Weddings are usually big affairs that involve lots of people, products, planning, and preparation. Nearly every person who mentions weddings online can be a potential customer, but only if they are aware of your company in the first place. Reach out to people who are talking about having or attending a wedding. Let them know about the goods and services you offer and generate leads through audience engagement.
Provide customer service
A lot of customers prefer to ask questions online via Twitter or FB – they won’t always tag a brand in their posts. Sometimes, they just want to hear about previous customer experiences. Other times, they have questions about products… a quick response can lead to potential new customers, so make sure you’re listening!
Are you a fantastic singer or do you play with an amazing band? Maybe you provide delicious catering services? Or perhaps your venue is a great place to host a bachelor or bachelorette party? Promote your events in places where people talk about weddings to find new customers.
And the list goes on…
It’s also important to remember that social media content isn’t necessarily company-generated. Sometimes, the content that gets the most attention from potential customers is user-generated (UGC).
Take a look at some examples of how some businesses in the wedding industry (and not only) are making social media work for them:
Is wedding season only for the wedding industry?
This image has over 38 comments and nearly 34K likes.
By using wedding-themed hashtags with an undeniably gorgeous photo (casual yet glam, just like the perfectly tousled bedhead), this brand captured the attention of its viewers.
The best part about this image is that these swimsuits certainly aren’t just appropriate for weddings. They’re really good for any occasion (or no occasion). But the timing couldn’t be better.
The brand creatively used hashtags for a current event (wedding season) to ensure that audiences who might not have been searching for their product (swimsuit) would see their beautiful campaign. With over 34K likes, goal achieved.
Social media for branding and visibility
This photo has more than 17 shares, 38 comments, and over 33K likes. Everybody who viewed this photo also saw the products (jewelry and makeup) and photographers and videographers that were used in the shoot. Exposure like this featuring real users who are happy with their experiences serve as the best type of testimonial for any business.
And social media only makes it better, since it lets anybody with Internet access view content. And when potential customers see user-generated social proof vouching for the quality of the services provided, it makes an impression.
This is yet another photo on Instagram that has captivated its audiences with over 140 comments and nearly 35K likes.
Posting photos like this on Instagram is ideal for exposure. Over 25 providers have been mentioned. Even if their work isn’t immediately visible in the photo, their brand awareness has already increased just from being mentioned.
Measure your results in social media
After making sure that your brand is visible in social media (here are 10 social media marketing tips your business needs to follow), the next step is measuring your results.
This is where a social media monitoring tool like Brand24 comes in handy. By tracking mentions of your brand name or your hashtag campaign in social media (or anywhere online), you can quickly check on the results of your marketing strategies whenever you want. With real data.
Another important reason (for me, this is actually the most important one) why social media monitoring tools are so helpful is simply because they save you so much time. Instead of scouring the web and running deep searches to find mentions of your company, product, or industry across 50+ different platforms (or having your interns do this), you’re free to focus on actually implementing your strategies.
Tools like Brand24 also provide automated analysis reports so you can get quick insights; sentiment analysis filters, so you can see how your audience feels about your product or company; plus storm alerts to notify you immediately when people suddenly can’t stop talking about you (for better or worse) and a mobile app for added convenience… and much more.
Track your mentions on social media with social media monitoring
Is your brand visible in social media? Do you use a social media monitoring tool to measure your results?
There are a bevvy of social media monitoring tools to choose from, but I recommend Brand24.
Sign up for free and take it for a spin. See for yourself what social media marketing based on real data can do for your business.