Over the past three years in particular, social media has become an essential element in marketing and selling to brides. From what I’ve seen with my own company as well as through my clients, Facebook and Pinterest are the two areas that are easiest to attract brides to you, have them fall in love with your work, and book their weddings! But, as I’m sure you’ve already discovered, you must have a strategy to get these tools working for you effectively. In other words, just having a presence doesn’t cut it if you want real bookings from your time on social media!
#1: Sales pitches on Social Media Feels Like Spam
If you want better results from social media, you have to understand that it’s not a platform to pitch brides on you over and over again. Think of it more like a conversation in progress that you’re jumping into. I personally like to think of it like a bunch of mini-conversations taking place at a cocktail party… and I’ve just arrived and want to get in on the fun too.
The whole point is to get brides engaged in your “conversation” with whatever social media platform you choose. Only your conversation translates into likes, shares, comments, re-pins, follows, and so on.
Don’t start out any post with “hey brides!” or “brides – win….” on anyone else’s page, or your own either. It’s annoying, it’s a huge turnoff, and it feels like spam in the social media world.
In fact, I’ll go one step further and ask that you don’t say “Hey you!” in any form unless you want only negative responses to your posts.
#2: Social Media works best when you engage your audience.
Let’s start with Facebook here as an easy example. Some people think that engaging your audience just means asking questions, like what’s your favorite wedding colors or wedding theme. While this is great, we need to also have an underlying strategy to what you’re doing and take it up a notch.
You can ask questions that are open-ended, but the best response you’ll find is when you upload a photo of a trend and ask a question associated with it. A simple example of this is “trash the dress” sessions. Upload a photo that pushes the envelope (ideally) and pose a question about it. Something like, “What do you think about this popular trend in trashing the dress?” or “Trash the dress – fabulous or fail?”
Talk the way that brides talk, and always include a visual with it to get the most response. (Plus, with the Facebook timeline changes, you immediately increase your standing in Facebook’s algorithm when you manually upload photos and videos often.)
Also, make sure that you post questions related to your brides’ problems. Try saying something like, “Looking for the perfect solution to… ?” Then post a link (ideally to a blog post you’ve written with the solution) along with a photo.
You really want to mix up your posts. Daily, post about 2-3 times with a mix of links to your blog (you can always go into your archives too), post your favorite quotes (with a picture), and real wedding photos to give your brides ideas and inspiration. You will be seen as a resource for valuable information, while building know, like and trust with your brides. And, this will translate into sales for you on social media!
Secret #3: Don’t just use your “stuff” to market.
One of the areas most wedding professionals really fail in when it comes to social media is with understanding the give and take, partnership side of these platforms.
This is key … balance. If what you’re doing feels too much like doing business to brides, you’ll turn them off. Make it fun! Inspire them! Relate to them. Brides should almost feel like you’re reading their minds with what you post and share and pin.
Remember that it’s called social media for a reason. Be sociable on these sites. Comment in a non-salesy and non-spam way on other local vendors‘ pages and pins. Only give positive feedback, or comment on a real wedding that you’ve done together with something like, “We really enjoyed working with you on so-and-so’s wedding. It was so beautiful!”
When you make other vendors feel and look great on their social media pages, they’ll want to refer you more often and work together a lot. Plus, you’re expanding your reach so brides see you more often. When you’re marketing on Facebook, you can also change to post as your page to post, comment and like others‘ pages so that brides will find your page easier and like you!
Inject your personality as much as possible. This actually drives sales. I’m always telling my clients, “brides buy from people, not from businesses.” This is one of the biggest realizations I’ve had about business over the years. And when I started putting more of me into my business and brand, that’s when I started easily making $10k every 30 days. You can too!
Yes, market your “stuff”. But also market things that reflect you. For example, I talk a lot about my love for arts and crafts, painting, and gardening in addition to what I sell. My clients really connect with me as a person, and I end up attracting clients who have things in common with me! It’s so easy to be you instead of copying someone else too, so give it a try.
#4: Always have a purpose behind the posts and pins.
This is another area that plagues most pros, but again is quite simple to solve. The intention behind everything on social media should be to build your list, and build a feeling of know, like and trust with you. Get brides conversing with you on social media, and feed them into your list so that you can sell them when they’re ready.
It’s very difficult to sell straight from social media, because people aren’t there to buy. They’re on these sites to feel good, to play, and get ideas. Treat it like that if you want to see success.
Knowing this in addition to knowing your intention, be smart about your posts. At least once a day on sites like Facebook, post a free offer for your brides, or a tip with a link to get more. I still do this with Bride Attraction, with posts like “Need to make more bridal sales? Learn my very own system for closing the sale here – http://brideattraction.com/close/”
Address an issue or problem that you know your brides are having with a solution to a link. Then when they go to get that information, they must give you their name and email address in exchange. You’re giving great ideas to solve their troubles while building your list so you can sell them via email ideas!
With sites like Pinterest, you can do the same thing, but pin videos from your site that you teach how to’s and mention a site to pick up a free e-guide or more how-to videos. Also make sure to pin your own real wedding photos from your site (along with the watermark and description) so that brides re-pin and do the marketing for you. Ultimately your goal is STILL the same – to build your list and build know, like and trust!
#5: Social Media is not a magic pill, but it does work when you’re consistent.
We all want the magic pill, I know. But there’s not one. Trust me, if there were, I’d be cranking out that bad boy by the tens of thousands and selling it everywhere I could. You need to understand that with social media, you must know that it’s about repetition and consistency. It works very effectively, but it requires momentum to see results.
You cannot expect to see results overnight. Using social media marketing effectively requires patience on your part. Expect to see results in one to three months in a large way in your business, and be surprised with anything faster than that.
I’ve personally found that social media (Facebook in particular) builds exponentially with time, but do not use this as your only marketing tool. It’s simply a piece of your fabulous marketing pie. Knowing this brings you a lot of business.
With Facebook alone, I’ve personally booked over $25,000 in bridal business one year, and $50,000 the next. Business from brides that I can trace directly back to this source and no other.
So does it work? Absolutely. But you absolutely must be committed to being consistent if you want similar results in your own business!
© 2008-2012 Natalie Bradley, BrideAttraction.com
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