Happy Posting!

Content strategies for maximum impact and mistakes to avoid, with advice from Kelly Chandler .

Lady on her phone
Photo: Getty Images

You’ve got the message that social media is key to attracting and selling to new wedding and events customers but are you lacking in inspiration? It’s something I hear all the time from my venue clients, so I’m keeping it short and sweet with a quick reminder of social media content that sells!

PEOPLE

I really bang on about this but when you’re selling a unique venue it’s not just about the place or space. A big part of a client choosing to hire a venue for a special occasion is getting a feel for the people who run it and bring it all together, whether that’s your in-house team or your extended team of supplier partners.

Make sure your faces and stories are loud, proud and that this content is regular. Be it your chef team, your coordinator or your founders telling their stories of the why and how you came to be, how you operate day to day and what makes you tick.

BEHIND THE SCENES

The days of Insta-pretty and curated only images are over (cue the bubbles!) – wedding audiences want authentic, real and insightful; they want to see what happens to make your venue what it is, whether it’s your build projects, your new bar installation, your wedding team hard at work in the office, a client menu tasting during the planning stages or an event set up day and what goes into that. We all love ‘behind the scenes’ – have a look at your social channels and make sure you’re not just showing the finished polished article.

INSPIRATION

Always be thinking wider than your venue boundary limits. While most of your social content should focus on what’s happening at your venue day to day, think about how you can inspire with fresh concepts, whether that’s creating imagery via photo shoots showcasing a new style, or by sharing content from others that inspires you and that might suit your venue (making sure you have permission to share and use this content – see more below).

Remember the wedding world is very trend-led and while I don’t believe every trend needs to be jumped on (and it has to be right for your target client and setting) you do need to show that you are aware of trends, are keeping up with fresh products and ideas and are excited about trying new things!

NO VENUE IS AN ISLAND

Or maybe it is? I do know some venues that are islands actually but that isn’t the point I’m making. Your venue’s social media is so much more engaging if it’s not just “all about you” – make sure it’s a genuine platform where you showcase your extended team of suppliers whether it’s your caterer, your preferred florists, DJs or your bar company. Make sure your social platforms showcase what they do to make your venue sparkle and through this show the service and range that’s possible to fresh new clients.

SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE

So, you’re scheduling and posting regularly and doing all of the above but are you making any faux-pas? Take a look at how you match up with this quick social media etiquette checklist

The basics 
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the basic guidelines when it comes to posting on social media as a business; don’t post offensive content, don’t engage in arguments and always represent your brand online. My own rule is that I will never post anything on social media (in a public post or a group) that I wouldn’t be happy for anyone to see and read, whether it’s my mum, my best client or an industry “competitor” (I don’t particularly like the term competitor, as I believe we’re all running our own race and all have very personal USPs but that’s another feature!).

I certainly recommend giving opinions on social media. They may not be opinions everyone shares but so long as they are polite, positive and constructive then that’s my guideline and one I’d recommend to you. But what about when it comes to the nitty gritty of content?

Crediting
It’s so important that crediting is taken seriously on social media. I have seen it go wrong so many times and lead to a real breakdown of perfectly good business relationships, not to mention lack of proper crediting is shooting yourself in the foot and really not tapping into the wonderful opportunity social media creates in the first place. So, what do I mean?

It is important to always credit those who have contributed to the creation of an image or images you’re using. If your venue has hosted a wedding that was planned and styled by a wedding planner, and you are delighted with how stunning your spaces look, ensure you credit that wedding planner as having created that design with your couple. If you are showcasing the edible delights served at a wedding, ensure you give a full shout out to the caterer who designed and prepared it. If you’re raving about a wedding cake, who created and lovingly baked it? There is no shame in you not “doing it all” as a venue and keeping it in-house, and modern couples expect you to have niche experts (and a small range of them is fine) on speed dial to help them pull together their version of extraordinary for their wedding.

Of course, above and beyond that, the photographer who has taken any image for you should always be credited. This is important if you’re using images from a client’s wedding but especially important if you have hosted a marketing event in the form of a showcase or styled photo shoot where suppliers have provided their time and expertise for free to enhance your venue and business. While they may be on your recommended list, the value should also be seen in the social media benefit and proper crediting is a big part of that.

In my view it’s just professional courtesy to credit for work done but the social media benefits are huge too – if you credit, tag and mention those featured in any shot, they are much more likely to share, comment and tag their end increasing reach and exposure of your post and growing your audience, which can have big wins all around.

Client’s permission 
If the client hasn’t explicitly given you permission to post images featuring a face from their wedding or event, then don’t. This could leave you in breach of GDPR regulations in a big way and, even more imminently and importantly, leave you with some very unhappy clients. Ensure before you get happy snapping and posting images of your own taken on a wedding day, that your couple are happy with this.

When it comes to professional images, generally the photographer holds copyright and their permission is needed before you use them; they usually agree with their couples in advance how far any photos are to be distributed in a marketing context which you need to respect. If you’ve agreed any kind of special fee with couples on the understanding of obtaining images (perhaps a new venue) make sure you will indeed get those images and ensure that the photographer is briefed on this agreement and OK with it.

The big no-no 
So, let’s say you have got permission to take photos yourself of a couple, that’s great but pick your moments sensitively when posting on social media. I’ve heard horror stories from many a wedding planner, one who told me she’ll never forget the day she had a florist post a photo of the bride standing in front of the wedding car before she had even left for the church! There was the potential that the guests and even her groom would have seen her in her dress on social media before she had arrived in person – that is absolutely not on!

I’m a total advocate of Insta stories and posting in a timely way and do this myself but when it comes to events with a big tradition and emotional element (i.e. weddings) always allow the time for guests who are there in the moment to enjoy the experience. A good rule of thumb is to wait until they are at the drinks reception before posting ceremony photos, and enjoying the evening party before posting the wedding breakfast etc.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this: when planning your social media, don’t forget…
1. Make it fun and make it social
2. Keep showing up and being consistent – people are looking even when you think they are not
3. Show personality and humour
Happy posting!

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