With 62% of Australian internet users using social media (Sensis Report May 2011)** it would make sense for the businesses that serve these consumers to also be on social media. The same Sensis Social Media Report** showed that only 14% of small businesses and 25% of medium sized business in Australia, use social media. What does this mean for the wedding industry?
“As the ultimate form of expression, social media is now an undeniable force in modern-day communication. And it has businesses everywhere scratching their heads wondering how best to use it to engage with consumers.”
When searching on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, very few Australian wedding suppliers have a strong presence, if any at all. These platforms are strewn with half complete profiles or profiles that haven’t been updated in months or years. What does your social media presence say about your business? It speaks volumes!
There are some important things the wedding industry need to know about social media and how it can increase sales and provide opportunities for repeat business. With 100,000 weddings a year in Australia, you have a captive audience for a period of time who are hungry for information.
When planning a wedding the bride mainly and less so the groom, families of the couple, bridal party and guests are all seeking information on what to wear, where to go, what to buy and how to celebrate the special occasion. If you have a website, you may be found, but a website alone is not enough to get you found on the internet. You need good quality content, rave reviews and people sharing your brand with others …..because they will lead you to your next best customers or clients.
Here are some tips and tricks to get you started on your social media adventure:
1. Start small – you don’t have to be every where. Ask your current clients or customers which social networks they use and start there. Pick one or two platforms and do them really will. This will get you far more traction and engagement than spreading yourself too thinly.
2. Relationship and Engagement – these are words well known to the wedding industry and they apply in bucket loads to social media. Social media is not just a platform for you to shout your marketing message louder than anyone else in the hope that someone will hear you above the noise. It is about building relationships, putting a human face behind your brand, engaging and supporting your current customers and clients, as they are likely to lead you to your next bride, groom or referral.
People who connect with you online, share your content and comment/post or retweet are endorsing your brand or service and sharing their endorsement with their networks. What other people say about you in social media is far more important that what you say about yourself!
3. Integration: Ensure that your social media efforts are integrated into all online and offline activities. This includes website, blogs, email footers, brochures, products, shop fronts, promotional items, wherever you have space. Remember that no other medium gives you daily access to your customers and potential customers.
4. Be Generous – If you share your knowledge, hints, tips and resources with your customers and clients, you will be the first person/business they think of when they are looking for your product or service.You will create raving fans who will spread your brand for you and encourage others to purchase from you in the future.
5. Collaborate – Social media provides an opportunity for the wedding industry to collaborate and grow together by sharing quality information, cross promote and learn from each other. If you are a small business in a localised area – you might collaborate with others on your social media efforts. A celebrant, florist and photographer, for example, could halve their work on social media by sharing the same profiles.
If you only do this: set up a Facebook business page, twitter account and LinkedIn profile – connect them up and post on Facebook – you will start to build a following. Social Media can be done in 15 – 20 minutes a day when you know how. We are in the process of developing social media workshops specifically for the wedding industry – so stay tuned for more details! If you can’t wait to get started and need some help now, check out our services.
** Sensis Report can be downloaded here.