One of the best and least expensive marketing tools you have available to you is Instagram, which has proven to be a powerful platform, especially for event pros. Instagram is a place where couples go to get inspiration, research wedding professionals, and see if you might be a good fit for them as they plan their wedding. But are you using it as effectively as you might be to reach and attract your ideal client?
Here are nine best practices to follow as an event professional:
1. Have a strategy. How often do you plan to post and at what time? What scheduling tool will you use to post? What type of content do you want to share? What “calls to action” should you incorporate into your posts? What data do you plan on tracking? These are all questions to ask yourself so that you can create a strategy for your Instagram posting. By clearly defining and mapping out your goals, you’ll no longer be throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it will stick. You’ll have a plan of action to help you stay focused and meet your goals. If it can’t be measured, then it’s branding. But ultimately, you’re not on Instagram to build a brand, but to book clients.
2. Post consistently. If you don’t have a consistent presence on Instagram, you may lose business to a competitor who is active. You don’t have to post every day, but set a goal for yourself and schedule your posts in advance. If you find yourself getting too busy, particular during wedding season, outsource your social media posting.
3. Post relevant photos. Your feed is an extension of your brand. It should be consistent with your messaging and what you offer. Your Instagram grid should showcase your best work, whether it’s a styled shoot or real wedding, features, and testimonials. Remember, you have a wide and varied audience. You’re not only appealing to potential clients, but other professionals who are looking for inspiration.
4. Write a compelling caption. Use your caption as a way not only to explain the photo but to also encourage action from your audience. If you can, incorporate a question that garners a response, as this gives your viewers permission to interact with you.
5. Engage. When you engage, you’re increasing the chances of your posts showing up and being more visible to others. The faster you can respond to a comment after you post, the more likely it is that your post will get in front of more eyes. One thing to note: Engagement is not simply “liking” a comment or photo. Engagement is commenting and interacting. To get the conversation going, engage by writing four or more words (not emojis) on other people’s posts. Pro tip: A good rule of thumb is to spend 15 minutes a day, a minimum of twice a day, engaging for maximum results.
6. Utilize stories. Stories are a great way to share what’s going on behind the scenes, make an announcement, poll your audience, and stay top of mind. Stories help your audience connect organically with you and your business. Stories help paint a bigger picture to what you do and can dramatically help with engagement. Also, if you can post to your story shortly after you post to your grid, it will increase the chances of your posts getting seen.
7. Respond to DMs. This should be a no-brainer, but direct messages (DMs) are your friend! It’s quick and easy for someone to reach out to you so respond as soon as you can. Even better, respond via video. If you’re communicating with a potential client, this builds rapport and the “know, like and trust” factor.
8. Tag vendors and use geo tags. When you tag your images, you’re able to broaden your reach so you can get in front of eyes. Tag everyone who participated in the wedding or event so that your post will show up in their feed. In the caption, mention anyone associated with the photo, such as the photographer. Geo tags show up when the couple is searching or wants to see more photos at their venue. This is especially helpful if they are looking for ideas, or other professionals familiar with their venue.
9. Use your Instagram analytics so you understand how your posts are performing. When you regularly check your analytics, you’ll learn when your audience is most active so you know the best time to post. You’ll also be able to tell what type of posts people are liking and engaging with the most so you know to post more of the same. If you’re not tracking, you don’t know how well Instagram is performing, and you’ll be left spinning your wheels.
These nine best practices will help you use Instagram more efficiently so you can maximize your online presence.
Lane’ Richards is a multidisciplinary entrepreneur and creative behind Something Borrowed Portland, an award-winning event design and specialty rental company based in Portland, Ore. Her newest venture, Wedding Pro Coaching, offers mastermind business coaching and educational programs to wedding industry professionals who need help building, running, and growing their businesses in the crowded wedding industry.