Social media has exploded in a way that few could have predicted. It has infiltrated just about every facet of modern life, and rather than shy away from it, many soon-to-be-married couples are opting for the all-in approach, intentionally generating a social media firestorm… and people are loving it.
Now that cell phones (a.k.a. social media) are at the epicenter of many people’s personal lives, it’s not surprising that more couples are finding nontraditional ways to incorporate social media into the details of their wedding. According to this survey conducted by The Knot, social media has a major presence in the world of weddings. Nearly 70 percent of all brides-to-be (and grooms) are using some type of social media and technology when it comes to planning and executing a wedding; from setting up dedicated sites to managing RSVPs, live streaming video of the ceremony, to finding more unique ways to keep their family and friends in the loop along the way. Some have even created a wedding reception playlist on Spotify.
Adding social media to your wedding poses both an opportunity and a challenge. Due to budget constraints or having a destination wedding, it may not be possible to invite every friend and family member, so social media allows you to share that experience with those that aren’t able to be there. It also allows you to digitally document every aspect of the experience, giving you another avenue for preserving memories.
Conversely, adding social media to the wedding process can be added stress for a bride who feels pressured to constantly manage updates and post pictures. You also have to consider that some guests may have yet to embrace the world of social media (surprising, I know). Additionally, you don’t want social media to become such a priority that you miss out on the full, personal experience of your wedding.
Knowing all of this, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. There are many social media platforms to choose from, and each seems to have a different focus and audience. If you’re not a social media expert, you may be at a loss for how to run your wedding’s social media campaign (yes, that is a thing).
We developed a quick list of what platforms to consider, the best ways to use them, and how to make the most out of social media for your upcoming wedding.
Developing A Gameplan
The number one thing to remember is that you need to run your wedding social media like a real campaign. This means having a game plan that mimics what successful businesses would do. There are plenty of guides with general goals, but one of the best we’ve seen comes from Entrepreneur.
They recommend following through on five things to ensure success. The tips are just as applicable to a wedding social media campaign as any other, and include:
Setting Goals. In this case, your goal is to get your guests involved with the wedding and show off how awesome it is and will be. You’ll want to do things to increase participation from the people you invite. You’ll also want to include high-quality content that showcases how much planning has gone into your wedding.
Choosing Social Networks. There are countless options, and more popping up each day – snapchat, blogging … we’ll go into more detail later. For now, keep in mind that you’re probably going to make use of at least Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Engaging With Followers. The campaign would be quite boring if you didn’t interact. When your guests see you engaging with their comments, it shows them you’re involved, and it gets them more involved and excited for your big day.
Displaying Content. For your wedding, this will include photos and videos of just about everything. Trying on the bridesmaid dresses, picking out flowers, cake testing, maybe even rehearsal sessions with the wedding band and more. The trick to content is to make it quality, make it fun, and make it shareable.
Measuring Success. You may not be doing a whole lot of number crunching or analytics, but you can get feedback from your friends. Gauge their reactions to your wedding posts. See what people like and dislike then adjust accordingly.
Setting Up Your Accounts & Making The Most Of Them
As we mentioned, there are four major social media platforms to target. Each with different guidelines about what and how you’ll share content.
Facebook is one of the most well-known networks. Chances are that a good number of your guests already have an account. You’ll be using this as a social media “home base.”
Of course, you will want to ‘create an event’. You can put information about the venue, the time of the event, and other logistics here. Add some maps, a calendar with all the important dates, images, and create your wedding guest log here.
You can even give a shout-out to everyone helping you. That awesome tailor, the superb caterers, the incredible band, etc… it’s great PR for them and they may even throw in a few favors for the free advertising.
First things first, though. You’ll have to set up a Facebook page exclusively for your wedding. No need to re-invent the wheel, thankfully. Storkie already has a bang-up tutorial on creating the perfect wedding Facebook page.
Follow the steps, create your page, then start sharing content. Remember that posts to the Facebook page should be short, cover the essential info, and include a captivating image or video.
The realm of the hashtag. You might choose to create a Twitter handle just for the wedding, or simply start a wedding themed hashtag of your own. The hashtag should be easy to remember and indicative of the fact that a wedding is coming.
Common hashtag generation formulas include:
- A portmanteau of the couple’s names
- A celebration of the bride changing her surname
- Bride + Groom + Adjective + Wedding
- Wedding at [insert venue here]
For example, the new last name for the bride-to-be is going to be Gritton. A hashtag they could use for the month leading up to the ceremony, as well as the day of and into the honeymoon, is #weregrittonmarried. The key is to keep it simple, easy to remember, and fun.
If you’re still unsure what to choose, you can use this wedding hashtag generator to help you create a unique hashtag. Remember when posting to Twitter, you should use brief statements and pose quick questions. Don’t forget to make generous use of the hashtags related to your wedding and weddings in general.
Instagram is perfect for quick, real, raw images. A photo journal. These should show the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of the wedding. This is where you’ll include photos of the bride picking out dresses and the groom doing…whatever it is that grooms do in the months leading up to a wedding.
While Instagram photos should convey that real feel, that doesn’t mean they should look sloppy. Make sure you follow the top tips from popular Instagrammers, professional photographers, and even hipsters to achieve the best results. Instagram posts can include some text, but keep it to a minimum so the focus can stay on your photos.
Don’t forget to include your custom wedding hashtag, as well as other popular wedding themed hashtags. Don’t be surprised if you gain a few new followers, and if you tag the maker of your dress, the wedding band, the cake decorator, you’ll be certain to get some extra attention as well.
Pinterest and weddings go hand-in-hand. You’ll be using Pinterest to create collections of all your favorite wedding related colors, theme, the decor, and more. Every day people are browsing Pinterest for wedding inspiration, and you can add what you’re doing to the mix.
Make sure to create a custom board, specifically for your wedding. Include photos of the bridesmaid dresses. Photos of the venue. Photos of the decorations, gift bags, right down to the hors d’oeuvres trays. You can even include descriptions of why you did things a certain way and what alternatives you had in mind as well.
If you’re unsure of how to get started, check out PCMAG’s intro, or head on over to Pinterest’s help page for advice.
Engaging Your Guests
Remember that a large part of social media is engagement. By-and-large, the rules of engagement that govern a large organization’s social media can be adapted for your wedding social media accounts:
- Pose fun questions, and answer questions posed to you
- Tag other people in posts and link to what they’re doing
- Encourage your guests to generate and post content related to the event
- Stick to a schedule
- Don’t spam
If you need some more hints, Business.com has a good guide on social media engagement, as does Moz. Not all the tips are geared towards using social media for weddings. It is, however, general enough that you can adapt it for your purposes.
With this campaign primer, you should be well on your way to having a social media powered wedding that takes full advantage of the technology and creates an unforgettable wedding and a unique and fun trail of memories. Remember to keep what you do high quality, gear your posts to the platform, and continue engaging to make the most of things. If you’re still unsure if social media has a place in your wedding, check our post about the rapidly growing trend of enforcing an unplugged wedding.