There’s no doubt about it – the market is saturated with wedding “professionals” these days. Every person has some experience with photography or event planning, so obviously the next step is to just start your own business, right? It seems as if standards have plateaued, but there’s no way to be noticed without having a strong portfolio and sharing it everywhere. The only difference is, anyone can create and disseminate content now. It’s possible to gain tens of thousands of followers on Instagram by posting other people’s work (and sometimes, unfortunately, not even giving credit back to the original source), or getting booked as a planner because of your style and taste on Pinterest.
So, the question is, how do you stay different, and relevant, when it feels like everyone is an expert? How do you distinguish yourself from the masses when you have the talent? Here are five things you can do to make your brand stand out from the crowd.
Unlike many industries, we have the unique opportunity to work with our clients in a personal capacity. Your wedding day is one of the most important and emotional days of your life, so it makes sense that you would want to work with a REAL person, right? The thing is, it’s easy for us to only share our work from behind the computer screen. Many of us have separate Instagram and Facebook accounts for personal and professional use – but that distinction isn’t always so clear.
People like seeing a real person. They want to know that the vendor they’re choosing for their wedding day has compassion and empathy and ENTHUSIASM for their wedding. This isn’t to say that your Instagram feed can’t be filled with pretty pictures – but don’t be afraid to share a family photo every once in a while, or to share your thoughts about a particular issue or discussion. I’m a firm believer that if someone doesn’t mesh well with you, it’s better for both parties involved to not pursue that relationship. If you’re too afraid to show your personality from the beginning, you risk working with people that don’t appreciate who you are as a human being, and that can be disastrous.
Here’s a secret about social media – particularly Instagram and Pinterest: your feed is more important than any single photo. Open up your Instagram profile and take a look. What do people see? Are your photos different sizes and orientations? Do you consistently use one type of filter or style?
A consistent feed shows potential clients that they can trust your work. When they book you, they know what they are going to get because your work is consistent. If you are able to stay consistent with your branding and what you show of your work on social media, you’ve gained a powerful tool for booking and keeping clients.
Another benefit of staying consistent in your branding and what you share is that people will know that it’s your work before they see your name attached to it. Many times, I can see a picture of flowers and know who did them.
This builds on my first point, but is important in its own right as well. In an age where everything is shared and seen, transparency in your process is really important. People want to know what they are getting, and hiding fees or policies isn’t going to work. If anything, people want to know how you work from the beginning! Don’t be afraid of people “stealing” your ideas (you can read more about that here) – by sharing your processes, you’re showing potential clients that you’re an expert. You’re proving to them that by contacting you initially, they’re aren’t wasting time (yours or theirs). If someone leaves you a bad review, don’t be afraid to address it! Be transparent in everything that you do. Secrets won’t hold anymore because everything is bound to get out at some point. Transparency is really important in this day and age – without it, people won’t know who they can trust with their wedding.
This is a given, but I need to mention anyway. Quality is MUCH more important than quantity when it comes to your brand and what you put out in the world. You don’t need to share something just because you created it – if you aren’t 100% satisfied with your work, don’t post it! Social media and our websites/blogs are usually the first impression that a potential client is going to get, and I promise that you don’t want them to see your worst work, just because you want to share something (and let’s be real – nobody is going to perform perfectly all the time). If you aren’t proud of something, don’t share. Everything is permanent on the internet, so don’t risk it. What you share is part of your brand, whether you like it or not.
I don’t think a lot of people really consider this to be a part of branding, but I think that engagement is massively important when it comes to attracting your ideal clients. Once again, by engaging with your followers and readers, you are showing that you are a real person. You are giving them insight into your personality, but more than that – you’re PROVING to them that they are important. Just because someone hasn’t booked you (yet) doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t answer their questions on your Facebook page or respond to comments on your blog. Engage with people to earn their respect and attention, and just maybe you’ll earn their trust as well.
What are some of your tips for making your brand stand out on social media? How much value do you place on these tips?