Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Social Media To Use For Your Wedding Business

I was thinking about this topic recently because I had a couple of conversations where people were trying to tell me how great blogging is for your business. Since I've been writing this blog for 6 years I kind of smile and say "oh how interesting" when someone who has just "discovered" blogging tries to convert me.

Blogs used to be very different 6 years ago. Then, they were more of an extension of your website, and people used them to improve their website's SEO. If you start one now, though, you'd be better off thinking of it as an advertising tool, not as something to improve your website ranking.

So blogs have changed, and social media has REALLY changed a lot. What used to be the greatest (remember myspace?) has died and other sites and apps have moved in. Honestly, I'm lucky I have teenagers, because by the time the media latches onto something as the "next big thing" it's probably already on the decline. I can just ask the people who really use it (the kids) and see what the real story is.

My daughter's yearbook had a section on school polls, and one of them was which social media was their favorite. Instagram and twitter were the favorites, and facebook only got 1.3% of the vote. Think about that. Kids who are growing up today have brains that are physically wired differently from those of the older crowd (anyone over 25.) Because of the number of electronic devices they've grown up with, their brains are literally wired differently. If you want to catch the wave of younger brides who will be getting married in the next 5 years, you'd better take heed of that fact.

With all that said, you have to remember who your customer is.

If you still get a lot of LOCAL traffic from your facebook page (I assume that you're selling cakes locally, not to people in other countries, right?) then you can stick with facebook. If your facebook page isn't doing it for you, and you're trying to capture a younger bridal demographic, you might want to try something that's more visual, like Pinterest or Instagram.

Instagram is great for people who are on their phones all the time, and who work in a visual field. If you have the ability to snap a couple of pretty pictures a day and hashtag the bejeezus out of them, go for it. You only need to do a couple a day, but you should try to be consistent because it moves fast and your photos will be gone from people's feeds in a short time.

Pinterest is good for long-term photo-sharing because the pictures stay there. It's an interesting thing because sometimes you'll put a picture up and it goes nowhere, then six months later it starts getting shared. Pinterest is also starting a "buy it now" feature for certain businesses, where people will be able to buy items directly from the pins. For someone like myself, who sells online too, that's a good feature.

Twitter is more for short, witty posts, but you can also set your other social media to link to it and broadcast your posts from other places. I have my facebook page linked to twitter, so if I post something there it goes on my twitter feed. Then if I have something else I want to put there I can do that too, independently of facebook.

So to really decide which social media platform to use, you should first look and see what the demographics of each one are, and figure out if your time is best spent on one or the other based on where your customers are. Choose one or two and concentrate your effort there, but if you can link a third (like the way I link twitter to facebook) you can do that too with very little effort added.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

3 comments:

Jennywenny said...

I would definitely recommend getting involved in instagram. It is important to know that you lose the rights to the photos you post, but I find it a good way to build up a portfolio of our work, add some behind the scenes, and a few little bits about me (not a ton of photos of your kids/cats on your personal feed, well, maybe cats are ok!!).

I recently did a crazy big event with another vendor who has 22 thousand followers, and just taking a photo with her got me another couple of hundred followers.

I'm finding a lot of brides are coming across me via Instagram so it is worth my time, and its really quick to just pop up a photo when you're getting ready to leave a venue after setting up.

I also find that I don't want to stick to a rigid posting schedule, because then it will feel like work, which it should be, and I have to consider time on there being the same as any other time I'm working...

Eva Farragher said...

Kara - do you think it is worthwhile to change a Pinterest account to 'business' rather than personal? I know Pinterest are pushing hard for businesses to convert to a business account, but the cynic in me things they (Pinterest) are probably thinking of monetising/restricting free sharing somewhere down the line!

Kara Buntin said...

Eva, that's a very good point. I think it depends on what you use it for. If you have your personal account set up so that all of the boards that involve your personal life (pictures of things you'd like to eat for dinner, home decorating ideas etc.) are secret boards that only you can see, you could leave your page as a personal page. Put your cake things up so that the public can see them but hide the personal stuff. It's like putting your personal life on your business website, you wouldn't want to mix the two.

Pinterest can also shut down your account if they notice that you're using your personal account for business purposes, so watch out with that.

On the other hand, while Pinterest might be moving toward a paid platform in the future (like everyone else) they're not charging yet. And they're also earning money by starting things like buyable pins, which they're rolling out now. And Pinterest ads, which you can only buy if you have a business account. I switched my account to a business account so that I could pin more of my own photos without hearing from them, which is another reason they tend to shut down accounts. If you have too many of your own photos on a personal account they'll close it.

The benefit of paying for a Pinterest ad, as opposed to facebook, would be that the pins stay up and are shared for a lot longer than facebook posts are shared. I haven't done any Pinterest ads yet, (maybe I will as an experiment) so I can't say how effective they'd be. But with facebook you really have to target them correctly to get a good result. I don't know how Pinterest targets things, or if it just goes on keyword searches etc. Well, you just gave me a good idea for another "research project," anyway! ;)