What works before may not work anymore today.
Wedding planners in Cebu, for instance, used to bank on flyers, leaflets, feelers, brochures, and word-of-mouth for reference to have their services promoted. To help sustain what they do, they resort to putting up billboards, tapping traditional media, and participating in expositions.
But with today’s social media where everything seems to be just a click away, wedding packages and related services can be perused and arranged through the most-used information sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and Youtube. The number of platforms is expanding, providing easy access and stiffening competition never ever imagined 20 years ago.
David Overton, an applications and website developer, noted that Facebook is fast becoming a flea market. Still, around 700,000 Filipinos are using the site, making it a market for wedding planners. Around 300,000 Filipinos are also on Twitter, he added.
This highlights the need for wedding planners in Cebu to have a strong brand presence online. It is equally important, Overton said, that companies enable and allow feedback. He cited that some companies shy away from open expression because of fear of bashing that borders between being “highly opinionated” and bullying.
“Do not be afraid. It is just a matter of highlighting positive feedback and managing negative ones,” he said. “If you disable feedback, you have the tendency to kill one’s voice of opinion. Voice is very important as this encourages your customers to engage.”
A wedding supplier or a wedding organizer can become a center of criticism if he/she does not know what he/she is doing. Bashing can come in and feed on this weakness. “So provide clients useful information. Be a real expert in your industry,” Overton added.
As the wedding solutions industry try to lead users to their sites, they are also encouraged to “lead back” customers to their site for branding purposes. This is about one’s staying power online.
How do you want people to hear you? What speaks well to you will likely speak well to clients. Social media is very noisy; one should find his or her own speaking voice online before one can amplify.
One should be his or her brand, foremost. The services are actually the add-ons. It is very important that you follow those who follow you.
Overton enlightened Lia Chin on her concern over following back followers, saying that wherever she is online, it is important to establish connections. Some followers who will be followed do have the tendency to return the favor by promoting her gowns. They may have brilliant ideas to share regarding design and sources of new materials.
“Provide clients useful information. Be a real expert in your industry.” –David Overton
Even Overton admitted Facebook is not so much a pleasing environment now compared to the day he started engaging in it some four or five years ago. “It’s really fast becoming noisy. I like Twitter better. But since most people would rather go to Facebook, we can’t disengage it.”
Overton was part of the forum in the “Love @ First Like: Taking Weddings to the Age of Social Media” event organized by Cebu City Marriott Hotel last Feb. 25.
Overton also called on wedding planners in Cebu to be realistic with their posts.
“Be true with what you can only produce. Make sure you are familiar with what your clients want to see. Plan everything out carefully by beginning with the end in mind. At the end of the day, clients will always be grateful to those who can only do so much but are honest about their capabilities.”
The most exciting facet about social media are the tools offered, for example, to pool wedding photos, keep them in dossiers for future sharing, or livestream wedding events.
“It’s indeed about knowing your tools and choosing them carefully,” he said.
Further, events organizers are asked not to overdo hashtags. A maximum of five would do. This is part of the social norms to be observed on social media, aside from of course identifying one’s niche.
As there are people who are easily turned off by wedding posts on their walls, it would be most appreciated if organizers can check first what an individual believes in, or whether one finds it special to tie the knot again. It is important to be polite and respectful about people’s personal beliefs and lifestyle preferences.
Tell your story
The importance of keeping websites is to amplify stories – good stories. Overton said that one’s company would be more appreciated if a story on a particular choice of wedding shows how challenges have been overcome, how wedding experts execute plans and is discussed in blogs, rather than a flooding of photos.
Furthermore, it was pointed out that since millennials are the ones who grew up with technology, they are the best market to strengthen. They are the best go-tos when you need shout-outs online and pass-the-word stuff since they are tech-wired from birth.
If you are interested to know more about how to maximize social media and digital marketing for your event planning business, connect with Third Team Media. If you wish to learn how to tell your stories, contact The Memoriter.
(with Maria Eleanor E. Valeros)
All photos, except Overton and event flyer, are from www.pixabay.com.
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