Instagram planning for Wedding Businesses

Instagram is one of those things that we either love or hate yet as wedding professionals and business owners we all need to be using it. 

I've seen so many people struggle with Instagram and how to best use it for their business.  Yes Instagram can be difficult to master and yes it can be a pain in the arse but hopefully a few of my below tips will help make it a little more straight forward for you. 

I could write about this topic for weeks and weeks and still don't think I'd cover everything so for this post I've included specific ideas for planning your Instagram feed. After working with some wonderful wedding professionals in the industry I've learnt a few things along the way to make Instagram planning run a lot more seamlessly. I find it helps to plan out a month at a time so that your feed is consistent and so you don't have to keep coming up with new ideas every single week. 

Here a few key steps to get started - 

1. Work out how many images you hope to post in a month. I find one a day is a great place to start and wont annoy your audience by inundating their feeds with images. 

2. Work out what your brand message is. For example if you're a wedding planning and want to be offering advice and tips to potential brides you might like to consider mixing up your feed with quotes, tips, graphics etc. 

3. Start with a plan for 1 week first which can then be duplicated across 4 weeks to give you enough content to carry you through for the next month. This will be your content plan. Consider the types of images you want to post e.g. Images of your weddings, sneak peeks, videos, quotes, testimonials, inspiration, giveaways, tips and tricks. 

4. Use a program like Canva to create any graphics or images with text that you want to include. 

5. When selecting the images you want to use make sure they all work in together. They all should have a similar colour palette (that matches your brand colours) and there should be a consistent theme/style to your images. Ideally you wont your feed to show who you are, what you do and what your business is all about. 

6. Use an app like 'Planoly' or 'Later' to upload all your future images. From there you can move around your images to work out the best format. 

7. Don't use two similar images side by side. For example if you are using an image of a flat lay make sure the next image has the subject shot as a distance (unless of course you're whole brand is about one particular type of image). 

8. Create an Instagram routine. For example you might find your posts get most engagement between 8-9am. Make this the 1 hour a day you spend on Instagram uploading your daily post and connecting with your audience. You shouldn't need to be spending more than 1 hour a day on Instagram if you strategise your time effectively. 

9. Research the best hashtags for your business and have them saved in your 'notes' ready to copy and paste in your image captions. Just make sure you mix up the hashtags slightly so they relate to the type of image you've posted. 

10. Rather than sharing groups of images on your feed, use your Instagram stories to tell the rest of the 'story' behind the image you've posted. 

Make sure you are monitoring your analytics on a regular basis and also changing your content to reflect what is getting the most engagement. 

I hope this is helpful. I will write a Part 2 on this topic in the coming weeks. 

 x

 

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Fake it to you make it - Running a wedding business

Everyone does it, we live in a world of people 'faking it' in business. Consider social media for a second, we see thousands of wannabe bloggers and influencers with their online picture perfect life. A few things I've learnt in a world of start up entrepreneurs is that to some degree everyone is 'faking it' in the initial stages of starting a business. Don't ever feel disheartened by what you see online and remember always that its all about perception.

A way I often see people 'faking it' is through the terminology they use in their business. Yes of course we all want our clients to think of us as successful and often we want our businesses to appear far bigger and better than what they actually are (especially when we are just starting out). One thing I frequently hear is reference to certain things I know many fellow wedding planners don't actually have such as a studio, warehouse or office space. Nearly every stylist/planner I know in my local area doesn't have any of these things. Warehouse is often code for their home garage, office is code for their spare room and studio is most likely also referring to their garage or spare room. So don't ever feel that you need any of these things. Unless of course you are running a hire business and need warehouse space, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a home based office. Its far more cost effective, accessible and easy to manage. 

Another thing I hear often is reference being made to things like - my team, my staff, my head stylist, my assistant etc. For nearly everyone starting out yes they might have a couple casual staff or even one part time staff member but definitely not an entire team or what you would call a workforce. 

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If you really want to 'fake it to you make it' then consider giving yourself a creative job title. I use to have a printed out piece of paper in my office with my name and CEO written next to it. Why couldn't I call myself that? I'm the owner of the business so I can call myself anything I like, right?! I laughed every time I saw this 'CEO' reference. Of course I wasn't a CEO, my business wasn't even set up as a company and I had no full time employees. But hey we see this time and time again. If you give yourself a job description like 'Creative Director' then of course your business size automatically triples in peoples perception. 

There is nothing to be ashamed of when doing anything of these things. Remember we all need to start somewhere. What I think is important to always consider is your online presence and the perception this is putting out to you target market.  Your online presence is ultimately what is going to sell your business and the services you offer (unless of course you have a shop front). It's where you can create any perception you like of your business. So why not create a perfect Instagram feed, have a beautiful and professional website and frequently show BTS videos of that one small space in your 'studio' that looks perfect. Other vendors will know what you're up to but will your client? Most likely not so my advice is just continue to fake it until you make it! 

 

As a Wedding professional, why should I blog?

I know blogging is very time consuming and for most of us (like me) who seem to write with lots of spelling errors its a painful process at times but let me start this off by telling you a funny story about my experience with blogging. 

Back when I had my styling business I would blog at least twice a week. I consistently did this for 3+ years and there were very few weeks that I missed. I tried to mix up the content as best as I could. One of the topics I often covered was around the struggles of working from home. In one particular post I made reference to my neighbour who also worked from home. She would often wear her dressing gown and slippers right up until the early hours of the afternoon. I made reference to it in one of my blog posts as a recommendation of what not to do! 

I happened to find myself one day at the bottom of my drive way checking the mail and my neighbour yelled out to me for a chat. The first thing she said to me was "I just discovered your blog over the weekend and I love it, it really made me laugh so much and I have read back through all your posts". In that moment I went bright red I knew straight away she had read the blog post about how I referred to my 'funny neighbour in her old robe and fluffy slippers'. It was only like 3 posts down so I knew she would of seen it. 

At this point I didn't even know my neighbour knew my business name let alone that I had a blog. And that she actually would want to read it and give me genuine compliments about it. The whole situation was hilarious looking back - gosh I hope she doesn't read this one too. Sorry Sharon! 

The important thing to take from this is that you don't realise just how many people your blog is reaching and the benefit behind it. Not only does blogging dramatically increase your SEO it also helps you engage with your audience and develop your brand. When I stopped blogging just before I sold my styling business I had 7 people email/message me within 2 weeks asking why I've stopped blogging and how much they loved reading my posts. I had never met or spoken to any of these people before and to be honest most of the time I thought that no one even read my posts. It was very rare that anyone would actually comment on a post so quite often I thought they were going unnoticed - now of course you should be checking your google analytics to see what traction your posts are getting. 

Blogging is powerful. Not only to engage with your audience but to build up your sites SEO. It also helps you to look more legitimate - people build trust when there is a real person behind a brand. 

I would love to hear how blogging has been successful for you in your business? Please comment below so I know someone has read this one! haha I'm completely slack with monitoring my own website analytics. 

 

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The Mum/Work life juggling act

I have to admit my first few months of being a Mum was fairly easy for me. My son slept often and I made the most of every 3 hour nap he had. I often thought to myself that I'm nailing this work/mum life balance. I remember a week out of hospital I was up to date with all my work and I had no idea what this whole issue was around being a Mum and also working. 

Then my son got to around 6-8 months old and EVERYTHING changed. Not only did we go through some terrible sleep regression period, he became extremely active and day sleeps were like 20-30 mins in duration (just enough time to have a shower or eat something). The struggle become very real and I often felt like I wasn't coping or that there was just no way to move forward with my work or business goals. 

Just before my son was born I decided to start a new business. I thought it was the perfect opportunity as I was finishing up my full time job to work part time from home and I would have so much more time on my hands.... When I was pregnant I was working both a 40 hour a week corporate job and from home 20 + hours a week so I'm sure you can understand why I thought my life was going to become easier. Oh how I was wrong. This past 12+ months has really taught me so much about time management and valuing my time. 

One main thing I've learnt is that 'Mum Guilt' is a very real thing. We beat ourselves up about absolutely everything, no decision is every the right one and we second guess everything! I really wanted to be home with my son for at least the first 12 months of his life so I put off sending him to daycare for as long as I possible caught. By the time he was 8 months old I was drowning in work and felt like I was going crazy. I felt like I didn't have a choice but to work every weekend to stay on top of everything. By the time he was 11 months I decided it was time to send him to daycare (despite the feedback from family members that he was far too young). I knew I needed it for my own sanity. Even though I felt extremely guilty about it my son absolutely loves it and I know its the best thing for him. I value my days even more when its just the two of us and my work days (when he is at daycare) are now so extremely productivity. I don't even stop to do washing or dishes (much to my husbands annoyance! haha). 

Here are a few of my tips for juggling a new business/work and Mum life - 

  • Understand your why. If you don't have a clear purpose for what it is you are doing then trust me your motivation will slide and within time you are going to resent whatever it is you are working on. 
  • Do something you love. If you truly love what you do then you will find time to work on it. I know this is easier said than done but perhaps your business could start off as a side project so you have that thing in your life you truly love (it will also help make the other job in your life bearable)
  • Don't feel guilty for having days where you just do nothing but be a Mum. You can't do it all and some times you just need a day to not think about work and recharge. 
  • Some days are going to be complete failures, just accept it and move on. I have the best of intentions some days to work through a huge to do list and priortise my work, then for what ever reason I wake up in the morning with zero motivation to do anything but sit on the couch listening to the wiggles with my son (its true this happens often! haha). When you've had a night with a teething baby and very little sleep your heads just not going to be in the right space to work so its best to just accept there are often going to be days like this.
  • Structure your days. Children love structure and routine. Your business/work will thrive with structure too! I know every day that my son is home that he will sleep for roughly 1-2 hours some time around mid day. I don't use this time to do house work or anything else unnecessary. The second his head his the sheets I'm in my office working through a very well prioritised to do list. I know I can do washing, dishes etc when he is awake but sitting at my computer for any more than 2 minutes while I'm looking after him is completely unrealistic. You really need to make the most of your time and have a very well thought out schedule. 
  • Always have goals to work towards. To get through the day to day boring tasks you need to be working towards something. There needs to be clear objectives set for what you are doing and trying to achieve. 
  • Book a holiday. Ok I know this isn't possible for everyone but seriously the only way I get through my day to day work is knowing that in a few months time I'll get a much needed holiday. It keeps me sane and it's really the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I love having something to look forward to! 

I'd love to hear what your tips are for juggling work and Mum life? Leave them in the comments below 

x

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