Couples who not only love what you do for their weddings, but who also go out into the world and share their love with their far reaching network of friends and followers are your tried and true brand ambassadors. We’re here to show you how to make that happen with every client that comes through your door. In short: turning your couples into loyal champions of your brand is pretty much the key to building a word of mouth machine (free marketing and PR!) and building your biz. Here, 5 steps to turn your past couples into your future brand ambassadors.
1. Tell your story over and over again.
First things first: You need to communicate who you are, and what your brand story is online. And you need to do it fast. We’re talking less than three seconds, fast. From your social media, to your website, to your storefront — your brand should be rock solid across the board. Boosting your unique brand online sets the tone before couples even reach out to you. Tell them who you are, and why you’re the perfect pro to bring their vision to life.
See who’s doing it right: Let’s take our friend Leah Weinberg, founder of Color Pop Events in Brooklyn. She used to be an attorney and she lets her potential clients know about it because it’s what makes her unique and a great planner. Here’s how she is described on her website, “Unflappable. Calm under (extreme) pressure. Keeps her cool—with her sense of humor intact.” From her head shot, to her Instagram feed, to her bio on her storefront, Leah keeps her brand consistent. Her online presence says she’s fun, extremely organized and brings a little whimsy to her planning. Did you get that in 3 seconds or less?
2. Be yourself. (Yep, it’s really that easy)
Here’s our challenge to you: Push yourself to find ways to get personal online. We often hear from pros that they don’t want to put their personal lives out on social media. The reality is that couples are looking to your social channels to discover more about who you really are. So unless you’re a venue or a large company, you’re better off combining a little personal with business. How to make sure you’re hitting the right balance between telling your story and being yourself? We like to recommend that every 4th or 5th post is something personal. You want to pepper in images of something other than your work and service so that couples can really get a feel for who you are and understand you on more of a personal level. Challenge yourself to post not only about your work, but maybe about your kids, or your newfound passion for hiking.
See who’s doing it right: Virginia-based photographer Katelyn James gets this one right on so many levels. She has a big following on Instagram (almost 80K). Katelyn nails the ratio of personal photos and content (that’s her with her husband & daughter in the black & white shot) to her beautiful wedding and portrait related work. This mix helps her followers and potential clients know her as more of a multi-dimensional person, rather than just a wedding photographer. They can understand who she is and what’s she’s all about — beyond her business.
3. Get to know your couples on a personal level.
The next step to building an army of brand ambassadors is to ensure that the “getting to know you” process a two way street. Inevitably, you have to ensure that your couples not only understand who you are and what you’re all about, but that you also understand who they are. Did you follow that? Getting to know a couple on a really personal level is definitely easier said than done. But making an effort to make the couple feel really special and personalizing every interaction you have with them (right from the beginning) makes your relationship with them meaningful — something they will also invest in.
4. Use social media from the moment they book you to reinforce your story.
If you want your couples to be your biggest advocates online and out there in the world, you have to start training them right from the start. So as soon as they book you, start the conversation — online. You have to systematically teach your couples to talk about you on social media before, during and after the wedding planning process to ensure that they will keep it up, even after their wedding has passed. Here’s a tip – find out your couples’ hashtags, and use them on posts before and after the wedding. Engage with them constantly on social, especially if they post anything wedding related. And don’t be afraid to pull out your phone on the wedding day and share behind-the-scenes moments. Couples will want to keep the momentum going, and share the love right back to you on social media (and beyond). Training your couples right means keeping a tight relationship with them throughout the entire process. And we’re not going to lie, it’s a lot of work! But your reward will be the stellar reviews they leave you, whether it’s on your profile, on social media, or direct word-of-mouth recommendations.
See who’s doing it right: California-based Jeannie Savage owns Details Details Weddings & Events, a wedding planning company specializing in luxury events. We want to call out how Jeannie trains her couples on Instagram using engagement and hashtags, and ultimately teaches them to become her best brand ambassadors. Take the Stefanskis, whose wedding Jeannie and her team planned flawlessly. Back in July, Jeannie shared one of their engagement shots on her Instagram to show how excited she is to be working with this couple, and the other pros involved. She purposefully drops not only her own branded hashtag (#aboutdetailsdetails) into the post, but also the couple’s wedding hashtag (#soontobestefanski). Then in early October, Jeannie shares a photo from the same couple’s wedding using the same format. Both photos will end up in the couple’s hashtag feed where their friends and families can see as well!
5. Tap into media amplifiers to turn happy clients into brand ambassadors.
Broadening your horizons is essential to growing your brand. Getting your weddings featured on media outlets – in our magazines and online and on our social channels – allows you to reach more couples and future couples than you ever could have on your own or just with your clients’ friends and family network. So in the end, you’re turning your clients into ambassadors for your brand to their friends and their family. And if you do it right, you end up with not only that network effect among their circles. You will find yourself in a total class of your own. More exposure equals more business.
Header Photo by Shannon Grant Photography