5 Ways Customers Look For Event Inspiration Online
Where is the first place you look for event inspiration? It’s likely to be the same place your customers are looking, too. The world wide web is full of information and inspiration, but there are a few places where your potential customers are sure to hang out; where you could be the one feeding them inspiration.
One of the best forms of advertising you can get is a recommendation - both in person, and online. This is especially true in the event hire industry, where your services are often used for a very personal project, like a birthday party or wedding. People share everything on social media these days, especially visually appealing events, so it makes sense that you could and would get recommendations this way. Think about it; a newly engaged bride sees stunning photos of a friends wedding, she asks where the event was and who did the styling, and your name is the first to be mentioned. That’s free advertising with very little effort.
This doesn’t just happen out of the blue, though. There are a few things you can do to manage the process and ensure you are getting the recommendations your business deserves:
- Provide excellent service first and foremost so clients will be happy to recommend you
- Actively ask your customers to follow you on social media
- After an event, ask your customers to tag you if they share any photos of your event on their social media pages
- Ask customers to send you some photos of their event that you can repost. Also be sure you get all of the information of other vendors so you can tag them in your posts - they may just follow you or tag you back
Like Facebook, Instagram can work in two ways: direct advertising and brand advocacy. The first is a simple concept, but albeit can be difficult: you share your brand message and information through your own instagram account, including the right hashtags, hoping people will search these keywords and catch on to your business.
The second is where you leverage your existing social following to offer something they can’t refuse - share your page and receive a free product, or enter a competition for an incredible prize they actually want to win. The more you do this, the more your following will grow, and the more your followers will share your brand message without you asking them to.
Finally, there is paid advertising and the option to pay key influencers to publish a post that discretely sells your business at the same time.
The key things to getting it right on Instagram:
- Post beautifully framed and shot images
- Make it personal, sharing your brand message as well as some personal information
- Ask the professional photographer at the event (if there is one) to send you their photos
- Tag all of the businesses you work with on the event, eg. the hair and makeup artists, the florist, the caterers, the venue, the photographer and of course the hosts/couple
- Use appropriate hashtags for what is in the photos, including any groups or instagram accounts that are known to share inspiration in your field, eg. @weddingphotoinspiration, @weddingsofoz etc.
- Comment on the images of other profiles you like to get your name out there
- Ask people to follow you outside of Instagram - for example, when you meet clients face to face, other vendors you work with etc.
Is Pinterest not the home of visual inspiration online? Or perhaps we should ask, if you’re not on here, why the heck not? By posting professional quality photos of your styled events and hire equipment, and using the correct hashtags, descriptions and grouping images on related boards, you’re creating a pool of inspiration for people so swim in.
When looking online for inspiration, do you have a couple of go-to blogs you like to peruse for ideas? Most people do. You can create your own blog and fill it with ideas and inspiration, including your own styled shoots and real events, as well as inspiration pulled from elsewhere. The more content you have, the better the visual feast you can create for your readers.
You can also leverage already established blogs to your advantage. Try teaming up with other industry vendors to create a styled shoot and submit it to an industry specific blog, such as wedding blogs or corporate events blogs. Writing expert opinion posts for industry blogs is also a great way to spread your brand name and establish your profile as an industry leader - just be sure to include visually stunning images of your work to go with it.
Ok, so this one isn’t strictly online, but it’s closely related. Many magazines have an online component which will then lead readers to seek out the print edition. Publications that do this particularly well are wedding blogs/magazines. Hello May, an Australian based blog and magazine will publish real wedding features in their print edition, then a few months later publish it on their blog, encouraging readers to seek out more similar wedding features in the print issue. They’re one of the fastest growing print magazines in Australia, so it’s obviously working.
Magazine advertising is expensive and doesn’t always work, right?
Advertising in magazines can be hit and miss. However there is a way around it. Teaming up with other vendors - including photographers, florists, fashion designers and hair and makeup artists to create a styled shoot to submit to a magazine or blog is a great way of providing high quality content. What’s more, by showcasing your work you’re getting free advertising for your business!
When planning an event like a corporate party, wedding or a birthday celebration, many people will begin their search for inspiration and ideas online. By putting your company front and centre on the platforms they use, you’re advertising your business in the best way possible - by giving them free advice and inspiration. And who doesn’t want to get something they need and want for free?
Image via Mod Wedding