The Social Florist

Social Media and Weddings: A Complicated Relationship

Social media has had an enormous impact on virtually every aspect of the way we live, work, and play. One place where social media is huge: weddings. In today’s hyper-connected world, service providers such as photographers, hairdressers, and florists can post photos of the pre-wedding preparation before the bride even walks down the aisle (though they shouldn’t). Guests can upload their photos as they’re dancing the night away, too.

Social media has created an excellent marketing opportunity for florists, but it’s also created some potential landmines.

The Dos

Social media can actually be part of the discussion during your initial consultation with the happy couple. Talk to them about using hashtags when their wedding photos are posted to social media, whether it’s personalized for their event (#JimandPamforever) or something more broad (#Banffweddings). You can then use those hashtags in your own social media marketing efforts.

If the couple wants to have pictures posted on social media and have agreed on hashtags (more later on couples who are social media adverse), reach out to their wedding photographer and make sure he or she knows the social media handles too so the photo trail is easy to follow. Also ask that your shop be tagged in posts, so prospective clients see who’s responsible for the stunning floral designs.

Don’t be afraid to ask the bride or groom to tag you, as well. Satisfied clients will be happy to show off their big day. Most understand that sharing photos of your work (with tags) on social media serves as a referral to their many connections and will be happy to oblige.

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Social media marketing doesn’t stop even after the big day. As soon as possible after the wedding, create a shared album so the bride and groom have beautiful, close-up pictures of their wedding flowers.

The Don’ts

While millennials are notorious for living their entire lives on social media, there are some couples who don’t fit into that mold. In fact, they want to keep their big day private. This trend is known as “unplugged weddings.”

How does a florist eager to promote his or her shop on social media deal with a situation like this? The first step is to determine the couple’s wishes well in advance of the wedding day and clarify what exactly they require. For instance, some couples just want to avoid having people disrupt the wedding ceremony with their photo taking and simply ask that people hold off until the reception. Others, perhaps, don’t care if you post behind-the-scene shots during your setup—so long as you don’t identify their wedding.

Again, you can avoid any embarrassment or anger by talking to the couple about their preferences during your initial consultation.
Even if the couple is perfectly willing to post photos throughout the entire event, there are some common sense rules you should follow. For starters, don’t tag the bride or groom in your photos without permission. Second, don’t post pictures before the ceremony starts—it spoils some of the big moments of the day, such as the bride’s ceremonial walk down the aisle.

Social Media Marketing Savvy: A Real Life Example

Shannon Chavez-Perteet is a second-generation florist and the owner of Shannon Loves Flowers in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Chavez-Perteet is well aware of the social media marketing opportunities that weddings present, and has tailored the way she deals with clients accordingly. The florist stipulates in her contract that she is allowed to take photos of her arrangements.
Chavez-Perteet decided to include this because it gives her the freedom to market herself to potential clients. Customers haven’t been scared off by her contract, either. “Couples feel a sense of comfort by signing a contract,” she said. “The contract benefits both parties.”

The Albuquerque florist hasn’t included any more rigid stipulations, such as ownership of her photos or requirements that the couple credit her in photos they share of her designs. Couples can’t access her photos unless she shares them, so no one’s stealing her images. Plus, photo tagging happens organically. Her clients are proud to say they’ve used her services and instinctively tag her in their wedding photos.
Social media is still evolving, and its use at weddings (including the wedding planning process and the post-wedding wrap-up) shows no signs of stopping. It’s good business sense to embrace it. However, don’t abandon common sense or courtesy—that will cost you customers.

Rachel Levy Sarfin
Rachel Levy Sarfin is a Toronto-based freelancer who has written about technology for a variety of publications and blogs.
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