Instagram is inarguably a powerful social channel for the weddings industry (that's why we made it our business to become the number one bridal brand on Instagram with over 1 million followers!). And that's also why it's up to each and every one of us to learn and use Instagram like the pros we are. Read the list below and never be caught committing one these offenses again!
Photo via Instagram @misscrystaldinn
1. Instagram Offense: You brag too much.
We get it. How is anyone going to know that you [speak at events, travel to cool places, eat amazing food, wear the cutest clothes, go to amazing events, etc] if you don't post about them on Instagram, right? Yes and no. The key to posting content that your followers will love is to FIRST think about your audience. So do your followers really care about food and do you have the expertise to offer something new about food because you're a caterer? Great. If that's the case, post the photo. But post that photo with a thoughtful caption about the ingredients, the way it's plated or the suggested complementary cocktail (as opposed to, "look how delicious this is!" which adds little to no education). Same goes for speaking events. It's great to promote events that you'll be attending or speaking in and to tell your audience why it might be important to them. It's not great to simply post a photo of yourself speaking just because you want other people to see you speaking.
The Exception? If you've been hired for or were a part of a celebrity wedding, have been asked to speak on a national stage next to nationally renowned talent, will be on national TV, scored a book deal, etc, then brag away. Just make sure you're only doing it for the biggies that ideally come along once or twice a year max!
Photo via Instagram @jasmineraecakes (who, by the way, does a great job of using slideshows to show details!)
2. Instagram Offense: You're burying your content in slideshows.
It's great to embrace new features on social media and to try them out and experiment with them. It's not so great if you're using a social media feature just because you think you're supposed to. Such is the case with slideshows on Instagram. Instead of creating an Instagram slideshow of all the details from the latest wedding you worked on, skip the slideshow and pick out your favorite images from the day to post them as individual images in your feed. Why? For one, your followers are far less likely to see the photos in your slideshow than they are the photos in your feed. Two: If you're like most pros, you're always looking for new fresh content to post on Instagram. Don't let any of your precious photos go to waste with just one post when your favorite wedding could create 4 or 5 times the engagement if you posted the images separately.
The Exception? Details, details. If you want to show every little angle or detail from a particular creation (say a cake or centerpiece or table), slideshow away!
Photo via Instagram @kelseyelizabethcakes (a Cleveland-based cake baker and sweets maker!)
3. Instagram Offense: You're using grids.
Sorry not sorry. The grids have got to go. We're talking about the photos on Instagram that have been mashed up to combine two or three or more photos into one using a photo cropping or layout app. Why no grids? Grids make it difficult to see the subject of the photos because they require your images to be so small. Plus grids get less engagements (likes and comments) than individual photos. So for those of you who have posted them in the past, go through your feeds and archive those images so that they don't appear in your feed. And then get in the habit of choosing your hero shot and skipping the others (or put them on Instagram stories!).
The Exception? There is none! Ban the grids friends.
Photo via Instagram from our Miami workshop taken by the talented @katielopezphotography (who produces beautiful images that aren't overly edited!)
4. Instagram Offense: You're using funky filters and angles.
Ever heard someone say, it looks like the dress is wearing her? It's the same thing with overly edited images and photos with out-there angles posted to Instagram. They distract from the message you're trying to send, and the last thing you want to do is post an image that requires your followers to squint. Stick with the subtle filters or do a little manual brightening to your posts -- but stay far away from the heavy filters.
The Exception? If you're a photographer and the product you're selling is photography with a lot of funky angles and filters, then that makes sense for you. Otherwise, stick to the original images as much as possible!
Photo via Instagram @TheKnotPro regrammed from @gabbybernstein
5. Instagram Offense: You post when you feel like it.
Read this: If you're serious about connecting with couples and building a brand, then social media should be a part of your day job -- not an after-thought and not part of your I'll-get-to-it-eventually to-do list. Inconsistency sends a message that you're not taking your relationship with your followers very seriously. In today's climate, where couples are looking to connect with you via social media before they even pick up the phone to call you, you can't afford not to post consistently. Aim to post to your Instagram feed three to five times per week.
The Exception? If you're a one-woman (or man) show, and you're going through a major life event, give yourself permission to take a break or hire someone to help you do it in the short-term. Your profile is is important to building a great brand and connecting with the right couples but real life trumps your social media presence.
Photo via Instagram @CeciNewYork (who religiously uses hashtags like a boss!)
6. Instagram Offense: You never use hashtags.
Hash-tagging your images is like SEO for Instagram. So not to be a nag but if you're posting to Instagram and not using hashtags, you're only doing half the job. Your hashtags are the first and most important way to get your Instagram posts appearing in more feeds.
The Exception? On occasion, if you have a post that is about something super serious, sad or just extra-personal, then you don't need to add hashtags. In those unique cases, it should be more about telling your story than finding new followers.
Photo via Instagram @madisonsandersevents (an awesome KC wedding planner who always geo-tags her posts!)
7. Instagram Offense: You never geo-tag.
This is similar to the points above about tagging and hashtags. If you're not using geo-tags on your posts, you're not telling the full story and you're not giving your posts the opportunity to be discovered via map in Instagram. This is especially important for any photos you post that were taken at a venue (and paramount if you are a venue!).
The Exception? None! Even if you can't find the exact location the photo was taken, you should try to geo-tag your photo to a city, a neighborhood, or even a state.
Photo via Instagram @MarcyBlum (who always tags her fellow wedding pros in her images!)
8. Instagram Offense: You never tag anyone in your photos.
While it can be tricky to literally mention each and every wedding pro that worked on a wedding in the caption, you should absolutely tag all of them in the image. It's one of the very best ways to celebrate the community of pros you worked with and signal to future couples that that group of people are the types of businesses that you align yourself with. Powerful stuff!
The Exception? Unfortunately, not all wedding businesses have Instagram handles. If you have a favorite wedding pro that you like to work with, encourage them to get with it and start one.
Photo via Instagram @lovelifeimages (who never ever put graphics or watermarks on their images on social!)
9. Instagram Offense: You add graphics and watermarks to your images.
This may sound controversial to some, but graphics and watermarks on Instagram photos are a total no-no in our book. They don't perform as well (for follower growth and engagements) as photos that are left clean and un-touched. Images that have overlaid typeface will make your Instagram feed look messy and hard-to-see and can hurt follower growth.
The Exception? Inspirational quotes are the exception to the rule. If you want to add quotes into the mix of images in your feed to help connect better with your followers, that's ok. Just make sure the typeface and font match the story and brand image you're trying to create.
Photo via Instagram @danafernandezphoto (whose Instagram feed photos are always on point!)
10. Instagram Offense: You sometimes post photos that aren't the highest quality.
We know it can be really difficult to find an image that is high-quality, tells the right story, shows off your work, and let alone is timely. But you just can't afford to post an image to your Instagram feed that doesn't pop and look on brand for you. So when in doubt, don't post it. Instead, look for content in other places. You can always resurface photos from lower in your feed that you love. You could re-gram your favorite wedding pro and give them an extra special shout-out. You could even post a photo of your favorite wedding venue or centerpiece style. Anything goes so long as you're crediting everyone involved in the creation of the image (especially the photographer!).
The Exception? If it's the funniest photo or video you've ever seen and you know will make your followers laugh out loud, and you just don't have a better quality version of it, post it.
Want more? Yeah you do!