What happens when you go viral? Well, Elisabeth had an Instagram post hit the jackpot, and received 3,700 likes and 212 comments within 3 days (INSANE!). Today she’s chatting about this exciting and overwhelming experience and how she responded to all the feedback she received. Plus, Cami and Elisabeth are digging deep into the new phenomenon known as the wedding boom. Listen in as they uncover what the heck it even is and how you can set yourself up for success as the wedding industry begins to explode – like Elisabeth’s post! 😉
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The Viral Instagram post and why Elisabeth posted it in the first place
The way that this came about is because I was in my craziest week of the year when it came to invitation suite assembly and just getting things out the door I had only had. A couple of clients postponed from 2020. And I had only had a couple clients booked for that year.
But between when they had postponed the timing of their suites going out, and then me doing my brother’s invitation suite, they all fell on the same week. Like this is like no joke. I was just so in over my head, I had that week and it kind of gave me this bite size glimpse of. If I’ve been doing this for a week, I know that a lot of my other friends who are vendors in the industry, this is what their entire year has looked like.
Like they haven’t been able to stop for it. A single second. Because they just have clients back to back to back. And I was starting to talk to more and more people where, you know, we’re just seeing a lot of Instagram stories from stationers who are talking about things that are going wrong, who are talking about the importance of planning ahead.
And I think I got it. Really fed up and frustrated with the fact that it’s like talking to your own bubble phenomenon, right? Like you’re talking to a bunch of people on social media who already agree with you and already sympathize with you. SoI made a story that day on my professional account. And I was not like calling people out because I wasn’t being mean, it was just kinda like short and brief where I was like, look, if we want to inform people of what’s happening in the industry, then be talking to your friends, be posting on your personal Instagram account pages to let people know what’s going on because all of us just getting like hyped and angsty about it within our own professional bubble, isn’t really.
Yeah, we all know what’s going on. The people who are ordering from us who don’t know what’s going on. So brilliant little me, I did a Instagram post at first, it was an Instagram story where I wrote, you know, my little brief, tiny thing. I’ll have to pull it up here to even remember exactly what it says.
And then I was like, no, you know what I mean? I’m going to do even better. I’m going to take my own advice because I’m going to screenshot the story and I’m going to post it on my personal Instagram feeds. So, you know, it was like in my stories first, but then I took it and made it into a post on my phone.
Well, what I didn’t expect was that then like the next three days, it had thousands of shares on Instagram stories. It ended up with 3,700 likes. Um, guys, my personal account normally has like 40, 40 to 70 likes per photo, just to put this in context for you. Um, just like how much more attention this post got and then like 212 comments or something like that.
Let’s dive into some feedback in the comments and what we can take away from them
So this person who commented, I’m not using any names, is I’m assuming this was someone who is planning their own wedding, like someone who’s not a vendor. And they said, what would have been helpful? Is that vendors who have calendar availability or a more streamlined way to respond to inquiries in preparation of this inevitable situation, pricing, at least starting out on their websites as to not bother those potentially out of their budgets, clear portfolios.
So not just Instagram or Facebook pages.dot dot, event planning during code with vendors has not been easy. So I think this person is planning their own wedding and they were. Basically talking about how certain practices within our industry make their life harder. I mean, yeah. Even like the craziness of everything or not.
I mean, this is just good feedback in general, just like, how can you streamline it to make it easy for someone to book with you and make sure they can afford you or, you know, get your services out there and why that makes sense. Yes. And I had to totally agree with the, like, starting at pricing, especially in a time like this.I know that like sales principle for luxury markets and some of the wedding things that we’ve been taught all along is like, don’t put pricing up because you want to at least just start the conversation. That’s not the situation that’s going on currently. Like you don’t want to waste your own time and you don’t want to waste someone else’s time.
when things are already hectic.
So I think that’s something to consider. And like Cammie said, having very clear websites, clear portfolio images. You know, that you’re, that you’re marketing and advertising yourself correctly is just really important. So take into consideration, like not only how we are feeling as vendors, but how someone’s feeling when they plan their wedding in the midst of all of this is.
You know, your senses are already heightened well for wedding planning. So I can only imagine it’s like extra, like it’s going to be, it’s extra hard for them. It’s extra hard for us. So how can we show up and make it a little bit easier for our clients, which also in turn makes it easier for us. So when win-win everybody all the way around.
Yes, exactly. Then there was another comment that I’ll quote directly. Um, where someone said I’m not involved in the wedding industry, but when I booked my 2018 wedding, I had to book vendors well in advance anyways, at least a year, I think, depending on where you are and what season you’re looking to have your wedding, most vendors book a year in advance anyways.
And I was like, oh my gosh. Yes, you are absolutely correct that in normal times, it is smart anyway, to be thinking kind of a year in advance for your wedding day. And so I think that put even more emphasis on the point of why it’s important to be thinking earlier now, because things are not normal in a normal circumstances, you would need to have enough time, like a year anyways, though, I will say like my brother and his fiance had been planning their wedding and four months this year, they are somehow doing it.
They’re somehow pulling it together. So does not impossible. Right? Not impossible. Nothing’s impossible can be done. Impossible. It can be done. It just might make your life a little harder. Especially, like, I think my biggest emphasis was like, especially if you have your eye on someone specific, like the vendors that you’ve fallen in love with, be it a planner or a photographer or whatever.
Some people are like, they just want someone who does a good job. And that is what will make them very happy on their wedding day. But some people are really zoned in on like, oh, I have to have this invitation or. I have to have this photographer or, you know, whatever it may be.
Like obviously a year is typically enough time, but now it might be like two years because people are still catching up from weddings that were booked a year, two years ago.So, I mean, yes, a year is usually plenty of time, but now you probably need more.
and the last point in terms of feedback and comments that I was receiving from people is that one vendor commented, left a pretty decently sized comment about the fact that my post is scaring people into booking.
Although I was kind of cracking up because he also shared it to his stories. Like even though his opinion was quote unquote contrarian to mine. Um, and the fact that he didn’t like my methods, he still shared it with everyone who is following him still saw it. So at the end of the day, I was like, you still contributed to something you didn’t want to contribute to. So I was kind of cracking up about that.
Why she added an edit in my caption after the first-ish day or so (and why I was considering making my account private at one point so people couldn’t share it anymore)
So I added an edit to the post later because originally the caption was very simple.It was like two seconds. My original caption was posts are easier to share than stories, friendly, PSA, to all y’all, who aren’t in the industry and know friends and family planning, a wedding Winky face, and then like emoji with the sunglasses on that’s like literally the original caption and then emoji was sunglasses, obviously obvious.
So then I added this edit where I was. Totally didn’t expect this to blow up the way it did. First off, some vendors may not have their books open or diaries at all right now. And that’s just the reality, right? They are trying to serve their current clients. Well before thinking about new bookings, second, this post may have come across panicky, but in general, my intent was to inform people what is happening and that it is very real.
So please continue to be kind and patient with one another. It’s the domino effect of 2020 hits this year and the next couple of years. Heart emoji. That is all exclamation point. So that even my edit did not please that one gentleman who was unhappy with my tactics and, and that is fine. Have a seat, please have a seat.
You know, I still like learned some valuable lessons and he was like, I think there’s a better, I think there’s like ways to tell people or inform them differently without inciting panic. And I was like, please feel free, feel free to share. You know, I am open to ideas, um, how we do this. So I had some friends, part of the reason I added this edit is cause I had friends one in particular, reach out to me and say that inquiries spiked.
The week that I made this post, this is like, not even a joke. I don’t know if that’s just coincidence or just, you know, and it just happened that way, but it did happen. And apparently like she had people referencing my post in their emails to her because they were essentially being like, I saw something that said I had to book my favorite people.
Now. She was like, Ooh, I’m pretty sure they saw Elizabeth. And so she’s actually one of those people who don’t even have their books open at this time. And so she was like, that was interesting for me to have to handle, to be like, no, sorry, you know, which they’ve already been turning people away as it was.
It was just that they have to turn more people away that week. And so that was something that. I thought it was really important to add, right. For some context like, Hey, some people might not be booking yet for 20, 22 or most likely not for 20, 23. Right? Like, because that’s pretty far out. So people might not be booking for that if they’re trying to get their bearings from the craziness of this year before thinking into the future.
And to be honest, if you’re one of those people, I actually think that’s a super smart strategy to not be booking. 2023, right this minute. And that it’s okay to have your books close for a certain amount of time. And we’re going to talk about the reasons for that a little bit later.
So what the heck is the wedding boom?
Okay, so because everything got postponed into 2020 postponements are still happening there are shortages all over the place of everything. We can only take on so many clients. So a lot of people are like double stack this year and possibly could be double stack next year based on postponement. So there’s going to be this huge wedding boom of the double stacked clients coming in as well.
Also, there are people who are finally deciding, okay we can finally get married, let’s start planning it now. So it’s like triple stacked, if you will. So it’s all starting to come back. Weddings are definitely starting to come back as well. I just saw an article yesterday saying like 20, 22 was going to be like the biggest year for weddings and like a really long time.
So, I mean, there’s just so many different factors coming into play, but what it leads to is that people are looking for vendors, vendors are already booked. And so it’s just like a whole rollercoaster from there.
Now, you might be asking, “What if I’m not booked at all for 2022?” If this sounds like you, here’s what we suggest:
So I, now I know that there are a bunch of you listening and they’re like, but Cammie and Elizabeth, what if I’m not booked at all for 2022? So this was something that was also in terms of like emotional feedback for me. Like, I don’t like making anyone feel bad.
Right. That’s like never what I want to do. And I did have some friends reach out to me personally to say that the post did make them feel. A little vulnerable or insecure. Maybe they didn’t use those words, but you know, it’s still, it’s still a Vokes that feeling because they’re not booked at all in 2022.
So they’re like, well, what am I doing wrong? Like everyone else who’s sharing this book or sharing this sentiment or not book sharing this post, sharing the sentiment. Like they’re all booked up and I’m not sure. Booked right now. So like what the heck? Like, what am I doing wrong? Yeah. And to that, I say, this is your greatest advantage at the current time.
Like, yes, you should celebrate the fact that you have openings next year, because the demand is so high. I think will give people more of a chance than ever to grow their wedding businesses, to book clients with really cool projects that they really love because so many people are about to be planning weddings.
So don’t think of this as a disadvantage. I actually think you are at an advantage at this point because of the demand and we will also dive into. A couple of those reasons. So what should you be doing at this time? If you’re not booked in 2022 and you have room to book people be shouting it to the rooftops.
This is not a joke you need to be letting people know that you are open and happy and excited to work with them and super qualified and good at what you do. So I would suggest starting by reaching out to other vendors that you’ve been wanting to work with, this is most likely probably planners. If you’re a stationer or fellow stationers who are, you know, have their calendars filled up and let them know that you have availability for custom invitations next year.
Or whatever it is, you’re offering, send them your pricing guide or your stationary guide or client guide, whatever resource you have that you can share with them. The important thing about this is to keep these emails stupid, simple, do not write novels to people. No one has time to read it right now. So just if you were ever right, or ever, if you just reach out to them, you’re like, Hey, my name is so-and-so my businesses.
This. I’ve admired your work for a really long time. And I want to let you know, I have openings for some key dates in 2022. If you’re looking for anyone to help your clients with invitations, boom done, that is like it. Here is my client guide. I would be happy for you to take a look. Maybe we can schedule a call.
I don’t know if people even have time for that, to be honest, but you could extend that, that offering, if you want to just be putting your name out there because. You want to plant the seed, right? Because say that they do end up having a client and they’re panicking. They can’t find a person. Maybe there’ll be like, oh, Hey, there was that one person who emailed me about availability.
I’m going to go back and check out and see what they were and take an additional look at their work. And, you know, things like that. And then doing this as well with friends you have, who are stationers, like your friends honestly can be your biggest asset. Like friends in the industry. I send work to peers all the time because I am not taking on as many invitations.
I don’t even have invitations right now, which is kind of amazing. And I am constantly referring people out who can do that type of work.
Yeah, same here. I refer people. I refer like three people a week. I’m sending referrals all the time. I’m like my website is just a funnel for other people, which is great.
So yeah, you got to like make those connections and reach out, but like make sure who, whoever is your, you would like to get referrals from, or obviously it make sure that they’re booked and they’re not just trying to like accept new inquiries, but also that you have a similar style and that would be a good fit.
You could reach out and say something like, “ Hey, I know you’re working with other clients. Like who’d also do watercolor. Like I love to be your referral person or whatever.” So make sure you have the similar vibe because they’re not gonna want to send their clients to you. If you’re completely different. Like I’m not going to send clients who come to me, two people.
Who are letterpress printers because the people who come to me want watercolor like 99% of the time. Exactly. Exactly. This is all about being intentional. So not emailing anybody and everybody under the sun, emailing people that you think would genuinely be a good fit for you.
Why not being booked into 2022 (or 2023) right now also puts you at an advantage
I think we tend to view things through like rose tinted glasses or we like to look at people and say,oh my gosh, they’re almost fully booked for 2022.
Like, they’re so lucky. I want that. Let’s just take a second to say, why not being booked into 2022 or 2023 right now puts you at an advantage. And this is not to like, obviously not to guilt trip. People who are fully booked because that’s obviously a good thing for you because you don’t even have to worry about booking new people right now.
But I do think that there is something to be said about the fact that not being booked that far in advance right now could actually help. And that is because we are starting to see more and more emails from our vendors and our printers when they are telling us that they are adjusting and raising their pricing.
So inflation and pricing and products are happening. Like I said, in the Instagram posts. The supply chain has been totally messed up from the pandemic. And so, you need to be adjusting your pricing behind the scenes to account for higher costs of shipping and higher costs of paper. That’s harder to get, um, prices for other things that are starting to go up.
You have a chance to actually adjust for this because you’re not being paid at your 2019 rate. And I know that sounds insane, but it is true because this is happening to quite a few people. And I think especially photographers that I’ve heard talk about this a lot are booking clients in 2019 for 2020 weddings.And many of those clients have postponed multiple times. Some of them even into 2022. And if that is not. A pricing structure. Nightmare, then I don’t know what is.