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  • The 101 of Instagram Reels and your Wedding Business

    How to use Instagram Reels

    The question you should be asking isn’t will you use Instagram Reels in your wedding business, but when.

    I know, I know, it feels like every time you wake up in the morning there’s a new social media ‘thing’ you have to add to your list.

    There’s Facebook Pages, Groups, Lives, Instagram Feed, Instagram Stories, IGTV, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok…and now we have Reels.

    When will it stop?

    Trust me I feel your pain. And I know from speaking to lots of wedding pros globally that not many of you are using reels yet.

    Why?

    Because you just aren’t sure what it is. What the difference is between Reels and Stories. Where IGTV fits into it all. Or how on earth you actually get started.

    Well today, I’m going to break that down for you.

    What’s the difference between Reels and Stories?

    So first up we need to tackle the difference between two of Instagram’s own features because I think this is where a lot of the confusion lies.

    The biggest difference between the two is that Stories disappears after 24 hours. Yes, you can save them to your Stories highlights afterwards but nobody really watches highlights. Reels on the other hand have their own spot on your profile and are there permanently, or until you delete them.

    I want you to think of Reels as a micro commercial for your wedding business.

    Stories are something you do in the moment. They’re not particularly produced, they show a behind-the-scenes view of your life, the bits you want to show, and you mix it up with personal and business.

    So on Stories I share things about my life in France, my gorgeous border collie Lottie, my love of drinking bubbles in the hot tub and how my hubby cooks me gorgeous meals.

    Now I’m not going to share that stuff on Reels. Why? Because as fun as that is it doesn’t tell people anything about my business.

    Reels is your opportunity to create your own TV commercial. It sits on your profile, as I said, right next to your grid, IGTV if you use it and your tagged pictures.

    Instagram Reels for Wedding Planners

    Secondly, and very importantly, you can’t edit an Instagram Story within the app. You can upload a video and add some music, but you can’t actually add text, move text, add voice overlays or handwaves directly into your video. You can add gifs, polls questions etc. but you can’t edit the actual video.

    With Reels you’re getting a mini editing platform complete with audio, effects, speed and timer. Now that might sound daunting, but I promise it’s not.

    What Reels is doing is giving you, the amateur videographer, an opportunity to create video for your business on a platform where you get exposure.

    How long are Reels versus Stories and IGTV?

    So next up we need to look at the timing of everything. So currently, on Reels you can record up to 30 seconds. It started at 15 seconds, but they’ve now upped it to 30.

    At the time of writing this post Instagram isn’t playing nicely and some accounts don’t have access to this or the music feature. There is no obvious reason as to why and no workaround yet either.

    On Instagram Stories you can upload a video of up to 60 seconds which Instagram will then splice into 4 videos of 15 seconds each.

    IGTV on the other hand is anything over 60 seconds in length. This is where you create video series and dive into mini tutorials and that type of thing.

    What should I spend my time on?

    In all honesty, like everything I talk about, this comes down to your ideal client. What do they consume? Where do they spend their time?

    If your clients are spending large amounts of time on TikTok then that’s where you should be. But if they’re filling their time watching Stories and flicking through Instagram for inspiration then that’s where you want to do be.

    The big thing to remember here is that right now Reels is still the new kid on the block, so Instagram is rewarding those jumping on it. The algorithm loves Reels.

    At the moment Instagram wants to showcase Reels so users start to embrace them. This means the algorithm is favouring Reels.

    Like with any other platform early adopters get rewarded. And as I said at the start, not many wedding pros are using it so it’s an opportunity.

    What should you post on Reels?

    What to create is the thing that stops most people. So I want to give you an easy way to think about this. Your Reels need to do one of three things:

    • Educate
    • Entertain
    • Inspire

    Like I said earlier Reels are the equivalent of a 30 second TV Commercial and you need to get people’s attention with them.

    So let’s take these one by one.

    Educate

    One of the things Reels is perfect for is quick and easy tips. This showcases you as an expert but can be fun and helpful at the same time.

    This is where your blog posts come in handy. Let’s say you have a blog post called ‘5 Steps to Securing Your Perfect Wedding Venue’. This could be broken down really easily into a Reel. I’ll show you how in a minute.

    Entertain

    Sometimes you have to be willing to make an idiot of yourself. People love to be entertained on social media. There’s a reason we love watching silly YouTube videos of people doing ridiculous things.

    Reels is a chance to use this to your advantage to showcase your personality. But it still has to relate to your business.

    Now it’s no secret that I love musicals, so I used a song from the Sound of Music to talk about what I do for my clients. I used a clip from ‘I have confidence’ and lip synched. Did I feel silly? YES! Did it get over 1K views in less than 24 hours. YES IT DID.


    Inspire

    Use Reels as an opportunity to inspire your audience about what you do. You’re in the wedding industry so talk about it. What’s it like to be a wedding planner, floral designer, wedding photographer, makeup artist, cake maker etc.? Inspire people about what you do and get them to visualise you being a part of their wedding.

    You could do ‘A Day in the Life of a Wedding Planner’ or ‘Getting Ready for the Flower Market’ or ‘How I edit your Wedding Photos’. This list is endless.

    Storyboard out your Reels

    Ok so hear me out here. I never said Reels were going to be quick, but I did say they could be effective. Like anything you create for your business you need to put thought behind it.

    Whenever I create a video for my business of any type I storyboard it out, just like I would with the design of a wedding.

    So let’s take the first idea using the blog post. Now you have two options with Reels they can either be 15 seconds or 30 seconds. When you’re first starting out I suggest going with 15 seconds as 30 is actually quite a lot of work.

    So first things first. Break your content down into 3 second shots as part of your storyboard.

    It might look something like this:

    • First clip – quick intro to the topic. This could be you smiling directly into the camera and nothing more because you can add in the text afterwards at editing stage
    • Second clip – Tip 1. Check the Fine Print. This could be you stood looking at a piece of paper, that looks like it could be a contract. You’ll add in the text with the tip in later.
    • Third clip – Tip 2. Know the Costs. Perhaps you could look directly into the camera counting off on your fingers, so it looks like you’re calculating costs. Maybe you could use a calculator as a prop. Again, you’ll add in the text with the tip later. In fact, you’ll do that with all of these so I won’t keep repeating myself.
    • Fourth clip – Tip 3. What’s the Capacity? Maybe here you could look directly into the camera with an expression that is questioning and then at editing stage add in a gif of people along with the text.
    • Fifth Clip – Tip 4. Visit your venue. This could be you holding a clipboard ticking things off
    • Sixth Clip – Tip 5. Take lots of photos. Either use a camera or your phone as a prop.

    See how easy it is when you storyboard out your clips? It makes filming your content so much easier.

    Filming your Reels

    The best bit about Reels is you don’t need to speak on camera if you don’t want too. Depending on the type of Reel you’re doing you can simply choose some music, stand in front of the camera and point in different places. I’m sure you’ve seen those types of Reels before.

    Using the example of the wedding venue you’re going to be using 6 shots of 3 seconds each in length. So you need to decide where you want to film each one. It might be that you’re stood in front of the camera for each one but you bring in different props for each shot.

    Whatever you decide to do you are literally filming these on your smartphone. If you don’t have a stand for your phone you might need to get someone to film for you. I use my RING LIGHT because it helps with lighting and holds my phone for me.

    Ring Light for Instagram Reels

    As part of the storyboarding process you’ll have decided where you’re shooting each 3 second shot so it’s case of setting up the shot and just doing it.

    Filming Steps

    1. Chose the length of the Reel. Are you going for 15 or 30 seconds?
    2. Choose your music. It’s always easier to do this first so you can have it playing through each shot. Once you’ve chosen your music you can decide which part of the song you want to play by dragging the soundwave backwards and forwards.
    3. Set the timer for your first 3 second clip. The cool thing about this is that each time you shoot it deducts that time off the final 15 or 30 seconds. However, you need to shoot each clip in order otherwise it will be out of synch.
    4. Set up your first shot. Make sure you have good lighting and you know what you’re going to say.
    5. Hit record. That’s the little clapperboard icon at the bottom of the screen in the middle. It will give you either a 3 or 10 second countdown, you can choose which, and then you film your 3 second shot.
    6. Trim, delete or save your clip. Once your 3 seconds is up you can choose to bin it and start again, trim it or save it and move onto the next clip.
    7. Now it’s time to edit. This is where the fun part begins. Once you’ve shot your 6 x 3 second clips you can add in text so it appears exactly where and when you want it to within your video. You can also draw and add gifs as you would in Stories, but again you choose at what point in the video you want them to appear.
    8. Publish or save to Drafts. You have the option to publish straight away or save to drafts. You’ll find your drafts in the Reels tab on your profile. I like to batch my content so I created 4 Reels and saved 3 of them to drafts to publish at a later date.

    Hitting Publish

    So once you’ve created your masterpiece you’re going to want to get it out there. Once you’re happy with your editing you just click the white arrow icon in the bottom right hand corner. You can then write a caption letting people know what your Reel is all about. Remember to use some hashtags to help you get found. You can also choose the cover for your Reel by creating one in something like Canva or choosing a frame from the Reel itself.

    When you’re happy with the cover and caption it’s time to hit the Share button. Remember though, if you want to get found you need to share it to Reels first so it appears in Reels Explore. It will automatically save it to the Reels tab on your profile if you do this. You can then choose to share it to your Stories at a later date.

    I don’t recommend sharing to Stories first as it won’t show up in Reels.

    So now it’s your turn. I’m all about taking action so rather than just reading this and thinking ‘I’ll do this another day’, I want you to come up with an idea for your first Reel. But don’t stop there. I want you to:

    1. Brainstorm your Reel idea
    2. Storyboard it out
    3. Shoot your clips
    4. Post to Reels
    5. DM me with your Reel @kyliecarlson.co

    IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW TO CREATE GREAT VIDEOS THEN YOU’LL LOVE THIS >>>

    And don’t forget to pin this infographic on Pinterest.

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  • How to Create a Sales Funnel for Your Wedding Business

    Have you ever wondered how to create a sales funnel? Do you know what a sales funnel is? Well hold on tight as you’re about to go on the journey of the sales funnel as it pertains to your wedding business.

    In a previous post I’ve talked to you about Lead Magnets and how important they are in whole nurturing process for building the know, like, trust factor. I gave you some ideas for 5 Irresistible Lead Magnets for Your Ideal Couple.

    If you need a quick refresher a lead magnet is something of value you offer your potential client for free. It should solve a problem or challenge they face in the planning of their wedding.

    And it can be anything from a series of ‘how to videos’ to an easy to use checklist.

    The key with any lead magnet is that it’s not about you it’s about them.

    Always ask the question, what’s in it for them? What will they get out of this freebie?

    Remember, now is not the time to force your product or service down their throat. Instead it’s a time to give value.

    Today we’re going to look at what happens once someone signs up for your lead magnet. What do they receive and how does it all work? Where do they go?

    This is where your Sales Funnel comes in.

    Not a sexy sounding phrase I know. But trust me when I say it’s powerful. Or it can be when you know what to do with it.

    There’s nothing complicated, technical or difficult in understanding your sales funnel. In fact, you probably already have one in some shape or form.

    Quite simply a Sales Funnel is a journey your ideal couple go on when they enter your world.

    From the minute they give you their name and email address they go into your Sales Funnel. They receive a series of emails that are all leading them towards one thing, two buy from you or book you.

    But the key to converting more bookings or sales is understanding how your Sales Funnel works, evaluating the process and making it more effective.

    What are the stages of a Sales Funnel?

    There are four main stages to the Sales Funnel:

    1. Awareness
    2. Interest
    3. Desire
    4. Action

    At the very top of your funnel your couples are in the awareness phase. This is where they’ve just come across you, probably your competitors as well, and they’re doing their research.

    But let’s take it back a step for a minute…

    How did they get to be in the Awareness Stage?

    In other words, how did they find you in the first place?

    The first stage in getting clients is finding them and connecting with them. So it’s really important to understand who they are and how they found you.

    There are numerous ways this could happen and most likely they’ll find you online. Maybe they found you on social, or possibly through a Google search. Maybe you had a great real wedding featured on a blog, or even a styled shoot? It might even have been a referral from a vendor partner.

    Wherever they came from you want to know. You want to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. And this is where Google Analytics comes in. Make sure it’s installed on your site and pay attention to what it’s telling you.

    The Interest Phase

    This is important because it’s your chance to really shine. If I think of this as a dating analogy it’s the wooing phase. They’ve seen you online and they’ve swiped right on your profile and shown they’re aware of you. Now you’ve got to keep them interested.

    Don’t be too forward but give them enough to whet their appetite leaving them wanting more.

    The Desire Phase

    In the desire phase you’ve moved from casually dating to exclusive. They start to want you and nobody else. This is the sweet spot of the Sales Funnel but it’s not a foregone conclusion. You still have to work for it. We not at the sweatpants stage just yet.

    The Action Stage

    Finally, we have the stage you’ve been working towards, the action stage. This is where you’ve got a commitment from them. It’s not marriage but it’s a definite commitment.

    Now what you have to remember is that one lead magnet on its own isn’t going to take them from Awareness stage straight to Action stage. Neither is one social media post, one video or one advert they’ve seen. It’s going to take more than that.

    They need nurturing.

    Now this sounds like hard work but it’s not. This is where the automation side of it comes in. And whilst there’s some definite work involved in setting it up once it’s done it’s working for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    So how does it work?

    Well, remember that lead magnet we talked about? That thing of value that solves a problem for your ideal couple. There has to be a way for your ideal client to ‘sign up’ for your freebie. A way for them to give you their name and email address.

    Usually, this will be a page on your website called a landing page. Normally, they’ll be a form embedded onto the page that captures that info. Once they’ve entered their information they’re taken to a Thank You Page. This will usually have instructions on how to download or get their freebie and possibly another CTA.

    What we’re interested in is what happens behind the scenes with that form. Where has their information gone and what happens from there?

    This is where you’ll need a CRM for managing your emails and transferring information from the form to somewhere you can actually use it. There’s many on the market and our top pick would be Flo Desk for creatives, although we’ve also used Constant Contact and currently use Active Campaign.

    Once you have your CRM connected to your website you can set it so it will automatically pull the information from the form into the CRM. The steps would look something like this:

    1. Your CRM imports the information from the form into a mailing list for that specific lead magnet
    2. The form will also add a tag to your contact which in turn triggers something called an automation
    3. Once in the automation the lead will receive an immediate automated email which deliver the lead magnet
    4. Once the lead magnet has been delivered the lead will then enter a drip campaign where they receive a series of nurture emails set to go out at specific intervals.

    The Automated Email Sequence

    Now we’ve set up an automated email sequence, or drip campaign. This is where the autopilot part comes in.

    When your ideal couple enter your funnel they’re likely to be in the Awareness stage right at the top of the funnel. As we said earlier, they’ll be loking for information on your particular niche area in the wedding industry. They’ll be on the lookout for helpful information that’s going to move them forward. This is where your emails come in.

    Just delivering them a freebie isn’t going to take them from Awareness to Action. You have to nurture them and build that all important know, like, trust factor.

    The lead you’ve attracted with your magnet is most likely in the Awareness stage of the funnel. They’re browsing around right now looking for more information.

    Bestselling author Bob Burg says;

    All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”

    This is so true. Your couple need to build up their faith in you, your abilities, your knowledge and of course your personality. The know, like, trust factor completely mirrors the journey of Awareness to Interest to Desire.

    Someone’s Inbox is a very personal place to be. It’s the place you can have more intimate conversations. Where you can really talk to your ideal client. This is where the power of email comes in.

    The Email Content

    I want you to sit down and think about the content you can produce for around 5-6 emails. These emails will be part of the drip campaign automation I mentioned earlier. They’ll take your ideal client through the 4 steps of the Sales Funnel.

    Once you’ve written them anyone who signs up for your freebie will go through this series of emails automatically. You only have to do the hard work once.

    But what should these emails be about?

    These emails need to very real, authentic and raw. Tell them about the ‘why’ behind what you do. Remember, as Simon Sinek famously said:

    People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.

    Share the reasons why you love your specific niche and how you’re connected to it.

    Don’t say I love planning wedding because I love to see people’s dreams come true or the expression on their face on the wedding day. Every other wedding planner says the same thing.

    Dig deep. Go as deep as you can. Connect on an emotional level. I tell people the story about how as a little girl I used to use my Mum’s net curtains as a veil and play weddings with my dolls. I also tell them about how I used to set the table for all the dinner parties my Mum had when I was growing up. I’d spend hours pulling out the china, folding the napkins, picking flowers from the garden and making the room look amazing. Weddings are in my blood.

    Don’t be like every other wedding pro out there, be you. Tell them your story. Connect with them.

    As they move into the Interest stage dial things up a notch. Talk about a client you loved working with and how you emotionally connected. Tell a personal story you know they’ll relate to.

    Ultimately, this is the time to be uniquely you. Remember the attract and repel method. This is when you want to attract the people that are your ideal couples and repel the ones that aren’t. Don’t worry about turning people off because you will. You want to turn off the people that don’t get you and aren’t part of your tribe.

    For all the people you repel you’ll attract more of the right ones, the ones you want to work with.

    So we’ve been through the ‘getting to know you stage’, we’ve got them to ‘like you’ and now we move into the Desire stage where we need them to ‘trust’ you.

    You need to showcase your expertise and knowledge and your level of professionalism. This is the perfect time to share social proof, testimonials or reviews. They need to know that by hiring you or buying your product they’re not throwing their money away.

    THEY NEED TO TRUST IN YOU

    Show them how their trust in you is warranted. Paint the picture of their wedding that has you as part of it. Show them how you’re a non-negotiable part of the day.

    As we enter this final part of the Sales Funnel, the Action stage, they should be ready to take that next step. For some that might be booking a consultation, it might be inputting their credit card details on your site, or it might be visiting their showroom. There are numerous options.

    But now is the time to be brave and ask for what it is you want them to do. They aren’t mind readers and they don’t know what you want them to do next, so you have to tell them.

    • Ask for that consultation
    • Give them a reason to hit ‘Buy Now’
    • Invite them to view the linens in your showroom

    For me, this is where I ask my ideal clients to get on a call with one of our mentors to talk about their career options and how the Wedding Academy can help them.

    Your CTA will be unique to you but you need to put it out there if you want someone to act.

    If you want some ideas I shared the titles of the 6 emails in my nurture campaign and I listed them in this blog post, How to Grow Your Wedding Business with Email Marketing.

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  • How to Get More Clients for your Wedding Business

    Get More Clients for your Wedding Business

    You’ve launched your business but there’s nobody emailing to book a consultation or block out a date in your diary. To put it simply, you need to get more clients for your wedding business.

    Sound familiar?

    I hear you. When I first started my wedding planning business I didn’t have a clue where to start.

    I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea what I was doing.

    Pricing was a figure you just plucked out of the air and I had no idea how to promote myself.

    I certainly didn’t know who my ‘ideal client’ was in fact, I didn’t know what an ‘ideal client’ even was.

    There were no courses available on running a successful wedding business, so it was sink or swim time.

    I’m hoping that if you’re reading this then you’re serious about your wedding business and you’re ready to take it from a hobby to a profitable business that pays the bills.

    I’m giving you 3 actionable steps, plus a little bonus, you can take right now to move your business forward and start filling your diary with wedding clients.

    No 1 – Create your Brand Story

    A logo is only one small part of your brand. In today’s social media driven world we all want to know the person behind the brand. We want to know their story, their values and what drives their business.

    And this has never been truer than in the wedding industry where we work with people on such a personal level.

    Your bridal couples want to know why you do what you do.

    “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” – Simon Sinek

    People connect with stories and your ideal clients want to be able to connect with you.

    They want to have that moment of clarity where they think ‘OMG she really gets me. It’s like she’s inside my head.’

    How can they have that moment if they don’t know your brand story?

    Create that emotional connection and avoid stereotypical copy such as ‘We create amazing weddings for the discerning bride’.

    For a start who is we? If you’re a solo wedding planner tell your story in the first person. Make it real and build that connection.

    Secondly, every wedding planner is going to claim they create amazing weddings. There’s nothing distinctive in that. Nothing to set you apart and make it uniquely you.

    Instead try niching down and being specific but still telling the personal story. ‘I work with contemporary couples looking to disrupt the wedding status quo and do things their way.’

    See the difference?

    Take a look at your website and I mean really look. Don’t do a ‘kid surface look’ go deep and analyse it.

    Is your story on there? Does it read well? Would it make you want to book a consultation?

    No 2 – Design your Client Experience

    A client experience is the journey your clients go on with you from the first touch point to when your client is celebrating their first wedding anniversary.

    It’s this that you can really own. Nobody else can create a client experience the same as yours. It’s unique to you.

    Your client experience should under promise and over deliver and give your clients a reason to shout about you, tell their friends about their incredible experience with you and leave you fantastic reviews.

    There’s nothing as powerful as word of mouth referrals but to get those you have to create an amazing client experience for your clients to shout about.

    You can read more on creating a client experience right here…

    No 3 – Phone a friend

    So many times we overlook the power of our existing network. Take a look around your friend circle and I mean really look.

    How many of them have friends getting married or are getting married themselves?

    Do they know you’re starting a wedding business? Have you actually told them and put it out there?

    Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Shout it from the rooftops and let people know your business exists.

    One of the first people to book me as a wedding planner was an old college friend who I’d forgotten about. But they’d seen what I was doing on the old Friends Reunited site, the precursor social site to Facebook. (Yes, I’ve been in business that long)

    They’d been following what I was doing and out of the blue I got an email asking me if I’d be interested in talking about their wedding. Of course I was.

    The thing is people will often stalk you on social media without you even knowing. If you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re missing out.

    Take the opportunity to tell everyone you can that you’re a wedding planner, floral designer, wedding stylist etc. and take yourself seriously.

    Bonus Tip – Take yourself Seriously

    If you don’t take yourself seriously in business nobody else will.

    When someone asks you what you do don’t say you’re thinking about starting a wedding business tell them what you do with pride and say it out loud.

    I know this probably seems like a bit to take in but trust me these steps work. They’re just some of the things that can make all the difference between a profitable business and an expensive hobby.

    Are you ready to take things to the next level and get more clients for your wedding business?

    Do you want to leave your job, the one you tolerate because it pays the bills, and devote yourself fully to your wedding business?

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  • 5 Top Tips for Achieving Your Goals Easily

    Achieving your goals can be hard. We’ve all been there where we’ve looked at our list of goals only to find we’ve not ticked anything off.

    How often do you sit down at the start of each year and lay out your goals for your wedding business?

    It’s usually what we do in January. It’s the start of a new year and we’re feeling motivated and enthusiastic.

    But, for some reason, even though we have the best intentions, by March we realise that nothing has happened.

    I don’t want that to happen to you.

    So, in this episode of Creative Business TV I’m giving you 5 easy and simple to implement tips to for achieving your goals.

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