In school, we all learned about plagiarism and properly crediting our sources. So now that we are grown up and wedding vendors, do the same rules not apply? Of course they do! There is an ever growing trend online, in particular on social media, of wedding industry professionals (and hopefuls) posting photos with no credits to the people who produced the photo or the work shown. This may seem harmless, but it can have a big impact on your business. In general, I find that people in offense of this major faux pas fall into two categories: 1) a person or business who posts photos of work that they had a hand in creating but credit no one else involved and 2) a person or business who posts photos of work that they have NO hand in creating in any capacity.
Let’s dive in a little deeper and talk about these two respective camps:
The No Tagging of Your Vendors Person: This offense is SO easy to remedy. Just tag your vendors! Everyone has their own take on what this looks like, but for me, the best way is to take a three part approach.
1. Tag your vendors in the caption. Whether you are posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., this is the easiest and quickest way to incorporate your vendors. My go to formula is to select my photo, write my caption about said photo, then at the end of the caption, tag my vendors. Yeah, that simple! I analyze the photo and look at each element to make sure I do not forget anyone. Can you see any part of the venue? Tag them. Are there any floral elements? Tag them. Everyone wins with this method. You supported your fellow vendors, you may get a share from that vendor (bonus), and it makes you look professional.
2. Tag your vendors in the photo. This comes in to play in regards to Instagram. I like to tag my vendors in the actual photo (click the Tag People button before you post the photo to your profile). This means when someone taps your image, the names of those you tag pop up and someone can click on them to take them to their profile. Better yet, the image you posted will show up in their Photos of You tab in their Instagram profile. Potential clients may be looking at this, see the image, click over to your profile and voila! You now have a new lead.
3. Is there an opportunity to add a geotag? This can be done on Facebook and Instagram and connect you to a location’s online map so to speak. The marketing benefits are similar to tagging vendors in a photo. Your image now shows up under the geotag for that venue, for example, and any potential leads can see you and become interest in your work. Another no brainer.
The Posting Other People’s Work Person: This is the worst offense in my opinion and frankly, NO ONE should be doing it. You are misleading clients that the work you posted is your own. But wait, what if you tagged the vendors? This is a moot point because at a glace, looking at your Instagram profile, for example, a client could just see the thumbnails of the pictures you posted and assume all the work is yours without clicking. Posting work that you had NO hand in creating is misleading to clients and disrespectful to the vendors whose work you are posting. Moral of the story: Just don’t do it!
A few more important tips to keep in mind when posting images to your social media accounts that represent your business:
1. Pinterest is not a photo source. I repeat, Pinterest is not a photo source! This goes back to posting work that is not your own. You must be thinking, “But Leigh! I posted my source. I found the picture on Pinterest!” Well, honey, Pinterest did not take the photo and edit it. Pinterest did not arrange that lovely bouquet. Pinterest did not take countless hours to design and plan the beautiful wide room shot you are looking at. PEOPLE did.
2. At minimum, tag the photographer. If you are following the rules and posting images that you had a hand in creating the content, then you should have no problem remembering who you partnered with. That said, if you happen to have a dose of amnesia or cannot find the person you are wanting to tag on social media, at minimum tag your photographer. If you cannot tag the photographer (or add their name in your caption) then do not post the photo.
3. Copying hashtags is bad. General hashtags like #wedding, #bouquet, etc. of course do not count. What I mean is do not try to ride on another business’s coat tails and post their curated, branded hashtags on your images unless it is 100% relevant. For example, you are a florist and you are posting images of your work (yay! you are off to a good start!). You wrote your caption, tagged the photographer, then typed out your hashtags. One of the hashtags you added was #leighpearceweddings, my business hashtag. But I did not work with you on that event. This misleads the customer to look like you worked with someone you did not, in this example. Also, and more importantly, now when someone clicks on my hashtag, they see your work and assume it is mine. This goes back to being misleading to the client and is a major no no. There are so many wonderful hashtags you can use to drum up business without stealing someone else’s ….. but that is a whole other post!
All in all, these are such SIMPLE solutions for what is becoming a really big problem. Friends, be CONFIDENT in your work and share your OWN work. I would love to hear from YOU in the comments. Do you have any other tips to share about crediting vendors?