The last thing you want to see on your wedding day is your guests looking bored or even leaving early. Boost wedding engagement with a social media wall and keep guests laughing, smiling and sticking around.
All your guests really want is to have fun celebrating the big day with you. However, they kind of want something to do besides just sit there.
By adding in some fun activities and social media, you'll have the wedding everyone will be talking about. Plus, you'll have the time of your life too.
Social Media Wall Basics
First things first, what's a social media wall? You're probably thinking that's just another name for your Facebook or Instagram page. Actually, it's a custom social media feed designed to keep people engaged by using one of their favorite online activities - social media.
Honestly, how many of your guests are probably going to be secretly using their phones during your wedding anyway? Why not embrace this fact and use it to your advantage?
A social media wall brings together posts from multiple social media platforms. Use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter? Get all three in a single feed.
Of course, you don't want to just show every single post on social media. Instead, your custom feed allows you to pull just the posts you specify. The easiest way to boost wedding engagement is by gathering posts based on certain hashtags.
Once you decide which posts to gather, you can display all these posts prominently during your wedding reception and on your wedding website. It's a near real-time social media recap of your wedding.
Social Media Famous
You know that feeling when you post a great picture and a bunch of your friends "like" it? This is the type of engagement you're giving your wedding guests. They get to be social media famous at your reception. Not only will they get likes on social media, but they'll get praise and appreciation face-to-face.
Positive social media rewards, such as likes, actually trigger the release of dopamine, which the hormone that makes you feel all happy, warm and fuzzy inside. It's just natural that your guests are going to enjoy seeing the pictures they're taking and the congratulatory posts showing up in real-time at your wedding.
Don't be afraid to boost engagement even more by grabbing a mic and expressing your gratitude for a particularly awesome post. Or, challenge your guests to take a certain type of photo and let the winner be even more social media famous. They can add a comment to their picture saying they won the challenge.
Engage Before The Posting Begins
Odds are, most of your guests probably won't even realize how your social media wall works or that you want them to take pictures and post heartfelt and humorous congratulations about your wedding. Unless you let them in on the funny early, you might just have a blank wall.
So, start engaging your guests before your wedding even begins. Create signs for entrances and tables that list your hashtag(s). Explain what your wall is all about and why you want your guests to get busy taking pictures and posting.
You can even start as early as your wedding invitations if you start planning ahead of time. But, don't worry if your wedding is almost here. You can still easily create a hashtag and let everyone know.
Add the hashtag and details to your wedding programs. If it's last minute, print out slips of paper with the details and add them to the programs as they're handed out.
Get Your Hashtag Just Right
Before you get too excited and just use #wedding, you'll want to take a few minutes to actually create a completely unique hashtag for your wedding. Remember, the point of a social media wall is to gather just the posts you want. In this case, you want the posts about your wedding, not everybody else's wedding, wedding tips, wedding vendors and so on.
If you're drawing a blank, don't worry. Hashtag block sucks, but there are handy wedding hashtag generators to make this a breeze. Wedding Wire offers a free hashtag generator that takes you and your partner's names, nicknames and wedding details to create a hashtag that's perfect for you.
Shutterfly's free wedding hashtag generator works similarly. However, the site also provides links so you can quickly check if it's unique on all the various social media platforms.
Give A Reason To Post
The only way a social media wall is going to boost engagement at your wedding for an extended period is you give your guests a reason to post. You've given them the hashtag, so what else can you do?
Hype it! Ask your DJ or band to make regular announcements so people don't forget. Then, have regular social media games throughout your reception.
Try a scavenger hunt-style game. The goal is for your guests to try to check off each type of photo on the list. Pass out a variety of different lists to mix things up. For instance, one item might snap a picture of the new mother-in-law eating cake or catch the new couple kissing secretly.
Those who complete their lists and have the best shots win. You can pick several winners. The prize could be as simple as having their names announced or provide cute wedding treat bags.
Another fun option is wedding bingo. Guests can pick up boards with picture descriptions. Then, as pictures show up on the social media wall, they fill in their boards. If they need a space filled, but there aren't any pictures, then they can take the picture and post it themselves. Have one rule, though. No one can take all the pictures that lead them to call out Bingo!
Of course, you could just be sincere and tell people how much it would mean to you to have all these memories long after your wedding. Tell them you'll post them on your wedding website for everyone else to enjoy too.
Start Dancing Sooner
Some of the best social media posts are going to come from the dance floor. This is when your guests are the most engaged. Sitting around the entire time isn't exactly fun. For those who can't dance, they still enjoy watching others dance and be silly.
Give your guests something to start taking pictures of sooner by getting the dance portion of your reception started earlier. Work with your wedding planner in advance to have a schedule for any cocktails and food. If it's more of a buffet-style, why not start the dancing as soon as the happy couple is introduced and has their first dance?
Have A Game-Filled Reception
One thing you might not have thought of is giving your guests something to do. Eating, dancing and talking are nice, but eventually, people get tired. They need something more to engage them. Plus, wouldn't you love even more opportunities for people to take fun pictures at your wedding and post them to your social media wall?
Obviously, the types of games you include will depend upon your guests and whether you're having an indoor or outdoor wedding. If you'll have younger kids at your wedding, make sure to have some game they'll love too or even a kids' corner filled with activities to keep them busy.
Some simple and inexpensive wedding game ideas include:
- Ring toss - you can even paint wine or champagne bottles for a classier look
- Cornhole - Make it personal with a picture of the couple on each board
- Wedding Mad Libs - This works great for indoor play and gets everyone laughing quickly
- Trivia games - These can be wedding-related or just about things you know your guests enjoy
- Traditional scavenger hunt - Let guests draw random colors and team up based on the color so they interact more
- Mystery-style game - Guests try to guess which guest the clues point to by asking questions
Of course, these are just a handful of ideas. Get creative. Think about what your guests enjoy. The idea is to get them interacting and having fun. While dancing is fun, offering more variety will appeal to guests that either can't or don't like to dance.
If you need even more ideas, Shutterfly and A Subtle Revelry have you covered. You'll find dozens of great ideas for indoor and outdoor weddings.
Encourage More Socializing
People aren't going to be comfortable just taking pictures of strangers. Boost wedding engagement by including activities that get your guests socializing. Once they get to know your other guests, you'll start seeing more posts appear on your social media wall.
You can do this by mixing up your seating arrangements. Of course, including games and activities helps too.
Consider adding some fun socializing areas at your wedding, such as:
- A DIY cocktail bar (make sure someone is watching in case kids and teens are around)
- A photo booth
- Crafting (encourage guests to make keepsakes for the couple)
- Dessert bar (everyone loves socializing over sweets)
- Karaoke (a separate area works well if guests are shy)
Hitched has some great entertainment ideas to will help encourage far more socializing.
Let Your Guests Vote
Turn your wedding into a competition. After all, who doesn't like a little friendly competition? The best part is everyone has fun while doing it. As an added bonus, you get even more great posts to put on your social media wall.
Announce various challenges throughout the reception. These could be something as simple as the best picture of the bride or most adorable dancing couple that's not the bride and groom.
Now, ask your guests to vote on their favorites. Assign a different reaction to each challenge or just go with the ones with the most likes win. Consider using a different hashtag for each challenge. This could be your wedding hashtag with a number, such as #ourwedding1 and #ourwedding2. This helps everyone know which challenge each post is for.
Get Loved Ones At Home Involved
Who says only your guests should be engaged? You have plenty of friends and family who couldn't attend. Get them involved and let them help fill your social media wall with fun pictures of the couple before the big day. Reminisce over a picture of your first date or the first Christmas you brought your partner home to spend with your family.
Let them post sweet messages and pictures using your wedding hashtag. Just make sure you have a wedding website that includes the social media wall feed. While it won't be nearly as large, they'll still see what your guests are seeing.
All of this might sound great, but you might be having doubts about adding yet another thing to your wedding. That's completely understandable. After all, wedding planning is stressful.
That's why adding a social media wall is easy. You don't need yet another thing to worry about. All it takes is picking a social media aggregator tool, doing a few customizations and choosing an area at your venue to display the feed on a wall or large screen.
This could easily be the simplest part of your wedding. However, it's one of the parts you'll love the most. After all, you get to keep all of these wonderful posts forever.
Even if you don't want to keep the feed, simply save the posts you want after your wedding. Or, downgrade to a free plan. Most social media wall aggregators offer a free plan that only updates every 24-48 hours. For example, Curator's free plan updates once daily.
This means the tool only pulls in new posts once a day. Since you don't have new posts coming in regularly, you don't need frequent feed updates. You'll want to opt for a paid plan during your wedding that updates frequently, such as every few minutes or instantly.
Engagement For A Better Wedding
Your wedding is a day you want to remember for the rest of your life. Make sure it's exciting and engaging for everyone involved. Add a social media wall. It's easy, affordable and turns a boring wedding into one that people will absolutely love!
Image: Analise Benevides