We’ve talked about hashtag campaigns initiated by companies or charities, about community hashtags, and about those that go viral all on their own. Today we want to have a look at a different use for hashtags, a more personal “hashtag campaign” if you will. Today we’re talking about wedding hashtags.
From unplugged weddings to hashtagged weddings
In our always-online world some people opt to have an unplugged wedding, where cell phone use is frowned upon, for a variety of reasons. Others, however, place disposable cameras on each table, encouraging the guests to use them to visualise the festivities from their point of view. We did this at our wedding lunch five years ago, and it was pretty lovely, but I think today we would probably go for the modern version of that and do what a lot of couples are doing nowadays: We’d create our own wedding hashtag.
These days, social media is no stranger at weddings. It’s thanks to social media that we have been privy to some of the most hilarious wedding postings. Even wedding hashtags have long gone from hipster to mainstream and are pretty widely in use. The next step up from creating a wedding hashtag and asking your guests to use it when posting to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is to get a wedding wall going on Walls.io. We have a couple of wedding walls up there at the moment if you want to have a look around. Setting one up is super easy and you can even design the background to fit with your wedding’s theme. You can grab the code for that directly from us, by the way.
Digital natives happily embrace wedding hashtags
Iwona and Angelo, a couple right here in Vienna where Walls.io is located, went for a wedding hashtag as well. Iwona is a journalist and Angelo a “serial entrepreneur” – as Iwona called it with a wink. Consequently, a lot of their guests are digital natives as well and/or work in digital media.
They quickly embraced the hashtag and, as you can see on the #iwangelo wedding wall, happily snapped pictures and posted away. We had a chat with Iwona about the ins and outs of creating a wedding hashtag:
Who thought of creating a hashtag for your wedding, and what was the idea behind it?
It was my idea, because I really appreciate searching for content via hashtags. I do it all the time, most of the time about political issues. So, I thought a hashtag might be a good idea to have to get all of the content in one place.
Did it bother you in any way that, technically, via the hashtag strangers would be able to follow your wedding online?
Yes. I thought about that and that is also the reason why we had no physical social media wall. Maybe a wall would have encouraged people to create more content, but it is also prone to hashtag hijacking.
How did you “promote” the hashtag aka how did you get the wedding guests to use it?
First of all we had it displayed at the wedding location during the ceremony. The woman who made all of the decorations for the wedding created a little board with the hashtag on it. Also, the hashtag was promoted on our (non-public) wedding website.
How many postings were created using the hashtag?
I didn’t count, but I am pretty satisfied with the outcome. It was very cool that one of our friends used Periscope to live-stream the throwing of the bridal bouquet.
Do you have any favourites among the many postings?
One of my favourite pictures is by @fanfarella, who took a picture before all the guests were seated.
Another favourite comes from @yokemara – he took a picture of me under a tree.
Wedding hashtags = hashtag marketing
At the end of the day, making a wedding hashtag successful follows the same rules as any old hashtag campaign. Pick a clever hashtag and make sure to alert your guests to it and tell them why you are doing this and that you would appreciate them using the hashtag. Even our oft-mentioned advice to include crossmedia promotion absolutely goes here. A lovingly designed board at the wedding venue certainly wouldn’t be amiss. You can also put the hashtag on the place cards at the reception as a subtle reminder to your guests. Whether you choose to physically display the hashtag at the wedding or not, definitely let your guests know that they can view all postings on the digital wedding wall so they can see what other people are posting and reminisce about the festivities afterwards.
A nice side effect of using a wedding hashtag is that you’ll get a bunch of photos immediately, without having to wait for your wedding photographer to send you the official pictures. Official wedding photos definitely have their special place, but it usually takes a few weeks until you get them. Thanks to the photos that everyone is taking and tagging with your hashtag you’ll have plenty to look at and post to social media in the meantime. Just collect all of the pictures with this simple If This Then That recipe, that automatically saves Instagram photos with a certain hashtag to your Dropbox.
However, the most important thing about your wedding hashtag, your wedding wall or even the general use of social media at your wedding ceremony is, that everyone else is already involved in capturing the most wonderful moments of the day – so you can happily focus on your special day instead of looking at it through your own smartphone lens.