The LGBTQ wedding market has been around much longer than marriage equality, but following the 2015 landmark legislation, it took off like few other market segments in the history of our industry. Engaged LGBTQ couples both need and want services from wedding professionals who understand and respect their relationships, and who are willing and able to market to their community.
Social media is key to promoting wedding businesses to nearly all couples, but it can be particularly useful in reaching niches. You can leverage your social media presence to reach out to and attract LGBTQ clients by applying the following suggestions and practices.
Know Your Platform
The two most prominent social media platforms today are Facebook and Instagram. Both have different personalities and different options for promoting a business.
Facebook is a platform built around sharing information, even if it’s not your own. You can showcase your stance on LGBTQ weddings by sharing applicable articles on a regular basis that will be appreciated by your followers, regardless of their orientation and identity. Content such as viral proposal videos starring a same-sex couple, or roundups of same-sex wedding content, are easy and organic ways to share inspiration with your followers while also subtly displaying your equality-mindedness.
Unfortunately, as many of us know, Facebook has become extremely “pay-to-play,” but Instagram is a platform that can still be used to organically target a specific audience with hashtags (at least for the moment!). On Instagram, my rule of thumb is to have one same-sex image in each row of my Instagram grid. Depending on the size of the phone and whether or not you use Instagram Highlights, users can either see three, six or nine images of your content at first glance on your profile. Be strategic with the images that you decide to post — you may not have LGBTQ-specific content, but be wary of overdoing it with opposite-sex couples. Break hetero imagery with decor shots, groom details and wedding party pictures.
Hashtags are one of the primary methods of attracting new followers on Instagram. While normally I advise against using terms like “LGBT Wedding” and “Gay Wedding” in your client-facing marketing efforts, these hashtags are being searched for by LGBTQ couples. Use them to identify your business as inclusive. As with any hashtag strategy, try to choose terms that hit the sweet spot of search, usually the 2,000-1,000,000 uses range. Also, integrate your favorite LGBTQ wedding publications’ (like ours at @LoveIncMag -- #loveinc).
Examples of hashtags searched by the LGBTQ community include #gaywedding #lgbtwedding #lgbtqwedding, #samesexwedding #twogrooms #twobrides #mrsandmrs #mrandmr #samelove #gayweddings.
Styled Shoots & Stock Photography
Styled shoots are a fantastic way to develop imagery for your social media accounts, make your portfolio more inviting to LGBTQ couples and gain exposure by submitting to publications. A challenge that is specific to same-sex styled shoots is ensuring that the romantic chemistry between the models feels real. I suggest making sure your models are either very experienced and can comfortably sell the love as part of a same-sex couple, or, a real-life LGBTQ couple.
Another option for imagery, depending on your profession, is stock photography which has really increased in quality within the last few years. Unfortunately, stock imagery featuring LGBTQ couples is still rare, but Unsplash and Canva are great sources for free or inexpensive downloads that have same-sex options in their library.
LGBTQ Appropriate Verbiage
The wedding world is filled with heteronormative language, so be wary of using terminology that is gender-specific. For example, wedding party instead of bridal party, wedding suite instead of bridal suite, and bach party instead of bachelor/bachelorette are all inclusive options. For your clients, replace “bride and groom” with gender-neutral terms such as couple, client, partner, significant other, or, if your branding is more playful, you can use terms such as soonlywed of nearlywed.
The first step is awareness and once you begin making these small but mighty changes in your marketing, you will certainly stand out in this swiftly evolving world of weddings.
Brittny Drye is the founder and editor-in-chief of Love Inc., the leading equality-minded wedding blog and digital publication. Her inclusive efforts have been celebrated by the New York Times, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Refinery29, NY Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and more. She serves on the 2018-19 North American Advisory Board for the International Academy of Wedding & Events.