Using Social Media to Market to LGBTQ Clients

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.

Employing Hashtags

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.

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The Ins and Outs of Mastermind Groups

By Lane' Richards, Something Borrowed

You’ve probably heard of a Mastermind Group but aren’t exactly sure what all the hype is about. We all know as wedding professionals that your time, energy and resources are very limited. You don’t want to join yet another program that may not produce the results you were hoping for. Let's take a closer look at Masterminds and see how they can be of value to the growth of your wedding business.

 What is a Mastermind?

A Mastermind Group is peer-to-peer mentoring with a mixture of brainstorming, education and accountability. They are a way to accelerate the success of your business as you focus on your most important issues.

They are a concept first introduced in the early 1900’s by Napoleon Hill via his book, “The Law to Success.” They are new to most people, but have gained popularity over the past couple of years. Masterminds are a great way to get motivated and to make better business decisions and cost much less than working one on one with a business coach.

Is a Mastermind Group for You?

Masterminds are not for everyone. They can be intense and you must be open to both sharing and exploring new ideas with others. They’re ideal if you’re passionate about your business and want to not only reach but exceed your goals. You have to be willing to be an active participant to reap the full benefits. Each group member relies on your expertise to help guide them through an issue, so it’s not a place to be a bystander or sit quietly in the corner. What you put into it is what you’ll get out of it, so it’s important to not only show up, but be fully present.

What to Expect

Meeting consistency. Mastermind Groups meet once or twice a month at a set date and time, taking the guesswork out of finding a good time for the entire group.

Virtual collaboration. Since most Masterminds meet virtually, you are not tied to finding a group in your geographic location, opening the doors for you to be part of a group that fits with your niche, expertise and time constraints.

Small groups. Space is usually limited to up to 6-8 people which allows each person enough time on the Mastermind calls. A smaller group also means stronger connections.

Simple meeting structure. Mastermind Groups have standard format for each meeting. To get warmed up, they may open with a celebration or win from the previous meeting. Then, each participant has time in the “hot seat” to share the problem or challenge they are facing. All group members then take turns sharing ideas they have for the hot seat member. To close the meeting out, each member takes turns sharing one thing they’d like to be held accountable for.

When you take part in a Mastermind Group, you’ll start to see a shift in your confidence and what you accomplish. You’ll have breakthrough moments and a greater sense of clarity as you work through obstacles that may be holding you back. A coach and peers will guide you as you tackle challenges and solve problems together. Best of all, you’ll have fun participating in one!

 Lane’ Richards is the multidisciplinary entrepreneur and creative genius behind Something Borrowed Portland. In 2017 Lane’ started Wedding Pro Coaching; offering mastermind business coaching and educational programs to independent creatives looking to navigate - and succeed - in the crowded wedding industry.

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The Garter Girl's B.Y.O.B. Workshop

Solid education is such an integral part of our industry, so I love sharing new and exciting opportunities for wedding pros to be a part of. With that, we are excited to share Julianne Smith's one day blogging workshop happening on November 15th!   

Julianne Smith, founder and owner of The Garter Girl is thrilled to announce her workshop, Blog Your Own Business that will take place on November 15! This workshop will focus on helpful information that every small business needs to know, including websites, SEO, and blogging. Julianne will teach attendees how to blog effectively and increase their online profile. See more information regarding her workshop here

Interested in applying for a scholarship to cover the cost of the B.Y.O.B. Workshop? Click here for more information!

East Coast, I'm Coming!

I’m starting to think I should just leave my suitcase perma-packed as I gear up for a busy round of speaking engagements on the East Coast.  

With that, I am thrilled to share my upcoming travels! I’m headed off to Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the month to speak at NACE Richmond’s October education meeting on Event Crises. If you’re in the area, please join us on October 25 at 5:30 pm! We’ll be taking over the brand new Hofheimer Building as we discuss how to prepare for crises, as well as how to bounce back from one.

Interested in attending my speaking gig in Richmond? Follow the Facebook event page for more information about registration!

Not long after my stay in Richmond, I’ll be headed down to Atlanta where I’ll be speaking on Event Technology at NACE Atlanta’s November meeting. Join us at The Gathering Spot on November 1 at 5:30 pm for a full meal as we chat about the latest and greatest apps available for your event business. Register here!

Be Sage Educational Conference

I’m a big fan of continuing education, so I’m delighted to share this opportunity with our readers! Michelle and Kelly are truly innovative and have put together quite the itinerary for all you wedding pros who are looking to learn from the best.

With that, I’m excited to tell you about the upcoming Be Sage Educational Conference on November 14-17 in Cabo San Lucas.

Be Sage Conference is for experienced wedding professionals that are looking for education that they can’t get anywhere else or feel that they have outgrown other educational opportunities. Whether you want to learn about teambuilding or boost your client experience, you’re to leave Be Sage with loads of new insight. With an impressive schedule of speakers and plenty of opportunities to build your network, this is definitely one conference you don’t want to miss.

Conference topics include:

·      The Science of Happiness and How it Can Better Your Business - Nataly Kogan

·      How to Become an Epic Expert and Gain New Opportunities - Felecia Hatcher

·      Ways That Your Online Communications are Missing the Mark - Christy Weber

·      How to Get Out of the Wedding Box and Expand Your Business - Jesi Haack

·      How to Sell Digital and Physical Products Online - Katie Thompson

·      How to Surprise & Delight Clients and Prospects; The WOW Effect - Mari Carmen Obregon

·      How to Put Your Team First, Ahead of Clients & Profitability - Denise Silverman

·      How to Grow Your Business With Other People’s Money - John Scrofrano

·      What’s Next in Social Media? Position Your Business for Tomorrow’s Brides - Heather Hall

·      How the Sharing Economy is Disrupting the Business World - Gretchen Culver

For more information about the speakers, check out their bios here.

If you haven’t already, register for the event here. As a bonus, WeddingIQ readers can use the promo code “WEDDING IQ” for $200 off your registration.