LGBTQ marketing has gone mainstream. That much is clear. So how do you begin to foster a relationship with these consumers? Acknowledging that nearly three quarters of LGBTQ consumers are on social media 6-7 times a week, brands can leverage these platforms to better connect and engage with this audience. How?
Well, the LGBTQ community possesses a dynamic history, and LGBTQ consumers look toward companies now- more than ever before- to showcase their support for the fight toward equality. One marketing technique pro-LGBTQ companies have implemented is the use of creative, meaningful and culturally-relevant LGBTQ hashtags that connect with the community. Hashtag targeting is an effective method in aligning your brand with the stories, challenges and achievements of LGBTQ people.
Below, you’ll find examples of a few major brands that are tapping into the LGBTQ market by “hashtagging” their campaigns:
Partnered with lesbian filmmaker, Molly Schiot, Absolut released a documentary for one of its LGBTQ marketing campaigns. The content featured a same-sex marriage proposal between two women. This was a perfect example of pro-LGBTQ work culture and content. The hashtag #loveislove was employed across social media, depicting Absolut’s enduring support for the LGBTQ community.
Other hashtags: #lgbt #lgbtlove #lgbtequality #lgbtpride #pride #pridemonth #prideweek #gaypride #allweneedislove #loveisfreedom #loveforall #lovetrumpshate #nationalcomingoutday
General Mills brand, Lucky Charms, amplified the visibility of their campaign for inclusion during LGBTQ Pride Month, where they asked consumers to share a photo of how they make the world “colorful.” Integrated on social media with the hashtag #luckytobe, the brand empowered LGBTQ consumers, and those of other identities and backgrounds, fostering a deeper connection with these segments.
Other hashtags: #lgbtinclusion #diversity #beyou #bornthisway #lgbtsupporter
Image source: General Mills
American Eagle launched their #weallcan campaign, geared toward engaging young audiences to celebrate individuality and inclusivity. The brand leveraged the campaign during Pride Month via the activation of social influencers. Its purpose was to gather feedback from community activists that would allow the brand to amplify its support for LGBTQ consumers.
Other hashtags: #unite #lgbtyouth #lgbtallies #lgbtsupport #lgbtkids #itgetsbetter
Leveraging popular LGBTQ figures, Marriott ran the campaign, #lovetravels, utilizing traditional and digital media to bring awareness its cause. The content included Jason Collins, an openly gay NBA player, and Geena Rocero, a transgender fashion model, among others. In addition, the company designated a web page that specifically addressed the campaign’s background. The surrounding issue of where it’s safe and not safe for LGBTQ consumers to travel to allows this campaign to resonate with many.
Following the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, JetBlue immediately offered free flights to victims’ family members and domestic partners. The company displayed its advocacy using the hashtag #westandwithorlando, and explicitly featured the rainbow symbol to address the identity of the victims. In addition, they provided charitable contributions to people that were injured, and to the families of those that were lost.
Image source: The Family Tree: Tallahassee’s LGBT Community Center
AT&T launched their Live Proud campaign during Pride season, in which they invited participants to show their “boldness.” The company asked online users to employ the #attliveproud hashtag, or the #wearebold hashtag, stating that they would donate $1 for every hashtag use until they reached $50,000. AT&T has upheld inclusivity in their workplace, and has remained the service provider that the LGBT community recalls first.
Partnered with Family Equality Council, and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Target has been a long-standing LGBTQ brand. Target endured much backlash during the launch of the #takepride campaign, however, the brand unapologetically elaborated that the inception of the #takepride campaign is not just a way of celebrating LGBTQ consumers during Pride but all year round.
Nike created the #betrue collection, with the branding and design inspired by the LGBTQ community. The collection featured the rainbow gradient on its products in honor of the diversity across all sports. It was celebratory to the passion and pursuit of all athletes who have remained their most authentic selves not just during Pride, but all year round.
Image source: One Love All Equal
As part of Pride, Allstate ran their #outholdinghands campaign, creating the commercial “Safe In My Hands.” The video featured LGBTQ singer, Eli Lieb, in the soundtrack. The content depicted two men holding hands in public, with the copy calling attention to the violence same-sex couples are predisposed to when in public display of affection. This strategy interweaved LGBTQ culture, targeting and knowledge of its struggles, making it a successful production.
Heineken ran a digital campaign, titled #likeforlove, on Instagram during Pride Month. The content featured photos of heterosexual and same-sex couples, with a call-to-action that attempted to increase awareness for the LGBTQ community, “Like if you’re proud of who you love.”
Equinox, the fitness club, employed an LGBTQ campaign during Pride in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The company created a mural of two men kissing and asked the public participate in the campaign by taking photos of, or with, the mural. They were encouraged to post the photo on social media using the hashtag #poweredbypride, in which the brand would donate $1 for every share.
Image source: Neon
Hashtag targeting can involve several strategies, from incorporating your brand name, an approaching event or holiday, or a call-to-action. As you choose your tactic for engaging the LGBTQ segment, consider hiring an LGBTQ expert to identify and encourage the right social conversations to get your brand noticed.