Businesses that allow their customers to feel safe and at peace are great businesses. This Pride Month, we’re reminding establishments that describing their locations as LGBTQ-friendly and/or a transgender safe space is important to make customers feel welcome, valid and celebrated. So if you are an ally and are fully supportive of your local LGBTQ community, then let your customers know by optimising your Google My Business profile.
Let’s say you’re a pastry shop and you want to let your community know you’re a staunch ally for LGBTQIAP+ rights. This month you’re offering a sale on your “Pride Pastries” and a large percentage of the proceeds go to foundations that provide scholarships for LGBT youths. You’ve prepared your social media content and ads for the month but you can’t make heads or tails on what to do for your Google My Business listing.
There are a few things to do on GMB that could get help your shop get more customers. With the help of the DigitalMaas Platform, do these 7 things on your Google My Business profile to spread the message that you are LGBT-friendly and a transgender safe space.
1. Upload Your Food or Wares Using the Menu or Products Catalogue
Uploading your food items or products on Google My Business helps improve your online visibility because
- You’ll pop up on search results when people look for things you sell. For example, if you are a salon and someone searches for “Purple Hair Dye”, a product that you offer, you’ll most likely appear on their SERPs
- Potential customers can visit your physical store or visit your website, thus, increasing conversions from views and impressions to actual visits and purchases
Adding whatever you’re selling also helps customers decide faster before they enter your store. It also builds trust because you are being transparent with your offerings.
- Whenever you can, use keywords as descriptors for your products or add more information about the product.
- “Our Pride Purple Temporary Hair Dye is available only in June! The colour will last around 6-8 weeks if you wash your hair only 2-3 times a week with colour-safe shampoo and conditioner. Proceeds from this item will go to LGBTQ-friendly charities and foundations, so colour your hair and help promote LGBTQIAP+ rights!”
- With that said, avoid keyword-stuffing or adding too many keywords just for the sake of ranking.
2. Update The Business Description
The business description appears at the near bottom of your Google My Business profile and lets customers know what else your business does beyond the usual information. This is the section where you can get a little creative explaining why your business exists. Do you promote a safe space for everyone in the gender identity spectrum to be themselves while having some coffee? Do you, aside from baking cakes, cookies and pies, offer advice for people who are having a hard time to fit in their own environments?
You can talk about those things in your description – as long as it fits within 750 characters.
- As with the point above, avoid keyword stuffing. This can get you suspended immediately.
- Links, hashtags and emojis will not work in this section so it’s best to avoid using these.
3. Use Google My Business Attributes
A great way of letting your customers know you’re a safe space for the LGBTQ community is by ticking attributes to further describe what your business does and the values it stands for.
Attributes on your Google My Business profile are any additional features or services that your business has to offer. We’ve tackled this in one of our previous posts, in case you want to get a more in-depth understanding of this GMB feature.
There are currently two attributes to select – “LGBTQ-friendly” and “Transgender Safe Space”. Most of the time these are available for hotels, restaurants, bars and similar businesses so do check if the category you’ve chosen is accurate.
- You can add a multitude of attributes that best describe your business, especially if this helps narrow down potential customers.
- That said, you aren’t required to use every available attribute that describes your business. Always go back to what you do and what you offer and you’ll be able to see which ones best fit you.
4. Write LGBT-Friendly Google My Business Posts
One part of Pride Month is about spreading the word and promoting businesses that support LGBTQIAP+ rights. And with Google Posts, you can promote your business by publishing any updates, offers, new products and events that you have for the community.
Let’s go back to that pastry shop. You’re the business owner and you want to let others know that if they buy ever need a cup of coffee and a listening ear, your shop is open. Or if you have a promotion – “Pride Pastries are 20% off if you buy an extra pie” – you can use Google Posts to let your customers know about that, too.
- Except for COVID-19 updates, other post types are more effective with photos. If you want to opt for videos, make sure they’re within 30 seconds.
- We recommend keeping post text to less than 300 characters. You can sprinkle in keywords and products that you offer to appear on search results faster.
- It’s best to publish a weekly post to keep your GMB profile updated.
5. Ask Previous Pride Patrons to Write Reviews
Did you know that customer reviews are ranking factors – these can help you improve your online visibility when people are looking for “LGBTQ-friendly places near me”?
Tell your past customers that you’d love to know what they think about your establishment and send them a review link via email or social media – check out our blog post on how to encourage your customers to write reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the better it will be for you to build trust and increase brand awareness.
At the same time though, when customers write “This shop LGBTQ-friendly” or simply “The cookies here are so chewy and delicious that I had to order two boxes to munch on for the weekend”, you will see “bubbles” and these tag keywords that pop up the most in reviews. These could be used by searchers to find businesses like yours.
- Make it a habit to respond to reviews, be it positive or negative. Positive reviews provide higher conversions, while negative ones offer insight into improving your products and branding.
- If a review is blatantly false (especially if they are harmful with no proof), you can flag the review as inappropriate. Google doesn’t allow GMB managers to delete reviews so this is a valid workaround.
6. Upload Pride Themed Photos
Regularly uploading photos to your Google My Business profile not only improves brand awareness but also signals to Google that you’re keeping your profile relevant.
For Pride Month, for example, you can take photos of your store exterior that expresses your support for LGBTQ rights, flex your Pride-themed products or feature your teammates who are proud and out (with their consent, of course).
To learn the basics of uploading photos on GMB, read up on our guide.
- Encourage your customers to also upload their own photos of your store.
- If anyone uploads an inappropriate photo, you can flag it as inappropriate and Google will put it down for you.
7. Post 1-2 Questions on the Q&A Section
Sometimes people will take a look at your GMB listing and wonder, “That’s it?” In case they need more answers from you, they can go to the Q&A section. While this proves to be a good way to engage with potential customers, this can lead to the spreading of misinformation – especially because anyone can reply. So it’s best to quickly respond when you see a question before someone else does.
- You can type in your FAQs – as seen on your website, if they are available – on GMB. Just take note that you cannot add links, phone numbers and email addresses to your answers.
- When someone begins to type a question, they’ll be able to see a list of answers on the right side (as is on the image above). Answers will come from the listing’s review and Q&A section.
Google My Business is a great way to promote your LGBTQ-friendly establishments and to open the conversation on LGBTQIAP+ rights and ongoing persecution against the community. Show that you are an ally by optimising these 7 sections of your GMB profile and you will definitely feel the love in #lovewins. If you own multiple locations across the country, come and talk to us at DigitalMaas. We’ll make it easier for you to be your customer’s first choice when they think of “LGBTQ-friendly places near me”.