Why Diversity Matters in Social Media

Why Diversity Matters in Social Media

Guest Writer, Chanele McFarlane

Think about the last few pieces of content you posted on social media – would it appeal to more than just one group of people? Is the content easily accessible to everyone?

If you answered no, it’s time for you to really consider the role of diversity in your social media content.

I’m sure most would agree that one of the best things about social media is its ability to connect us to diverse perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. There really is no other place where you’re able to reach such a diverse audience – so why are you not taking advantage of it?

When we talk about social media, diversity is often not a topic that comes up in the conversation. We think about character counts, filters and likes, but diversity? It’s unfortunately one of those things that tends to get shoved under the rug. Why is this? Perhaps because it’s hard to nail down exactly what “diversity” means. Are we talking about gender diversity, racial diversity, age diversity, cultural diversity… or body diversity? There are so many options that fall under the umbrella of “diversity”.

According to Holly Hamann, co-founder and CMO of  TapInfluence, “it can be a challenge for brands to truly connect with diverse demographics because of language barriers or cultural nuances.” So, as a brand, how can you begin to work towards connecting with diverse demographics?

Here are 3 ways:

Understand the perspectives of all followers, customers and potential customers

By taking the time to understand, you become well-equipped to create content that resonates with all audiences. So often, we tend to keep ourselves in a “bubble” by cultivating networks of only people who are similar to us. Take full advantage of the ability to connect with diverse groups of people in order to have an open mind as you create content, campaigns and simply communicate with your online audience on a daily basis. One great way to gather insights? Join in on some Twitter chats (there are tons that bring together people based on culture, profession, body type and more!) to engage in honest conversation.

Be aware of hashtag activism campaigns

Campaigns such as #OscarsSoWhite and #ThisIsPlus continue to arise as groups of people seek to leverage the power of social media to bring awareness to their issues and gain support. These campaigns can be quite powerful as they spark conversations and dialogue that force us to stop and reflect. Especially as social media managers, staying informed of these campaigns can not only teach us about the issues that are important to different groups but how to effectively communicate about such issues in a way that is respectful and understanding.

Work with a diverse group of influencers

There’s no denying the value of influencer marketing and its ability to help your brand reach a wider audience. To truly embrace diversity, consider partnering with influencers who reflect a variety of demographics (such as race, gender, religion, body type, sexual orientation, etc.) that can help push your message to a more diverse group of people. Bloggers are successful primarily because they’re able to relate to the everyday person. If your business/brand makes an effort to value all customers, you’ll likely begin to see a positive change in your brand awareness, loyalty and business profit.

Playing ignorant towards diversity is no longer an option. Being inclusive of all people despite disabilities, race, body size, culture and gender identity is the only way to truly reach and resonate with a wide audience. Want to learn more about diversity, inclusivity and social media? On Wednesday, June 8, Peter Armstrong will be leading the session “Socially Accessible: If Media Isn’t Inclusive, it’s not Social Media”. Register today to join Peter and Toronto’s leading social media thought leaders for a much needed discussion on curating inclusive social media channels.

About Chanele McFarlane

Chanele McFarlane is a Toronto-based digital marketing specialist who is passionate about all things social media, personal branding and professional style. She’s also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Do Well Dress Well, an online resource to inspire women to succeed in style. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Originally posted as part of Community Voices series for Social Media Week in Toronto 2016.