Every business should be an ally.
Throughout history, certain groups of people haven’t always had the same opportunities as others. While this has improved over time, it can be better.
Businesses are re-evaluating their values to find ways to make a positive impact on these communities. Whether that’s providing opportunities, a platform, or a voice, diversity should be on every business’s agenda.
Does my business really need to be more diverse?
Diversity allows people to be exposed to certain stories, viewpoints, and cultures they may not typically be exposed to. While these voices always existed, they typically aren’t amplified.
Without diversity in an influencer campaign, a business amplifies voices that are always heard and silences voices that need to be heard. When a business suppresses a certain group of people, they end up neglecting an entire community.
Simply put, people want to be included. They want to be seen. For example, if a plus-sized person wants to shop from a certain brand, but only sees slender body types represented, they may refrain from making a purchase.
People not only want to see how a piece of clothing will look on them, but they also want to feel cared for. They want a brand relationship and experience.
It’s not enough to simply cater to them. A business must show communities that they’re seen, cared about, and included. This creates a special relationship and bond between the customer and business which may not have existed otherwise. Businesses that lack diversity face the risk of failing to meet consumer standards.
1. Give marginalized customers a voice.
The best way to not only educate yourself but your team members is by allowing marginalized communities to tell you what they want to see from your business. You can do this by creating questionnaires and social media polls to see how your business can be an ally to those who truly need it.
Listening to the source is crucial. Doing what you may think is best will often not be enough. If you aren’t part of a marginalized community, you will not know the solution to years of injustice.
Reach out to Black, Asian, LGBTQ+, plus-size, and female influencers to see how you can do better to provide them with opportunities, a community, and a voice. Being a business that listens to what its community wants will allow you to be the most inclusive you can be.
2. Diversify your target audience.
Not every business can cater to every community. Many businesses do not have a very specific target audience, while some do. To properly diversify your influencer campaign, you must first revisit who exactly your target audience is.
If your audience is general, such as women or men, diversity comes a lot simpler. You can represent LGBTQ+, Black, Asian, and Latino influencers in your target audience. You will have a wide range of influencers to pick from. This may be simpler, but also trickier.
Because there are more options to pick from, it may be challenging to know where to start. As long as you find a place for marginalized influencers and communities in your brand, you will be the best ally you can be.
However, if your target audience is more niche, diversity can still end up being exclusive. If your target audience is businessmen or outdoorsy fathers, you can’t exactly amplify female voices. However, there are still plenty of influencers within various communities that you can pick for your campaign. Finding a way to diversify your brand and still appeal to your target audience is key.
3. Pick influencers that care about world issues.
Caring is cool. Consumers are shifting to be more selective with what company they give their money to. They want to support small businesses, Black or Asian businesses, and female businesses.
While a business may not necessarily fall into these categories, it can still show they care. Businesses should make it a point to use their platform to spread messages and positivity, especially towards communities that need it.
Palestine, Cuba, and Iran freedom protests are great examples of using your platforms to spread the voices of minority groups that need to be heard. If your business is seen to not care about world issues, people may potentially start to dislike your business.
During crucial and sensitive world events it may be considered insensitive to not show your support. It’s considered the elephant in the room, and pushing people to buy things during a sensitive time may cause them to see you as greedy.
While caring starts with you and your business, it’s just as important to pick influencers for your campaign that also care, for the same reasons outlined above. Influencers that ignore large world issues are often accused of not using their platform for the right things.
Pick authentic influencers who genuinely want to make a change in the world. These people are positive role models and will be positive representations of your brand.
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4. Create a diverse community beyond your influencer partners.
Appearances aren’t everything. A business shouldn’t be diversifying its influencers just to appear diverse. Diversity should fall into every category of a business.
Limiting diversity to just your influencer campaign limits prevents your business from making the change it truly can. Diversity isn’t and shouldn’t be limited to just your influencer campaign.
Hiring diverse team members and models are great ways to amplify communities. By doing this, your business can give communities the voice and opportunities they deserve. Your business will eventually grow to become the best ally it can be.
5. Maintain your brand’s authenticity.
In a world of cancel culture, it may be hard to maintain authenticity. It can be hard to find yourself doing things for the right reason. There may be a lot of pressure from outside sources.
These are all things most brands may experience from time to time. However, pressure doesn’t mean you are or should be inauthentic.
Before a business falls under pressure to be more diverse, it should educate itself and its team members. People can usually tell when diversity is performative and a company is being inauthentic.
Finding it a priority to understand why diversity is important will prevent your company from appearing performative. Once you understand why amplifying voices is crucial, everything your business does to be an ally will come from a true place.
While outside sources may be what encouraged you to educate yourself, they shouldn’t be the sole reason you diversify your company. A business should want to be diverse, amplify voices, and help marginalized communities. Maintaining authenticity is the key to standing by your company’s core values and connecting with your customers.
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