If your brand’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts don’t expand to include your influencer marketing campaigns, you may be alienating key members of your audience.
Here, we’re going to engage in an intensive exploration of the subject diversity. We’ll explore what it is, why you should make a meaningful commitment to diversity in influencer marketing, and how you can successfully execute your plan to improve your diversity metrics.
What Is Diversity in Influencer Marketing?
Diversity is simply the act of including or representing people with a wide range of features, backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. This includes, but isn’t limited to race, gender identity, disability status, and sexual orientation.
There is also something that’s known as secondary diversity. This refers to characteristics that are not inherent but often come as the result of experience, exposure, and socialization.
Education, religious beliefs, geographic location, employment background, and cultural experiences – even body type falls under a category of diversity.
Diversity in influencer marketing is the specific practice of working with influencers who represent a range of primary and secondary diversity characteristics. The premise is the same as diversity in hiring in many ways. Where diversity exists, representation exists. Further, diversity brings new ideas, perspectives, and customers to the table.
Why Your Brand Should Care About Diversity in Influencer Marketing
You have a great relationship with a powerful influencer. They can make social media posts that just go viral. Your ROI seems fine. Why should you care about diversity?
Likewise, you may feel as though your brand and products have universal appeal and usefulness. If that’s the case, you may wonder why it’s necessary to be concerned with diversity when the value proposition doesn’t change from one demographic group to another.
Even if all of the above is true for your brand, you should still care about diversity in influencer marketing, as well as in other forms of online marketing. Here’s why.
Diversity Creates a Sense of Belonging
When people see themselves reflected in your marketing and advertising, the message they receive is that you care about building relationships with them. You communicate that your products and services are intended for them and that they belong to the audience you are trying to reach.
Diverse Influencers Widen Your Audience
When influencer content only speaks to people within a homogeneous group, it’s difficult to just go viral. Your audience is just too limited.
When you work with a diverse group of influencers, you increase your audience reach and interest in your brand.
You’ll Gain Deeper Audience Insights
Influencers who appeal to new audiences also bring along insights about those audiences. They may have a better understanding of how members of a specific demographic group view your brand or how they use your products.
With this specialized knowledge, they are in an excellent position to create content that will just go viral. When you partner with diverse influencers, they can work with you to increase your understanding of which methods are going to have the greatest impact.
Diverse Influencers Increase Conversions
The truth is that people tend to be most influenced by other people that they can relate to. When a consumer sees a brand recommendation, demonstration, or call to action from an influencer they see as part of the same group as themselves, they are more likely to be impacted by the message.
Diversity Matters to Your Target Customers
The two largest consumer groups are Millennials and Gen-Z. When asked about the things they value in a brand, diversity consistently ranks at or near the top. Brands that seemingly exclude certain groups in their marketing efforts are going to suffer for that.
Diversity Can Help You Solve Your Influencer Marketing Challenges
Ideally, brands and influencers work together in partnerships to get the best possible results for both parties. Unfortunately, there can be roadblocks and challenges along the way.
For example, an Instagram campaign may not garner the engagement you had hoped or a live video event might flop.
When you work with diverse influencers, it isn’t just your target audience that benefits. You can also benefit from a new perspective on your content plans, marketing strategy, and more.
You may find that you’ve been using some incorrect or incomplete assumptions in developing your online marketing strategy. The perspective of a new influencer brings in untapped experiences to the table.
What Does Diversity Look Like in Influencer Marketing?
First, diversity isn’t just about hiring influencers from different ethnic, racial, or other demographic groups. Although it is important to diversify in that way, it is also vital to promote the ideals of diversity in your influencer marketing. This means working with influencers who do that, too.
Before you partner with an influencer, ask them who their audience is. Do they attract a diverse audience? Are they committed to creating and sharing content that promotes your diversity goals? Remember that JustgoViral can help you screen potential influencers to ensure that your diversity and inclusion goals align with theirs.
Of course, representation matters. All of the positive statements that you or your influencers make about diversity don’t matter if only a limited set of people see themselves represented in your brand. Ultimately, you have to turn platitudes about diversity into something meaningful.
How to Authentically Incorporate Diversity Into Your Influencer Campaigns
The following tips will help you to incorporate diversity into your influencer campaigns in ways that are authentic and meaningful.
Start with Your Marketing Team
Your influencer marketing strategy begins internally. If the team that creates that strategy is lacking in diversity, they are going to struggle to create an influencer marketing strategy that prioritizes diversity. They may not even recognize where the shortcomings exist.
Review Your Target Audience Profiles for Diversity Data
Hopefully, you’ve created audience personas that identify key traits of your target customers. Learn which customer groups you are targeting that are commonly underrepresented, marginalized, or stereotyped. You can then use this information to take a close look at your past and current influencer campaigns.
Are there groups that you have failed to represent or acknowledge?
Has your influencer content used stereotypes or been culturally insensitive?
Have you designed any of your influencer messaging to reach out to these groups?
Additionally, look at your customer records and social media audience. You may identify audience segments that you never realized you had.
Seek Help from Influencers
Influencers tend to get very honest feedback from their audiences, especially when they decide to endorse a brand or a product. If they see your brand as not caring about certain groups of people or as pandering to them, chances are they will say so.
Stay connected to your influencers and learn about the feedback they receive as it relates to diversity. They may be able to tell you exactly how your audience perceives your diversity efforts.
The feedback may be scathing, but it can certainly provide amazing insights into where your diversity efforts are missing the mark.
Gather Insights from Your Audience
You can also ask your audience for feedback on the issue of diversity, as well. Use surveys, polls, and other instruments to gather information about audience members’ experiences with your brand.
For example, you can ask if they feel as though your marketing includes them, if they have ever been offended by a lack of diversity in your marketing, and what you can do to make them feel as though they are a welcome part of your brand community.
Look to Micro-Influencers
There is a good chance that you are going to determine that you need to work with a more diverse group of influencers. That’s a great approach because it shows that you are committed to incorporating diversity in your marketing, not just talking about it.
However, it isn’t as easy as going to an influencer platform like JustgoViral and asking to be connected with an array of multicultural influencers. That kind of haphazard approach can end up looking like tokenism.
Instead, use the information you have gathered to see exactly where your diversity efforts have fallen short. Then, target influencers who are in those groups. This will increase representation in areas that are meaningful to your audience.
What if you don’t have the budget to bring on so many influencers? In that case, remember that there are many different types of influencers. You can engage different ones to create a more diverse influencer marketing effort.
For example, there are micro-influencers and brand advocates who may be willing to work with your brand. These influencers operate on a smaller scale and tend to charge less expensive rates for their content. They may be willing to work on a commission or even in exchange for free products.
If you are used to working with influencers with a larger audience, this may seem off-putting to you. However, you should keep in mind that these influencers and advocates often have an exceptional amount of influence over audience behavior. They just might help you to connect with audiences you’ve never reached before.