Black History Month Pt 2: 5 Ways to Incorporate Conscious Inclusion Into Your Social Media

Ways to Incorporate Conscious Inclusion Into Your Social Media
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As marketers, we focus on many moving parts of a marketing campaign. There’s the overarching strategy and its interception with the larger goal, the actionable steps to bringing the campaign to life, the messaging, creative visuals, audience sentiment, and the data that represents if the campaign was successful or not. Many marketers (like me) go through a mental checklist while gut-checking the content to ensure it’s conscious of all and not one or two segmented groups. Creating inclusive content for social media takes a village of accountability and a transparent position of a willingness to learn.

Here are five things that you can do immediately to become more inclusive within your social media campaigns.

Be mindful of the presence of diversity in your creative design

1. Be mindful of the presence of diversity in your creative design

The vast majority of brands openly commit themselves and their brands to inclusive marketing and diverse perspectives. We’re all aware that If one was asked about the importance of diversity in business, there would be an overwhelming agreement around the significance of seeing diversity and inclusive content online. However, how can a brand do this without appearing to be a bandwagon brand or executed in poor taste?

For example, stock imagery with diverse groups can possibly appear slightly off or inauthentic to your audience. A few moments of internal team reflection can catch the blandness of the image or “fake” feeling that some stock imagery exudes. Now, after platforms neglected to acknowledge influential Black Content Creators on their platforms, and brands have been outed on social media for standing for diversity yet having no POC or gender equality on their executive board, its crucial that you approach your creative designs with intentionality, without forcing a reality that doesn’t belong to your brand. Honesty and transparency are essential.

Also, if this reality doesn’t exist within your brand, now is the time to ask yourself why. Consider if it’s your recruitment practices or a gap within your industry. However, to say that there are no diversity opportunities would be an ill-informed excuse. Dig deeper into your brand values and infuse that into how your brand shows up on social media.

Remember that your visuals matter beyond racial representation from a more tactical perspective. The visually impaired community is affected when marketers do not consider color contrast in creative imagery. So, when creating your designs, create a color contrast that makes it easier for people to see and consume.

2. Turning on auto-captions for video with sound.

Content inclusivity goes beyond race or ethnicity. When considering inclusive content online,  marketers should be mindful and intentional for disabled communities like the visually impaired or D/deaf. Platforms like Facebook, InstagramLinkedInTwitter, and others provide many features to its users that offer accessibility to those with disabilities. One of these features includes auto-captions for your content with sounds. The feature can be turned on by post or within your settings for all of your content for many platforms. You can decide on an open or closed caption: open captions become a part of your video content and cannot be removed by your audience, while closed captions allow users to decide on the caption settings.

Additionally, you can also include alt-text to your post images. By adding descriptions to your creative designs, this small yet impactful adjustment in your social media process could help everyone enjoy your content and have a pleasant experience on social media.

Are you creating inclusive content online? Here are five things you can do immediately to make your content more accessible for all. #ContentMarketing | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet

Consider your online sentiment as part of your process of maintaining content diversity. 

3. Consider your online sentiment as part of your process of maintaining content diversity. 

As marketers, we know the complexities of social media management and the two sides that spearhead the most significant impact: execution and strategy. On the strategic side, marketers incorporate socially relevant holidays into their content or infuse the brand into culturally relevant conversations. Through implementation, this is where you focus on nurturing a community of authentic engagement within your online communities with thought-provoking, thoughtful discussions, conversing with the people that leave comments, and inviting your audience into a space that can guide your content approach.

Most social media content speaks at the audience while neglecting conversation starters. Although a bit unorthodox, inviting your audience into your content planning process opens the door for in-depth relationships with your advocates on social media. This approach creates an environment where they feel heard and seen by actively listening to what matters most.

A great way to begin this process is to use your hashtags proactively. Once you post your content, click them to see what other conversations exist within that hashtag and engage with people off of your profile. This is also a great way to naturally increase your visibility organically while seeking worthwhile dialogue that can positively impact your brand.

4. Invite your audience into the content strategy through polls, surveys, and post engagement.

To further enhance your engagement, create polls and surveys that spark answers to help guide your brand conversations online. As you receive answers that may surprise you, don’t be afraid to engage back and encourage your audience to dig deeper. Brands and social media managers undervalue the actual management of online communities, but it can be the most powerful part because it is direct feedback from your audience, completely unfiltered or tainted with marketing jargon. Those who take the time to respond to your content represent a percentage of your audience that may have had similar sentiments, yet they didn’t take the time to reply. Don’t take this lightly.

Furthermore, if your brand connects with multi-generations, consider this to be a way to determine how to best engage with each generation and how they desire to experience your brand on the different platforms. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all allow for polls and surveys, so utilize these features to cultivate a community and learn how you can acknowledge the differences in your audience consumption preferences while figuring out areas of integration as well.

Keep your core values at the forefront of everything you do on social media. 

5. Keep your core values at the forefront of everything you do on social media. 

I am one who believes that there are more people in the world that desire to see a positive move toward diversity, inclusion, and equity than those that are not. I believe that many brands at their core desire to live, breathe, and act out their core values at all times and wherever their brand is present. This means that there must be a deeper level of intentionality to ensure that the marketers working on the brands are constantly giving themselves a gut check to leave unconscious biases at the brainstorming process (and not on the posts that go out for the entire world to provide you with that reminder).

It is extremely rare that social media users review old posts beyond your nine grid (for Instagram) or older than a feasible scroll or two of the thumb. Because of this, make reintroduction posts a common occurrence for your brand. Welcome your new followers to your space. Remind them of your core values and the online community that you’re cultivating, and let them know there is an open space for dialog should they feel that there are ways you can improve on representing those values.

This approach can do wonders for you in cultivating engagement and encouraging open communication on your platforms.

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About the author

Altimese Nichole

Altimese Nichole is a best-selling author, speaker, brand strategist, publicist, and diversity champion with a heart to help her clients win as the Founder of The Ezer Agency. She attained her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications, Broadcast Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University and completed her Master of Management degree from the University of Phoenix. She has over 12 years of experience with public relations and marketing with companies small and large, including CNN, Cartoon Network, Black Bride Magazine, Church's Chicken, Sutter Home Wines, La Femme International Film Festival, Facebook, and more.