Inclusivity in social marketing & the brands doing it well

Inclusivity in social marketing should never be treated as an afterthought. 

By taking an inclusivity-first approach to social media content, you’re getting to the heart of what inclusivity is all about.

Letting people see themselves represented by (or seen, heard and understood by) your brand.

If your social feeds just show people in positions of privilege or who conform to societal stereotypes, yet suddenly becomes more diverse when an awareness day rolls around – that’s not inclusivity. It’s tokenism.

It needs to be a core value of your brand and something that all content is built around. There are brands out there doing a fantastic job at creating inclusive, diverse content on social media.

If you want to do the same, there’s ways to put this plan into action. 

Care about inclusivity in social marketing beyond what it can do for your brand

Inclusive marketing can make a real difference to how people see your brand. It can also bring about industry change. 

Take Dove. It’s famous for celebrating diversity and championing inclusivity. It doesn’t just build its own marketing around inclusivity. It also encourages other brands to be more inclusive, setting a new standard. 

In 2021, Dove South Africa offered to pay the appearance fees of models from diverse backgrounds if other brands hired them to appear in their ad campaigns (and create authentic images of them). The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign (also known as project #ShowUs) started in 2020 and ran again in 2021.

Dove also pledged to look at the diversity of the agencies and producers it worked with. (It’s easier to create truly inclusive content when there’s a diverse team behind it.)

Dove has shown that it truly believes in changing the industry, not just promoting itself through inclusion. It’s a powerful force. 

Build your brand around diverse content

Smaller brands can also make a big difference by building their content around diversity and inclusion.

When it comes to body diversity, fashion brands like Girlfriend Collective, TomboyX and Big Bud Press create a lot of fun, inclusive content on their social channels. 

It’s also worth looking at gender-inclusive razor company Estrid (a razor company ‘for everyone’) for ideas on how to avoid gender stereotypes in marketing. 

Avoid tokenism

Inclusion is a year-round, 24-hours a day process. Avoid tropes and tokenism by putting inclusion at the heart of your content, not adding one ‘diverse’ side character as a nod to inclusion. All year, and in every piece of content you create, think about how you can show different body types, queer representation, racial diversity, older people, disabled people, and people who proudly break stereotypes – as core to your content. 

This means having a diverse team behind your content, and where you don’t have the relevant experience or expertise, ask someone who does. Work with community influencers throughout the year and listen to (and act on) feedback the community gives you on your campaigns. 

Ultimately, celebrate differences, bring people into the brand’s collective and represent the rich variety of your audience. 

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