An interesting thing is happening over on TikTok right now. We’re seeing that Gen Z’s approach to social media content has inclusivity at its core (you can see this in the content posted by skinfluencers and fashion influencers, to name a few). This generation isn’t waiting around for social platforms to make themselves more accessible for all audiences – they’re busy showing them how it’s done by making their content accessible as default.
It’s not something they need to be told to do.
Brands that want to stay current with – and respected by – Gen Z will need to start treating accessibility as standard. Because it’s all about inclusivity.
Inclusivity and accessibility are connected
Being truly inclusive on social media means finding ways to make content both physically accessible and visibly diverse. People want access to content, AND they want to see themselves represented in it.
It’s what Gen Z expects of brands they support, and they won’t accept anything less. This is the new direction for diversity in content – incorporating representation and accessibility, and including ALL voices in the community.
To be truly representative and diverse, branded content should embrace difference in all its forms.
The Black Lives Matter movement has made many brands think more actively about racial diversity; the body positive movement has brought attention to the need for brands to show different body shapes in advertising. Now, it’s time to think about other representations, too, including people of different abilities.
Accessibility and representation are inextricably linked: content needs to be designed to connect communities, not exclude people or shame by omission. Everyone and anyone should see themselves reflected in the brand – that it’s speaking to them, and that it’s approachable.
The effect? It humanizes your brand. Thinking in terms of inclusivity-first presents a picture of a brand that understands the need for diverse representation. It shows that the brand’s audience – all of it – really matters.
If people can’t access your content – either physically or emotionally – they will be excluded from your message, whether you intend it or not. The new generation of consumers won’t stand for that.
Why inclusive content matters for brands
- Adopting inclusion and accessibility into your company, processes, and content is not a nice to have, it’s table stakes. Consumers expect it and it’s essential for brands to go from a provider to a connection.
- When it comes to Gen Z, inclusivity is a default. Tip: take some time to look at the content Gen Z produces, especially on TikTok. How can your brand learn from this new wave of content creators?
- Inclusive content will bring your diversity and inclusion brand values to life. You can’t say you value diversity and then exclude groups of people from your content. Anticipate stumbling blocks as you bring this way of thinking to your brand. Own up to your faults quickly and publicly.
Creating inclusive content makes business sense, as well as being the right thing to do. The question is: can you afford not to?