- Underrepresentation is prevalent in influencer marketing and advertising, just as it is in many other industries
- Brands are taking strides to amplify underrepresented voices by hiring and partnering with people of all backgrounds
- To support an inclusive influencer marketing strategy, we recommend several tactics, including a focus on diversifying personas, revamping your creative process through the lens of DEI, and more.
How To Be More Inclusive With Influencer Marketing
Underrepresented groups have long been overlooked in advertising. However, brands are beginning to recognize that they are responsible for representing the full spectrum of experiences and identities via their advertising methods.
According to a 2022 study conducted by Connatix and Digiday, 81% of respondents are part of brands and agencies that are actively pursuing goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
We hope this means that creators of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQPIA+ individuals, and beyond, are being seen and heard as they should be.
This resonates with audiences – in fact, these are changes that audiences have come to expect, according to a 2021 DEI survey conducted by Facebook. In this same study, most (71%) respondents expect brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their online advertising.
Additionally, 4 in 10 Americans identify as a race or ethnic group other than white. Therefore, representing the population accurately with a diverse cohort of creators is more important than ever.
So, when it comes to influencer marketing, how do brands incorporate better representation?
To answer this question, we’re breaking down our top tips for being more inclusive in your brand’s influencer marketing practices.
4 Steps To Inclusive Influencer Marketing
Brand marketers have the opportunity to make sure that their company’s marketing materials — influencer-generated content (IGC), mood boards, and brand books alike — are inclusive and support the idea that uniqueness must be embraced within all initiatives.
By taking time to review the materials now, you’ll set yourself up for success in your pursuit of new creator partners.
1. Diversify Your Influencer Personas
Make an intentional effort to include a wide variety of influencer personas that accurately represent your consumer.
Consider criteria including, but not limited to, age, ethnicity, household income, location, and other demographic and psychographic data. Brand target audiences are granular and nuanced – there are countless segments to hone in on!
After you define personas, apply this same strategy to your influencer sourcing. Use search filters that pull from a variety of backgrounds and demographics to match your personas.
As you start inviting creators, keep an eye on the number of influencers who are applying from each of your original personas and conduct additional outreach as needed to find the representation you want.
Digital content creators Sarah Amann & Rachel Benson said, “There is so much quality content being made by underrepresented groups, which is an opportunity for brands to tap into and benefit from.”
By embracing this mindset, brands can help consumers see themselves in their marketing initiatives, and the opportunity to authentically reach new markets opens up.
2. Inspire Creativity With Inclusive Mood Boards
Delivering guidance and allowing room for creativity is a delicate balance when it comes to developing influencer campaign briefs.
You’ll always want to give creators opportunities for their personal voice and style to shine through while simultaneously aligning with your brand messaging.
Consider producing a holistic creator style guide that incorporates brand messaging, example imagery, content guidelines, and any collaborations FAQs.
This will help fuel ideation while outlining some standard requirements. For ideas, check out Mavrck’s campaign style guide template, which includes a mood board section you can use to insert imagery that highlights a diverse group of creators.
3. Repurpose Content Across All Marketing Efforts
IGC is easily repurposable! Brands can reuse IGC across all sorts of marketing initiatives, whether within their customer emails, across their website, or on their social media channels.
It’s a great way to get more engagements and impressions generated from beautiful, unique content. Plus, expanding the reach of IGC created by underrepresented groups normalizes a brand’s inclusivity.
If creators can count on you to partner with creators of all backgrounds, they are more likely to want to work with you.
Relatedly, other brands could be inspired to follow your lead to revamp their influencer strategy, putting underrepresented creators at the helm.
And, if you follow up by advocating for underrepresented people – pointing out that representation is not just a good business practice, but simply the right thing to do – you just may inspire others to do the same.
4. Partner With Creators On Broader Strategy
To support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, lean on creators and make planning for your marketing initiatives a collaborative effort.
Most brands approach campaigns around DEI efforts with good intentions but forget to include all types of creators from the start. Creators should instead be leveraged as partners, to co-develop campaign strategies and help navigate the brand’s vision.
It’s also important to build relationships with creators and take a step back from strictly looking at KPIs. Bringing creators into the fold isn’t going to result in a perfect campaign, but by doing so, brands can eliminate some of the gray areas and negative backlash that can occur if they don’t do so.
One thing to advise against is to avoid focusing on inclusive marketing only during banner months.
Inclusive marketing should be the overarching goal for strategies and content all year round! Giving underrepresented individuals a platform at all times is a vital part of a successful ally mindset that fully supports DEI.
Go Forth And Be Inclusive
With our tips in mind, it’s time to incorporate inclusive practices into your marketing strategies. While strides are being made in this industry, there’s still a long way to go before underrepresented individuals are included in brand collaborations automatically.
We’ve already seen that representation works. Facebook notes in its 2021 DEI study that more than 90% of their advertising simulations saw diverse representation perform as the best-performing ad strategy in terms of recall — an indicator of the industry heading in the right direction, better supporting DEI
It’s important not only to increase diversity within influencer marketing campaigns but also to create inclusive and equitable experiences for underrepresented creators within brand partnerships and beyond. Let’s show the world how great we can be when everyone is welcome.
Learn More About DEI and Influencer Marketing