A quick scroll of any social media feed will tell you that influencer marketing is big. But did you know that it’s $16.4 billion big? With a market size this huge, influencer marketing is an absolute force. But is it a force for good?
We need to talk about diversity in influencer marketing. The lack of it, the importance of it, the pros and the other pros [there are no cons!].
As well as getting new audiences in front of their offering, influencer partnerships offer brands the chance to show who they are and what they stand for.
But frankly? Some brands have blinders on, working only with people who meet outdated beauty standards. [Think, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, thin ideals].
Meta [that’s Facebook’s parent company] has found that 33% of consumers purchase more after viewing content made by influencers from more diverse backgrounds. If nothing else? That alone is compelling reason enough to diversify your influencer lineup.
But of course, it goes deeper than that.
From a personal perspective as a BIPOC woman
People want to see influencers that look like them and can relate to them. Speaking personally as a woman of colour I find it very difficult to support brands that do not value inclusivity or diversity.
I want to see myself represented, I want to see the makeup product you’re selling on someone who looks like me. As well as the top, the pants, and the handbag you’re selling on people who look like me.
I want to see the hair product you’re selling on people who look like me. Not out of principle, but to see if it would suit me.
How do I know if you’re selling to me if you don’t even have people like me on your social media accounts? It’s discouraging and it makes me feel like I don’t belong. It makes me feel like this product wasn’t made for someone like me. Why should I support you as a company when you aren’t even marketing to someone like me? It’s not inclusive.
I’m not seeking these things in order to be challenging; rather, I’m requesting them because I’m aware of how simple it is to find representation. There are so many incredible BIPOC influencers eager to work with brands. There are countless diverse influencers with passionate followers who can represent brands amazingly well, but a lot of brands are still not paying attention to them.
Don’t know where to look? Ask your community who they are following and go from there.
How performative activism is bad for your brand
Today, the discussion around inclusivity and diversity is louder than ever. Audiences are [rightly so] demanding diversity. But it’s crucial that diversity in influencer marketing is carried out for the right reasons, and not just to win brownie points for the brand. Performative activism can be seen a mile off and will be called out.
In 2019, a certain fashion brand lost significant credibility after they invited beauty and lifestyle bloggers on an all-expense paid trip to Coachella.
Amid the sizable group, only a tiny fraction were women of colour. The influencers of colour shared that they were separated from white attendees, and their content was shared less prominently by the brand following the event.
In the aftermath, the brand’s wider community started speaking up and noticing that the Instagram feed had never been diverse before this incident. Questions were raised about the brand, its attitude, and its values. The brand lost trust, credibility, and customers.
If you’re a brand currently working with influencers or hoping to start influencer marketing in 2023, make sure the influencers you chose represent the diversity of your consumers.
This is your opportunity to represent and include your community and tap into different audiences that could fall in love with your brand.
Need help with your influencer marketing? Get in touch!
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