Being inclusive of all genders, races and walks of life is no longer just a ‘nice bonus’ on social media. Nor is it just a trend!
In 2021, it’s simply just not an option to be inconsiderate of those who are different to you when you’re creating content. Not only is being inclusive on social media (and, in real life!) just the right thing to do, but it’s also great for business! Just by making a few simple tweaks to your social media strategy, you can open your business up to thousands of new people who really need what you’re selling!
Plus, in being more open-minded, you can attract new followers with different life experiences and world views to you. This broadens not only your network, but your perspective and world view, too!
Read on for 5 simple tips for being more inclusive and a better ally on social media.
1. Broaden your net
There are 3.5 billion people on the internet. And while by no means should you feel like you have speak to everyone on your socials (after all, if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to nobody) it can sometimes be a good idea to think outside the box. After all, your audience may not be exactly who they think you are!
For example, if you create products designed for women and you are also a woman, it’s easy to get stuck in an echo chamber just for women. But in actual fact, you may find that many of your ideal clients are men (especially if they are buying for partners) or non-binary folk. Perhaps they have been lurking on your social media channels, but haven’t bought from you as they feel excluded
Be sure to have a deep dive into your social media analytics (you can find these insights in the ‘results’ section in Plann to get a better idea of who actually comprises your audience. Then, make sure you’re speaking to all of them. Not sure how to connect with people who are different to you? Check out our article for tips that will help you step into their shoes.
2. Speak kindly and inclusively
The words you use matter — especially in social media captions, where there’s no tone of voice or body language to give additional context! So, be sure to use them wisely.
For example, the terms ‘girlboss’ ‘ladyboss’ or ‘momboss’ have gained popularity in recent years. However, this can be quite dismissive of people who don’t identify as those terms. You might consider ditching those terms from your vocabulary and just going with a plain old ‘boss’, instead! Similarly, many people on social media are opting for the term ‘womxn’ instead of ‘women,’ to be more inclusive of other gender identities as well.
While it’s also important to speak your truth on social media and you don’t want to engage in performative activism, it’s also important to be kind and respectful. In more challenging social times, it’s a good idea to tread with an extra layer of sensitivity. Not sure how to do that? Check out this article on dealing with a crisis on social media.
3. Caption it
It’s never been easier to add captions to your social media videos, to make them more accessible to those who are hearing impaired. Plus, given that 85% of people watch social media videos with no sound, this is a great way to get more engagement on your stories and videos in general!
Instagram recently released an auto caption sticker you can use to live transcribe your videos as you speak. TikTok is also reportedly in the process of rolling out their own automatically generated captions, too. Don’t have this feature yet? Even just adding some text boxes with the key points from your videos can help make them more inclusive for now.
On a similar note, it’s also a great idea to add alt text to your image posts on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest. This provides an audio explanation of what’s in your image to those who are visually impaired. For example, it might say ‘girl in white dress eats sandwich’ on… you guessed it!… an image of a girl in white dress eating a sandwich! On most platforms, you can add this in your editing menu when uploading your photo. As an extra incentive, adding alt text is said to help with your on-platform SEO and visibility, too!
Our world is made up of a beautiful rainbow of different skin tones. So, our social media feeds should reflect this! This is particularly important if you’re a beauty or fashion brand, as it can be extremely alienating and off putting if a customer looks at your social media and doesn’t see their skin tone reflected. If you’re a beauty brand, hey are likely to assume your brand simply doesn’t cater to them.
Don’t believe that representation matters? Pinterest recently expanded its skin tone feature to 13 different countries after seeing a 5x increase in Pinners using the skin tone range feature to discover beauty ideas in the last year. The same goes for fashion brands — it’s important to make sure you’re representing a range of different body sizes and shapes.
But, the good news is, you don’t have to be a product-based business to be more visually inclusive on your social media channels. Thanks to our integration with Unsplash, Pexels and Unsplash inside Plann, you can access thousands of beautiful free images featuring a wide array of different skin tones. So, your social media feed can start to more accurately reflect the more rich tapestry that makes up our society.
5. And don’t forget your emojis!
Another easy way to celebrate diversity on your social media channels? Think about your emojis! While this may seem like a tiny detail, it goes a long way in communicating your brand values to the word.
Instagram has a broad range of different skin tone emojis to reflect different skin tones. So, if you’re using emojis when speaking about a community event, consider branching out from just the caucasian emojis and instead, use a few in different colors. And, when in doubt about being sensitive, remember the yellow emoji is always a good neutral option.
At Plann, we’ve made it easier than ever to be more inclusive with your emojis. We recently expanded our beloved emoji keyboard with emojis in a broader range of skintones, which you can easily access when writing and scheduling your captions.
At the end of the day, equality and inclusivity is a much bigger fight than just using a few emojis, stock images and captions. But, by following the simple tips in this article, you can make sure you’re adding more positivity than negativity to the cause on your social media channels.