I’m sure we have all seen companies updating their company logo to support different causes- whether it be for Pride Month or Black Lives Matter. But is this really the future of diversity and inclusion marketing though? It can’t be.

The facts:

  • Diversity marketing tactics can come in the form of educational resources, videos, policy hubs, and more.
  • Search interest surrounding Diversity & Inclusion topics is increasing YoY at a steady incline (Source: SEMRush)
  • Inclusivity marketing is multifaceted and evolving. By truly listening to what your audience is asking about, you can begin to glean what resonates with them and what resources you should build-out.
  • People are interested in how your company navigates sensitive subjects, so providing additional resources is critical to a holistic marketing strategy.

In the past couple of years, online social engagement and activism have been at an all-time high. With this onset of important causes, companies have been quick to hop on new marketing trends to ensure agility in speaking to their markets in an inclusive and impactful manner.

The Diversity & Inclusion Marketing Analysis

In order to get a better understanding of the landscape, I embarked on a social listening deep dive – looking primarily at large social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc.), who tend to be early adopters, and trendsetters. The learnings from these top-tier brands are universal and help dictate how a brand of any size can approach their audience. I accomplished this analysis by utilizing organic search data and keyword trends with two goals in mind:

  1. To learn what consumers are talking about in regards to diversity and inclusion topics
  2. To discover how these platforms are responding to negative sentiment

Why Diversity in Advertising is Important for Brands

Mitigating negative consumer sentiment towards Brands has become a daily struggle. Typically this is due to the fact that there is no solidified strategy and is typically done reactively. The key to success is a proactive digital marketing strategy as it relates to diversity and inclusion. By researching sensitive topics in regards to large social networks and community platforms, Brands can glean resources to provide solutions to negative queries posed by the public. By researching how these platforms have approached and contested negative press in the past, Brands can generate content that answers negative sentiment and also gets ahead of future conversations surrounding sensitive topics.

By targeting sensitive queries, brands can guide the conversation through useful, educational resources instead of letting external publications answer consumer questions.

After researching the respective platforms, Twitter has the most comprehensive strategy addressing these topics.

Social Platforms Analyzed

  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

TikTok Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

TikTok is currently ranking for 38 racism-modified keywords on their site via organic search (source: SEMRush). Since they are a newer company, we expect them to not own as many queries as other competitors. However, racism-related rankings and search interest continue to climb over time as seen below.

Negative responses to TikTok?

Looking at the search engine result page (SERP), TikTok is not currently owning the results for ‘TikTok racism,’ and when they do, it showcases racist videos on their platform, which is not serving them well. A lot of negative press has to do with creators on the platform being exposed for racist words or acts as well as the stifling of Black creators on the app.

How is TikTok responding?

  • TikTok has begun releasing progress reports to show how they are supporting Black communities and promoting diversity on their platform.
  • TikTok is consistently releasing minority creator spotlights.

Diversity Marketing Strategy to Glean from TikTok

  • Consistently release Diversity & Inclusion progress reports (Twitter has a similar strategy as well).
  • Create spotlight content highlighting minority-owned businesses

Facebook Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Facebook is currently ranking for 2.1K racism-modified terms generating an estimated 2.7K monthly visits to their site via organic search (source: SEMRush). Looking at past trends, Facebook first started ranking for these types of queries in 2016, during the time of the first BLM protests. Since 2016, search interest and ranking racism terms have since grown.

Negative responses to Facebook?

Looking at the SERPs, a majority of the negativity is discussing discriminatory behavior for both Facebook hiring processes as well as on the platform itself. An insight that was different from other platforms was that some believe Facebook’s ‘hate speech censoring’ is actually stifling marginalized groups. People shared concern over ‘racist algorithms’ in deciding what is censored and what is not.

Top headlines (USAToday):

  • Black activists say hate speech policies and content moderation stifle marginalized groups.
  • Mark Zuckerberg says lawmakers tell him Facebook has too much power over speech. “Frankly I agree.”
  • Civil rights groups say Facebook has not cut down on hate speech against African Americans. (Source: USATODAY)

Another interesting call-out is that there are claims insinuating that Facebook was a main perpetrator of political coercion and a hotbed for misinformation exposed from the Civil Rights Audit.

How is Facebook responding?

  • Informative blog content
  • Allowing racial justice forums to remain in the form of ‘Facebook groups’
    • There were cases with FB automatic screening that were accidentally removing activist groups due to speech around race. Facebook has since updated the screening process.

Diversity Marketing Strategy to Glean from Facebook

  • Create informative content targeting racism-modified terms (and what the platform is doing to combat racism). Topics to expand upon include:
    • How to fight online racism
    • How to address users hate speech or anti-Black speech
      • Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy
      • Facebook Community Standards: Hate Speech
    • How your brand avoids ‘racist algorithms’

Twitter Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Twitter is currently ranking for 1.4K racism-modified keywords generating an estimated 1.9K monthly visits to their site via organic search (source: SEMRush). Looking at historical data, much like Facebook, Twitter first started ranking for these types of queries in 2016, during the time of the first BLM protests. Since 2016, search interest and ranking racism terms have grown.

Negative responses to Twitter?

Like Facebook, Twitter received some disdain for their ‘racist algorithms’ and racist chatbot. However, Twitter has a significant amount of educational resources discussing how they are providing a safe, online platform for users as well as answering consumer questions with policy pages or activist accounts. As a result they own all of page 1 for ‘twitter racist’ terms and don’t receive as much negative press.

How is Twitter responding?

  • Twitter does a great job of mitigating queries by owning the space for racism-modified terms. The main search results consist of both racial justice Twitter accounts, educational blogs as well as Twitter ‘help’ articles.
  • Not only does Twitter have a plethora of educational resources mitigating sensitive queries, but they also release annual Inclusion and Diversity reports.
  • An interesting call out for Twitter is that they also are proactive about topics revolving around Pride, Social Media + Mental Health and Disability.

Diversity Marketing Strategy to Glean from Twitter

  • Create content on accessibility and highlight the ways that your brand helps those with disabilities.
  • Create content spotlighting marginalized communities.
  • Create content regarding social media and mental health
    • Ie. How [Brand] helps community members connect & unplug
  • Additional examples of unique, Twitter content:
    • Disability & Unemployment
    • Love Wins: Brand Responses

Diversity Marketing Roadmap: Next Steps

  1. Produce and release consistent Inclusion and Diversity Reports if applicable to your brand
  2. Create resources expanding on diversity and inclusion topics (inclusivity + accessibility)
  3. Generate ‘Spotlight’ content for brand users
  4. House your brand policies on your site to further instill transparency

By having a proactive approach to diversity and inclusion, as it pertains to marketing, can help set your brand apart from the competition – all while making the internet a more inclusive place. As the data shows, taking a reactive approach to diversity and inclusion marketing can set your brand back and put you in an insurmountable position digitally. If each brand stood up to help combat bias and negativity across their platform or brand, the digital landscape could be a much more inviting landscape.