Social media is no longer just a place for organizations to boost their brands. In recent years, leaders of major companies have started using their platforms to address complex issues such as climate change, workplace diversity, and global inequality. As the workforce continues to diversify—20% of Canadian workers are members of visible minorities and 56% identify as women—organizations are being encouraged by their own employees to support and amplify members of marginalized groups. Leaders are making a conscious effort to uplift diverse communities, often turning to social media with messaging centred around Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). When done well, these types of posts serve to both solidify their identity as an empathetic and engaged leader, as well as attract and retain diverse talent.
But there’s the challenge: when done well. With the abundance of DE&I messaging on social media, another generic International Women’s Day post can come across as disingenuous virtue signalling. To avoid getting lost in the noise, here are three tips on how to craft compelling, meaningful, and sincere thought leadership to amplify your organization’s DE&I practices.
Do your research
Audiences today don’t want to see surface-level support. Before writing a post about a commemorative day or corporate DE&I initiative, you must familiarize yourself with the history, challenges, and triumphs of the community these initiatives support. For example, including a rainbow in your company’s logo during Pride Month or sharing a non-substantive post will do more harm than good—especially if your company has no internal initiatives or charitable efforts to back up the message.
When drafting your social media content, consult high-quality resources that offer a comprehensive understanding of the community’s current needs, desires, and challenges. The Canadian government provides excellent digital tool kits for various occasions of significance to diverse communities. You can also consult the website of a registered charity working to support a particular community, such as The 519, the Ontario Black History Society, or the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Toronto.
Give marginalized individuals a seat at the table
While you may be well informed about a community or culture other than your own, nothing can replace lived experience. It is always best practice to consult with members of the community when crafting DE&I messaging specific to them. Not only does the strategy ensure for a more accurate and authentic post for your leader to champion, but it also ensures the right voices are given a place at the decision-making table.
When possible, we encourage organizations to include members of the community throughout the entire brainstorming, writing, and storytelling process. Though one person does not represent the voice of their entire community, their insights and experience can provide additional layers to the research you’ve already done.
More is more
When it comes to DE&I social media messaging, short and sweet is not going to cut it. While it is important to write concisely for clarity, don’t be afraid to include more detail in your DE&I posts to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject matter. A visually appealing graphic and a short caption can come across as trying to fulfil a quota rather than making a conscious effort to support and elevate diverse communities. If you’ve done the appropriate research, crafting a comprehensive and nuanced post that acknowledges the community’s experiences should come easily.
When in doubt, lead with empathy. Think of DE&I posts as a tool for uplifting members of your organization who’ve been historically disenfranchised, not as just another opportunity to elevate your brand. If you start from a place of open-mindedness, compassion, and respect, your DE&I messaging will not only be compelling in its authenticity and help you stand apart from the crowd of corporate platitudes, but it will also make your people feel seen.
If you need help with your communication strategy, our team of experts are here to help.