When building a social channel, the first things you want to take into consideration are the makeup and needs of your audience. But in today’s social media climate, there’s also a need to ensure that your message is as inclusive and accessible as possible. We recently caught up with Destanie Morman, communications director at Vote Run Lead, to learn more about how to cultivate a social feed that’s inclusive for all. Our conversation came ahead of her panel on the subject at Ragan’s Social Media Conference at Walt Disney World in March.
Putting inclusivity into practice on social
An organization’s ability to be inclusive on social is important for a very simple reason — it allows them to reach as many people as possible through its channels. While a one-size-fits-all approach is fine for some organizations, it’s going to place some pretty significant limitations on the audiences you’re able to reach.
“It’s important to take the diversity of your audience into account. For example, some people you’re reaching out to might have hearing difficulties — how can you ensure that the message is getting to them too? If you’re able to communicate with people where they are, there’s a better chance that they’ll trust your brand because you’re taking that extra step to cater to them,” Morman said.
Morman added that word choice on social media is important to consider. She stated that if you’re using words that don’t relate to your target demographic, you’ll risk losing that all-important engagement.
“It’s also really important to learn from the diversity of your audience and figure out how to apply it in other modes of communication across your organization,” Morman said. “For example, if you’re finding success with the inclusive language you’re using on social media, you might consider adapting it over to external email communication as well.”
Jumpstarting the path to inclusive social
While it’s admirable to aim for the most inclusive social feed possible, not all organizations are moving toward it at the same pace. But there are a few ways to get your organization there if you think there’s room for improvement.
“I think a great way to get started involves both looking at your audience and taking stock of what you feel you might be doing wrong in your messaging. It could involve using less dense language in your written messaging or adapting your captions to really dive into what the image shows. Additionally, you could consider the use of color and the psychology behind how it makes the viewers feel — even things like this could help advance your brand if it helps match up with the emotions you’re trying to convey,” Morman said.
Morman added that small steps are the best way to get your social platforms where they need to be in terms of inclusivity.
Rethinking your social feed
Morman pointed to her own strategy at Vote Run Lead on TikTok as a potential jumping-off point for other organizations thinking of putting inclusive social media into practice.
“In my role at Vote Run Lead, we’ve been diving into TikTok a great deal lately, and there’s been a lot of thought about how to make those videos inclusive for a wider audience. We could turn on auto-generated captions for those who might have difficulty hearing, we could have a translation done if we want to connect to a community that speaks a language other than English. It’s also all about using really inclusive terms that people can identify with,” Morman said.
In addition, Morman said that she tries to display diversity in the photos and videos that her organization puts out into the world because it shows that a wide array of people work at the company, serving as both a recruiting tool for future employees and clients.
Companies in today’s world need to have a presence on social media, but it’s important for them to consider how that message is being conveyed. Ensuring that those messages are inclusive is a great way to build a bigger and better audience going forward.
You can learn more about inclusive social media at Ragan’s Social Media Conference, March 15-17 at Walt Disney World.
Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.