If you’re looking to enhance the diversity of your program, look no further than social media. Social media platforms help programs in two ways. First, it improves diversity and inclusion in your workplace, adding staff from different backgrounds. Secondly, it attracts a more diverse group of program participants.
Benefits of Social Media
- Free feedback from participants - Programs frequently survey their participants, but surveys often go unanswered. With the instantaneous nature of social media, participants will let you know if your program is working.
- User-generated content - Something as simple as reposting the most popular comments in a blog post further engages your participants. One way to increase user-generated content is by offering social media contests and campaign hashtags.
- Delivers information quickly - Social media reaches people quicker than email or posting information on your website. Along with speed, it offers users the ability to interact with others.
By learning different perspectives, diverse programs can perform better, tapping into various markets and making better decisions that accurately reflect their community's landscape. Racially and ethnically diverse programs are proven to achieve 35 percent better, 87 percent better at decision-making, and are 1.4 times more revenue.
Steps to Take
- Go beyond an official statement - Your program and organization need to go beyond a one-time statement regarding diversity on social media. To work towards becoming a more diversified and inclusive, you must integrate the idea into your long term strategy. Focus internally and externally, ensuring the efforts are authentic, sustainable and helpful.
- Choose stock images intentionally - As useful as they are, stock image sites are often littered with gender and racial stereotypes, so be mindful and intentional when selecting an image. According to the Census, the U.S. population is 18 percent Hispanic or Latinx, 13 percent Black or African American, 6 percent Asian and 3 percent multiracial—keep that in mind while putting together creative assets and gauging representation.
- Enlist your followers - Your program’s social media pages present an opportunity to uplift marginalized voices. Seek out and share user-generated content from underrepresented followers or their networks to pump up your volume and improve representation.
- Connect with different perspectives with a variety of voices - Show a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion by looking outside your program and sharing content created and curated by various voices. Diversify your social media team talent pool, promote different views outside of your organization, and work with a wide perimeter of social media influencers.
- Monitor pages and remove offensive comments - Social media comments on your platform that are misogynist, racist, homophobic or caustic do not belong on your social media page. If you remove these types of feedback right away, you're showing your audience that your program doesn't tolerate hate speech.
Social media has made it easier for people of diverse backgrounds to connect. By utilizing a long-term strategy, you’ll provide an opportunity for individuals to connect with people of all different backgrounds, find commonalities and share experiences.