These past few months, there has been a larger conversation around diversity and supporting the BIPOC community, especially in the influencer industry. I think we can all agree that we want to see a more diverse and inclusive industry. But how do we do it?
I’m a big believer that small steps can create massive change. Small everyday changes are more attainable and a bit easier to hold ourselves accountable. There are simple tactics we all can employ to create a more inclusive industry, from a junior marketing assistant to a mega influencer:
WHAT CAN I DO AS AN INFLUENCER?
Feature other creators of color in your content
Showcase other BIPOC influencers in your content who have the same interests as you. Show your fans that they may have things in common with people who may not look like them. Of course, your peer’s channel may also grow which isn’t a bad thing.
Ask who else is in the campaign
If a brand is working with you, they most likely respect you and your content. That means you have a voice! You definitely have a right to know who is also contracted to this campaign. And if you notice something isn’t quite right, like…
There are no creators of color in the program, then suggest some!
Brand managers and agency partners are always on the hunt for more talent. Most likely the program you’re working on isn’t fully staffed yet and they could use some help. Suggest other influencers, especially BIPOC influencers. It’s also okay to point out that you were disappointed to see the campaign did not reflect the world that we live in. We can’t create change if we don’t hold each other accountable.
Extend your plus one
One day we’ll get back to attending events. When we do, instead of having your boyfriend as a plus one (who could probably care less about a skincare or makeup launch) invite a BIPOC influencer, so they can get to know that same brand. If you’re not sure if you can bring a plus one, just ask. Again, brands are always looking for new talent and they would definitely be stoked to know that you are bringing another influencer. I’ve personally met a lot of great influencers this way and recommended them for many brands.
Let’s get rid of this notion that the key to our success is by keeping our contacts a secret. When we share information, we all win! If you have a BIPOC peer who wants to work with a brand that you have worked with in the past, there is no harm in sharing that contact. Put everyone on one email and make the introduction!
The same goes for business partners. If you have a lawyer, accountant, or manager that you love and your friend is in search of one, why not share the information?
WHAT CAN I DO AS A BRAND OR AN AGENCY PARTNER?
Let’s talk gifting!
Gifting influencers is a great opportunity to build relationships with influencers at the beginning of their careers. So if your gifting list isn’t diverse, it’s a good time to ask yourself why. Otherwise it’s a missed opportunity to foster a relationship with budding BIPOC influencers.
If you do have a diverse gifting list, then make sure you’re providing BIPOC influencers with just as many paid opportunities, especially if they have shown you they are interested in working with the brand and their content meets the necessary criteria.
Make sure your campaigns reflect the world you live in.
When you look at your final roster for a campaign, ask yourself a few questions. Does everyone look the same? Does the roster reflect the world we currently live in? If someone outside of my team asks to see the full roster, would I hesitate? Can I be proud of this group? Those are some good questions to self-evaluate your work. Your team should also be asking these questions to provoke a wider discussion. Remember, it’s okay to talk about these things.
Let your BIPOC influencers speak to their audience.
When you do work with BIPOC influencers, it’s important that you let them be themselves. Do not try to whitewash their content, by being overly critical of their writing because they are using slang or phrases you’re unfamiliar with or it doesn’t reflect the tone of other influencers. Remember, they know their audience the best. Also, diversity of thought and content is the goal!
At the end of the day, we all need to bring our unique perspectives to the conversation, speak up, and look out for one another.