In today’s cultural climate, words like diversity and inclusion are buzz words that, at times, are used constantly and carelessly. It is no longer something businesses or brands can afford to say they are going to prioritize. They are expected to put their money where their mouth is.

This means arranging sensitivity training sessions, emphasizing behavioral guidelines, and holding individuals accountable for their actions. Highlighting similar initiatives within a digital space is equally as important because a brand’s social media platforms are how they visually present themselves and ideally grow a following. It is not just about aligning with a progressive agenda. It truly is imperative that every business make an effort to integrate practices of inclusion to depict the diverse world in which we live in, accurately.

Inclusion is a method or means. It is the way in which one creates, facilities, and maintains a varied or diverse workforce. Diversity is the result or outcome of an institution becoming inclusive. While the concepts are related, they are not synonyms or interchangeable. Understanding the distinction between the terms is the first step in improving a brand’s inclusiveness and subsequent diverse workplace environment. Here are some ways to ensure inclusivity on social media and establish more diversity.

Avoid posting in a "vacuum" or on an isolated schedule

It is easy to follow a curated calendar of posts meant for the brand’s social media pages. In time, that schedule may become monotonous or lack inclusiveness. Let your audience and potential new customers know that you value diversity by acknowledging different languages, holidays, or world events. If you have a slogan or hashtag attached to a campaign, post with it in a different language. Don’t limit celebrations just to the Christian calendar. No matter if you are a local, national, or international business, think globally!

Embrace multiple social platforms

Knowing where your brand thrives digitally is valuable, but expanding onto different social media platforms encourages a variety of content creation. From collages, storyboards, videos, and audio, utilizing more than one platform shows any potential audience member that you are inclusive in who you engage with and what you create.

Avoid any tokenization

It is not a crime if a business’s employees are similar in educational background, gender identity, height, race, etc. But when a business views posting a person or group that breaks away visually from the rest as a remedy to their lack of diversity, things begin to get awkward. Regardless of intention, doing this reads as tone-deaf. It illustrates that your business sees diverse individuals as solely beneficial to your image. They are props for building the canvas set to propel your branding.

However, diversity is not limited to skin color or where you were born. As I stated earlier, social media is how businesses represent themselves and their values. It is through the values that align most with the branding that potential customers grow a connection. Use social media to show a diversity of thought and expression.

Embrace feedback and criticism

A critique is tough to hear, read, and internalize. It can feel personal. When feedback is passionate, you can choose to see the negative. But I see it as a way to mark your success. It is proof that your digital audience is invested in your business. When they do not like something, it is crucial to show that you understand their perspective. Every business, brand, campaign, etc. is going to have faults or setbacks. What sets you apart is how to treat your audience’s feedback and show that you are inclusive of ideas.