The Need for Diversity in Influencer Marketing

By Azreen Azmi

2017 marks the rise of influencer marketing with companies big and small enlisting the help of prominent influencers to help strategize and promote their brands more effectively to consumers. With studies reporting that influencers can yield a 960% return on investment, it’s safe to say that influencer marketing is here to stay.

Despite exciting growth in the industry, we’re still at a point where diversity is still needed for brands and companies in their marketing strategy. With social media and digital advertising reaching a global scale, the need for diversity is absolutely necessary.

The Landscape of Influencer Marketing

Back in 2015, Entrepreneur compiled a list of online marketing influencers to watch. One thing that sticks out about the list was the fact that it was mostly populated by white males.

Given that influencer marketing was still in its infancy, it’s understandable that there were fewer influencers who were experts in the industry.

You would think 2017 should see more diversity in the lineup of influencers.

But no. Articles from Digital Authority to Relevance show that the representation of women and minorities are still severely lacking within the industry.

It’s no surprise – as the glass ceiling for women and minorities within the “influencers scene” has always existed.

An Algorithm That Is Biased

A Huffington Post article highlighted such issue with Linkedin’s recommended influencer algorithm back in 2013. In the article, Linkedin has stated that their algorithm is based on key figures from “regions, sectors, and cultures who are impacting and driving business conversations from the world.”

Despite that, the majority of the recommended influencers listed were still males.

It was evident that Linkedin had a gender-bias in its algorithm, and a report by the Seattle Times proved as such. It wasn’t until 2016 that Linkedin decided to revamp its algorithm to be more gender neutral when it comes to searches and recommended people to follow.

Why Influencer Marketing Has to Change

The advent of social media has seen more brands jumping on the influencer bandwagon in order to engage new audiences. Unfortunately, sometimes marketers and advertising agency misses the mark and ends up with a campaign that gave considerable backlash to their brand.

The recent Pepsi ad was one such example, where they cast Kendall Jenner in a commercial that seemingly undermines the importance of the “Black Lives Matter” protest in Baton Rouge. This shows how disconnected the marketing team was at Pepsi with their audiences.

The Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad was pulled after it was widely criticized for trivializing protests for social justice causes.

Even when you’ve come up with the perfect Instagram post to promote your brand, having the wrong influencer to promote it can lead to disastrous results.

With millennials and young consumers now hoping for more diversity in their ads, brands can’t rely on mainstream influencer marketing strategy; and have to embrace a more diverse approach in both their digital marketing and the influencers that represents them.

Making Changes That Matters

Companies, big and small, have started to realize the importance of multicultural marketing within Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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