I am forever grateful for once having been a journalist. Although I switched to public relations years ago, I continue to apply ways of viewing society that I learned as a journalist. One in particular is accurately reflecting your community.
As a reporter, I was told by editors that our newspaper needed to be an accurate reflection and representation of the community we covered. That meant rich and poor; urban and rural; red, yellow, black and white; young and old; gay and straight. It reminded me that as a white person, although I might feel a natural inclination to approach white people for comment on a story, I needed to always be conscious of all the faces of color involved in the story and be sure their voices were heard equally. I’m so thankful for having this pointed out to me. It absolutely changed the way I approached sources.
This point remains in my mind each time I take photos for social media pages I manage. I’m mindful of the faces in crowds. I strive to reflect all of them.
I’m writing this post today to challenge you to put a new level of thought into the photos you post on your social media channels. Do they accurately reflect your community? When someone scrolls through your Instagram account or Facebook page, what impression do they get? Does your feed leave people thinking that only attractive, skinny, white models frequent your business? Does your feed convey the notion that only young, black jazz lovers are welcome? That it’s a place just for old people? Or gay people? Is that the message you’re trying to send?
The answer could be yes, and that’s fine. You have a customer demographic that you need to reach. But I suspect that in many cases, this isn’t the message you’re consciously trying to send. If you’re a restaurant, a retail shop, a bar, a spa, an ice cream shop…(the list goes on and on) I suspect you welcome anyone who wants to spend their money in your business. In that case, I submit that you owe it to your current and prospective customers to reflect the broad spectrum of diversity that your business attracts.
If you’re a business that makes an effort to accurately reflect the community in your social media posts, please leave links to your social media in the comments. Let’s give great examples that will help other businesses do the same.
I did a quick search through Instagram this morning to see if I could identify some good examples. Sadly, I couldn’t find a single one. Show me that I simply overlooked some businesses that proudly exhibit diversity in their posts! I can’t wait to read your suggestions.