2020 was a global game changer: Covid-19, Black Lives Matter protests, the U.S. presidential election, and so much more. As a result, increased social awareness and social listening is now expected of influencers, politicians, and brands.
Remember when basically every brand out there sent out “We’re all in this together” emails at the start of quarantine, then started asking employees to come back to work in-person while the virus was still at peak levels? Then, later, most brands posted “Black Lives Matter” on Instagram… But then did nothing to truly effect change in the fight against racism, and indeed were exposed for their own racist hiring & casting practices.
Join Us In Changing the Influencer Industry For the Better
Here at MagicLinks, we’ve taken the pledge to work on making our workspace, and our industry, a place where people of all ethnicities, genders, nationalities, sexual orientation, and abilities are welcome & celebrated. We’re also doing our best to live sustainably, and encouraging our brand partners & creators to do the same. Are we perfect? No. Perfection isn’t possible. But we’re trying, and that’s important.
We’re not just talking about businesses, though – influencers & celebs did their fair share of #facepalm-inducing things in 2020. Case in point: Kendall Jenner threw a huge 24th birthday party for herself with masked event staff and unmasked attendees who took rapid-result Covid-19 tests before entering, then posted their party attendance all over social media. While the rest of the world was quarantined and hadn’t seen friends or family for eight months.
Social Listening: What Does It Mean?
Simply put, social listening means letting what’s going on in the world dictate your actions. For influencers, that means acknowledging major social issues, helping to raise awareness & activism about important causes, and not posting a tone-deaf vlog about going on a luxury vacation to Mexico while the rest of the world is quarantined. #ahem
As an influencer, your lifestyle is considered aspirational by your fans. They buy products you recommend because they trust your taste and opinions. Never forget that things you can’t buy (like white privilege) are important to call out in your brand and content. Show your fans how you are actively working to make the world a better place, starting by….
Acknowledging Uncomfortable Cultural Truths
Each influencer’s content, ultimately, comes from a place deep inside themself. They may mask a great deal of who they are behind branding, editing, FaceTune, and careful PR, but if you dig deep, you can always get to the root of that influencer as a person.
Caucasian influencers, for example, have an overwhelming degree of privilege in the social media industry. They are casted 2-3x more than BIPOC influencers, command much higher rates than BIPOC influencers, get more PR & brand trips… The list goes on. Is this fair? No. It is crucial that caucasian influencers openly acknowledge their privilege, and work to change the industry.
What can you do?
- Keep an eye on your comments sections, and immediately stamp out any racist, sexist, or homophobic language. Firmly, but politely, let your community know that this is not acceptable, and ask them to call you out if you slip, too.
- Let your fans know you acknowledge your privilege, and what you plan to do to help others.
- Regularly mention your efforts to address white privilege in your content – be a role model for your fans!
- Ask your followers to join you in donating to organizations that support eliminating racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.
- Ask brands for proof of their diversity & inclusion, before committing to work with them.
Sustainability Matters More Than Ever
This photo of the Hudson River was taken yesterday. The earth is healing. We are the virus. pic.twitter.com/QDTizi2i6Q
— Mark Lee (@meesterleesir) April 12, 2020
Hilarious “Nature is healing, we are the virus” memes were a great distraction in the early days of quarantine – but they also did a great job of exposing just how huge of an effect humanity is having on climate change and the health of the earth. Searches for sustainable fashion, for example, have grown by at least 37% in 2020 alone.
What can you do?
- Upcycle clothes you get for videos: Sell them on DePop or Poshmark, and donate the proceeds to environmental charities.
- Look into the sustainability practices of your favorite brands, and explore new-to-you sustainable brands instead of fast fashion.
- Regularly call out your work towards a more sustainable, less-waste lifestyle in your content: Your fans view you as a role model!