Leveraging New Media as Social Capital for Diversity Officers: How Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Professionals Can Use Social Media to Foster Equality

Leveraging New Media as Social Capital for Diversity Officers: How Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Professionals Can Use Social Media to Foster Equality

Kindra Cotton (SSS for Success: Simplified Social Media Solutions, USA), Denise O'Neil Green (Ryerson University, Canada), Sarah Alice Beckman (Ryerson University, Canada), Ali Hussain (Ryerson University, Canada), Angelo Robb (Ryerson University, Canada) and Matthew D. Green (Ryerson University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0047-6.ch006
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Abstract

Technology has fundamentally changed our lives by bringing us closer together and connecting us in ways that make the world seem smaller. As higher education diversity professionals step into the foray of social marketing and continue to enhance their presence, it becomes even more important that they understand how to leverage important messages of equity, diversity, and inclusion in ways that promote an inclusive society and foster global equality. In order to carry out effective social media campaigns surrounding EDI issues, it is necessary to foster activity online and offline. This chapter is a guide for EDI professionals on how to use social media to foster equality. It includes a discussion on the Internet and the evolution of social media, review of new media technologies alongside emerging trends, and highlights why social marketing messages are important for diversity professionals. It also proposes a framework for understanding social media marketing, by providing tips, recommendations, and examples showcasing how to use social media to advance social justice.
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Introduction

Technology has fundamentally changed our lives; bringing us closer together and connecting us around the globe in ways that have made the world seem smaller. More than a fourth of the global population actively uses social media, and organizations everywhere are clamoring to take advantage of the chance to deliver impactful messages to people via their social networks (Kemp, 2014; Shively, 2015). As higher education diversity professionals step into the foray of social marketing and continue to enhance their presence on the social media landscape, it becomes even more important that they understand how to leverage important messages of equity, diversity, and inclusion in ways that promote an inclusive society and foster global equality.

Moving beyond promoting awareness to facilitating action through social media activity can represent one of the primary challenges faced by Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) professionals attempting to create engaged communities. In order to carry out effective social media campaigns surrounding EDI issues, it is necessary to facilitate online activity, as well as offline action. To that end, this chapter is a guide for EDI professionals and diversity officers on how to use social media to promote equality by changing hearts and minds with digital technology.

Given the collegiality and altruistic aims within the field of equity, diversity, and inclusion, this chapter seeks to further explore the use of social media for diversity professionals by highlighting how social networking technology can be used to deliver messages of equality and inclusion. Specifically, this chapter aims to benefit the following groups:

  • Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) in charge of facilitating equality and inclusion within organizations.

  • Aspiring Chief Diversity Officers (i.e. Entry-to-Mid-Career Practitioners) with the long-term career goal of leading an inclusive organization.

  • Current EDI Practitioners with an existing social media effort, who have started using social media to promote messages of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and would like to improve their effort.

  • EDI Practitioners who are curious about how to use social media in their marketing efforts and aren’t sure how to get started.

  • Non-EDI academic faculty, staff, and paraprofessional staff members interested in promoting messages of equality among enthused stakeholders in the social networking sphere.

Chapter Roadmap

The chapter begins with a discussion on the Internet and the evolution of social media in the online marketing space. This includes a review of new media technologies in social networking and an overview of emerging trends in the field to acclimate the reader to the social media landscape and some of the outlets and tools available within it. The chapter then highlights why marketing messages via social media is important for diversity professionals, and further provides a framework for understanding social media marketing, along with information on using social media to advance social justice. The chapter then moves into a discussion of how to turn social media marketing plans into actionable steps, providing suggestions and examples on how to use social media to advance social justice. The chapter ends with a series of tips and recommendations for how to get started right away, and begin seeing results from an active Social Media Marketing Plan. In addition to this format, throughout the chapter, several words are italicized for emphasis; many of these key terms are available in the Key Termsand Definitions section.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Ladder of Engagement: A set of progressive steps a supporter can take to yield specific social advocacy actions that increases overall engagement.

Social Media Analyst: Focuses on analytical data obtained from social media marketing activities and ensures that its campaigns are meeting the objectives set forth in the Social Media Marketing Plan.

Social Media Coordinator: Coordinates media activities and provides the overall guidance for community managers to follow. Note: This role can be shared with the Social Media Specialist/Manager/Analyst, if time permits.

Social Media Specialist: Outlines how social media will be used to drive traffic to online web properties, generate interest in them, generate new leads, and enhance existing stakeholder relationships.

Tastemakers: Influential connectors that are key influencers with dynamic relationships within their social network who have the ability to disseminate information to your target audience and propel it further into the social media space.

Social Media Marketing: The process of using social media to drive traffic to online web properties, generate interest in them, generate new leads, and enhance existing stakeholder relationships.

Hashtag: The use of the pound sign “#” followed by a word or phrase (e.g. #ThisIsAHashtag). Hashtags help to mark specific search keywords or topics on several social media outlets and assists interested audience members in finding messages and following a conversation.

SEO: An organic (i.e. without paid keyword advertising) way to draw traffic to your website and use the power of search engines to deliver visitors. Blogs are better for SEO purposes because they provide timely content to search engines, and blogging regularly enhances your SEO potential in your field of expertise.

Social Media Marketing Plan: A Social Media Marketing Plan outlines the steps of how each social marketing outlet will be used to meet online marketing goals. It usually includes a review of how brand messages are marketed across The Social Web, a schedule of content to be posted, and an outline of milestones and deliverables that your Social Media Specialist will deliver.

Viral: In the context of social media, it is the phenomenon where a thought or idea spreads from person-to-person through the use of new media tools, where many instances of the message are replicated and spread throughout a network.

Mobile Optimized: A mobile optimized web property is one that is designed to reformat itself to better suit the experience of the mobile device it’s being displayed on.

Autoresponders: Automatic emails sent after a triggering event (e.g. new email sign up, message received during a certain time frame, etc.).

Social Media Manager: Manages the tactical execution of the Social Media Marketing Plan and gives direction to the Social Media Coordinator to help inform the work to be carried out by Community Managers.

Community Managers: Community managers manage the day-to-day operations of social media marketing, and are generally assigned an area of focus (e.g. specific networks, creating/curating content, engaging & responding to stakeholders, etc.).

Social media: The use of web-based and mobile technologies converted into interactive dialogue, the optimal form of communication.

Infographic: Information or data represented as a visual image in a chart or diagram. An infographic can be an excellent way to conceptualize dense text or numbers in ways that appeal to the eye and engage the reader.

Cause Marketing: A type of marketing effort that is cause or issue-related that yields social and other charitable benefits.

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