Drilling Deeper with DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging)

Kimberly Surico |
 06/19/23 |
5 min read

Drilling deeper with DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging)

An approach to social media listening that emphasizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts is taking hold online—and it’s overdue. DEIB drives positive change and allows businesses to gain valuable insights into different community and group experiences, perspectives, and needs.

We discussed the role of DEIB in social media listening with Nicholas Love, Agency Principal of the Kulur Group. This is the third blog of our series with this social listening expert.

The first blog in the series focused on using social listening to amplify the call for DEIB. The second was on capturing audience understanding in this space. And today, we’re drilling deeper into DEIB and exploring how this work can look across industry lines.

How does DEIB help businesses expand across industry lines?

The potential for change in the DEIB space is long overdue but very welcomed. As technology continues to evolve to help companies meet business goals, DEIB can as well. And it must be ingrained in the DNA of organizations.

We’re well past the days when DEIB is nice to have. In today’s world, it’s business critical. Beyond focus groups and surveys as data inputs, social listening can also be effective. We’ve seen enough blunders on social media due to brands’ lack of cultural intelligence to know that technology must work in tandem with diverse personnel to position brands most effectively and accurately.

The combination of technology, industry intelligence and cultural intelligence enables an organization to effectively spot brand ambassadors, advocates, and detractors based on the lens that they’re operating from.

At the Kulur Group, we spend a lot of time talking to our clients about human-to-human marketing because regardless of whether an organization is in the B2B or B2C landscape, a human is still making a decision. Humans are complex, and without the appropriate balance of diverse perspectives, companies are vulnerable.

This goes beyond traditional networking to understanding adjacencies in support of industry trends. It’s also fostering collaborations that truly embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

In the conversation timeline below, we see some specifics found in the DEIB discussion. The cluster about having a Diverse Workforce emerges as a popular area, and we can isolate the top keywords within that section to get a better sense of context.  Equity, mental health, and retention are all areas that impact most organizations and can signal an area to create dialogue and engage with other professionals and organizations facing similar challenges:

Quid product conversation timeline

That’s one way to begin understanding conversations about DEIB in the workplace, and from there, you have the context to move toward building partnerships.

How can brands use social listening to build partnerships?

Social media listening has a tool in its arsenal—sentiment analysis. It allows companies the ability to dive deep into potential partnerships and explore emerging opportunities.

With sentiment analysis, you can identify potential speakers who align with your goals and values and consider bringing them on board. And that partnership may be with an influencer, a key opinion leader (KOL), or even another brand for a mutually beneficial awareness effort.

DEI influencer identification

But it’s not just about the speakers themselves, but also the specific topics they’re passionate about. Those topics can ignite conversations and generate lift within your industry or niche.

It’s a chance to tap into the power of social media in a way that goes beyond simply promoting your brand. Instead, you can focus on the specific topics and outcomes that truly matter to you, while also validating hypotheses about audience desires, providing them with precisely what they’re looking for.

For example, people posting about DEIB topics have interests spanning various areas, as shown below. This offers an array of options to connect with this audience or, better still, find a relevant influencer to facilitate that connection and create a deeper bond:

colorful word bubbles on a black background

How can marketers apply a DEIB-driven social listening lens to other aspects of their operations?

Within the communications and marketing industry, platforms like NetBase Quid® are frequently leveraged to develop personas. Typically, we think of personas in terms of product selling, lead generation, and so forth, but we don’t think about personas through the lens of recruitment. We don’t think about personas from a DEIB perspective and through the lens of conflict resolution and reward. And we don’t apply this lens toward understanding what a company is thinking about or its unique value proposition and how that aligns with what future generations care about.

But here’s the thing—we should think about social media listening in all of these ways. And DEIB being ingrained in the culture of an organization can significantly improve the organization’s authenticity in the content it creates, the experiences it produces, and how it leverages insights to inspire action. It offers a layer of understanding that helps companies continuously grow and expand into untapped areas and discover overlooked talent.

You touched on it above, but does social listening have a role in acquiring talent?

Yes, we are very much in the era of the talent wars. Incorporating DEIB into your social media listening can help entice the best talent.

Talent is at a premium, so social listening enables you to understand if your company is genuinely differentiated or if it is just offering the baseline of admission. It’s easy to assume that an employee loan repayment incentive will be a very attractive option for an agency or company—and it is, but it may not be to highly sought-after talent shopping offers. So, what are some of the multi-layered opportunities that present themselves here?

Let’s consider an example: Imagine a company that offers a unique loan repayment program. Not only will the company repay the loan, but if an employee earns a certain income level, the company will match that amount and support charitable investments. The charity selection is based on a personalized persona that we’ve created specifically for the employee at the level at which they are hired.

This is a truly differentiated offering, and now, the company is walking the DEIB walk and saying, “We’re a company that operates with purpose.” And they back it up. Many brands say, “We are purpose-driven companies, we have purpose-driven missions, etc.” But there’s a lack of evidence, actions, or behaviors that would support that assertion. These days, and likely moving forward, potential new hires are fact-checking these claims, and consumers aren’t far behind.

We can use sentiment analysis to reveal complaints from individuals regarding companies that claim to incorporate DEIB practices but may not fully follow through, as Nick mentioned. One person expressed dissatisfaction, suggesting that the new DEI training was designed for comfort rather than being driven by an interest in genuinely embracing and implementing these practices.

deib workplace post

Social media intelligence has a distinct advantage here. It offers companies valuable insights that can be utilized internally to ensure brand health externally. And it empowers brands to delve deeper into meaningful metrics and comprehend the true desires of prospective talent. By understanding these desires, companies can offer specific and nuanced extras that help them stand out from competitors.

And integrating a DEIB approach in social media listening makes companies aware of the wider world. It enables them to make well-informed decisions that nurture equality and advance social progress within the organization and beyond. Lasting DEIB efforts start internally and grow.

Be sure to follow Nick on LinkedIn if you haven’t already, as he’s an excellent source of insight and guidance for brands seeking to implement or enhance a DEIB framework, and he’s just an exceptional overall marketer besides. And if you’d like to see how social listening can elevate your brand strategy, feel free to reach out for a demo.

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