Megan Garmers of The Bridal Masterclass gives us a look at what can be done to diversify your social media feeds and help move towards a more inclusive future.
The wedding industry is one of the oldest industries around. Before automobiles, electricity, and even cell phones, there were weddings. The industry has been greatly controlled by the powers of media, fashion, and wealth – all of which have been dominated by a white, hetero narrative. For many years, white people were not legally able to marry black people and until very recently, homosexual couples were not legally able to get married either. The laws, the culture and the forces in power have very much shaped the narrative of all industries, and the wedding industry is not excluded.
We are all in a bit of a new “awakening” period when it comes to intentional diversity and inclusivity, anti-racism, and using our influence and voice to impact change for the world we seek. But what is so different about it now? And why does it have to change what and how we post on social media?
The most important part about sales and advertising is make sure your ideal client sees him or herself in your ads. This doesn’t just mean the dress silhouette or flowers they see in a boho wedding you feature on your social media. This is about the couples you choose to feature, the models wearing the gowns and the customers who patronize your retail store.
Gen Z and Millennials gravitate towards brands that seem to read their minds and get who they are/what is important to them. Right now, more than ever, racial equity and diversifying your feed on social media is important if you want to appeal to this generation getting married.
While it is estimated that about 1 in 10 couples in the UK are interracial couples, that number is rising every year. In fact, Prince Harry and Meghan’s marriage brought interracial couples and deep-seeded racism front and center in the UK. When it comes to Gen Z and Millennials, the main marrying age group now and in the near future, 4 out of 5 show support of the Black Lives Matter movement, would attend peaceful protests and want brands to use their platform and voice to bring about change.
Gen Z and Millennials want to know who they are purchasing from and feel like those businesses align with a larger purpose that they themselves support. This might be environmental issues, specific gown design and in the new normal now, they want to know that you see, support and celebrate love of all people. This includes gay weddings (perhaps showing images of two brides getting married) as well as BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) couples. These marginalized and underrepresented groups are their friends, their family and their partners and Gen Z and Millennials want to support businesses who support those they love.
This goes beyond a black square or just occasionally posting a black person on your feed. It is about intentionally creating your feed to broadcast your brand message and that message should include diverse couples, skin tones and celebrations.
But how do you start diversifying your feed without messing up your social media feed you’ve work hard to curate thus far? The problem lies within the question. If you think that diversifying your feed means you will “mess it up” because you will include BAME and LGBTQ+ couples, the problem is less with your social media and more with your perspective.
Educating yourself on racism, racial injustice, white privilege, systemic (not systematic – that is different) racism, microagressions, and cultural bias are all great places to start. And it doesn’t have to be just books (though books are fantastic). There are tons of great Instagram accounts to follow with bite-sized pieces of information and history, movies and documentaries, online classes, and non-profits you can donate your time and resources to. We’ve compiled a list on our blog to help put things in one place for you though it is by no means exhaustive – it is just a starting point.
Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
This learning is not just individual but corporate as a society. We need to be ready and willing to hold each other accountable and help each other do better. This includes designers you see only have white models in their look book images. Ask them if they have other images showing a range of skin tones and body sizes. Tell them it is important to you and your business.
Remember that today’s and tomorrow’s couples want to see themselves in the social media feeds of the businesses they choose to purchase from. It is up to you if engaged couples will be able to see themselves in your social media feed.
If you have more questions how to diversify your feed or would like an audit of your social media branding and diversity, you can email Megan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.