How do you fairly present the LGBTQ+ community in the digital marketplace? Panelists at the February Social Media Breakfast event highlighted some basic ground rules to a packed DreamBank.
One message came through loud and clear: develop authentic relationships with organizations representing these groups. And then, be open to learning what they have to say.
Hannah Wente, SMB Madison Board member and Community Shares of Wisconsin member, moderated the presentation, “Navigating the Intersection of Digital Marketing and Social Justice.”
- Zon Moua, director of Youth Organizing at Freedom, Inc.
- Baltazar DeAnda-Santana, co-founder at Orgullo Latinx LGBT+
- Brian Juchems, co-director at GSAFE Wisconsin
Panelists Help Youth Thrive
In her role, she provides direct services, leadership development and helps organize campaigns. Since the age of 16, she has worked on gender-based violence plus queer and youth justice issues. Zon is a Queer, Femme, Hmoob herself.
Brian, who works with K-12 schools, assists with student leadership development. He also trains educators to support LGBTQ+ students in Dane County.
Baltazar collaborates with families to build a safe, ethnically, equitable and racial social just place for the Latinx LGBTQ+ community in Dane County. He pointed out the challenge of supporting undocumented immigrant families whose children come out. Many don’t speak English and don’t know where to seek help.
Positive Actions for Engaging Online
Panelists encouraged attendees to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. First, develop personal relationships in a face-to-face setting with mutually beneficial goals. An organization should not just be seeking a more diverse email list.
Zon said her organization uses digital marketing to engage youth.
Baltazar said the WhatsApp social media platform connects individuals who want to share information. For instance, a family dealing with a child who just came out connected with other families who offered advice from personal experience.
When communicating, Baltazar also said he faces the constant challenge of translating information from Spanish to English.
Brian uses Facebook ads for fundraisers and events. Like many SMB attendees, he looks at analytics to see which ads were most effective. His organization targets groups beyond the LGBTQ+ community.
Fundraisers, such as Trick or Trot 5k Walk, appeal to people who like to have fun. Brian looks for stock images that reflect the non-white gender spectrum.
Check out the following article that lists five photo sites with inclusive and diverse images.
The panel listed the following recommendations for engaging online on LGBTQ+ issues:
- Educate yourself
- Check your assumptions
- Retweet and share
- Work to genuinely include diverse perspectives
Inappropriate Ways to Engage Online
Attendees also learned the wrong ways to engage with LGBTQ+ groups online. Baltazar explained that a welcoming approach by individuals outside of their group could turn patronizing.
“If you’re not of color, don’t use brown emojis. Why use brown hands? You’re white,” he said.
Brian said that it’s appropriate to use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they,” instead of he or she.
When using photos to portray the transgender community, don’t just use bathroom stalls, he said. Find something else.
Baltazar noted that the public also might compartmentalize Hispanic individuals. “We’re often seen as dishwashers and office cleaners,” he said. There’s nothing wrong with those jobs, he emphasized, but others are professionals.
The panel encouraged SMB attendees to avoid the following practices regarding LGBTQ+ groups:
- Expecting marginalized groups to educate you
- Speaking in a vernacular that is not your own
- Taking actions that tokenize marginalized people
Fairly Compensate for Engagement
Some organizations wish to increase their inclusivity by actively encouraging select staff to attend events on their own time. These individuals may be employees of color or transgender.
Zon encouraged attendees to push back to supervisors who want them to do extra networking without pay to increase their organization’s diversity. That approach is not appropriate, she said.
The panel also revealed the hypocrisy of online posting about specific topics just during special months, such as Black History Month in February or diversity holidays in June. Attendees were encouraged to reshare posts from appropriate groups during those times.
Contributing to LGBTQ+ Groups
Hannah asked the panelists how attendees could contribute to their causes. Brian suggested that attendees may enjoy participating in their Trick or Trot 5k Walk at 1 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2020.
Zon encouraged participants to engage with Freedom, Inc. on social media channels and to contribute through the Big Share event on March 3. Baltazar said Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ is seeking marketing support and contributions through Big Share.
All panelists support the following description of social justice that reflects their beliefs:
“Full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs.” (Adams, Bell and Griffin, 2007).
Special thanks to the panelists, moderator and all in attendance. SMB recognized the Madison Originals for February’s nonprofit spotlight. It is an organization of independently-owned, Madison-grown restaurants and supportive local businesses. Use #EatLikeAMOcal when referring to this nonprofit.
Don’t Miss SMBMad in March!
The March session will be ”Building a Brand from Scratch – A Case Study.” It begins at 7:30 a.m. at Madison College – Truax Campus. Register here.
Leslie Blaize wrote this post on behalf of Winbound, a content manufacturing marketing firm. Winbound provides an all-in-one content marketing and conversion optimization package specifically designed for small manufacturing and industrial marketing departments.