© 2023 by Kelly Ramsawak Stewart

Who Is To Blame For The Lack of Diversity In Influencer Marketing?

We live in an America where the average adult spends 12 hours a day consuming media. This includes television, radio, print, and largely of course, digital - both web and in-app. With this statistic alone, it’s easy to understand why advertisers are spending millions of dollars on influencer marketing. It is estimated that $1.6 billion will be spent on influencer marketing this year, mostly on Instagram. Driving exposure and clicks further, paid media can help brands and advertisers promote influencer content by honing in on consumers of a specific race, age, gender, and location. But even with targeting tactics and data from influencer search tools, there seems to be a disconnect between who American consumers are, and the influencers selected to review, post and share new products.

As someone who is multicultural, with a background in influencer management and marketing, it is readily apparent to me that this disconnect lies at the feet of management powerhouses. For many talent and influencer management companies, rosters are predominantly white and fail to resonate with today’s majority media consumers.

According to Pew Research, 43% of US adults using Instagram are Black, Non-Hispanic, 38% are Hispanic, and 32% are White, Non-Hispanic. The Census Bureau anticipates the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States to be people who are Two or More Races --projected to grow 200% by 2060. If we look at the diverse landscape of social media and compare it to our country’s population projection, there is an obvious necessity to develop and invest in diverse influencers.

Brands within the fashion and beauty industries for a long time have recognized the need for diversity and inclusion in traditional and social media campaigns. But, it is still not enough for brands to call upon their agency, PR or publishing partners and request Black, Latina or Asian influencers. If you own a talent or influencer management company, the importance of developing and pitching a diverse roster of influencers to advertisers has never been more crucial to your success; especially when advertisers can bypass management companies and direct message influencers on Instagram for paid partnerships.

Instagram is a melting pot of multicultural influencers with unique voices and quality content across many categories: tech, gaming, fashion, beauty, food, travel and more. Social media has given us natural-born virtual communities such as Black Twitter —which brings Black users together to tweet about issues of interest to the Black community. Internet media companies like BuzzFeed have even designed online communities such as PeroLike —a destination for Hispanic influencers and audiences to explore issues that make and affect the Latino community.

All of these communities are goldmines for emerging multicultural influencers. There is an open invitation for management companies to peruse these communities and identify influencers to develop. If you’re a management company and looking to profit from the sizable influencer market, you must recognize that the future of influencer marketing and digital storytelling will require diverse influencers.