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How can organisations attract and convert more people from ethnically diverse communities?

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    Recently, we were recently commissioned by CAST to design and deliver a bespoke set of workshops focusing on social media marketing tactics as part of their Innovation and Digital Accelerator for for Sport England. In the session brief and throughout the sessions, there was a particular focus on engaging more people from ethnically diverse communities. It is this commission and the conversations that we had with all our lovely session attendees that has inspired this post. Read on as I share what I see as key to effective ways to engage with new audiences, and those from backgrounds you’re not already connected to. 

    My number one tip? First we must listen, and then we can continue to learn. 

    How do we start to listen?

    To truly be authentic in our communications and outreach, we need to be aware of the particular needs this audience might require, and ensure they are placed front and centre throughout.

    Try to identify the ways your organisation’s offering can be tailored or adapted to encourage the engagement your desired. Understanding why people behave the way they do, what influences them, what they care about, and their feelings and motivations is key. By doing this work we gain a clearer view of the factors that influence behaviour.

    Don’t forget social media isn’t the only place that changes may need to be made to ensure that you are being truly authentic with your communications and outreach.

    For example; many of the attendees of these sessions wanted to encourage more Muslim women to take part in their sport. Here, along with adjustments to content strategies, there is also likely to be some work to be done to improve access – does your sport regularly hold activities in women only locations?

    We recently published a blog post about finding your audience, if you’ve not already started this work.

    Useful questions to start you off  

    • What do you already know? What gaps of knowledge are still there?
      You will find it useful to organise a workshop with key people who know and have worked with your target audience and understands their needs better. This free template will help you with your planning.
    • What are your motivations for engagement?
      Your existing analysis and insights will help you identify what moves and motivates this audience. Ensuring your motivations are aligned increases opportunities for productive conversations. These then lead to further engagement and deeper understanding of how your organisation can add value and lower barriers. There are a plethora of measurement and analysis tools available that provide insights.
    • Are there any barriers for engagement that are currently in the way? 
      The barriers facing ethnically diverse communities are varied and can include, lack of experience from staff within an organisation, lack of cultural understanding or awareness, language barriers and access to facilities. In the case of our workshop, we were looking at a particularly niche audience; young Muslim and Sikh women. For this group attention needed to be paid toward dress code, for example. In a sports context, this would need to be addressed sufficiently to reassure audiences that their needs have been considered. 
    • What have other organisations in your space done? 
      It is good practice to be aware of the marketing and communications activities of organisations within a similar space to you. Who inspires you? What would you like to do? Use this as an opportunity to be bold and involve the whole team to brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas for future content. 
    • Do you have anyone internally within the organisation who might have insight? 
      Personal stories and genuine curiosity can go a long way. That is where digital can support you to engage proactively and sensitively with diverse audiences. After gathering insight and learnings, you’re in a much better position to tailor your communications and garner authentic interest and engagement from your audience. 

    Want to know more?

    We covered some elements of this in a recent recorded Q&A, watch it below or on youtube.

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