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Best practices & benefits for brands partnering with multicultural influencers
07 Jul 2020 · 4 min read
An influencer who boasts a high engagement rate has spent time, energy, and resources building a specific, niched-down community of like-minded followers. Inevitably, there are elements and affinities that members of that audience will have in common. One too-often overlooked aspect of tight-knit online communities is shared language & cultural heritage.
In a recent interview with Tagger, Guinwa Zeineddine, an international influencer, winner of Miss Arab USA, and founder of The Influencer Lab shared her experiences as a multi-lingual and multi-cultural influencer. She expressed how her own feelings of isolation led to her conscious decision to embrace her heritage and create content both in English and Arabic.
A highly engaged audience with global reach
There are many benefits brands get by actively pursuing relationships with influencers who come from multicultural backgrounds, one of the most powerful being an ability to tap into multiple global markets by partnering with a single influencer.
“The Arab American community in the states is about 5-6 million,” Guinwa shared. “So when brands don’t take the opportunity to tap into that community, they’re losing an opportunity to connect not only with the community stateside but also the international audience as well.”
This is particularly relevant to brands that offer international shipping for their products, or brands offering services to various global markets.
“If you offer international shipments, how do you expect to reach people on different continents if you don’t create an influencer marketing plan where you can cater to that specific culture?,” says Guinwa.
Remember: You’re asking to join a community
When partnering with any influencer, it's important to remember that influencer has spent a lot of time and energy building a personal brand that attracts their ideal audience. Often, influencers with niche audiences can be among the most valuable for brand partnerships as they tend to have extremely high engagement rates. But being a leader in a small or diverse community can be isolating.
“I would go to a lot of influencer events in LA and they were a lot of fun, but I noticed there weren’t a lot of people that looked like me or who came from my specific background as an Arab American. I was lacking a sense of community.”
This lack of community inspired Guinwa to create The Influencer Lab, a resource for influencers to connect with each other, share their experiences, and learn best practices for effective influencer marketing.
“Our main core is diversity,” Guinwa says. “Whenever I have panel discussions I make sure to include influencers from various backgrounds to speak on their experiences working with brands. I want to make sure when any influencer walks into the room, she feels like she belongs there and she is being represented.”
Going beyond cultural stereotypes
With many brands committing more publicly to diversity initiatives- both in their internal company structure as well as in media representation- it’s essential that key measures are taken to ensure multi-cultural influencers are being heard beyond traditional stereotypes.
Unfortunately, brands don’t always get it right when it comes to outreach and representation. Influencers who have large international audiences say they often feel like they’re “checking a box” for brands looking to portray a picture of diversity.
And the data doesn’t lie: audiences can tell the difference. Diversity for diversity’s sake doesn’t work. It’s not about optics, it’s about authentic connection.
Influencers are wary of brands that reference cultural stereotypes in their initial outreach. Guinwa shared her experience of being asked repeatedly if she wears a headscarf when she doesn’t wear one in any of her content. “Because I’m an Arab American, the #1 big thing brands ask me is, “do you wear a headscarf?”. And this is where they’re misinformed; just because you’re Arab doesn’t mean you automatically wear a headscarf.”
She continued, “So what I notice a lot of brands do is they find somebody who’s wearing the headscarf and automatically label that person as ‘Arab’ and they plug them into their campaign and think ‘now we’ll be able to reach out to the Arab community’. But I feel that a smarter strategy would have been to find influencers that come from that specific culture, have that conversation with them, get to know them and get to know who their audience is, and then build a campaign around that, rather than just getting a model that looks 'Arab' and just plugging her into your campaign.”
Authenticity leads to brand loyalty- from both influencers and their audiences
Having a more authentic relationship with the influencers you partner with allows brands to tap into a whole new audience, and potentially, a Global Market. You’re not just reaching a multi-cultural audience within the states, but you’re potentially reaching a multi-cultural community within the world.
And if that audience is one that’s been traditionally underrepresented, that audience (and the influencer connecting you with that audience) is going to be much more likely to support your brand because you're actively creating a culture of inclusion, thereby fostering a feeling of community loyalty.
Remember that influencers are individuals with unique experiences and backgrounds. Treat them like partners, not media channels or an opportunity to improve optics.
If you’re hoping to discover and connect with multicultural influencers in a way that doesn’t miss the mark, Tagger can help. Request a demo and we’ll show you how to use multiple filters to hone in on the perfect influencer for your campaigns.