How web data is enabling increased equality for the LGBTQ+ community
In this article, we will be covering:
- The struggle for equality continues
- Web data that is helping level the playing field
- How businesses can better connect with LGBTQ+ customers
The struggle for equality continues
American Progress conducted a survey on the state of the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S., finding that widespread discrimination still exists in the workplace, school, and other public spaces.
Web data that is helping level the playing field
But this is not a ‘fixed state’; organizations can make a big difference by leveraging web data. Here’s how:
Employment data creates equal opportunities
Companies are working to create more inclusive employment policies. Mathison, for example, has developed a data-driven system to help Human Resources (HR) departments manage diversity recruitment. They collect publicly available profile data on sites like LinkedIn, which then helps them build a more diverse pool of potential candidates for employers to choose from. This includes people of color, women, people with disabilities, and individuals belonging to the LBGTQ+ community.
But DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) hiring is not just about the candidates themselves but also about how to attract people from target minority groups. So companies that want to attract more members of the LGBTQ+ will need to use web data to understand what those candidates are and are not looking for in their future places of employment. This includes data points such as:
Employee company reviews
LGBTQ+ people who have previously worked for companies often leave reviews on sites like Glassdoor, which list the pros and cons of working with a specific business. Companies that collect this information can adapt to employee-generated feedback and thereby attract more diversity hires.
The same can be said for discussion forums in which people may talk about pay wage gaps, discrimination in the context of promotion, or downright bullying. Companies can leverage these conversations to create safer, more equitable spaces, letting potential candidates know about these policies during the hiring process.
Social media monitoring that helps prevent cyberbullying
Data collection on social media is also helping to protect children and adults alike from being tormented about their sexual orientation in the digital sphere. Organizations, universities, and primary schools can now monitor social networks for posts that contain verbally abusive language. They can then track down the perpetrators and:
- Either have a conversation in the presence of their parents in the case of school children
- Report the unacceptable behavior to social networks, requesting the offending content be taken down
- Or, in extreme cases of incitement, pass the evidence along to law enforcement for further action
Voicing anonymous opinions from afar
Proxy networks also allows LGTQ+ people who live under oppressive regimes to meet without those encounters being intercepted by local law enforcement. People can also post social justice-related opinions on social media using a proxy/IP address located in a different country so that their identity/person is out of harm’s way. This could be an opinion contesting the illegality of gay marriage or relationships in the person’s country of residence. The individual is protected by utilizing a randomized IP that helps them circumvent local firewalls put in place in order to censor freedom of speech.
How businesses can better connect with LGBTQ+ customers
Understanding target audience sentiment
Many companies run ‘pro-LBTQ+’ campaigns for pride month and the like without having consulted people that are ‘of the community’. When LGBTQ+ people see these campaigns, they are sometimes offended or just deem them ‘ridiculous’ and ‘out of touch with reality’. This means that companies may actually be losing these customers instead of acquiring new clientele.
Instead, by leveraging open source web data, companies can:
- Tap into public comments posted on competitor campaigns by LGTQ+ individuals
- Read relevant discussion forum threads such as on Reddit
- And collect and analyze opinion pieces written by grassroots movements (‘for the people, by the people’).
It is in this way that businesses can leverage user-generated content to take the pulse of their audience and deliver on audience expectations as far as tone, marketing, packaging, messaging, and branding are concerned.
Mapping LGBTQ+ culture
The internet can also be used to see what type of music, museums, destinations, and shopping specific audiences enjoy. By correlating and cross-referencing travel, shopping, and search engine data, companies can get a more accurate picture and tailor experiences to LGBTQ+ consumers and beyond.
For example, an Online Travel Agency (OTA) trying to tailor packages can collect:
- Social media posts and discover that many gay men enjoy skiing in Aspen
- They may also discover New York-based search queries for ‘Hotels near gay nightlife Aspen’.
These two data points can then be used to create tailored offers to consumers located in New York City, offering hotels in Aspen in the center of the action with ad campaigns using titles like ‘Book a hotel at the center of the Aspen nightlife action today, and save up to $200’.
The bottom line
The LGBTQ+ community, as well as other minorities, are still experiencing financial, workplace, and other inequalities. By utilizing user-generated open source web data, however, companies can work to level the playing field while expanding their client base and revenue streams.