Greetings and Good Morning! Happy Monday! I hope that you all are off to an amazing start!
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing six articles that I wrote as a contributing writer for INCOLOR Magazine (2018-2019). It was an incredible honor to be apart of their team of writers producing valuable content for the global majority. I'm incredibly proud of the work that I created for them, and it was during a time when I was trying to bring visibility, credibility, and validation to my work as a new writer and author. I'm so grateful for them, giving me the opportunity to step outside of my box and write something else besides romance novels. Through this experience, I've created a lane for myself that allows me the flexibility to adapt to various writing opportunities and have a voice on critical and exciting subject matter.
About INCOLOR Magazine
"INCOLOR was an online platform for and by people of color. INCOLOR was originally founded in 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream media. INCOLOR has since expanded into a platform that aims to connect and uplift people of color globally."
About the Article
With everything happening in America right now, I felt it was important to come back and revisit this subject matter, the work that I completed for INCOLOR Magazine. It almost feels like a "full circle" moment because when I began my journey 2 years ago, I started writing with this online platform based out of Minnesota. I immediately felt a connection, a positive connection to them (maybe it was because of Prince). Everything as it relates to the racial unrest that we as a society are living through and participating in right now started in Minnesota, as did my time as a contributing writer. This revolutionary movement is a sacrificial moment to face the racial disparities in America, and I could not forget that it began in Minnesota. So, it felt necessary and right to revisit my work. Since the death of George Floyd, on Memorial Day, there has been a huge response from large corporations to address the injustices faced by the Black and Brown communities. I think one of the ways they can be an ally and advocate on the behalf of our communities that have for far too long been, "undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized", is to start to tapping into Black Social Media Influencers, in addition, to creating a pipeline for diverse small businesses to work with large corporations. In this article, I speak about how today's Black Influencers are changing the business landscape for large corporations, and how supplier diversity programs can be a impactful resource for both sides of the coin.
Black Influencers Changing How America Does Business
Recently, there has been a rise in the number of people, particularly African-Americans, with a large number of followers, regular engagement, and a significant presence and influence in social media. Many of these people have emerged as “Black Creative Social Media Influencers” and are in high demand by brands for connecting and engaging with new audiences.
If you are remotely active in the social media-sphere, especially on platforms such as, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest (to name a few), it is quite possible that you’ve seen many well-known brands being endorsed by Black creative social media influencers. In the same token, with diversity and inclusion, as well as supplier diversity, as major topics of strategic discussion at the corporate level with these brands, one has to wonder, if Black creative social media influencers are having an impact on those programs.
If so, there is a greater economic impact with downstream effects, between brands partnering with Black influencers explained through their corporate diversity & inclusion and supplier diversity programs.
What Makes Black Influencers So Special?
To understand the power of being a Black creative social media influencer, you must understand the role of an influencer, and influence-marketing. Statista calls influence marketing an “increasingly popular form of marketing based on the concept that people are more likely to buy a product, or a service influenced by the recommendation of an influencer. It focuses on identifying people with influence over potential buyers and orientates marketing activities around these influencers.” With that said, according to a survey conducted by Collective Bias, “70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.”
If this statistic is true, it is important to note, that it is more likely for an influencer to be a millennial. They are experts in their own right and have become social media celebrities as a result. Therefore, it is also likely for a millennial consumer to trust the endorsement of a well-known “influencer”.
African-American millennials have a buying power that is an upwards of $1 trillion.
This is important for a brand looking to target Black millennials and partnering with an influencer in this niche is a good move. For example, Naptural85 is a well-known “graphic designer, vlogger, blogger, and natural hair enthusiast”. She was one the first Black influencers in the natural hair care niche to use YouTube and make the transition between, making simple how-to videos, to having a professional mainstream platform that has now partnered with major brands. This platform not only provided valuable information and content, but it also endorsed the products from these brands.
The Collective Bias Survey also, “reveals that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinions more than that of celebrity influencers.” Having this type of influential power is why Black influencers, and influencers in general are so powerful.
What is Supplier Diversity and the Significance of Partnerships Between Black Creative Social Media Influencers and Major Brands?
Due to the exponential growth in the social media space, social media influencers, particularly Black creative social media influencers, have far enough reach where brands have found value in connecting with them to engage with new audiences. Because of this, there has been more Black social media influencers making a splash.
In recent years, not only has the uptick in Black creative social media influencers using and endorsing major brands grown, but there is a deeper reach within these types of social partnerships. That reach, speaks to the overall diversity & inclusion and supplier diversity strategies within those brands, and how they do business. This also connects to the markets that are targeted and communities affected by these partnerships.
The importance of diversity and inclusion within these corporations draws a direct correlation between, these partnerships and the impact they have on the supplier diversity programs for these brands. CVM Solutions says, “Supplier diversity is a business strategy that ensures a diverse supplier base in the procurement of goods and services for any business or organization. It emphasizes the creation of a diverse supply chain that works to secure the inclusion of diverse groups in the procurement plans for government, not-for-profits, and private industry.”
Corporations that value diversity and inclusion, and have a good supplier diversity program, will have the ability to correlate a downstream effect between their partnerships with Black creative social media influencers and the overall economic impact within the communities they serve.
The impact on the supply chain due to partnerships between Black Creative Social Media Influencers and brands is important. In light of the fact, many Black creative social media influencers consider themselves entrepreneurs and run their own brands and businesses; as such, they could be classified as a diverse business.
If they’ve partnered with a brand that has a supplier diversity program, having this classification could be really impactful.
There is no evidence to confirm if brands are tracking this information. However, it is important to recognize Black creative social media influencers have the potential to impact corporate supplier diversity programs in this way.
Black creative social media influencers could also exercise their influential power by making sure the brands they’ve partnered with are truly living up to the goals of their D&I and supplier diversity programs. This ensures that the efforts of those programs provide opportunities that are fairly distributed throughout the communities served. For many brands, this could be an added, positive key performance indicator to their overall diversity and inclusion, and supplier diversity strategies.
Therefore, both sides gain from the partnership, and impact our communities with a focused objective in mind.
Thank you for reading my blog this morning. Hey, do me a favor, if you like or love this post, comment on it. I’d love to hear your feedback. Also, please feel free to share it with your family and friends in the social media universe. I greatly appreciate the support.