How Facebook is Championing Black-Owned Businesses Through a Season of Support
The #BuyBlack Friday campaign will feature a new live show beginning October 30th and new tools and features for Black-owned SMBs to amplify their brands.
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In June Facebook announced its commitment of $200 million to support Black-owned businesses, Black creators and non-profits supporting Black communities. This was part of an even loftier goal of investing over $1 billion with diverse suppliers in the U.S. by the end of 2021. This past summer, Facebook introduced “Black Business August,” a month-long series of education and business growth content featuring training, programming, and business spotlights.
Today, and with the holiday season not too far around the corner, the platform is taking its efforts even further to ensure as many SMBs survive through year end as possible. Here’s a recap of some of the latest efforts.
Introducing the ‘Season of Support’
The ‘Season of Support’ is a three-month-long initiative centered around free resources, education and training to help businesses navigate this uncertain time all over the world.
“Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses. But we know that millions of people want to help. More than 3.5 million people on Facebook in the U.S. have joined new groups created to support Black-owned businesses since March,” shared Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer in the official announcement.
The primary goal is to drive momentum leading up to November 27th also known as Black Friday — a critical marker of the kickoff of the holiday season and signifier of the overall trends and indicators that will play out heading into December. While much is up in the air, one thing is clear and has been for several months — more people will shop online than ever.
#BuyBlack Friday Campaign
Facebook tapped the U.S. Black Chambers, an influential network of Black entrepreneurs, to help drive people to #BuyBlack over the holidays in a number of ways including dedicated events and assistance offerings on Facebook’s ‘Lift Black Voices Hub’ and on the Facebook App Facebook Page.
Included in this is a new #BuyBlack Friday Show that will take place live every Friday beginning October 30th to November 27th. Each episode will feature businesses, musical artists, and entertainers such as stand-up comedian and New York Times best-selling writer and actress, Phoebe Robinson.
One example of a prominent voice slated to share their story during the series is Elle Jae Essentials, founded by La’Asia Johnson in 2017 and based in Flint, Michigan. When she lost over 70 percent of her revenue due to the global pandemic, Johnson got creative. She turned to virtual events on Facebook and Instagram and started groups like ‘The Garden’ to stay connected with her loyal fans and promote her beauty line — something born out of her battle with Chron’s disease beginning at age 14 due to a skin reaction from her favorite skincare products.
Additionally, the platform is unveiling a #BuyBlack Friday Gift Guide, a curated selection of products from Black-owned businesses spanning beauty, fashion and home, and Businesses Nearby, a tool aimed to improve the discovery of local stores self-designated as Black-owned.
Emotional Health Resource Center
As much as financial security is top of mind as we look to the end of the year, so is mental health. An important trend exacerbated by COVID-19 is the use of technology to innovate in the ways we facilitate these difficult conversations and bring together the necessary resources to eliminate the stigmas surrounding mental health issues.
In a separate push, Facebook is teaming up with leading experts and authorities on these topics like The Aspen Institute, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Kids Help Phone and It’s OK to Talk across several new updates. Primarily, the platform is introducing a talk show on Facebook Watch in the coming weeks featuring Award-Winning Actress Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade Jenkins, Executive Director of Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. The two will tackle a number of key mental health topics — particularly those faced by the Black community.
Elsewhere, Facebook is hosting a Digital Stress Management Guide on WhatsApp in partnership with the World Health Organization, publishing Mental Well-Being Guides on Instagram, and adding a sticker pack on Messenger to help normalize conversations around mental health. Finally, users can get crisis support via Messenger through support from the Crisis Text Line.
As people continue to navigate their own personal circumstances from managing financial stress, to coping with loss and grief, to taking care of overall emotional health, having a large-scale platform to seek guidance and support is essential. By showcasing personal stories of adversity and integrating expert advice and resources across core features, technology can be a powerful tool in finding comfort and addressing these issues head-on.
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