When we think about Black-owned businesses, our first thoughts are often restaurants (like Slim & Husky’s or Batter and Berries), product-based companies (like Holly Hall Supply Co or Scumbag Travel Kit), and even service-based businesses (like Credence Tax Services or Lynnet’s Professional Touch). That’s usually where we stop, but stopping there excludes a host of Black businesses that need our support: creatives.
When I say creatives, I mean anything that does not fit into the three aforementioned categories— restaurants, products, or services. Creatives include authors, artists, actors, influencers, freelancers, filmmakers, content creators…and me! 🙂
A question that I get often is, how can people support Black Girl Buying? While half of Black Girl Buying is service-based—working directly with growing Black businesses to reach their target audiences—the other, more visible half, is influencing and content creation. Because it can often be unclear how you can be most helpful—especially in light of the ever-changing social media algorithms—I wanted to share some ways that you can support your favorite influencer and content creator 😉 and other creatives in your life. The following suggestions include ways to be supportive of creatives, in general, as well as a few that are very specific to Black Girl Buying and the way this business is structured and operates. In either case, it is my hope that you choose (and implement) at least one.
- Listen to what they’re asking you to do. Many creatives will include a call to action—a specific request from their audience—in their content. The call to action on a sponsored post or story might be to click on a link and visit the sponsor site. If they’re hosting a giveaway, the request might be to like and comment. Whatever it is they are specifically asking you to do is the best way you can support them in that moment.
- Share them with your networks. We trust people we know and we trust the recommendations of the people we know. Why not tell people about the creatives you love? I’m not saying that your social media feeds should become full of posts about your favorite influencers. What I am saying is that when you’re at lunch with your co-workers and they’re looking for books to read, share your favorite author or bookstagrammer. When your best friend is looking for new recipes to try, tell them about your favorite food blog. When your mother is looking for ways to support more Black businesses, tell her about Black Girl Buying. When you see your favorite creative post something that you like or are interested in, share it on your page. Ask your local library or bookstore when they’ll have a copy of the latest release from a Black author. Also, make sure that you’re telling other businesses about your favorite creatives. When you make a purchase, tell companies where you heard about them (there’s a little box on the last page of your online orders that asks for notes or special instructions. It’s the perfect place to tell them you heard about them from BGB). Word-of-mouth referrals are invaluable.
- Always give credit where it’s due. If you are inspired by a creative or artist in any way, make sure you tag them, noting the inspiration. Use original sounds on Instagram and TikTok when you can find them. Cite their writings in yours. (And because I practice what I preach, this article was inspired by Feed the Malik’s article How to Actually Support Black Creatives.)
- Acknowledge the work. Creatives do more than just type some words on a computer or put paint on a canvas or take pretty pictures. There is a lot of time and energy and strategy that goes into creating. And when your creating is tied to your income (no matter the percentage), there’s a lot of stress that goes into it too. If I’m being honest, creating is one of the most difficult jobs that I’ve had, due largely to the fact that there are no real rules, no objective or standard way to measure success, no one to guide or evaluate your work. While it may not require clocking in at an office job, creating is work too. Keep that in mind to avoid minimizing what we do.
- Offer (constructive) feedback. This one may just be for me because I know that not everyone is open to feedback. I want to know what you like and what things can be improved. I want to know if you purchase something that I recommended and what you think about it. This doesn’t always have to be public, but a positive public comment is always welcome.
If you’re ever unsure how to support your favorite creative, just ask. We’ll appreciate it. I promise.