Original article by Njera Perkins – AfroTech
Supporting Black-owned businesses over the last year has become more than a trend. Now, consumers, corporations and online platforms are turning this full-fledged surge of support into a consistent lifestyle change with more intentional ways to champion these brands.
Among those who have made financial and systemic pledges most recently is Instagram, who is now making it easier for shoppers to discover and identify Black-owned businesses directly on its platform. Thanks to a new feature, U.S. -based businesses a part of Shops on Instagram will be specifically declared “Black-owned” with a display label.
Over the last year, Instagram has rallied its community of users to not just acknowledge Black-owned businesses, but shop with them as well. With newly-launched features like its Reels and Shop tabs, it’s made the e-commerce space a much more fun and knowledgeable experience for both brand owners and consumers.
According to a blog post from Instagram, over 1.3 million Instagram posts in support of “Black-owned” or “Black-led” businesses were made last summer through the fall. Moreover, the number of businesses located in the U.S. with the phrases “Black-owned” or “Black-led” in their profile increased by over 50 percent.
Now with the launch of Instagram’s latest feature, these businesses will be even more recognizable on the platform and be proud to claim that they are indeed Black-owned.
“The Black community and Black culture are important to Instagram’s success and relevance,” Rachel Brooks — a Product Lead at Instagram who helped develop the new feature — tells AfroTech. “With that, it’s important that we, in turn, support a community that creates such vibrancy and relevance on the app. We want to be a place that continues to support the creative energy and passion of Black people. By building up wealth in the Black community in the ways that we can, we are contributing to better outcomes and better lives for Black people.”
In order to access the new feature, brand owners will need to tap on “Edit Profile,” and select “Business Diversity Info” where they can learn more about how they can designate their business as Black-owned. After that, they can tap “Get Started” where they will be led to the “Diversity Info” page. From there, they can turn on the “Show Black-owned business label” setting, which will then enable the “Black-owned” label to show on their business profile and product pages.
The new tool also allows these brands to be highlighted in the Shop tab, where they will hopefully garner new customers and increase their sales online. All parts of this new feature were created by closely analyzing the needs of these Black-owned businesses and identifying what was required in order to continue to thrive in Instagram’s e-commerce space.
“We spend a lot of time listening, learning, and co-creating with people that we aim to serve. This meant working to understand what challenges particularly Black people face, what Black-owned business express interest in, and where additional support may be required,” Brooks shares. “More broadly in order to create a more equitable Instagram, we also reflected on what was happening in the world around us, and how this may have manifested on our platform.”
In addition to launching the feature, Instagram has also teamed up with brands/users such as @blackownedeverything, @ghettogastro, @alexandrawinbush and @browniepointsforyou to highlight them as Black-owned businesses on its platform. Throughout the remainder of the week, users will be able to see more from them on @instagramforbusiness and @creators.
Instagram shares that this feature is “just one part of our ongoing investment in creating more economic opportunity for Black-owned businesses.” Hopefully, these changes will inspire other platforms to express more concrete support for Black-owned businesses in their own way.