Social Media Influencers Promote Black-Owned Businesses Amid COVID-19

Writer, music journalist, cultural critic, and television personality Toure

It started with one post. When Martin Ekechukwu, founder of a marketing social media strategy company, thought about all the notable social media influencers sitting at home due to the coronavirus shutdown, he set out to devise a way to monetize and incentivize people’s social media handles to support small business owners of color. Each influencer will help by donating one (or more) post ($3,000+ value per post) to help promote selected black-owned businesses to their thousands and millions of followers.

“We thought there was no way a lot of people could truly support small businesses during this time, but I reached out to some of my friends and asked them to do one post to support a small business of their choosing. They all said yes,” Ekechukwu told TNJ.com in a recent interview.

He created a logo, and the initiative grew from there. “People were excited that their was something they could do with their social media channels, and it only involved sitting on their couches and posting some traffic to a particular website. For example, Toure shouted out a cookie company he loves,” he says.

Ekechukwu, a serial entrepreneur and influencer himself, immediately put out the call on LinkedIn and other social media channels. From there, it was on. “The next thing we knew, we had almost 200 businesses that indicated a need for support, and just under 70 confirmed influencers who actually want to support,” he reveals. “Now, we’re literally in the middle of cross-sectioning by coordinating posts by company because if you’re an influencer who’s known for music, you’re probably interested in helping an artist launch something music-related. So, we’re trying to find the connectivity between brand and the talent to where it makes sense.”

Angela Rye, attorney and the principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies

One of the participating influencers is Sarunas Jackson, actor from hit HBO show Insecure, who said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting small businesses in a variety of ways; we hope that with the publicity raised through this partnership, Black-owned businesses will be able to get the exposure and support they need to be in a better position to continue operating through this crisis.”

Another is Brittany Hampton, global brand ambassador for designer Diane Von Furstenberg. “During this unprecedented time of disruption, small businesses, but especially black-owned businesses, are being disproportionately affected. Through this partnership, we are committed to giving back to our communities,” she remarked.

How it works

As Ekechukwu mentioned, influencers can support any business they choose, or they can pick from his list of 200. They’re asked to take a screen shot of one of the posts from the business, and post it on one of their social media channels. Or, Ekechukwu’s team can offer some original content. “The post can also be a story with mention of the company’s website, or it can be a post via your Instagram feed, so that it gives the company some love; that’s the whole point go this project,” he acknowledges. “I don’t know how effective it will be, but in my line of work, there’s some long-term sort of requirement or relationship of the brand to really see some amazing effects. Sometimes one post works, and sometimes it takes 10 posts. It depends. But I think everyone, right now, is paying attention to the fact that influencers that have the means and the ability to bring you some awareness are willing to use their platforms to help.”

To date, the #Donate1post campaign has generated a total of $200,000+ worth of free publicity to small businesses nationwide. 

(Martin Ekechukwu is the co-founder of WHTWRKS, a marketing company that focuses on bridging the gap between brands and their target audience through the creation of compelling content and experiential events.)