Finding and supporting companies by Black-owned businesses is about to become a whole lot easier thanks to a new “Black-owned” business tag debuting on Instagram.
Randi Richardson of NBC News reported on Instagram’s announcement of the new feature available for U.S.-based businesses. Instagram said the goal of the “Black-owned” label is to provide another way for Black business owners to promote their businesses while also making it easier for consumers to find and support these companies.
“People still ask, ‘Is this Black-owned?’ I think it’ll get rid of that question, and it’ll make our consumer, the woman and the person that we market to, trust us,” said Stormi Steele, owner of a small internet-based company for Black hair care products. “It helps us to not have to continuously reiterate we’re Black-owned because that’s the difference between the conversion [and business transaction] or not, most of the time, especially to the customer who wants to know that answer.”
Applying the label to business pages is incredibly easy too. Business accounts simply select to display the “Black-owned business” tag in their bios. Businesses can also opt-in and appear within Instagram’s specialized shopping area.
“Instagram does not have concrete numbers regarding how many businesses are expected to enable this feature,” Richardson reported. “But more than 1.3 million Instagram posts included ‘Black-owned’ or ‘Black-led’ during the height of the racial reckoning in summer 2020 and through the fall. And the number of U.S.-based businesses that listed these labels in their profiles increased by 50% during that same period.”
In an interview with NBC News, Rachel Brooks, a product manager at Instagram and member of the equity team that worked on developing the label, said, “there was a lot of tragedy happening in the Black community. On top of that, there was a global pandemic raging, and a lot of challenges particularly with Black-owned businesses being able to stay open, maintain livelihoods, those sorts of things. And so, what we saw is the community really rallied around Black-owned businesses somewhat naturally and organically by using #BuyBlack and all sorts of other ways of amplifying Black-owned businesses.”
According to Brooks, this push to support Black-owned businesses encouraged the company to figure out what they could do to help the cause, which led to them implementing the “Black-owned” label.
“When you see a profile, you know where the name is, you know where you can find the post, you know where you can find the stories or whatever it might be,” she said. “The idea is to create a standard so that people know how to consistently find the information. Otherwise, people are kind of fishing for this information.”
Brooks added that the feature may not immediately influence a user’s Instagram feed, but as more people engage with accounts featuring the label, other similar businesses may ultimately be promoted due to the algorithm.
In other words, Richardson said, “accounts keeping tabs on Black-owned businesses are more likely to see them in their feed, giving the businesses more exposure and potentially increasing their revenues.”