Whether you are a social influencer, entrepreneur, or a 9-5er, everyone is aware of the power of social media marketing, but how to actually capitalize on social media for your business, is the most frequently asked question by business owners.
An estimate of 3.196 billion people currently uses social media in the world and as of 2018, Instagram has hit 1 billion monthly active users making social media the most effective marketing efforts for businesses and influencers. With so many active users on social media a day, how can your social profile stand out from other business accounts and start driving sales?
Brandon Frame, founder of The Black Man Can, a 501 © (3) non-profit organization and digital space where Black male excellence is celebrated, has successfully built an authentic following of over 271K+ followers on Instagram, who share his same mission of educating and inspiring boys and young men of color.
Check out Brandon’s key tips on how to build an authentic social following for your business.
What inspired the BLACK MAN CAN?
M.K. Asante is one of my favorite scholars and he said, “Once you make and observation, you have an obligation.” While I was attending Morehouse College, I started a mentoring program at Charles R. Drew Charter School. There, I made an observation that boys and men of color need to see positive images of themselves. It was clear to me that we needed to have a space where our stories were shared. We needed a digital platform where we could see examples of our positive possible. After a year of contemplating, I decided to launch theblackmancan.org in April of 2010 to build a digital space where Black male excellence could be celebrated. Now, eight years later, we are using digital media and live programming to create transformational experiences for boys and men of color throughout the world.
Social entrepreneur has gotten some popularity. How do you balance doing a social good and making a profit?
This is a great question. I think the true fact of the matter is that we are never properly balanced between “profit and purpose”. Determining when a profit needs to be made and where a loss needs to be taken to fulfill the mission is a constant balancing act and learning to perform it is absolutely necessary for the entrepreneur. One slogan I always refer back to is Start with why, when I say that to myself. I’m always going to make a good choice.
With over 271K followers on Instagram, how did you build your followers and what distinguishes your audience?
I think it’s all interesting because I didn’t start the IG page to get followers. I started it to show stories we were posting on our blog. Two years ago at this time we had no more than 5K followers. In many ways you can say we built the following by accident. I was posting stories that we captured and then decided to post images of men and celebrate all the places and spaces that we occupy. It then just started to grow.
What story did you want to portray with your followers and why?
I wanted to be the #1 Source for Positive Images and narratives for Boys and Men of Color. We wanted to provide the positive contradiction to the prevailing black male image of today. We wanted to do this because we felt it was necessary for the young men in our programs as well as for the culture and the community.
What posts resonate best with your followers? How did you learn this.
This is a tough one because we post a lot of different things. The page is representative of men everywhere. We post engagement, fatherhood, entrepreneurship and more. There is no type of post. I think what helps is that we don’t have to stick to a specific type of post. I can post a fatherhood photo and the next photo can be groomsmen and the I can do a video of a young man giving a speech. What makes our page special is that when you scroll through it you are going to see men of color striving for excellence in all walks of life for their themselves, their families and society.
What do you think is more important, the number of followers you have or engagement?
In my opinion both are important. You have to have a strong engagement and a lot of followers. If you don’t have a lot of followers then you definitely want really strong engagement. We are in a great place because we have lot of followers and great engagement. What I love most is what we have people following about and the creative ways we get people to engage.
How can I convert social media followers into customers?
The best way is to have a great product. In our case we our a nonprofit so we want people to donate to our organization We are still working on creative ways to do that. Our #raisingkingscampaign is going well and anyone who reads this article we invite you to join our village to celebrate, educate and inspire boy and men of color.
Right now we also enjoy using our platform to showcase other black businesses with great products. We have helped business make thousands of dollars with one single post. It brings joy to my heart that we have that type of power.
How do you address those who share negative feedback on your page?
I try to delete comments and block people who share negative comments and feedback. It’s a tough job to try and keep up with it. We post up to 20 photos a day and there could be over a 1K comments. If and when it really gets out of hand I will turn off the comments.
What is the biggest mistake to avoid with in entrepreneurship?
Not to start at all. Ideas our spiritual children seeded inside of us by God. He provides the tools we need to nurture them into something bigger than ourselves. I started TheBlackManCan in 2010 as a blog and look at it now. If I had thought about it being what it now I would have never started. It is important to walk by faith and not by sight in the journey of entrepreneurship. Don’t let social media rush you, respect the process, stay consistent and excellence will become reality.
What’s the biggest takeaway that helped you grow an authentic following base on your social platforms?
Consistency and transparency is key! If you are consistent and transparent with your content. People will engage and follow you. I’m excited for all the content that we have on the way to celebrate, educate and inspire!!