The Power of #BlackTwitter Voices in Hollywood

Location. Location. Location. This is a phrase most people know, because of how important it was for real estate. In the digital world, that phrase becomes engagement. Engagement. Engagement. It is important for brands to understand, and there is no better way for brands to engagement with consumers than on Twitter, because it levels the playing field across industries. If brands want to authentically engage with African-American people on Twitter, they first need to deeply understand #BlackTwitter and how people use it.

This panel is headed by Twitter’s Senior Communications Manager Elizabeth Luke and includes Nielsen’s Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement Cheryl Grace, senior director of marketing at Fractured Atlas, April Reign, Director of inclusion and culture resonance at VML God-is Rivera, and chief marketing and communications officer at BET Networks, Jeanine Liburd.

Nielsen’s recent Diverse Intelligence Series report on the digital lives of Black consumers highlighted how African-Americans use all types of media across the board. What they found was that they make up roughly 12% of the population but make up about 28% of twitter users. This means there should definitely be an interest in how brands connect with African-Americans on Twitter. When brands understand from a digital perspective how to engage, it makes the outcomes positive, and it’s more likely that they’ll spend their time and/or their money, Grace said.

So what exactly is #BlackTwitter? African-Americans use unique language with one another that is rooted in culture. #BlackTwitter is not a separate entity, but rather a space where African-Americans can be who they are authentically. It is a way to understand black culture through a black lens, Rivera said.

The idea of multicultural representation is at the forefront of conversation. This needs to go beyond general ads that are marketed toward African-Americans, and it needs to go beyond the screen. African-Americans and other people of marginalized communities need to be behind the scenes, because they will tell you if what your brand does something wrong before the ad or other form of entertainment even goes live.

Companies need to be at the forefront and need to genuinely fight for representation because #BlackTwitter will see through false advertisements. It is a large community, with a lot of influence, and #BlackTwitter is not afraid to drag anyone who gets on the wrong side of it.

For example, digital communities like #BlackTwitter have been able to have immense impact in the physical world with movements like #Oscarssowhite and #metoo. The communities bring about large discussions about equity, race, gender, sexuality and more.

If brands want a more powerful interaction with #BlackTwitter and other digital communities, being at the forefront of equity and understanding cultural nuances is a must.

Fatoumata Ceesay

Writer at Advertising Week
Fatoumata is a senior studying Journalism and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her favorite thing about the advertising industry is how creative and personal ads can be.

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