Browse Tag

digital marketing

5 mins read

TikTok Marketing: 3 Effective Ways to get Your Business Noticed

TikTok’s influence can no longer be ignored. Aside from being the preferred procrastination tool for many a teenager, the app has had a profound impact on sound and culture in the modern world — and savvy businesses worldwide are eager to get in on the action (and, of course, money) through TikTok marketing.

The content of videos is up to the creator’s imagination. While some users create content that brings attention to a current social issue, others focus on humor and levity as the point of their videos.

With TikTok being so accessible and simple to use, it’s opened up the door for businesses to get noticed and interact directly with consumers.

How to set up TikTok for Business

With a TikTok for Business account, you can add more information to your profile and access real-time metrics and audience insights.

  1. Go to your profile page.
  2. Open the Settings and Privacy tab in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Manage account.
  4. Under Account control, choose Switch to Business Account.
  5. Choose the category that best describes your account—Tiktok offers categories from Art & Crafts to Personal Blog to Fitness to Machinery & Equipment.
  6. From there, you can add a business website and email to your profile, and you’re ready to roll.

How Can I Market My Business on TikTok?

There are three primary ways that businesses can get their brand noticed on TikTok.

1. Influencer Marketing

There are plenty of big stars in the TikTok world, and one of the simplest ways to get your brand noticed is simply to have a big name promote it.

While there are many people with “worldwide” influence, if you sell to a niche market or location, you could consider finding an influencer who already has credibility in your niche and making a deal with them.

2. Produce Your Own Videos

This one is obvious: you (as a business or as an individual) can create content directly through your own TikTok account. The advantages of this approach are that consumers have a way to communicate directly with your business through the comments on your videos, and they can follow you to receive more of your brand’s content.

Your videos aren’t limited to traditional advertisements where you explore the benefits of your products. The sky is the limit when it comes to potential content: consider posting about the history of your brand, an adjacent social cause you donate a percentage of your profits to, or an “account takeover” style of video where you simply post about your daily life.

If you’re looking for inspiration, spend some time swiping through your For You page and find out what sort of videos are currently popular. Taking advantage of trendy sounds or challenges can help get you noticed!

3. TikTok Advertising

Sometimes traditional advertising is the way to go, although if you’re suspecting that TikTok advertising is far from traditional, you’re right. Again, your creativity can shine in short-form videos!

The difference between simply creating your own content for your account and using TikTok advertising is that you’re paying TikTok directly for marketing. This means that your reach is much higher than it may be from simply posting your own content. There are a few different types of ads you can place on TikTok.

In-Feed Ads

These are ads you make yourself and can include spark ads, video ads, carousel ads, and image ads. These are pretty easy to create and purchase, so they’re a great way to get your feet wet in the world of TikTok advertising.

Advertising for Managed Brands

If you’re interested in working with a TikTok sales representative, you’ll have more formatting options available for your in-feed ads. These include topview ads, branded effects, and branded hashtag challenges.

Hashtag challenges are an incredibly effective way to get your business noticed. If the challenge takes off and goes viral, you’ll have many videos using your hashtag that redirect to your business. You’ll pay for the initial videos under the hashtag, but soon users will start doing the rest.

-Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Instagram Hashtags: A Quick Guide for 2022

Instagram hashtags have the potential to make or break your Instagram marketing strategy. When you use them properly, your posts will be seen by more people who are interested in your products or brand.

However, if you use them improperly, you can cause harm, ranging from annoying potential followers to being penalized by Instagram’s algorithm.

Continue reading to find out how to use Instagram hashtags successfully in 2022.

Four Ways to Use Instagram Hashtags

You can use hashtags on Instagram in four different ways — in posts, on Instagram Stories, on IGTV, and in reels. Let’s take a closer look at these:

Instagram Stories

  • You can add up to 10 hashtags
  • You can add a location, poll, question, countdown, quiz, donation sticker, or GIF
  • You may mention up to ten accounts in one story
  • It is possible to tag 1 product (available to Business Accounts with Shopping enabled)

Instagram Stories can be used by brands to:

  • Motivate
  • Educate
  • Run polls
  • Organize a Q&A session
  • Share customer feedback
  • Showcase the products or services
  • Share behind-the-scenes of the business or event

Show the people behind your company—you’ll notice that the more stories you add, the more engagement you’ll gain.

Instagram Posts

  • You can add up to 30 hashtags
  • To rank on Google, add Instagram alt text to your images
  • You can mark up to 5 products per post (for Instagram Business Account owners with Shopping enabled)
  • Make sure you tag up to 20 accounts for a greater chance of being featured on other pages.


Pro Tip: To outwit Instagram’s algorithm and increase your reach, try to get as many likes and comments as possible within the first hour of posting.

Joining a niche pod—an Instagram group of like-minded users interested in each other’s content and mutual support—is one way to accomplish this.

Members of the group like and comment on Instagram posts immediately after they are posted, which increases engagement, visibility, and attracts new followers.

It is critical to seek out like-minded users and to be genuine about the content you promote.

Instagram Reels

  • Allow you to include up to 30 hashtags.
  • Upload your Instagram Reel video to your Instagram Feed.
  • Up to 30 products or a product collection can be tagged.

An Instagram reel is a 15, 30, or 60-second video that includes audio from Instagram’s music library or something you provide. It is also possible to use augmented reality (AR) effects. Your reel could be noticed by a global audience if you have a public account.

When you share reels with specific songs, hashtags, or effects, your reel may show up on dedicated pages when a user clicks on that song, hashtag, or effect. Once your reel is ready, you can add hashtags.


  • Include clickable links in captions.
  • Include up to 30 hashtags.
  • Add a cover photo and share IGTV videos to your Instagram feed.

IGTV videos must be at least one minute long, and can also be up to 15 minutes long if uploaded from a mobile device or 60 minutes long if uploaded from the web.

At Shoppe Black, we can help you utilize the power of Instagram to create a strong and effective content marketing strategy. To find out more, email us at

4 mins read

Metaverse Marketing: Opportunities and Strategies for Brands

Traditional marketing approaches are no longer sufficient. Marketing methods are evolving, and marketers must adapt to the new environment. Through metaverse marketing, companies and brands have a chance to reach a global market.

Some of the world’s most well-known brands have already begun to integrate and build their digital presence in the metaverse.

Is there anything else it entails? Keep reading to find out what marketing in the metaverse is all about, and what opportunities it offers.

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a persistent, online, three-dimensional universe that integrates numerous virtual spaces. It can be compared to a future version of the internet. The metaverse will allow people to work, meet, play games, and socialize together in these 3D places.

It combines multiple elements of technology, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and video where users “live” in a digital world. In the metaverse, users will work, play and stay connected with friends through everything from concerts and conferences to virtual trips around the world.

Metaverse Marketing: Opportunities

Although the metaverse has been around for some time and some companies have even experimented with metaverse marketing, the guidelines for mainstream marketing for most brands have not yet been established.

As new technologies are introduced almost daily, it is still unclear how to make the most of metaverse marketing by creating the perfect marketing plan.

Establishing these rules and developing appropriate strategies might just be the key to achieving success in the metaverse for a brand. Here are a few strategies being pursued by some brands.

Accessibility and Availability of Virtual Venues

The earliest websites were able to take their brands and businesses to the next level by simply being there first. Today, brands enjoy the same opportunity, but on a much larger scale.

Brands can now design fully immersive and engaging virtual venues, universes, and locations from scratch using 3D virtual reality technology.

Creating virtual venues, worlds, and spaces in which to hold events and experiences is instantly possible in the metaverse for brands.

Virtual Ownership Made Simple

Since people spend a lot of time online every single day, there is a higher value placed on digital assets and the showcase of acquiring virtual ownership rights.

In the world of virtual ownership, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the most popular because they make it possible for individuals, businesses, and creators to own these virtual assets and to transfer them with other virtual entities at will.

Real World and Virtual Entertainment Redefined

Whether we like it or not, the line between real and virtual interactions is getting more and more blurred, resulting in new forms of entertainment and immersive virtual reality experiences.

New experiences are frequently participatory and shared by a group of individuals nowadays, resulting in the transfer of physical behavior to all sorts of digital platforms and creating an entirely new reality.

Establishing a Brand Presence Everywhere

A lesson that brands and retailers around the world realized as a result of the pandemic was that their digital presence cannot be ignored any longer.

The pandemic caused the whole world to shut down, forcing merchants to create digital versions of their businesses since real-world versions could no longer be accessed.

When customers can’t physically visit you, you must bring the brand’s 3D experience to them online.

What are your thoughts on the metaverse? Comment below!

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4 mins read

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Most people believe that having an online presence involves posting on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and building a good website.

Posting on social media and having a website is great to improve visibility and reach, but it may not be enough to gain the online traction you need. 

One way to improve your SEO strategy and drive traffic to your brand online is with a blog. No matter the industry, blogs are a vital part of digital marketing, and here’s why. 

Increase Website Traffic

Nearly 80% of businesses use blogs as a marketing tool. That’s a substantial number and one that you want to be a part of. Since blogs create more indexed pages on your website, it has a higher chance of showing up in search engine results. 

The more website traffic you get, the more likely you are to reach customers who will book, purchase or fill out a form to get in touch. So if you want to increase traffic to your business blog, you must develop a viable content strategy.

Target a Specific Audience

Your service landing page may only provide value to clients who are ready to make a purchase, but a blog allows you to capture the attention of your entire target audience. With a blog, you can reach out to customers at various stages of their customer journey and turn them into loyal customers.

Establish Trust with Clients

When you start a blog, you make it easier for current and potential clients to connect with you on a deeper level. This is because a blog allows you to directly interact with your audience. Whether it’s in your comments section or on social media, it’s critical to find new ways to engage people with your brand and show that they can trust you.

Achieve More Sales

Blogging for your business allows you to learn about your customers and respond to their questions. Since you will be attracting a broader spectrum of relevant buyers, you will naturally see higher returns. In addition to gaining the attention of potential buyers and engaging them with your content, you also increase the likelihood of these visitors coming back. 

Position Your Business as a Thought Leader

By blogging about your area of expertise, you can gain credibility with your audience. Writing relevant information will be useful for your readers, and you get the benefit of being viewed as an industry expert or thought leader. 

Having the trust of your customers is the first step toward gaining their loyalty. For this reason, becoming an industry leader is a huge advantage, and most definitely one of the benefits of blogging for business.

At Shoppe Black, we can help you utilize the power of blogging for your business to create a strong and effective content marketing strategy. To find out more, email us at 

6 mins read

10 Ways To Create a Strong Online Presence For Your Business

The average person spends roughly eight and a half hours a day online. Between work, streaming, social media, and shopping, that leaves a huge window of opportunity for your business to reach those high valued target customers.

Make it easier for your target customers to find you online by creating a strong online presence. Here are a few ways to start:

1 – Mobile Responsive Website

The majority of consumers now use their mobile devices to browse the internet. That means your website needs to look as engaging and attractive on a small smartphone screen as it does on a desktop.

2 – Content Creation

Marketing today is all about maintaining high-quality customer relationships, and that requires keeping consumers attention. The best way to do that is to have a content calendar that prompts your business team to update your website and social media with fresh visual, written, and audio content.

3 – SEO and Location Data

Every company needs a search engine optimization, or SEO, strategy to organically appear higher in popular search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Hiring a professional digital marketing team is an excellent way to improve your website SEO, especially if you are a local business. Google loves to elevate search results based on your physical location and area of service.

4 – Managing Your Website & Online Reputation

Having so many review-based services is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you get to know which restaurants, bars, and stores your community likes the most. On the other, one bad review can mean the difference between being #1 and #5. Therefore, you need to manage your online reputation and mitigate as many bad reviews as possible, so your final rank appears good enough to draw in customers. 

 5 – Engage in Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. The benefits of directly connecting with your clients far outweigh the minor inconvenience of staying up to date with new content. The good news is you do not have to engage in every single platform. Stick to the 1-3 platforms that work naturally for your business and focus your efforts on growing your viewership.

6 – Create with Sharability in Mind

The more your original content can be easily shared across multiple platforms, the faster you will organically improve your brand reach. It is not uncommon for a store in Denver, CO, to feature some excellent content noticed by tourists from New York City. You never know who you’ll reach, but at least you’ll know you are reaching them. 

7 – Leverage Google My Business

Google My Business is a profile service where your registered company shows up at the top of Google’s search result page when people search for your industry, company, service, and location. It is a great way to stay top of mind for anyone looking for your business. 

8 – Video is Best

If you have the option, always elect to create content with video elements. Consumers are more attracted to video media and will spend more time browsing your website and social accounts if there are explainer videos, daily vlogs, or tours of your office.

9 – Be Accessible

There are many tools available to check the overall accessibility of your website. The general trend is for search engines to start offering preference to websites built with more accessible layouts and options. This is because it is the right thing to do and helps ensure your site has a clean, easy-to-understand design.

10 – Unify Your Brand Presence

Every single instance of your company online needs to have the same contact information, brand color, slogan, identity, and themed content. Consumers want to feel a connection with their brands, and that means offering them a unified presence. Search engines will also appreciate that all your information is the same and rank a little higher.

Consistency Equals Growth

Building your online presence to shine through your competitor’s noise is crucial to growing your business and reaching more target markets. Following a few of these tips will help you on your way, but the most essential factor is consistency. 

Like every other relationship in the world, people want to know they can trust and rely upon you to offer the same quality content and service every time they contact you.

If you would like to find out how we can help you improve your online presence, email us at


Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

5 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Pandemic

As a business owner, you’re likely still trying to find ways to navigate the “new normal”. The good news is that this too shall eventually pass (fingers crossed). In the meantime, what you don’t want to do is slack on your digital marketing efforts.

That would be a waste of all the time and resources that you’ve already invested into your business to gain traction in an already crowded online marketplace.

That being said, let’s take a look at some digital marketing ideas that can help your business during the pandemic – and after.

5 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Pandemic

Implementing new digital marketing ideas during this period in time will have a huge impact on your company’s growth rate after the economy improves.

1. Stay Connected With Your Customers on Social Media 

digital marketing ideas

More people are on social media now while stuck at home, searching for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated country.

People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done the right way.

2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

This was a no brainer “pre-rona” and it’s even more of a no brainer now. Online search traffic has increased significantly over the past few weeks and will continue to climb as we #stayhome.

Everyone is glued to their computer and phone. We’re looking for news, entertainment, education, and ways to pass the time. Now is an important time to be visible digitally because other forms of traditional marketing are not as relevant at the moment.

3. Be Prepared to Pivot 

digital marketing ideas

This is an opportunity to show empathy and stay relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by customers staying at home.

Restaurants are offering curbside pick up or free delivery. Healthcare and other service professionals that can’t physically see clients can offer online consultations.  Personal trainers and Yoga instructors can offer live classes.

Another example that we’ve witnessed is businesses that originally make clothing and accessories pivoted to producing face masks.

4. Don’t Panic

You’ve likely heard all the gloom and doom predictions on the news and online about depressions and recessions. The truth is, the economy may be slow now but it isn’t stopping.

Money is still moving and consumers are still searching for people to do business with. Adjust your plan or create a new one.

5. Use this time to educate yourself

This is a perfect time for self-improvement. Use your newfound spare time to take a step back and assess what both you and your business need right now.

Learn how to improve your marketing strategy (You’re doing that right now!) Study how to create more content or improve your website performance.  These are just a few actions that will pay off down the road.


Tony O. Lawson

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11 mins read

Get Your Website Right!: 10 Tips on How to Create a Dope Website

Every Black business owner needs to get their website right. Not now, but right now. Many of us want to support Black-owned businesses, but sometimes, business owners make it challenging to do so.

I’m sure you’ve had the following experience a time or two (or three): Someone tells you to check out a Black-owned business. You google them, go to their site, that is if they even have one, and quickly close the tab.

You’re either overwhelmed by the theatrics, underwhelmed, or simply aren’t able to get the information you’re looking for.

In efforts to help out some of you who may be entrepreneurs who may be in this situation, here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for getting your website right and helping your business grow.

Tip #1: Have a website. This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised. There’s nothing in the world worse than googling a business or asking an owner for their website only to find out that it doesn’t exist.

Oh wait, there may be something worse: clicking onto a website and finding out that the page is down or under construction. If you’re Black and in business, you should have a website. In fact, make that your top priority for 2016. If this is something that you know that you are going to struggle with then it might be worthwhile hirign a professional like slickplan to help you with your website.

Tip #2: DIY and make it modern. A decade ago, if you didn’t know programming and code, there was no way that you could create a nice looking website on your own.

More than likely, you had to hire a web designer like to create a digital platform for your business. Well, that’s no longer the case. If you’re strapped, I definitely recommend getting a web designer to help you, but building a website yourself is possible.

Modern Platform: xnasozi

There are several platforms that will give you all sorts of options you desire to do a DIY digital platform. From wordpres hosting (our personal favorite), to Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Shopify, there are several user-friendly and modern platforms that will help you present a 21st century digital face to your customers.

Tip #3: It has to be responsive. When a site is mobile responsive, that means that no matter which device you are using to view online content – your computer, smart phone or tablet – the experience is seamless.

The first template we used when launching Shoppe Black a few weeks ago, was NOT mobile friendly.

The initial template we used was free – which means that it didn’t have all of the sexy bells and whistles that our current theme has. 82% of the thousands of views we’ve received on our site globally have come from mobile users.

Let’s face it, we’re a mobile society. Don’t turn off potential customers because your website is not responsive to their cellular phones or tablets.

image1 (1)

Tip #4: Aesthetics are key. In the land of visual culture, aesthetics are QUEEN. When it comes to aesthetics, as a people, sometimes we win. and sometimes we lose. There’s a way of expressing Blackness without being so literal.

In this day in age, we don’t need to saturate our branding with an excessive amount of djembes, RBG flags, kente cloth, black fists, and Adinkra symbols to prove how Black we are. We can articulate BLACK sans “tribal” prints.


Create a clean website, with even cleaner looking images, logos, and aesthetics that will translate well to any customer. Leave the tacky and trite images for the an era bygone. Embrace your inner Afrofuturist and go beyond the expected.

Progressive Logo: Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA)

Tip #5: Photography is EVERYTHING. Do something about those pictures. It irks me to the core when I go on websites and see blurry, dark, poor quality images.

Granted, I’m a curator by trade, so my eye tends to be a little less tolerant than the average consumer. However, I think with the invention of Instagram and the smart phone, everyone now has the capacity to try their photography skills on for size.

Dizzy yet?

If you have a website, invest in some high quality photos that truly speak to the caliber of your goods and services. I’ve been known to not patronize a business strictly because I was turned off by their images. Hire a professional photographer.

Check out the images of highly successful brands on platforms like IG. Use free online stock photos. Invest in a good camera. Watch some tutorials and take your own photos.

Whichever route you take, please, pretty please, just say no to posting subpar images on your site.

Great Image: DCity Smokehouse

Tip #6: Keep the content current. So you have a website. The aesthetics don’t look like something out of a Black liberation parade circa 1972. It’s mobile friendly. People like the way it looks. There’s only one problem: You haven’t updated it in years.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating something nice and then ignoring it. I’ve fallen victim to I.M.W. (Ignore My Website) myself – If someone were to go to my professional site, they would think I haven’t curated an exhibit or done anything significant since 2013.

Of course that isn’t the case – I’ve been featured in national and international press, curated two highly successful exhibitions, traveled to multiple countries, received awards, launched two companies and a whole lot more. But you couldn’t tell based on my site. Moral of the story: Keep it current.


Tip #7: Link your social media. COINTELPRO and Big Brother aside, it’s critical to have a social media presence. Don’t lose out on any potential marketing opportunities because you haven’t linked your twitter, facebook, tumblr or instagram accounts to your website. The goal is to get more follows, more follows, more follows!


Tip #8: A facebook page isn’t a website. Having a presence on social media is awesome. We all need it. But a facebook page shouldn’t substitute having a website.

You communicate how serious you take your business when you have online presence. It tells your customers that you believe enough in your brand to invest in its online presence. Get a website. If you don’t have one yet, see Tip #1.

SB facebook

Tip #9: Keep it real. All races and ethnic groups spend money. We know that. We also know that it’s not always smart to pigeon hole our clientele. Some of us cater specifically to Black audiences. Many of us don’t.

We can be a Black-owned business with diverse customers and still be a shining example of what it means to be Black and in business. What’s NOT cool, however, is when you click on a website that’s supposed to be Black owned and not one, single, solitary image is of a Black person.

That’s just wack. Newsflash: Sometimes that turns customers off too, especially your Black customers who came to you for the specific purposes of supporting their own.


If attracting Black customers is not important to you, cool. But if it is, diversify your portfolio a little more and let your website reflect it.

All Around Greatness: Oyin Handmade

Tip#10: Hire a Professional. There are maaany professional web developers in these streets who can create a beautiful site for you. It usually won’t cost much either. As a serious business owners, investing in a professionally done website should not be a hard decision when you consider the potential return on investment. Shameless plug: Shoppe Black offers web development services.

Honorable Mention:

Here are a few businesses that pass our Shoppe Black Website Test with flying colors:

Justice of the Pies | Chicago based Pie Maker

Lolo’s Seafood Shack | South-side Chicago Based Restaurant

Tastemakers Africa | NYC based Travel to Africa App and Content Platform.

Leisure Life NYC | Casual Vintage Inspired Men’s Wear Boutique

DCity Smokehouse | Washington, DC based Restaurant

William + James (self-promotion is the best kind) | NOLA/Philly based Haberdashery

What updating tips did you find useful? Need any additional support? Leave a comment or email us at

Shantrelle P. Lewis