Tell us about your journey?
I have worked in social media for just over 10 years. I first started using it when I worked as a fashion stylist as I needed a free way to promote my services. As time went on, I got more approaches for social media advice than I did for styling advice which worked out quite well for me as I didn’t actually enjoy being a stylist. In 2010, I got the opportunity to pitch to Harrods. After months of interviews, I was offered a three-month contract. I joined the business in September 2010. At the time, they had a Facebook page and a Twitter account with a combined following of 30,756 (yes, I can still remember the figures hahaha). I set up the Instagram account in Oct 2011 and set myself a goal of getting it to 1M followers. Over a period of 6 years, we basically worked our arses off to hit it. On the 23rd Jan 2017, we achieved our goal. After achieving this, I decided that I wanted to strike out on my own. I left my Harrods family in Nov 2017 and set up The Social Word in December 2017.
What services do you offer?
I offer social media strategy advice and services. I am a firm believer that social media is there to support your business, not the other way round so I work with organisations to implement a social strategy that supports their business objectives. Sometimes, people get distracted by the vanity aspect of social media and forget to focus on the value aspect. I’ve also recently set up a branding agency with two friends - The Branding Brainstorm.
The fact that influencers of colour are still under-represented
Why do you believe that the influencers of colour are still underrepresented?
Because they are. You only have to look at your feeds to see that. It’s improving but we still have a long way to go.
Tell me more about that?
I just feel that there are some incredibly talented people out there in various industries but you don’t always see them. Also, focusing specifically on Black people, I am tired of not seeing us in more senior roles. I’ve lost count of the amount of times, I’ve walked into a boardroom and been one of a few Black faces or in many cases, the only one. The fact that we have to have ‘diversity and inclusion’ initiatives in 2020 tells you how disproportionate the balance is when it comes to true parity.
Why is that important to you?
Growing up, I rarely saw anyone that looked like me in key roles across various industries. It pissed me off then and it still does now.
Do you see this changing during this time of Enlightenment?
I really hope so. The Coronavirus has shown that it does not discriminate. Therefore, neither should we.
What did you learn from being quarantine?
I learnt that there were certain things that I needed to do to get to where I want to be in so far as the kind of projects I want to work on and the kind of people I want to work with.
When do you see the industry getting back to usual business?
I don’t think that the industry will get back to the usual business because there will be a new normal. A new normal means a new kind of usual business. We are going to have to adapt and evolve and this process will take time so we must be patient with ourselves and with each other.
How can we change the fact that POC’s are underrepresented?
By challenging the organisations that are not representing us fairly. By getting comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations. If we don’t challenge the status quo, then how can we ever expect things to change.
As POC’s how can we be more heard?
We need to be given more opportunities to be heard. There is still not enough being done to champion people of colour in many industries and organisations. We’re working hard to get ourselves seen and heard but we’re still not being given an equal platform to do so in my opinion.
What tips do you have for a POC female entrepreneur?
Keep pushing, get yourself known and don’t be discouraged by the push backs because you are going to get a lot of those (trust me, I have been rejected so many times that I’ve actually lost count).
And when it comes to getting what you want and having to be forceful about it, don’t let anyone tag you with the ‘angry Black woman’ label
. Being passionate and having the courage of your convictions do not make you angry and should not be viewed as a negative. Also, support each other. I sometimes feel that we do not support each other as much as we should or could. If you have a considerable follower, give your fellow POC female entrepreneurs a shout-out and even better, buy her products/services.
There is enough room for all of us to be successful. When you get to the top, send the lift back down for others and be willing to help.
What tips do you have for brands to talk to this market?
Firstly, don’t employ the tactic of stereotypes to talk to us (the classic example is when the British government thought that putting messages about knife crime on chicken boxes was a good idea - I mean really? WTF was that about?). By all means, use messaging that we can relate to but don’t be inappropriate with it.
When you are thinking about your campaigns, think about them being diverse and inclusive, like Fenty Beauty. Show us people that actually look like us (Candice Braithwaite and Patricia Bright are great examples). And most important of all, reach out to us. If you are not sure how to speak to us, then that’s fine but ask us. Don’t sit in a board room just throwing out ideas - get some people of colour around the table and find out how they want you to communicate with them
How can we all improve with engagement with our audience?
By engaging and being social. Be authentic, don’t just turn up because you want something. Be willing to give back.
How are you coping?
By taking it one day at a time, keeping busy and acknowledging my feelings rather than running away from them
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for my health, my happiness, my family, my friends and the fact that I get to do something that I genuinely enjoy
What message do you want to send the universe?
Good health and happiness are the ultimate goals. Also, be wise with your time. The same way you invest your money and are wise with it, this same rationale should be applied to how you invest your time. Don’t waste something that is worth so much on people, situations and things that are worth so little. Finally, live your life by your own rules. Whilst it’s great to seek advice and second opinions, don’t let the opinions of others dictate how you live your life.
Omg Lisa we have learned so much and thank you for all the encouragement. If you would like to check out our Instagram live here you go.
Thank you Lisa for taking the time to speak with us.