SocialmediaSocial media is an important tool in business communication, yet many are still wrestling with the appropriate application and usage of the platform. Skill, persistence, creativity and a mastery of two-way communication is absolutely vital; and one Black-owned apparel company seems to be one of the first of its kind to make a significant connection via social media, particularly the Facebook platform. The company, I Love Being Black (ILBB), has motivated more than four million people around the globe to “Like” it and the line of products it creates, and it is only the beginning.

In a robust offering, ILBB’s Facebook page, (www.facebook.com/lovebeingbla <http://www.facebook.com/lovebeingbla>  <http://www.facebook.com/lovebeingbla), promotes ILBB apparel, products, upcoming events and more and is steadily gaining about 12,500 new fans per day. Visitors can also purchase 2011 calendars, which offer important dates in black history, inspirational quotes and coupons for several Black-owned businesses.  “Reaching this milestone of four million fans is huge for us not only because of the number, but because an increasing number of people believe in our message,” ILBB creator Kumi Rauf said. “We stand in solidarity, positively representing our culture and doing our best to uplift others as well.”

Deon Douglas, president and founder of Thinking Giant, a New York-based company that provides web development and social media consulting for businesses, believes that this type of consumer engagement is admirable and coveted. He cautions, though, that businesses have a broad understanding as he explained, “More Facebook fans does not always equate more sales. Take Lamborghini (1.1M fans) vs. Toyota (340K fans), we know from the numbers that Lamborghini’s don’t outsell Toyotas based solely on fan numbers.” Douglas continued, “However four million fans absolutely mean more direct touches with potential consumers and their networks. And given the right price point, product and market, that could be huge for future revenue and sales. Because social media presents such a low cost for customer acquisition and retention, black entrepreneurs should make it a central part of their marketing efforts. Put together a plan and set realistic goals. Goals can be more sales, more direct contact with fans and customers or simply a PR endeavor. Businesses should not only use social media to pitch and sell but also use it to engage your existing customers and fans and to better educate yourself on how they perceive your product/proposition.”

This behavior seems to be exemplified in ILBB. “People come to our site to be uplifted, to converse with other black people and also to check out some of our new I Love Being Black gear,” said the 32-year-old Rauf. “In turn, we work with numerous charities, nonprofits and community organizations to help promote cultural pride. “Yes, four million fans is great, but it is nothing compared to when we kick things into high gear later this year!”

As more entrepreneurs and small businesses expand their digital marketing efforts, utilize a full strategy and execute a comprehensive understanding of goals, the opportunities are endless.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @mediaempress