Meta partners with Trading Blak to equip First Nations businesses with the right online sales tools to get more people to #BuyBlak

 

By Alexandra Sloane, Director of Marketing ANZ, Meta Australia

Being a small retail owner in today’s market is difficult enough, let alone trying to navigate the additional challenges faced by First Nations businesses. One challenge and opportunity faced by First Nations businesses is standing out from the crowd during large retail events, such as the increasingly popular Black Friday sales in November that now take place in the lead up to the already hectic Christmas shopping season. 

Indigenous businesses generate more than $4.9 billion to the Australian economy, and between 2006 and 2018 generated more than 22,000 jobs, helping to drive more economic opportunities for First Nations businesses and people. The BuyBlak campaign is a celebration of First Nations business excellence and aims to encourage Australians to shop with these businesses, and remind people that their support has a ripple effect for Indigenous communities and seeing self-determination in action.

First Nations business owners are using Facebook and Instagram beautifully to engage broad audiences about their business stories, and the products they are selling. Jarin Baigent, a Wiradjuri woman who is the Co-Founder of the Indigenous business collective Trading Blak and owner of Jarin Street, along with Jessica Johnson, a Warumungu and Wombaya woman who is another Co-founder of Trading Blak and owner of Nungala Creative. Both of these business owners have told us how important these platforms have become in helping them increase their online presence, showcase their products, drive more sales, and more importantly, encourage people to buy directly from businesses owned and led by First Nations people.

We heard from Jessica that her favourite tool is Instagram Shop. “It allows us to reach our audience and make sales,” she said. “Often Aboriginal businesses can face challenges in that. There are lots of beautiful products and sometimes just reaching the customer base can be challenging, so having an online shop can let us reach our mob and our community.”

Jarin shared a similar sentiment, saying using Facebook and Instagram has “meant a lot to be able to amplify our messaging and create awareness around the challenges we face around a saturated market that you don’t always know who you’re buying from”.

Meta partnered with Trading Blak to jointly launch the Trading Blak Facebook and Instagram Shops during NAIDOC Week last year to ensure their collective of First Nations-owned and led businesses can reach more customers in the long term. The collective has a physical shopfront in Warringah Mall, featuring products from over 50 Indigenous businesses, but since launching the Trading Blak Facebook Shop it has taken a selection of them to Australia and the world.

At Meta Australia, we want to help these businesses further unlock other potentially untapped opportunities by equipping them with the skills and tools to grow their online presence and help find new customers online, ahead of the upcoming holiday season, including Black Friday sales in November, as well as BuyBlak moments year-round.

Coinciding with Indigenous Business Month in October, this year, once again, we are partnering with Trading Blak and First Nations media and events agency 33 Creative to support the #BuyBlak movement in Australia. We know that the holiday season is vital for businesses everywhere. We have no doubt it will spark a huge moment for people to shop for their families and friends, but the impact on Indigenous communities will be significant when people shop with Indigenous-led businesses this holiday season and beyond.

Elevating and Celebrating First Nations people this NAIDOC Week 2022

Alexandra Sloane, Marketing Director, Meta Australia and New Zealand

 

Meta is a continued sponsor of NAIDOC Week, Australia’s biggest celebration of Indigenous people and culture. This year’s theme is to ‘Get up! Stand up! Show up!’ - encouraging everyone to champion positive change while celebrating those who have already driven and led change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

 

Official Partner of NAIDOC

Our platforms have the potential to connect all Australians with First Nations peoples, communities and cultures to highlight positive representation and storytelling. This year, we engaged First Nations agency, 33 Creative, to work with Contemporary Artist, Ryhia Dank, on the use of her National NAIDOC Week poster artwork to create assets to support Meta’s sponsorship of NAIDOC Week. The artwork, ‘Stronger’ is a graphic piece centered around the Aboriginal flag with text highlighting what the Indigenous peoples have been through and what they are still fighting for. These assets celebrate the people who have championed change over generations and will be shared on the NAIDOC Instagram account.

 

At this year’s NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony, Meta co-presented the 2022 National NAIDOC Innovation Award. The ceremony seeks to recognise the outstanding contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond, and to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the wider community. We’d like to congratulate the winners of the Innovation Awards, The Koori Mail who were recognised for their vital work to support flood affected communities around Lismore and surrounding areas. We’d also like to extend our congratulations to all of the other winners and nominees at the NAIDOC Awards Ceremony this year.

Celebrating Indigenous opportunity and excellence this NAIDOC Week 2021

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – July 5, 2021

 

In 2021, Facebook is celebrating NAIDOC Week through working in partnership with more than 10 organisations to collaborate on programs and initiatives that celebrate First Nations cultures, encourage greater awareness of local First Nations communities and support First Nations small businesses to grow and reach more customers.

Official Partner of NAIDOC Week

Facebook is proud to be an inaugural official sponsor of NAIDOC Week, supporting the growth and evolution of the long-standing national celebration of First Nations achievement and storytelling in Australia. In recognition of the potential Facebook and Instagram have to connect all Australians with First Nations peoples, communities, and cultures and to spotlight positive storytelling and representation, we welcomed the opportunity to formalise our partnership with NAIDOC Week. We commissioned this year’s poster artist Maggie-Jean Douglas to create new Stories templates so more Australians can celebrate and participate in NAIDOC Week online by sharing the Traditional Land they live on and the First Nations accounts and creators they love to follow.  The most-followed Instagram account in the world, @instagram, will also spotlight NAIDOC Week by featuring content from Indigenous creator Sari-Ella Thaiday (@sarithaiday) to over 400 million followers.

Facebook and Instagram’s sponsorship also extends to supporting the 2021 National NAIDOC Awards which, because of COVID restrictions, will be held later in the year.

Encouraging Australians to connect to the country

In recognition of NAIDOC Week’s “Heal Country” 2021 theme, Facebook has partnered with Campfire x to launch ‘Connect to Country’– a movement to drive awareness amongst all Australians of the culturally significant Country upon which they live and work every day. We are proud to partner with Campfire x to elevate the stories of First Nations people, giving more Australians access to learn and understand the history of traditional custodians from their own backyard.

The Connect to Country campaign is an industry-wide collaboration bringing together more than 10 Aboriginal organisations and land councils together with industry and brings the world’s oldest storytelling culture to the world’s newest storytelling platform. The new campaign is asking all Australians “Where You From?” and encouraging them to discover more about their local First Nations communities, with resources available on the Connect to Country Facebook page. These resources include videos to learn how to acknowledge Country and tips for connecting with local community and language groups.

Elevating First Nations-owned small businesses

We are partnering with Trading Blak, a collective of Aboriginal businesses by jointly launching the Trading Blak Facebook and Instagram Shops to ensure their collective of First Nations owned and led businesses can reach more Australian customers. Trading Blak was founded in 2020 by 11 First Nations entrepreneurs, and aims to support up and coming Blak small businesses whilst also giving consumers an opportunity to learn and understand the nuances when buying in the Indigenous space. The collective has a physical shopfront in Warringah Mall, featuring products from over 50 Indigenous businesses, and the new Trading Blak Facebook Shop will take a selection of them to the whole of Australia and the world.

In celebration of the Trading Blak Facebook Shop, we are also launching a new range of stickers to support Indigenous businesses created by Warumungu / Wombaya woman Jessica Johnson from Nungala Creative. In the sticker pack are 5 stickers, including a new sticker to support Trading Blak’s #wearitblakwednesday, an initiative encouraging people to wear something from a First Nations owned business.

Connect to Country and ask “Where you from?”

Alexandra Sloane, Marketing Director, Facebook Australia – July 2, 2021

 

We’re proud to partner with Campfire x to elevate the stories of First Nations people, giving more Australians access to learn and understand the history of traditional custodians from their own backyard.

The Connect to Country campaign is an industry-wide collaboration bringing together more than 10 Aboriginal organisations and land councils together with industry and brings the world’s oldest storytelling culture to the world’s newest storytelling platform. Today we’re jointly launching a new campaign asking all Australians “Where You From?” and encouraging them to discover more about their local First Nations communities, with resources available on the Connect to Country Facebook page. These resources include videos to learn how to acknowledge Country and tips for connecting with local community and language groups.

In addition, Facebook Australia and Campfire x will launch a pilot series of unique First Nations stories that will be available on Facebook and Instagram to people who live in corresponding areas, connecting them with the land they’re on.  For instance, a story of the Gamay Rangers who care for the waters of Botany Bay (Gamay) will be shared with people in and around the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council area using Facebook’s geo-targeting tools.

We’re also inviting Aussie brands and businesses to continue to embed First Nations culture as an integral part of their physical and digital footprints. We’re pleased to have support at launch from Coles, Tourism Australia, and Telstra who all have large national footprints and are committed to the value that Connect to Country will bring to all Australians.

‘Connect to Country’ spotlights positive storytelling and representation, and offers easy ways for everyone to make Indigenous culture an essential part of our everyday life. Member of Facebook’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and co-founder of Campfire x, Brad Cooke, says, “There are so many positive stories in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that need to be shared, and stories told by our own people. Our people are too often negatively represented in media and online. By creating a space of respect and positivity via Connect to Country, more people will have the opportunity to find out the stories from the land they live and work on, and be better connected to history, culture, and also Indigenous organisations and businesses that are doing amazing things.”

The Connect to Country campaign has been an industry wide collaboration bringing together more than 10 Aboriginal organisations and land councils together with industry in the first of several phases of the campaign. Initiated by Aboroginal owned and led media agency, Campfire x in partnership with Facebook Australia, working with the Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council, Dubbo Local Aboriginal Land Council, Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council and La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, and other community organisations,  together with creative development by DDB Melbourne. OMD have also been instrumental in bringing on two of the first Bunji partner brands, Coles and Telstra.

For this first phase of the campaign beginning 4 July to mark NAIDOC Week, Australians  in four regions around NSW will see local stories from the people and land they live on, including Brewarrina, Dubbo, Port Stephens, and La Perouse. These stories will encourage people to learn more about their local First Nations communities  and the campaign will continue to grow in the coming months to share stories from more regions across Australia.

To learn more, visit: Facebook.com/ConnectToCountry

National Reconciliation Week 2021 – More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – June 4, 2021

As National Reconciliation Week 2021 comes to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to share the steps we have taken in consideration of Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, “More than a word. Reconciliation takes action”. The actions we have taken and investments we are making reflect our commitment to ensure Facebook and Instagram are places where the Australian community can connect safely, share stories, and find belonging, whilst also better understanding the local context of how and why racism, bigotry, and prejudice exist towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people both in society and online. Through investing in capacity building, improving our understanding, and building relationships we are supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to have a positive experience online and contribute to an inclusive Australian community.

Investing in capacity building of First Nations creators

We launched a new “First Nations Creator Fund” in partnership with Screen Australia supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social media creators in mentoring, training, and content funding. The program aims to accelerate up to fifteen First Nations' up-and-coming local talent and amplify diverse voices across the social media landscape and will involve training sessions and workshops covering product, creativity, safety, and well-being, along with mentored guidance on digital production and social media strategy.

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations Penny Smallacombe said, “First Nations people are the oldest storytellers in the world and social media has made creating and sharing content easier than ever, with creators able to immediately connect with followers through their social networks. We are excited to partner with Instagram Australia so we can identify and nurture new voices on this platform, support extraordinary First Nations content creators and have their unique stories reach a global audience. I can’t wait to see what fresh and authentic voices come through the First Nations Creator Program.”

Applications close on 17 June. Learn more and apply here.

Building relationships with our trusted partners 

We invited members of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group to join us in our Facebook Sydney office to meet in person for the first time, have a yarn, and discuss opportunities to collaborate in the future. We focussed our discussions on several opportunities as part of the development of the first Reconciliation Action Plan, which we look forward to launching later in the year.

We were also thrilled to announce our latest collaboration with Indigitek focussed on building career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in technology, advertising and social media. The 2-part event is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their early or mid-careers and will provide an overview of the business units and types of roles at Facebook in Australia. Participants will also get access to stay connected with an online closed group on the Facebook platform Workplace for a 12 month period to help participants with skills and motivation to achieve a Blueprint accreditation.

More information about the program and to register can be found here.

Improving our understanding of the experiences of Indigenous peoples online

To mark the final day of National Reconciliation Week, Facebook supported the launch of  new research into the experience of Indigenous peoples on social media together. Undertaken by Dr Tristan Kennedy from Macquarie University Department of Indigenous Studies and funded by Facebook, this research is part of our commitment to listening and learning from the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, to better support their experience online.

The research highlighted how Indigenous people in Australia are embracing social media and digital citizenship in a technologically mediated global world. The benefits for Indigenous peoples and communities on social media are many and diverse. The research also sought to identify how negative content is conceptualised, identified and dealt with from Indigenous Australian perspectives.

You can read a brief summary of the research by Dr Tristan Kennedy and a link to the full report here.

We know there is more to do and we look forward to releasing our first Reconciliation Action Plan later this year which will detail further commitments we will take in the years ahead.

Indigenous peoples’ experiences of social media: the good and the bad

Dr Tristan Kennedy - Department of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University – June 3, 2021

 

Indigenous people in Australia are embracing social media and digital citizenship in a technologically mediated global world. The benefits for Indigenous peoples and communities on social media are many and diverse. Social media offers a site for establishing and navigating identity, building and maintaining strong connections to family and community, and seeking and offering mutual support.

Recent research in the Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, with the support of Facebook Australia, has investigated the positive affordances of social media as well as the impacts of negative and harmful content on Indigenous peoples.

The investigation sought the perspectives of Indigenous peoples from across Australia. It was primarily concerned with identifying how negative content is conceptualised, identified, and dealt with from Indigenous Australian perspectives.

report from the findings of this research, published in November 2020, detailed the role social media plays in the lives of Indigenous individuals and communities. It also identified the ways that Indigenous peoples experience and navigate negative content.

The findings will assist policymakers and social media platforms to identify culturally specific forms of negative content and harmful speech to create a safer and more comfortable digital presence for Indigenous peoples.

The Report – ‘Indigenous peoples experiences of negative content on social media'

Participants were quick to identify the positive contributions social media makes in their lives. Importantly, 83% of respondents confirmed that they had positive experiences on social media on a daily basis. In fact, every respondent in the study noted that they had positive experiences at least weekly.

Participants suggested that accessing creative arts, Indigenous storytelling, and making contact with community members and services were among the most positive aspects. Another positive, often noted by participants, was the ability to engage in the political conversation. That is, to raise issues that are important to Indigenous people and that may not receive adequate attention in mainstream media.

Despite the positive opportunities, there exists a less comfortable side to social media which must be addressed. Bullying and harassment are having devastating effects on our young people and our communities. In 2019 Carlson and Frazer pointed to research that suggested “victims of cyberbullying are more likely to experience psychological ill-health, most seriously in the forms of depression, anxiety” and suicidal ideation.

Participants tended to be in agreeance that negative content was commonplace on social media. Sixty-three percent of respondents noted that they experienced negative content on social media on a daily basis and 97% suggested that they witnessed negative content at least weekly.

The negative findings, while not entirely unexpected, shed light on the types of harmful content that Indigenous peoples are facing including references to white supremacy, challenges to Indigenous identity, and lateral violence.

Much of this content is grounded in ways of talking about Indigenous people that are grounded in racist ideas that have pervaded Australian settler-colonial history. For example, assimilationist policies were based on the idea that Indigenous culture could be ‘bred out'. This line of thinking underpins assertions that Indigenous people who live in the cities or have fair skin are not genuinely Indigenous.

While it comes as no real surprise that harmful speech exists on (and off) social media. What remains troubling is that the cultural subtleties of negative content from an Indigenous perspective are not readily identified by non-indigenous platform moderators.

There remains a question: How can moderators and social media platforms, who have no direct experience of colonisation, pick up on such culturally nuanced negativity?

This research privileged Indigenous voices in the discussion about what needs to be done to move forward. Indigenous people identified a need to employ more Indigenous peoples in society generally – particularly in government, policy-making institutions, and education. Indigenous perspectives and voices, which for too long have been silenced or ignored, need to be heard again in these settings.

Participants suggested that social media platforms could also employ more Indigenous people to assist with listening to and learning from Indigenous communities in order to identify the cultural subtleties of harmful content online.

Indigenous people who contributed to this study had some advice for individuals too. They suggested people make use of some of the highly positive aspects of social media to raise their consciousness.

This week is National Reconciliation Week; there is no better time to make an effort to reach out via social media and connect with Indigenous peoples. Connect with Indigenous community pages and websites. Listen to Indigenous peoples’ opinions and perspectives. Engaging through social media will enable non-indigenous people and communities to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of people around them.

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