Going Natural And Making Money: SXSW Panel Talks Natural Hair And Social Media

March 11, 2013  |  

As we mentioned this morning, SXSW has taken over Austin, TX and the news is already breaking. (It’s trending on Twitter right now.) MadameNoire Business is lucky enough to have a writer on the ground and on the scene — Mary Pryor, aka the Urban Socialista — to report on some of the hot panels. We’ll be posting her coverage from the conference over the coming days.


The Naturally Social panel. Photo: Mary Pryor

The natural hair care movement has grown rapidly within the past ten years.  As African-American hair care products evolve from servicing just one type of hair texture or consumer, there are several opportunities in the marketplace for individuals to find their own ways to educate each other about what is tried and true, catered to a variety of hair types and personalities.

At this year’s South By Southwest Conference, Franchesca Ramsey (YouTube beauty vlogger and comedienne), Myleik Teele (Curlbox), Jamala Johns (Le Coil), Kristen Braswell (Carol’s Daughter), and Patrice Yursik (Afrobella) led a panel called, “Naturally Social” and shared several ways that a dedicated person can jump into this niche, yet profitable space.

How to go natural, the social way:

  • Join Tumblr – Tumblr has a large and dedicated audience of users and readers who share and post content focused on beauty, hair, fitness, and fashion.  Post photos and links to some of your favorite styles and products. Try to be mindful of using original content and not stock photography. Share your story and drive authenticity when discussing certain brands and products to your audience.
    • Tweet Away – Twitter is a major platform that bloggers are using in order to tell their natural hair triumphs and tribulations. Keep in mind that Twitter growth potential takes time and every exchange online should be viewed as a chance to engage.
  • Be Unique – Curlbox’s Teele doesn’t just post pics. The site posts pics of fans showing off their curls and locs. Learn how to develop an overall community for your brand. Creating a community of loyal followers who consistently engage with your content and buy your products will turn into a goldmine.
  • Be Authentic – “Being authentic works,” said Teele. The more authentic your voice the more you will be able to be seen as a resource for your target demo. “Reaching out to bloggers that have engagement, trust and influence. Engagement means everything!” Teele added.
  • Always Measure – As mentioned by panelist Francesca Ramsey, “If you see a mass grouping of awareness around one product, don’t be scared to question that.” Think to yourself, “Is this an authentic opinion of what you use or a massive campaign spend by an advertiser.”
  • Pay Attention to Emerging Tech Platforms – Instagram and Vine are some of the top favorites by many of the panelists. Instagram’s functionality and scale provides exposure to vast audiences. Vine, although still new to the social platform scene, could be utilized as a way to display quick hair tutorials to your audience.

View this niche market with open eyes. As the need for natural hair care products and awareness rises within the African-American community there is ripe opportunity to jump in and create a name for yourself by creating content that stands outside the box.  Brands are watching but be choosy. The wrong spin can go the wrong way if you are looking at this market for just money-making potential.

You can check out Mary Pryor, the Urban Socialista on Twitter.

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  • Amija James

    I’m Team Me! I’m sick of hearing about natural hair! Why does it even matter? Being natural or relaxed does not make anyone better than the next!

    • lea

      at the end of the day , people can be team natural all they want. they way i see it is this, promoting natural hair for big businesses to make a profit. i am waiting for team no makeup to come into effect for ladies that are really team natural 2x. maybe that might lower the prices of MAC cosmetics.

    • blackgirlgoodcredit . com

      Natural hair wearers believe they have reclaimed the essence of who they are as Black women. To relax or wear straight weave is a slap in the face to Black womanhood. Am I going to judge the woman with a long blonde hair weave with permed edges compared to the sister with her natural hair or locks? Absolutely. But I dont think this article was trying to imply that natural hair wearers were better.

      • QLR

        I wouldn’t say that all natural hair wearers are reclaiming ‘essence’. Personally I found that the money and time I was spending on relaxing was just not worth the effort.

    • v

      team natural is not an attack on people who don’t wear their hair naturally. It’s just support for those who have made the transition after being told for so long that their hair in its natural state is beautiful. no need to get ur knickers in a twist.

      • v

        is not*

  • jjac401

    I’m Team NaturalHair and so down with the movement!