We live in a time where it’s hard to think of a successful business that doesn’t have a Facebook page. According to survey research company Morning Consult, 63 percent of Black business owners say that they built their business on the platform. Recognizing this data, Facebook announced last year the launch of its Community Boost program in efforts to invest resources in small businesses across the country.
On Nov. 28 and 29, North Carolina small business owners will gather at the Mint Museum Uptown for Charlotte’s Facebook Community Boost event. There, they can take advantage of free in-person training, advice and digital skills. Attendees will also hear from local entrepreneurs, like Ticora Davis, about how social media has played a role in their success. (Seats are still available for the Nov. 29 session. Register here.)
Ticora Davis, or The Creator’s Lawyer as she’s known to her clients, has figured out how to use the best of social media to grow her brand. In January 2017, after being let go from her previous job, Davis started the boutique intellectual law firm serving creative entrepreneurs and small business owners. Although the firm is based in Charlotte, Davis’ client base spans from coast to coast. She credits her Facebook business page as a primary source of gaining new clients across the country, which includes more than 2,700 followers who she engages through group discussions, minute-long videos and promotions.
I sat down with Davis to learn more about her business and her focus on serving the Black community.
What’s a “creator’s lawyer” and how are your services relevant to minority-owned businesses?
I help people protect and secure their intellectual property. I produce culturally relevant legal content, which means that it’s very important for me to share my smarts with the African American/Latino communities — traditionally, and historically, marginalized communities. The Black community has always been very creative, [but] we don’t understand how to protect the creative and ingenious ideas that we produce. Additionally, we don’t always know if what we’re sharing with the world is even eligible for legal protection.
What’s a common legal mistake that new entrepreneurs make?
I see clients commonly make two major mistakes. One, they’ll choose a business structure that isn’t beneficial from a tax perspective. [Two,] clients will name their business or product something so close to what’s on the market already that they’re in danger of trademark infringement. When either of these things happens, the client exposes themselves to liabilities. My purpose is to educate and equip business owners with the knowledge to pursue entrepreneurship from a legally sound standpoint, not just from a marketing and branding standpoint.
How do you support digital entrepreneurs (bloggers, influencers, podcasters, etc.)?
Some of my clients are digital entrepreneurs. I help them secure their trademarks. That’s how people find you on social media. As an example, I’m helping them ensure that their blog names are secured. Blogs can be monetized through advertising and promotion, sponsored events or even their own events. Digital entrepreneurs should make sure their websites, trademark and taglines are secure. I’m making sure that they have appropriate terms and conditions and privacy policies in place. If a client hosts workshops, I help determine that the appropriate agreements are in place, including contracts that describe the scope of work. My advice to the digital community: It’s great to share your talents with your followers but ensure that you’re doing so in such a way that you don’t open yourself up to liabilities.
You help entrepreneurs, but as an entrepreneur yourself, what critical lessons have you learned that shape the way you do business?
I wish I had known the power of identifying my ideal client — who is it that I serve? And, how do I serve them best?
Knowing who my client is and speaking to them (from the copy on my website to how I speak in my videos) is very important. Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of any business. If you’re not getting people into your pipeline and letting them know that you’re the person for them, then it’s going to be difficult to make the money that you deserve to make. You must know who you serve. After you determine your target audience, you should then decide on the marketing channel(s) that you’ll use to get your audience into your sphere of influence and into your pipeline.
Why did you decide to use Facebook as your primary marketing channel?
People ask for recommendations from their friends on Facebook, even more so than Google or Yelp. They ask people they trust. Realizing that, I immediately put up a Facebook business page, even before I finished my website. I wanted to reach people all over the world. I needed to utilize a platform where I could expand from my local network outward. I felt that I could show my personality freely on my business page because I’m speaking to a specific group of people. I utilize Facebook Live and create one-minute videos (Q&A with Legal Bae) to engage with my audience. I can also share my content on Instagram or make it into a tweet. I love that I can use one piece of content to create five pieces of content across several platforms. My Facebook business page provides exposure to an audience that I may not otherwise be able to reach.
Nakisha Washington is a style contributor who mixes prints and professionals. She’s a millennial development coach, content creator and lover of all things stylish!