Small businesses take a new spotlight online


More small businesses are now using various social media outlets in order to bring in customers.

Ava Rubinstein and Madison Demaree

In the age of modern media platforms, small businesses are thriving more now than ever. Social media apps, such as Instagram and TikTok, have provided new opportunities for owners to promote their products and services to a broader, more reachable audience.

These platforms have given way to entirely new marketing strategies, which have aided businesses in increasing awareness, boosting engagement and appealing to new audiences. As owners learn to effectively utilize social media advertising, they enable their businesses to prosper.

Design teacher Laura Fallon explains the appeal of advertising through social media through the perspective of both sellers and consumers.

“Because [social media] is something people use in their everyday life, I feel that small business owners are much more comfortable taking on the role of putting out promotions, marketing material and advertisements for their business,” Fallon said.

However, social media’s convenient nature allows users to access an abundance of products, making it difficult for small businesses to stand out from one another. As a result, owners have to market strategically and find creative ways to appeal to the eyes of potential customers.

Sophomore Charlotte Ross of Fair Haven shared what personally entices her when viewing an advertisement.

“If I see good photos of people actually wearing it, that are around our age, to show that it’s cute and popular, I’ll look at them more,” Ross said.

Fallon also describes the more technical aspects of marketing in which business owners often rely on.

“Anything that can create user engagement or interaction with their brand or their social media channel is really the goal so that you’re getting repeat and return use, and also getting a direct message right to your audience,” Fallon said.

As these small businesses continue to prosper, controversy arises regarding the reselling of manufactured items rather than homemade ones. Some argue that the reselling of these products, although legal, is not ethical, nor trustworthy.

Freshman Izzy San Filippo of Wall Township explains why she often prefers to support small businesses that create their own products.

“I tend to buy stuff that is handmade because it feels more authentic. It’s their business and they made it,” San Filippo said.

Constantly increased prices have presented another issue, regardless of whether the business is reselling or developing its own products. For many small businesses, prices are so inflated that customers are immediately discouraged from buying their products.

Other business owners, usually ones who do not yet have a huge customer base, attempt to increase sales by lowering prices.

Sophomore Katelyn Sandvik of Manalapan, has her own small business in which she sells polaroids and handmade bracelets and frequently uses this strategy.

“At first, I didn’t get any sales, so then I started selling at a discount, which boosted the appearance and then more people started buying,” Sandvik said.

Regardless of the flaws that may come with creating a business platform through social media, Fallon still believes that both sellers and consumers have benefitted overall.

“[Social media] is easy to use, accessible for everybody, and definitely reaches the audience,” Fallon said.