Social media boosts the impact of small business on local communities

In Opinion

Most people fail to realize how impactful small businesses are to local communities. And the small businesses are able to thanks to social media.

Media platforms like Instagram are possibly the biggest and greatest technological influence that help small businesses reach many people which, in turn, provides more than just goods and services for the community.

Small businesses like Afters Ice Cream have gained a steady following promoting products on Instagram and attracting new customers on a scale that keeps its doors open and leaves room for growth.

Afters Ice Cream, co-owned by CSUF alumnus Scott Ngheim, has reached 273,000 followers on Instagram since its first store opened in 2014. With posts averaging between 3,000 and 5,000 likes, Afters Ice Cream is the perfect example of a small business using social media to keep clientele updated and interactive.

Not only are small businesses thriving in the social media age, but they’re also providing a large amount of jobs. Small businesses in the U.S. employed 57.9 million people of the private workforce in 2014, according to the Statistics of U.S. Businesses.

“The majority of jobs created in the U.S. actually comes from the small business sector and not from the giant corporations. The giant corporations clearly create the most sales dollars and profits but when you look at the job opportunity, it’s really the small business that’s in charge,” said John Jackson, CSUF director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Resources like Patreon, Squarespace, eBay and Etsy, along with proper social media marketing, provide a promotional platform for businesses that makes it easier to keep up than ever before. Any seller can create their own website or online shop with minimal computer literacy, a luxury once unheard of in the business world.

“I think the internet really is the game changer that allows even mom and pops, that are able to find specific niches and inefficiencies, to compete just as well if not better than some of these larger stores,’’ said CSUF management professor Gerard Beenen.

Small businesses not only provide job opportunities, but better quality products as well, which many consumers look for and bigger retail giants like Walmart overlook.

Mass production is a response to the public’s demands, but the outcome is usually lackluster and cheaply produced. Compare a Walmart freezer-cake to a local bakery’s handcrafted cake made with fresh ingredients, and the difference is plain as day.

The mom and pop stores of today are not given the recognition they deserve despite what they give back to the community. Jobs and quality goods are just a few ways they repay the community.

With social media, it seems that small businesses have the potential to be efficient enough on their own and perhaps even continue to independently sustain themselves in the foreseeable future.

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