Social media helps sustain small businesses during pandemic: Ashley principal

Guest columnist Ashley Rector is the founder of Laura Alexandria Marketing and the newly opened Plum Hill Creative Lakewood’s studio.

As a small business owner, reaching your ideal customers in a world filled with 6-foot social distancing restrictions and mandatory mask wearing is a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no warm smile on a friendly face or the warmth of a tight handshake. Many of us have had to find new ways to connect and stay connected with our customers in authentic ways.

Social media is really the only way to do this – and I know: that’s the first choice. 1 Prompt me to tell clients who are looking for marketing help.

In just three years of running my social media marketing business, I’ve seen so much growth in my clients. Business owners from all over the world have come up with new ways to display their products and get in front of consumers.

From comic book store owners sharing their favorite retro comics every week to artists holding drawing classes for youth, it’s amazing to see brands thrive in the most unlikely of circumstances.

By far the biggest shift I’ve seen over the past few years is the adoption of social media. This transition can be daunting because for some organizations, it’s a tough learning curve. But once the ropes are shown, it becomes easier to understand why competing in the wonderful Wild West of organic and paid social media matters.

I even went through this transition myself. In less than three years, I went from a social media manager doing everything independently to a team of 12.

The secret to how to post—but in a way that appeals to your audience—is something everyone wants to master. When I talk to potential businesses to find out if they’re a good fit for my social media micro-agent, one thing is always true: Consumers check you out on social media before they even consider your website.

The shift of trust and trustworthiness from online to social is amazing.

Demand for new and engaging content has skyrocketed, which prompted me to open Plum Hill Creative Studio in Lakewood, a boutique studio focused on renting out space for content creation and conferences, while bringing local creative and business together. Communities come together.

It’s no secret that the benefits of social media can come with downsides. As a result, the ongoing debate over the regulation of social channels could have a huge impact on how we interact with social media.

As an Ohioan, meeting with the Senator was important to me. Sherrod Brown’s office as part of the Meta Boost Gather in Washington, D.C. A group of small businesses met with Brown’s employees to discuss issues that are important to us.

We sat at a long table and shared the huge impact social media has had on our ability to not only run our business but thrive. Story after story has delivered a basic message: Without social media, these businesses would not have survived the pandemic.

These businesses jumped into social media and really used it to their advantage, and their success stories have allowed businesses like mine to grow and help other businesses.

Social media is important to small business owners in Ohio, and so is speaking up with your voice. I can see the chain reaction on the table. I hope the Senator’s office will see this ripple effect as well.

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