The good and bad of business and social media


CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses.

In 2022, more than 200 million companies used Instagram to develop their brand.

But what happens when access is denied?

For some small business owners, their company can consume their lives.

Maggie Jenkins occupies her small home office and Belmont.

“I’ve always been kind of an entrepreneur, and I’m like a Pinterest mom,” Jenkins said, laughing. “I’m the most complementary person you’ll ever meet.”

The mother of two moved to North Carolina during the pandemic with a mission to start her own business.

“I think I’m going to start a balloon company and they all looked at me like I was crazy and said, ‘How are you going to do that?’ I don’t know, she said. “So I just started calling my friends, ‘Hey, can I deliver balloons for your daughters’ birthday?’ Or “Hey, can I make this for your baby shower?” I know you can’t celebrate it, but can we do it as a drive-through?”

What started in the world of words eventually went digital. Jenkins posted her cans on Instagram to gain traction and order more customers.

“It blew up overnight,” she said.

Two years later, her works are displayed in shopping centers, at corporate parties, at children’s parties and at sports events.

She said 90% of her inquiries came through social media.

“Instagram gets me the most personal installs because it’s more local followers,” Jenkins said. “Everybody in Charlotte is following me.”

Pop Charlotte Balloons is one of the millions of small businesses using social media.

Instagram says that about 50% of its users follow at least one business.

“If their main presence or their main customer is on social media, then that’s going to be like fuel to the fire, and they’re only going to grow from there,” said Premier Marketing owner Jarrell Hibler.

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Hibler encourages clients to increase their online presence if that’s where their customer base is primarily located. Since the pandemic, more and more consumers have relied on social media to hear about businesses and shop online.

“Because once the customer, your end user, sees the value, they can relate to you a little bit more,” Hibler said. “Have confidence in yourself to be able to win the business you seek.”

“It felt like I was almost a mini-celebrity. I’ve never been, but it’s nice to have a client show up and they say, “I love watching you do this online.” It’s so cool to see it in person,” Jenkins said. “People wanted to hire me because they liked watching me.”

Jenkins’ business was down last month.

Her social media sites have been scrubbed from the internet.

Her customers and nearly 9,000 subscribers were left in the dark. Her requests slowed to almost nothing.

“I am not there. They think I’m broke,” Jenkins said. “How am I supposed to pay the bills?”

She did what anyone in her situation would do – reached out to Meta, the company that owns Instagram and Facebook, to find out what was going on.

“So I emailed and emailed and emailed and all they said was, ‘We found you ineligible. You have violated the terms. For privacy reasons, we can’t tell you why,” Jenkins explained. “Like what? It’s my business; what happened?”

Queen City News reached out to Meta about her account and has yet to hear back.

After about 48 hours, her platforms were back online.

“I’m going to use this as a learning lesson not to rely on social media. Either way, it’s unreliable,” Jenkins said. “It’s not just happening to my company, it’s happening to many other businesses across the country, and it’s scary.”

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One day, she saw her growing business disappear into thin air, which gave her a new perspective and appreciation for her craft and the experience she helps create.

“Now I can go into my clients’ homes or businesses, and they’re very happy when I walk through the door,” Jenkins said. “I enjoy them and being a part of all these special moments.”

The good and bad of business and social media

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