Op-ed | Congress must avoid undermining online small business success

Monique Glover
Photo credit: Constance Faulk Photography

Small businesses have faced numerous challenges in recent years, from supply chain disruptions and labor shortages to inflation and decreased foot traffic.

To survive, small businesses are turning to digital platforms to reach new customers and promote their products and services. As a small business owner, I know these struggles firsthand, and Facebook and Instagram have emerged as critical tools behind my small business’s growth and global reach.

Unfortunately, as Congress considers tech regulation, I fear that small business owners’ voices and the impact on our businesses will be overlooked. Lawmakers need to understand that small businesses are finding ways to compete and succeed through digital tools, especially through targeted advertising on social media platforms.

As the founder of fashion label ZYEM NYC, I’ve witnessed the transformative impact of targeted ads and other social media tools. I started my business as a community-based enterprise, serving local audiences with passion and purpose. However, by utilizing targeted ads on social media that rely on third-party data, I have expanded our brand’s global appeal and connected with diverse audiences worldwide. Today, my fashion label has surpassed local boundaries thanks to the power of digital platforms to amplify my mission of promoting positivity, empowerment, and self-expression.

As a small but impactful intergenerational apparel brand, my success in expanding my businesses’ online presence is largely attributed to the free strategic tools and features offered to local businesses by social media. Through online engagement, I have experienced significant and tangible results. With the help of our new followers and friends, event attendance and sales leads have increased, propelling my company to new heights.

Targeted advertising on social media is a great equalizer for small businesses. We can compete with more prominent players by strategically allocating our marketing budget.

Facebook’s scalability makes it accessible to small businesses like mine. The critical component of digital advertising is that it provides analytics with insights into the audience’s interests. Armed with data, I refine my businesses’ strategies and adapt to changing trends.

Targeted ads allow me to reach specific demographics interested in my brand. Whether it is parents seeking stylish outfits for their kids or fashion-forward individuals, the precision ensures my message doesn’t get lost in the noise.

Social media empowers small business owners to recognize our potential and make a meaningful global impact. As lawmakers deliberate on rules that could impact these digital resources, they must recognize social media’s critical role in operating a small business. I recently traveled to Washington DC to meet with Senator Chuck Schumer’s staff to discuss how valuable data-driven advertising is. While protecting consumer data is important, this valuable resource cannot be cut off by rushed lawmaking.

My businesses’ journey exemplifies how targeted advertising and social media can amplify a small business’s reach. As we navigate this ever-evolving landscape, let’s work together to champion policies that uplift our entrepreneurs and small businesses. With their success comes the success of our communities.

Monique (Mo) Glover is a NY-based fashion designer with two decades of experience designing for emerging womenswear and children’s retail brands. She is the founder and owner of fashion label ZYEM NYC.