When was the last time you bought a service that was recommended to you online? For many of us, it was sometime in the last month. The way in which we discover the businesses we love is increasingly happening online through social media, and TikTok is facilitating that wave of change. Now, some lawmakers are pushing for a national ban on TikTok – without considering the millions of American small businesses who stand to suffer.
As the co-founder and manager of a small business in the Lakes Region, I am constantly looking for ways to innovate and reach customers. Social media allows me to reach a wide range of customers with just a few bite-sized videos. Without social media, I wouldn’t have the long list of loyal customers that I have today.
TikTok bridges barriers that were previously impossible to breach. Before starting our social media accounts, promoting our business without a huge price tag was nearly impossible. Word-of-mouth can take you only so far, and brick-and-mortar businesses like mine are often challenged to find a new marketplace of people, ideas, and appreciation. Now, I receive review videos, comments, and direct messages that allow me and my coworkers to do what we love. Our success has even led us to winning the ‘Best of the Lakes Region’ award five years in a row – largely due to our online presence.
The proposed ban on TikTok does nothing but hurt New Hampshire, small business owners. Born and raised in New Hampshire, I know what watching small businesses come and go is like. I’ve watched countless local mainstays be replaced by chain stores, devastating the families that once ran them and leaving communities deprived in their wake. For the first time, I can see that tide turning. TikTok allows the average Joe to become viral overnight, skyrocketing their sales and allowing businesses to keep their doors open.
We should learn something from younger generations and recognize the opportunities TikTok provides, especially in the advertising and promotion space. I know that my business would not be where it is today without its strong social media presence, and I can only imagine thousands of New Hampshire businesses feel the same way. Come rain or shine, tourist season or not, TikTok does not discriminate. The platform showcases our hard work to uphold our local economy.
In a world where more barriers are being broken down, let us not be the generation to hinder progress and restrict access to an app that has been a boon to so many. I urge Reps. Pappas and Kuster, as well as Sens. Hassan and Shaheen, to stand against this ban. Too many Granite Staters stand to suffer if we do not.
Jennifer Nunez is a co-founder of Lakes Cosmetic Institute.