A powerful marketing tool

Blacksburg, Va., April 22 – Apps: Popularity of social media applications continues to grow. Along with their rise, small businesses owners must learn how to market their businesses appropriately on different platforms. Photo: Molly Bryant


by Molly Bryant–

The rise of social media has made it essential for small businesses to consider using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as powerful marketing tools for their success. According to research done on Statista, the United States has the largest social media advertising market in the world and Sprout Social says 94 percent of small businesses are now using social media.

While it is a step in the right direction for small businesses to create platforms to keep consumers informed, it is also essential to now use those same pages to promote their businesses. Posts with promotional pieces, giveaways and current deals are just a few ways to use social media for marketing. By posting incentives for customers, businesses can see a rise in sales and customer traffic both in stores and online.

Dr. Doris Kincade, a professor at Virginia Tech, teaches a course called “Small Business Apparel” in which she teaches students what it takes to start-up a small business of their own. One of the topics she covers in the course deals with the most beneficial marketing tools for small businesses, and how to make the most of what is available while still remaining conscious of the tight budget that comes along with starting a small business.

According to Kincade, the popularity of social media and the number of users it has today influenced her to incorporate a social media marketing lecture into her class syllabus.

“Social media can be an inexpensive way to reach lots of potential customers. Be sure to know your customer and tailor your marketing to the customer,” Kincade says.

As Kincade emphasizes to her students, social media has become so powerful because of the number of people it has the ability to reach. According to a recent study, there are 2.46 billion active social media users and the average internet user has eight social media accounts.

Virginia Tech student Steven Nguyen says social media has become an integral part of promoting his family’s business.

“My family owns a nail salon in the Northern Virginia area. Since nail salons are so popular, it can be really hard to work up a reputation good enough for people to choose your business over another that offers the same services in the same area,” Nguyen says.

Nguyen created and now runs the social media accounts for the family’s nail salon. Between Facebook and Instagram alone, he truly believes the salon has seen a steady increase in business since the pages have been up and running.

By creating posts about promotions and weekly specials, Nguyen has learned the do’s and don’ts of advertising on social media.

“I have really figured out the best ways to draw attention to our nail salon to make it the most appealing it can be to customers,” he says. Nguyen emphasizes the great impact social media has had on the family business and recommends that others learn the best ways to promote their businesses as well.

As social media continues to grow, it is vital that small business owners educate themselves on its benefits. It not only allows the business to promote itself but also reaches more people than any other form of marketing. Social media is becoming essential to a business’s success and survival.

Social Media Marketing Tool

Benefits of essential oils, diffuser

by Molly Bryant–

After reading about the history of essential oils, it was interesting to find that they have been used in cultures around the world centuries. While some used them for religious reasons, others found that they had significant healing powers for the sick.

Blacksburg, Va., Jan. 31 – Essential Oil Pack: One brand of essential oils, called Plantlife, offers 100% pure essential oil packs that are ideal for essential oil diffusers. Plantlife offers packs in a variety of scents. Photo: Molly Bryant

Today, essential oils are still not only used across different cultures but frequently used within spas and homes. A new product taking the natural-living market by storm, and one that I had to try, is the essential oil diffuser. With properties similar to a humidifier, consumers of the essential oil diffuser are said to reap serious health benefits.

Depending on your health needs, each oil has different healing properties. Eucalyptus oil, for example, can be diffused to fight respiratory diseases and aid concentration, while lavender oil has stress-relieving properties and the ability to aid in healing migraines. Have a big interview coming up and need a boost of confidence? Rosemary and jasmine oils are proven to help calm nerves and have uplifting qualities. The question now is: with so many oils on the market, how do you know you’re getting a quality product to use for your diffuser?

One easy way to tell an oil is quality versus cheap is to put a drop of the oil on a white piece of computer paper. After allowing the oil to settle and dry, observe the paper to see if an oil ring was left behind. If there is a prominent ring of oil left behind, the oil is not pure.

Blacksburg, Va., Jan. 31 – PureSpa Oil Diffuser: The essential oil diffuser I purchased from Target was designed by PureSpa and changes colors as the oils diffuse.

Now that you know how to choose your oils, how do you choose the right diffuser?

The truth about diffusers is, the most important part is the quality of the oils, rather than the quality of the diffuser. Mine cost only $29.99 and has been perfect.

If I could recommend anything to overly-stressed and exhausted college students, this would be it. My diffuser has helped me wind down at the end of a long day and destress on the tough weeks. It’s not only a natural solution but also an affordable one.