Metro Detroit small businesses turn to social media to stay afloat

Businesses adapt amid the pandemic

Small businesses turn to social media live streams to promote, sell amid the pandemic
Small businesses turn to social media live streams to promote, sell amid the pandemic

DETROIT – Many Metro Detroit businesses had to come up with a new way to sell when the first stay-at-home orders were issued in March.

The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” roughly means the primary force behind innovation is a need, and these businesses had a need.

Jessica Hall, a teacher turned business owner, runs Urban Crown from the basement of her home. She uses Facebook live streams to help sell items.

Christine Gaskins does the same thing for her store, Mantra Vie.

Like many small businesses, Hall and Gaskins had to reinvent themselves when COVID hit. At first, Gaskins had to shut down her downtown Rochester Hills store in March, but once she reopened, she said customers seemed different and she knew she had to change in order to survive.

So the mother of three turned to social media to save her business and offer a new way to shop by doing weekly Facebook Live events, showing off her products, modeling them and answering customer questions.

Gaskins said it adds a personal touch, even if the connection is made remotely.

Hall has a pop-up store in Port Austin, but she knew she had to do more to keep business afloat, so she started using Facebook Live events to show off her merchandise too.

For shoppers, it’s easy -- if they like the item, the put “sold” in the comment box.

More information on Urban Crown can be found here. More information on Mantra Vie can be found here.

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About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.