There is a long list of businesses that have built successful brands by taking advantage of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Through millions of followers and user-generated content, these entrepreneurs have grown businesses with millions in sales. Their secret? They jumped at the opportunities these platforms presented before anyone else even noticed the potential.

With larger companies now on the scene, things have become much more expensive and complicated for small businesses and startups. Gone are the golden days of building a major direct-to-consumer brand via Facebook or Instagram and scaling with lightning speed. Digital competition has quickly increased, costs have gone up and scaling as fast as you could in the past is much more difficult. In general, the channels these businesses used to be successfully are not as efficient or easy to use.

In the past few years, Facebook and Instagram surpassed all other forms with their ability to access a large number of potential consumers (targeted by their demographics) at relatively low cost. Even more helpful, these platforms allowed businesses to assess what advertising was working and what was not. As with any success, it has brought more competition and higher prices. If startups want …