Global Corner Shop
I recently gave a talk on Social Media to the Kildare branch of Network Ireland. Network Ireland provides a forum where women in business, the professionals, and the Arts can exchange ideas and increase their business contacts.
I think it’s fair to say that while within the group there was a realisation as to the need to be actively using social media; there was also trepidation around where to start, how much time to spend and the technical knowledge that was required.
Some people felt that there was a generational barrier, that somehow social media was a young person’s game. As with many things in life & business, there was a general fear of the unknown.
While attempting to reassure that social media are merely a set of tools that allows people to communicate, much like pen & paper or e-mail, one analogy used for social media that particularly struck me was that of an old corner shop.
Driving home, I began to think about this simple but inspired description as to how social media could work for any small business and be used by any small business owner. If you think about it, the corner shop and the old school shopkeeper were so much more than the products that were sold; it was a place where a community came to engage.
This was because the old style shopkeeper provided a service to that community that was far more than the act of selling goods.
The shopkeeper played a vital role in maintaining and supporting their community. His or her personality & interaction played the key part in ensuing that customers enjoying the overall shoping experience.
The old style shopkeeper took the time to listen, to give advice & answer any questions you might have and as a result the corner shop became a focal point within the community.
It was very often a place where introductions were made, somewhere to meet friends, where conversations could take place, ideas exchanged & problems shared.
As I thought about it, I realised how successfully one can utilise social media has much more to do with your skills as an old style shopkeeper and much less to do with your skills around technology.
The difference of course is that the community is now a global one and that people don’t even need to leave the comfort of their home to partake.
As a small business owner, if you engage & listen much like the way in which the old school shopkeeper did. If you endeavour to create a shop where the shopping experience, resembles that of the old corner shop. Social media will deliver massive and endless opportunities for your business.
Can you think of any other analogies to explain social media?
Thank you for reading