Over the past few weeks I have attended a variety of social media events and at one of them someone talked about the need to speak to people who are trying to figure out social media as if you were in there shoes. As someone who is drinking the Kool Aid pretty hard, that is hard for me to remember sometimes. You start trying to convince someone at work or a friend the value of social media and you end up pushing them further away.
This really hit home for me the other day when I was chatting with my dad. He owns a business in Dalton, GA called B&B Discount. He buys and sells insurance losses. Translation: when something happens to a company that the insurance company has to replace the stuff he buys the stuff they replace. Now naturally you think this is damaged goods and sometimes there are a few items that are damaged. But for the most part the stuff is in great shape and he sells it at a lower price than ANYONE can because of how he buys it. I have LCD tv's, Bose sound systems, most of my furniture and lots of other things in my house that are from insurance losses and if I didn't tell you, you would have no idea.
The thing about this industry is that it is really, really old school. Not much technology adoption here. It is ripe for someone to turn the industry on it's head and change the game. I have been trying to tell my dad about getting a website for years and over the last year or so I have been on his case about social media. Thankfully he finally has a website - a very basic website but it is a start. Usually the way it works is that I tell him about something for about 2 years and he ignores me. Then he has someone else tell him and he thinks it is the greatest idea since sliced bread.
His business is so ripe for new methods to be implemented he could totally Crush It if he could see the same vision I can for it. Most of the time I am trying to convince him and not really seeing things from his shoes or speaking his language. The other day I tried something new and there was a sign of life. He built this new website and sent out a direct mail piece to people who deal in antique and replica furniture within 150 miles of his store. There was a low response rate like there is with most direct mail. I was trying to help him see how social media could help. I asked him if he knew there was a coffee shop down the street where a bunch of people liked to hang out and talk about antique furniture wouldn't you go down and chat with them? Of course his answer was yes. I told him that there are people hanging out on the internet somewhere just like that. You need to find them and chat with them.
When people come and see this stuff most of them spend between $5,000 and $50,000 because they are getting 50% off of what they would pay anywhere else. Now he just needs to find more of them.
I could arrange to tell stories about these unique deals and find the people that want to hear the stories all day long. We will see if I ever convince him of that potential but my lesson learned from this is that most people don't really get the potential for social media - even if they have a Facebook account they are on all day. I meet people every day that don't need geek speak on social media - they need language they can understand.
Any suggestions on how to relate to people in more plain language around social media?