What can an old school plumber teach you about telling your business’s story?
Mark Schaefer published a video detailing some important social media marketing lessons from his grandfather.
As a plumber in Pittsburgh, PA, the success of Mark’s grandfather was all about a personal touch way of doing things that is now almost gone in the always on, frenetic world of online business.
Part of this personal way of doing business was out of necessity because, as Mark explains in the video, his grandfather could not hide behind ads. He had to get the job done and do it right, and rely on word-of-mouth referrals. The other part was employing what came naturally—his ability to deal with people.
In my last post I detailed the 3 rules of small business storytelling, focusing on the importance of story as a way to get your audience to like, know, and trust you. And why your ongoing narrative should be focused on your audience, not you.
This is where Mark’s Grandfather and his classic way of conducting business apply to your world in the form of a few simple practices that will help you tell an ongoing brand story that sticks.
So, what can a old school plumber teach your small business about how to tell a story? Read on and find out…
1. Use story to build a personal connection
People hired Mark’s grandfather because they knew him, trusted him, and liked him. They didn’t care about advertising because there was a personal connection. A connection that led to liking, trusting, and then hiring him to do a job.
Tell your small business story from a place of honesty. Don’t hide behind the facade of social media, PR, or your blog. Be You. Yes, focus on your customers but when you write, think about what they are looking for beyond business advice—an authentic human connection.
2. Know that business is social and this should be reflected in the story you tell
Old school lessons still apply in our impersonal online realm, and the biggest lesson of all is that business is social. Many people forget this because they are so caught up on the fickle, ever-changing, vortex of the online world. Don’t do this.
In business you have to show up and engage with people, but the same goes when it comes to blogging or engaging on social through story.
Many treat people differently online vs. offline but shouldn’t. If Mark’s grandfather were still around, he could probably make some good money writing a short, sweet, little book about the human aspect of online marketing and how to do it the right way.
3. Treat your prospects and customers like the heroes they are
Mark’s grandfather treated his customers like rock stars. He loved people and people loved him back. And this might be the biggest reason he was a successful business owner.
Love thy customer. Work to do this, offline and online. And, when you are telling your story, focus on the 3 rules of small business storytelling and how important it is to see things from your potential customer’s point of view.
These are simple but important practices you should incorporate in your online world. People still want to buy from other people they like, know, and trust. That part hasn’t changed.
Work to incorporate these practices into your story and as you engage with customers.
I mean after all, who pays the bills?
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