My retirement-aged Mom (she’d kill me for giving an age in years) stopped in McDonald’s for a quick lunch the other day. Knowing she moves slowly these days, Mom held the door to allow a much younger and faster-moving person (a “girl in her 20s”) to go in ahead. This was Mom’s good deed for the day, and she said so. Minutes later, when Mom tried to pay for her order, she found that her meal had already been purchased by this same girl, now standing a couple of registers down. Mom needed no help paying, of course, and tried her best to pay for her own meal, but the girl just smiled and insisted on paying.
This young lady explained that she’d witnessed someone else doing this, and fell in love with the idea. She said she sometimes pays at a drive-up window for the person in the car behind her, and that the few dollars she spends are far outweighed by the reward of having provided an unexpected gift. Mom, genuinely caught off guard, was still talking days later about the nice young people that still exist – though you might not know it from the 10 o’clock news. The meal may have cost $4 or $5. The value of that reminder: priceless (as the ad says).
Last week, I was at a social media strategies conference. Throughout the presentations and late-night lounge discussions, the consistent theme was about finding success by consciously and actively looking for ways to help others. In my family, we refer to that as the karma boomerang. What you send out comes back. It’s a reality in life, and it’s a reality online as well.
Mom opened a door to let someone else through, and unexpectedly received something in return. The girl who purchased Mom’s meal obviously has the same philosophy. I’m confident she’ll reap unexpected rewards as well. The same applies to social media, and building an online community around you and your business… it’s first about providing value to others. As Jim Lecinski (Google’s Managing Director of U.S. Sales) said in an email I just received, provide content that is “useful, helpful, and relevant”.
What can I do for today? And what can you do to provide information that is useful, helpful, and relevant to others? Acting on the answers to that question may very well be my key – and your key – to marketing success moving forward!