Cafe-Shaped Business

You Are Here Books Imagine if cafe-shaped conversations translated into smaller businesses. Educational marketing expert Rachel Reuben talked about her interpretation of implementing a cafe-shaped experience for her college admissions community. I had another experience of that today, and wanted to share it.

But first, I have to tell you a bit of backstory about Carolyn Jordan.

The First Store

Imagine walking into a really small town bookstore, asking for a book, and realizing it’s not there. (Mind you, there’s not enough store to have the selection one would need). She offered to order it for me, and that it’d be in two days hence. Perfect, I said. I gave her my contact info, and then I left.

I came back a week later, as I walk in the door, Carolyn says, “Hi Chris. Your book’s here. I found something else you might like, too.” She remembered my name.

First important lesson: knowing someone’s name is a powerful magic for success.

Next, Carolyn had a suggestion for something else I might like. She knows books. She knows people. She did this repeatedly over the next several months. It’s why even when I had a great full time job, I’d work there over the holidays, because she was a book lover like me, and she loved hand-selling books to people who appreciated the reference.

The New Cafe-Shaped Store

Independent Book StoreCarolyn runs a very small store, You Are Here Books. It’s actually physically in the dining room of her home on a small country road. She has a tax ID. It’s a real business. Only, she hasn’t put up a website yet. Carolyn is actually selling directly to people like me.

We went there today to buy another $200 books for Toys for Tots (or whatever you call the teen segment of that program). She helped me find a whole bunch of great books, and as always, had lots of great conversational information about books she had out.

But not only that, Carolyn had out some crackers and brie, some grapes, and those kinds of things. Her husband, Tom, came home and I had a beer with him and talked even more about books. We spent another $100 of our own money for our own books with Carolyn.

And Social Media and Business Relates to this How?

That is the feeling I want from social media and how companies interact with it. It’s not huge. It’s like… 1915 sized. It’s this thing where people can spend a few extra moments to make a human connection instead of an “off the shelf” connection. I can buy from Amazon, and that’s sometimes convenient, but I can’t get the human touch of what I got with Carolyn.

That’s the time to use social media, when you want to reach people on a more personal and more connected way. It’s not always the path to more revenue. In fact, it’s definitely not as easy as just pushing a few clicks and having books sent to the house. But when you need a more personalized feeling, a more human experience, cafe-shaped is what social media does best.

What say you?

Oh, and if you want to talk books with Carolyn, you can call her – 978.257.3279 or email her: youareherebooks@gmail.com

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