When finding out that I used to live in Dorset (the dream, for lots of city folk) and chose to move to central Watford for a job in online marketing, often people’s eyebrows raise so far upwards they disappear into their hairline before they politely lower them again and say something like ‘Oh, that’s a big move, how come?’
Relocating to the city from a small Georgian town in the countryside has been an eye opener, and I’ve learnt a lot of things which I now bring to work with me everyday! Here are my top 3.
Slow-walking people are not the enemy
No, really. When I first got here, I was a slow-walking person. Now I’m a (relatively) fast walking person. I won’t pretend that if I’m stuck on Watford High Street behind two people ambling along side-by-side on their phones that I don’t give them a severe dressing-down with a Great British tut, but getting impatient doesn’t get me anywhere faster, so instead I generally try and slow down and regress to being an ambler until I can overtake without looking like an angry idiot.
I think about this quite a lot, and the idea that everyone goes at different paces is definitely applicable to my work world of social media marketing. We have clients who are knowledgeable about social but like to know that their brand’s online presence is being professionally managed in line with their offline marketing, right the way down to clients who had never seen Facebook before prior to working with us. Rather than varying my walking pace, I vary my talking pace. I never ‘dumb down’ to people who’ve not used social media before, but I do adjust the information I give them, starting with the basics and building on it as we go.
Suffering is relative
When I came back to Watford after spending Christmas in Dorset, I heard someone moaning about the fact they were going to have to wait 15 minutes for a delayed overground train. 15 minutes, what an absolute outrage! I remember thinking ‘if he’d spent his uni years battling with a bus that leaves once every hour, he wouldn’t be complaining about 15 minutes.’ Thinking about it, if all he’s ever known is fast-paced city life usually waiting 3 minutes maximum for transport, then 15 minutes would be an outrage. For me only waiting 15 minutes for a train which goes directly into London is still a delicious novelty.
This doesn’t relate to a specific office-related situation so much, but that epiphany means I’m always conscious about treating every problem people come to me with with equal importance. I also stress to people who say things like ‘This is probably really easy to do I’m sorry, but how do I share a Facebook post from my business page to my timeline?’, my response is ‘it’s only easy when you know how, but you don’t yet so I’ll go through it with you!’. I’ve grown up with social media, I’m what my Dad would probably call a ‘whizz!’, but so many people haven’t and aren’t – patience and seeing things from others’ perspectives is key.
Being anonymous in a city is a myth
(Okay, Watford is a town, but I essentially grew up in the middle of a field in comparison, so it’s a city for my purposes)
Something I always said I hated about cities when I’d never really been to one, is that you’re anonymous and ‘no-one says hello.’ I was stupid, I give you all permission to point at me and laugh. I see the same people most days on my walk to work, and usually smile shyly. Back in December, being a friendly face led to me having an hour long chat to a man called Isman on my way home from work one day – I now know that he speaks five languages fluently, was born in Ethiopia, finds Christmas jumpers inherently hilarious, and dedicates a lot of his free time to volunteering at a local homeless centre helping others.
The truth is, you’re only anonymous in a city if you choose to be. Smile at everyone, and you never know who you might end up talking to – good life advice in general!
Irrespective of your current social media experience, if you’d like to develop your business’ online presence, give me a call on 01923 627773 or drop me an email at [email protected] and I’ll be more than happy to arrange a chat and help get your brand out there!