Lessons From a Lost Wedding Ring
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I always talk about how powerful social media is. Let me tell a story that proves it.
The story of the lost wedding ring
Even though I live in the hood, I take my kids to the doctor in the rich parts of the city. The other day, I was bringing my kids home from their annual physicals. They were scooting along, when suddenly my daughter says, “Mommy, look, it’s a diamond ring!” Thinking it was some plastic Disney trinket, I didn’t take it seriously.
Well, I was wrong.
Right there in the middle of the sidewalk was this beautifully shimmering white gold wedding band, studded with sparkling diamonds all around. I held the ring in my hand, thinking about what to do. Should I leave it there? What if the person came back and it wasn’t there? Should I give it to the police? The police have enough to do these days, and if it were my wedding ring, I wouldn’t want it in the hands of just anyone. Something told me that the ring was safe with me and that I should take it home and find its rightful owner myself.
Being a social media believer, I went home and posted to a few local neighborhood Facebook groups that I had found a nice ring in the area. If anyone lost one, they should contact me.
Well, I didn’t quite get the response I thought.
People started posting sarcastic comments, making fun of me. Somebody posted a picture of the Hope Diamond and said, “Oh yeah, if you found this, it’s mine and I’ll come pick it up tonight.” Other people were calling me naïve. I guess it was a long shot.
But I couldn’t believe what happened next.
Two days later, a young woman commented on my Facebook post that she had found this sign posted in the lobby of an apartment building on the same street where my kid’s pediatrician was:
I mean, wow...just….wow. What are odds of this happening?
I connected with the young woman who posted the note to Facebook, who provided my cell phone number to her neighbor in the building. We spoke on the phone, and she described the ring perfectly. A few hours later, the ring was back on the owner’s finger.
There are a few lessons that apply to marketing:
- Be a better neighbor
It’s remarkable that in a city as big and fast-paced as New York, where everyone is so busy with their lives, the ring’s owner and I were able to find each other. Community is powerful. This is the modern-day equivalent of “word of mouth.” It may not be the friend from the tennis club whose mother-in-law just happened to be needing a financial advisor, but it’s the same psychological concept – only now it is played out using online tools.
I found the ring owner through the good-natured action of a young woman who lived in her building who just happened to see a sign she posted. And you might even say that it was my good-nature action of posting to Facebook about the ring in the first place that launched the whole thing.
Community is still the most powerful form of marketing. Be a better neighbor, be friendlier and more generous with the people around you if you want to make great things happen because incredible actions are rare and word always gets around.
- Social media is for connection not showing off
No offense but most of you are on social media to prove you are the smartest person in the room. No offense but most of you aren’t. That is why after three weeks you throw your arms up and cry about how it isn’t working and you need a better microphone or graphic designer.
You are missing it.
Social media is not about showing off, but unfortunately everybody misses that point.
Social media works brilliantly, though, for the people who look at it as an opportunity to build a community of people who experience things in a shared way. When you take the initiative to build a social media community of givers, what you accomplish as a group nourishes not only your own personal goals but the overall community.
People are so preoccupied with being fake and superior that we lose the opportunity to connect and be vulnerable. But that is where the real connection happens, trust is built, and you inevitably wind up being discovered by the people who were meant to find you.
- Most people are non-believers
The initial response to my naïve and hopeful posting was scorn and shame. But I laughed last when, through a series of random and improbable events, the ring owner and I connected.
People are great at reading obvious signs, but it is rare to find someone who will look at an uncertain situation with the courage to believe that anything other than the most likely scenario will come to fruition. It’s a huge impediment to progress.
Well, now that I’ve told you my glorious wedding ring story, are you ready to go out and conquer the world using social media?
Here are some tools that could help.
I’m a consultant who helps people infuse creativity in their marketing. If you’re interested, please contact me.
If you are a flat fee advisor, advice-only planner, or just a believer in transparency, join our next Transparent Advisor Movement meetup.
Thanks for chilling with me and I’ll see you next month.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a marketing consultant who helps investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms fight the tendency to scatter meaningless clichés on their prospects and bore them as a result. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor.
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