My family lived halfway between Oakwood and Centerville, TX. Both are small towns, but Oakwood is definitely the smaller of the two. Centerville is the Leon County Seat, and Oakwood lies just within the county boundaries.
Seeing that Oakwood is still teetering on becoming obsolete makes me sad. However, this old bank and banker makes me nostalgic for simpler times, more personal interaction, and routine/predictability.
While Centerville thrives and grows thanks in part to its location on the Interstate that runs between Houston and Dallas, Oakwood sits about 20 minutes West of a town big enough to have a community college, Walmart, hospital, and movie theater. The highway between the two is not a major road, just a big highway suitable for 18-wheelers and the cars and trucks that need to pass them. Most people pass through Oakwood only because it’s on the way to Tyler from Waco or another bigger town West.
How can a small town like Oakwood grow and thrive and still retain this type of service and history?
This is something we should all consider as we use technology to facilitate exponentially more communication and contacts. Why? Do we have exponentially more solid relationships?
I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a few other social media platforms. The number of contacts I have are exponentially greater thanks to these platforms. Until the last 6 months, I doubt I could have said that I had exponentially greater relationships with these contacts.
In the last six months, I started doing what makes since for someone who might live in small town America, like Oakwood. I’m still at my computer, but I learned from Robert Nissenbaum how to apply that to modern life with computers, the Internet, and everything the two bring to the professional life in 2017.
One of my favorite blogs and lessons I’ve learned is to stop trying to post “engaging” content and hoping to get engagement on what I’ve posted. Isn’t every business posting content? How much is getting engagement? Not much of it even gets seen, and even less gets engagement.
If I want something from someone, I need to be giving first!
You get what you put into something. What does this mean? I have to stop posting weekly or daily, and just start doing for these businesses what I want, which is engagement. If I can let go of my own ego and start really read and reacting with comments what others are posting, I’ll be more effective. The businesses will know I’m paying attention to them and may return the favor. Maybe not. But, the point is to slowly build a relationship. Comment threads or Tweet replies with topical discussion foster that.
Additionally, others following that business are far more likely to see my comment than my random or scheduled post.
You drive attention back to your content. Simple psychology (channeling Wade Harman here). If you add a great, value added comment or are visible on my content often enough, at some point I’m going to get curious. I’m more likely to look at your profile or page, read your content if it’s good (the supporting role I mentioned earlier), and maybe sign up for a newsletter, fill out a form, or buy. We all get the notifications when other look at our profile on LinkedIn. How often do you go back and look at who checked you out? – Robert Nissenbaum
This Won’t Solve Oakwood’s Problem.
However, it’s a lesson we can learn from Oakwood to possibly solve our own. Deepening relationships is key to thriving as businesses and human beings. We are social creatures. Posting or spouting my thoughts from a soap box will not achieve my goals or deepen relationships. Interacting by having genuine conversations does.
How can we truly help Oakwood?
It’s part of our history? It’s small town America, and we could lose it. Are there folks out there needing access to expertise in areas others online can provide?
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