Nowadays it seems everybody from your dry cleaner to your local fish & chip shop has a social media account, and they all want you to follow them.
Type “Follow us on Instagram” into Google and you get 887 million results.
Logically, if we followed every pet shop, petrol station and party planner that wanted us to, and read every one of their posts, we wouldn’t have time to brush our teeth or go to the toilet.
Has it all gone too far?
The other day I was walking past my local convenience store, and I saw that even they have an Instagram account.
Now why in the hell would I follow my local convenience store? For news of their latest special offers on biscuits? A chance to win an icy pole?
Out of curiosity, I checked the account - fully prepared to unload a dump truck-sized load of cynicism onto them.
But as it turns out, I should ask if they stock humble pie.
Because the Redfern Convenience Store, amazingly, has 7,182 followers. The owner, Hazem Sedda, is clearly a natural community-builder.
He loves taking pictures of his customers, and his customers love being in them.
“These are my beautiful customers who are a part of my life,” runs the description at the top of his feed.
And the whole account is like that; shot through with a genuine warmth and sincerity.
But Hazem is also not afraid to deploy humour, frequently describing his business as “The Greatest Redfern Convenience Store on Earth.”
He’s also fabulously supportive of his fellow local traders, captioning this photo: “he owns the dock pub which is one of the best places to be in #redfern any night of the week!”
Okay, so the dude’s clearly a hipster, but Hazem can’t help what neighbourhood he’s in.
He’s worked in that same convenience store for 15 years, since he and his parents arrived in Australia from Palestine. For the first seven years, he worked 18 hour days. Now apparently he’s done well enough to be able to make several real estate investments. Good on him.
Friendliness, hard work, and a commitment to your community.
If you want to achieve success, isn’t that a model that every brand should be following, in every social channel?
P.S. here’s a picture of a girl eating pasta, from the Instagram account of my local pub.