Social—not social media

As small business owners choose where to invest their time and resources, there is a lot of pressure to use social media.

Books such as “Tweet Naked” by Scott Levy and “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” by Gary Vaynerchuck help a business owner form a plan to connect to hundreds or thousands of people. The promising potential is hard to pass up.

Get your brand in the open. Make a Facebook fan page. Start a Twitter account. Show your wares on Pinterest. Chat through Google+. Email a newsletter. Display a like button. Start a blog. Blog about blogging. Get everyone on the team to blog. Blog about hosting a team blog. Get into a digital community. Lead a digital forum. Set the Internet on fire with a digital revolution.

Make it big. “Like” everyone, even if you don’t.

But while some people put the “social” in social media, Tim and Adena Weiser put the social in social. In Manhattan, Kan. (The Little Apple), people text to family and friends across the country, but walk across the street to chat with neighbors.

The Weisers arrived in Manhattan in 2006. They own Manzanita Art and Antiques LLC, the newest store on the downtown main street. Six months since opening, Tim and Adena keep black ink in the Manzanita ledger by connecting to people in person.

In addition to running a business, Tim and Adena are students at Kansas State University. They do not have spare time to build a diversity of online presence and personalities.

“People go online to get an address, a phone number, hours and the theme of the store. Nothing else,” Tim explained. “I think it is almost like a restaurant. You want to know what the special is; you want to know what the hours are.”

Tim and Adena have experimented with several digital resources, but always return to a simple Facebook page. “There is nothing worse than a website that is not updated,” Tim said.

In conversation about which tools to use, Adena sarcastically quipped, “Visit me at Twitter, and visit me at Facebook, and visit me at my website and visit me at my store.”

However, on shift at Manzanita, they make time to show Big Red One memorabilia, talk about the work of a local glass artist and chat with returning customers about places to find quality vinyl albums.

As members of the Chamber of Commerce, Tim and Adena work with neighboring shops to keep business local. The Weisers keep ready copies of a homemade map showing the local art and antique shops for customers who want to look outside Manzanita for a desired item.

Though the Web is an unparalleled resource for research and pricing (Manzanita customers often compare in the store with a smartphone), antique collectors make more purchases with the item in hand.

Tim and Adena add up the cost of making a digital square peg fit into their circle of friends, associates and contacts before investing time and energy.

“You don’t want to get on a media that no one else is using. I ask people that have a business, what do you use? What kind of social media do you have? Then I make the choice if it is right for me” said Adena.

As antique collectors and art aficionados, they enjoy getting out into the community without making a show of their store.

“People know when you are not authentic and you are just trying to sell them stuff,” said Adena. “Don’t go to the League of Women voters if you’re not interested in politics.”

Tim and Adena Weiser make it a point to get involved in the Manhattan Community, Kansas State University community, neighboring Junction City community, and even the FT Riley community – in person.