The Haberdashery, Crouch End - LondonSee this picture? Funny isn’t it.

The A board belongs to a coffee shop called The Haberdashery but I didn’t know that when I first saw the photo.

Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee), a social media consultant based in Singapore, tweeted it. He’s passionate about humanising business using social media. He’s also got 230,000 Twitter followers.

The tweet Aaron posted contained an image, just like this one, of this exact A board. Location unknown (at the time).

The picture really tickled me. I visualised a bunch of kids racing between the tables, buzzing on espresso, squeezing kittens. Parents oblivious to the mayhem. NOT the kind of place I’d want to go for a flat white! But that’s precisely the point.

Seeing this sign actually made me want to go there. I imagined the cafe would be chilled, fun, quirky, relaxed, friendly. Which usually means quality food and coffee too.

Anyway, on with the story. After I saw Aaron tweet this photo, I decided to share it on Facebook. It wasn’t long before a friend commented

I know this place. It’s in Crouch End – I walked past it last week.

Crouch End is about 6km from where I live in London – I’ve been going there regularly to meet friends and go shopping for years. It’s also got loads of great coffee shops so it’s difficult for them to stand out. I couldn’t believe that the cafe in the photo was a local one! The tweet had originated in Singapore so I assumed the location was somewhere far, far away…

Being a coffee addict that works from home means I’m always on the look out for new places to drink coffee, work or hold business meetings.

My friend and I arranged to meet there. Funnily enough that meeting led to business for both of us. Not only that, the cafe was as I expected it to be.

The staff at The Haberdashery are friendly, food home made and delicious, and they make a mean flat white (rare around these parts!). A really nice neighbourhood cafe and far removed from the coffee shop chains along most high streets. It turns out that they pride themselves on being a hub of the local community running events, activities and charity fundraisers. It also has a thriving Facebook group (this makes me v happy).

So now I’ve got a new place to visit when I’m in the area. I’m also telling all my friends plus blogging about it here! 🙂

This probably wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for social media, and it certainly wouldn’t have happened if the coffee shop owners hadn’t chosen to stand out and be different.

So what’s the point of this story? Twitter, Facebook, blogging – they’re not strategies, they are ways to communicate. If you stand out, dare to be different and do things that get people talking, social media can help people spread your message. Make it easy for them. What are you doing differently?