Have you ever had one of those days where you are extremely busy with objective A, yet you feel compelled to do something else? Well for me, today is one of those days, and this blog post, although the timing may not be perfect with all I have going on, I need to get this out there.
I am a firm believer that everything in this life happens for a reason. I believe that different people will enter and exit our life and at times we may ask our self “why?” – “why was this person put in front of me.”
Before I can fully get to that, I need to take a step back for a moment to bring this full circle. Around the fall of 2008 I came across this awesome new thing (new to me) called Facebook, and I thought “how cool,” here is a site where we can connect with old friends, reach out and meet new friends, and stay connected with our family year round.
See at that particular time in my business development I was going through a transition – our insurance agency had recently changed locations, we wanted our agency to become more involved with our local community, and we were trying to make a shift from having a focus on commercial insurance, to home and auto insurance.
As I started to become more and more familiar with Facebook I noticed this was not just a great place to connect with people personally, but it also provided an amazing opportunity to connect with people for my business. I started to socially listen, I watched what people were talking about, what interested them, what folks would engage with and it lead me to a simple analysis “Social Media is more about who you are, than what you do.” “People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it.” This quickly became the motto for my business – I was no longer going to show people what we sold, I was going to show them why we sold it, I was going to make the sale process what it should be, we were going to make it personal. We were no longer going to stand behind our logo, but rather stand in front of it, showing our community who the faces of our agency truly were.
Through the course of 2009 we had a great deal of success with social media, and we really elevated our business, and our local agency awareness. At the same time this was happening, I was also sitting there asking my self “why aren’t more agents taking advantage of this opportunity.” For a period of time I left this go, but finally I got to a point where I had to send a note to our home office asking if there was anything I could do to assist, anything I could do to spread the “awesomeness of social media around.” little did I know that simple message / question would forever change my life, and introduce me to some of my closest, and best friends and truly bring the meaning the of “The Farmers Family” full circle.
After sending my message to our home office, I received an e-mail back from this I guy who I had never met, who I had no information on, and who had recently been hired by our company. Needless to say I did not have very high hopes – however his response to my message set the stage for the past 3 years, the rest is history, and the message went a little like this –
It’s a pleasure to e-meet you. I am so pleased to hear about your success on Facebook. You are truly pioneering the exact type of attitude that we hope all of our agents can have. You are taking a great approach in what I call like to call, “Anybody can do what we do, but only we can be who we are.” That’s a brilliant way to approach social media and marketing.
I’d like to set up a time for us to chat on the phone so you can fill me in on how you got to where you are. Are you available next Wednesday morning around 8am pst? Thanks.
As you can easily see, Ryon was all over this, excited to hit the ground running, excited to see how social was changing the game for my agency, and how he could help to harness that message out to other agents. Ryon and I spent countless afternoons on the phone together talking about social strategy, the future of social, and even became close enough friends that we shared stories about our family, our amazing children and our beautiful wife’s.
Over the course of the next year I helped Ryon pilot new programs, spoke at several conferences with him, and even had the AMAZING opportunity to tour Google and Facebook with him in San Francisco. At that time professionally, it was easily the best thing had ever happened to me. I say at the time, because Ryon is the type of person who is always moving forward, looking to not just connect socially, but to also connect those he meets with one another.
I recall a conversation with Ryon where he told me, “I have 2 people I would like you to meet, James Peregrino, and Renee Corwin-Rey – both are awesome agents who were also killing it socially, I think you would all really hit it off.” Again instantly Ryon knew he had hit a home run, and the “original three” were born.
I could go on and on about all of the cool and amazing things that Ryon has done for my professional career, not because he had to, but because he is truly a loving and caring person who is always trying to help those around him move forward.
It was the guidance of Ryon that lead to the formation of the Social Heroes, It was the guidance of Ryon that lead me to being introduce to 6 of my closest Friends – James, Keith, Nadeem, Mike, Renee & Angela.
As you sit there and read this you may ask “why are you telling us this?” Ryon announced today that he would be stepping away from our company to pursue the next chapter in his life, and before he left I wanted to make sure he knew how much he meant to me, how big of an impact he has had on my life, and how I will forever cherish the times we had together. I wish you the best of luck on your journey my friend, its not good bye, its I will see you later – CHEERS!!!!!!
For more on Ryons Journey be sure to visit and follow his blog by clicking here –