If your organization’s intentions transcend the mere act of selling a product or service, and it is brave enough to expose its heart and soul, people will respond. They will connect. They will like you. They will talk. They will buy.
- Gary Vaynerchuck “The Thank You Economy”
I have been following Gary V for a long time. He was and still is an internet pioneer that I respect and admire (and not just because I love wine). I enjoyed his book “Crush It” and was thrilled to learn that he was releasing another book that dealt specifically with social media and the rapidly growing need for businesses to take a more personal approach to interacting with their customers. It was amusing to read that he has the same frustrations with the rather limited term “social media” as I do…but that is another topic for another post.
This post is not so much a review or a recap, but rather a continuation of the conversation on social media that Gary Vaynerchuck started.
The Cultural Shift
The concept behind “The Thank You Economy” is actually rather simple: The rapidly evolving internet and its real-time conversations have brought about a cultural shift. Customers are now demanding honesty and authenticity from the brands and businesses they interact with. Businesses that ignore social media are not only missing out on potentially huge opportunities, they may start losing business to companies that are making their communities a priority.
Companies have historically had a lot more warning when preparing for these sort of “shifts”. Technologies such as the radio or the television gradually crept in to mainstream society. Businesses had time to adjust their strategies accordingly. Social Media, however, gave very little warning. As Gary established very early in the book:
“Companies of all stripes and sizes have to start working harder to connect with their customers and make them happy, not because change is coming but because it’s here.”
Social Media is a Marathon…Not a Sprint
There is so much that I can talk about from this book but I wanted to write about what I think was the single most important point Gary made in his book. Honest, genuine, authentic customer relationships do not happen overnight. You cannot offer to give away prizes to a few customers who ‘retweet’ you and then expect to suddenly have a thriving community at the end of the promotion that will gladly consume your spammy marketing tweets. Social Media is not about “push” but rather “pull”. Social Media allows brands and businesses to listen to and understand their customers….and that takes time.
ROI is no longer as simple as tracking the CTR or ad impressions. As we invest more in social media, we must now ask ourselves: Have we improved our ability to learn from our customers? How willing are our customers to recommend us to their friends and family? Has the attitude towards our brand improved? Are we creating brand ambassadors? Are we strengthening our ability to effectively communicate with customers who are unhappy with us? TYE lays out how a solid Social Media strategy will produce brand advocates…and that is a type of valuable ROI that is very difficult to put a dollar sign on.
“Long-term thinking requires that you look at all the options, including the ones that might take a little time to pay off.”
This is not just a book for social media experts. Times are changing and community is no longer something you can just pass off to an unpaid college summer intern (yet another post for another time). It requires a shift in thinking that needs to start at the top. I am excited to work in this industry and I am truly hopeful that more companies will join Gary in his efforts to create genuine long-term relationships with their customers.
Purchase “The Thank You Economy” on Amazon