"Social media relationships and personal relationships work exactly the same way— you get out of them what you put into them. You can’t buy them, force them, or make them into something they’re not ready to be."
Hello book lovers! This week I’m introducing The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.
The Thank You Economy simplifies social media and describes what it really is: an evolved way to communicate and connect with other human beings. Underneath this business book, however, is a lesson in the power of genuinely caring about other people.
Author Profile: Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those guys I would put in my ‘man crush’ category. I frickin’ love this guy. I was first introduced to him through his animated wine reviews at Wine Library TV, which shows his fireworks personality and love for connecting with customers. He loves the hustle and his passion for business is inspiring. He’s one of those guys you either admire or can’t stand. But one thing is certain: he gets shit done.
Who Should Read This
- Anyone who doesn’t get or is still fighting social media.
- Anyone running a small business.
- Anyone leading a marketing department or working in one.
- Anyone who enjoyed my post The Power of Twitter Told in 3 Tweets.
Take-Aways & How This Resonates (with quotes from The Thank You Economy)
1. Calling internet-based services like Facebook and Twitter ‘Social Media’ is misleading.
"But what we call social media is not media, nor is it even a platform. It is a massive cultural shift that has profoundly affected the way society uses the greatest platform ever invented, the Internet."
Twitter is still a confusing phenomenon to most people. But as I explain in The Power of Twitter Told in 3 Tweets, it’s simply a tool that enables conversation between friends, acquaintances, and strangers all around the world.
The best thing about Vaynerchuk is that he admittedly doesn’t care about technology. He does, however, care immensely about his customers – existing and potential. So if the people he wants to reach happen to be on Twitter, he’ll join them there.
The lesson is to not get hung up on the technology. Don’t be confused by the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Posterous, Yammer, and the countless challengers to come. At the end of the day they are just tools to connect human beings to one another.
2. The world is becoming a small town.
"Social media has transformed our world into one great big small town, dominated, as all vibrant towns used to be, by the strength of relationships, the currency of caring, and the power of word of mouth."
Vaynerchuk compares our evolving internet-enabled economy to a small town. A small town where everyone knows each other and can instantly get in touch.
Although there have been moments throughout my trip where I’ve been off the grid, I’ve predominantly stayed connected. I realized that my intention was not to completely remove myself from the world I knew and the connections I’ve formed, but rather to enrich those connections and spark new ones.
With social media, I’ve managed to stay connected with friends from home, new friends from all over the world, and engage with like-minded people I’ll likely never meet face-to-face. We live in an extraordinary time where this is possible.
"What will not change, however, is the culture — the expectation — of communication, transparency, and connection that social media revived."
3. Successful businesses have heart and soul.
"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."
Social media enables the humanization of businesses. And why shouldn’t businesses become more personable? Behind every business is a collection of people. Businesses now have the opportunity to have a personality. But increasingly, this is becoming less of an opportunity and more of an obligation. Individuals will be less tolerant of businesses fighting this trend.
4. Avoid the 19-year old guy move.
"If people mentioned that they were drinking Merlot, I gave them my Merlot recommendation, but I didn’t mention that they could buy Merlot on my website. I didn’t try to close too early, like a nineteen-year-old guy; I made sure to invest in the relationship first."
On the road, I’m not physically selling a product or service, but I’m constantly selling. Selling myself, selling my country, selling my ideas.
It’s unbelievable how many people tell me I’m the first American they’ve talked to. Ever. That means their opinion of Americans come from what they learn on the news, see in our movies, and hear in our songs. This is not a completely accurate view, nor likely to be a very positive one.
As I travel, I don’t walk up to strangers and say “Hey! Im an American! You should like me and all Americans.”
Instead, I start by caring genuinely about that other person. I want to learn about their culture, their language, and their lifestyle. I invest in the relationship. In turn, I get to share my thoughts and beliefs. My intent is that they walk away from our interaction having a newfound understanding that Americans’ viewpoints and ideas, like any other nationality, are less absolute than mass media leads us to believe.
5. What’s the ROI of your mother?
"Work is always about giving — efficiency, entertainment, relief, free time, peace of mind, opportunity, comfort — to other people"
In his comically blunt way, Vaynerchuk answers some of the critiques of social media like: ‘There’s no ROI’, ‘Social media is still too young’, or ‘Social media is just another trend that will pass’.
For nonbusiness people, ROI stands for Return On Investment. He argues that trying to measure ROI in social media is like trying to measure the ROI of your mother. Caring and building relationships are things that sometimes cannot be sufficiently measured.
It’s similar to the philosophy Give and You Shall Receive. It’s a shame to avoid things that feel right because they can’t be measured.
"In the end, no matter what obstacles a company faces in the Thank You Economy, the solution will always be the same. Competitors are bigger? Outcare them. They’re cheaper? Outcare them. They’ve got celebrity status and you don’t? Outcare them. them. Social media gives you the tools to touch your consumer and create an emotion where before there might not have been one."
6. Those who avoid or ignore social media to create connections will be left behind.
"Unfortunately, if you wait until social media is able to prove itself to you before deciding to engage with your customers one-on-one, you’ll have missed your greatest window of opportunity to move ahead of your competitors."
Vaynerchuk puts this warning into a business context, but I think the same warning should be heeded by individuals.
I have friends who have chosen to avoid or ignore social media. Although you may not agree with the transparency or appreciate the connectedness it enables, I really think you’re missing out. Worse, I think you’re at risk to be quickly left behind.
Even if you don’t actively participate, at least don’t ignore it. But I do think it’s a shame not to embrace the way it can benefit and enhance life. I feel like I’m exponentially smarter and more knowledgable with every connection I make, on and offline.
I don’t intend to instill fear; I just want to help people understand why it’s important to at least not ignore our evolving world. To this point, there’s a great quote by Charles Darwin that kept popping into my mind throughout reading The Thank You Economy, which sums up this point:
“It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”
Want to learn more? This book is available on Amazon: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.
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