I’m the kid who ripped people’s flowers out of their yards and sold them back to their owners.

honest communication is the key to good interpersonal relationships.
People embraced social media because communicating makes people happy; it’s what we do. It’s why we carved pictures into rocks. It’s why we used smoke signals. It’s why ink won. And if someone ever develops a tool that allows us to communicate telepathically, we’ll be all over that, too.

Part 1 - Welcome to the thank you economy

Chapter 1 - How Everything Has Changed, Except Human Nature

Think back on the last time someone did something nice for you. I don’t mean just holding the door open; I mean watching your dogs while you were away for the weekend or driving forty minutes to pick you up at the airport. How did you feel afterward? Grateful, maybe even damn lucky to know someone who would go out of his way like that for you. If given the chance, you’d be sure to reciprocate. You might not even wait to be given a chance—you might just do something to make him happy, and show your gratitude.

How we cultivate our relationships is often the greatest determinant of the type of life we get to live.
Business happens in the small, personal interactions that allow us to prove to each other who we are and what we believe in, honest moments that promote good feelings and build trust and loyalty.
Now imagine you could take those interactions and scale them to the hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.

the only thing that will never change is human nature. When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like. When it’s expedient and practical, they’d also rather do business with and buy stuff from people they like.
Trusting relationships and connections formed via social media are quickly becoming two subtle but rapidly growing forces of our economy.

Great News Is in the Eye of the Beholder

The Heart and Soul of the Matter

How do people decide they like each other? They talk. They exchange ideas. They listen to each other.
The process is no different for building relationships with customers.
The thing is, people don’t talk about things they don’t care about. So it’s up to you to make them care, which means you have to care first.

When I first started tweeting, I had no brand recognition; no one knew who I was. To build my brand, I started creating conversations around what I cared passionately about: wine.
I saw that people had questions, and I answered them. I didn’t post a link to and point out that I sold Chardonnay.
I didn’t try to close too early, like a nineteen-year-old guy; I made sure to invest in the relationship first. Eventually, people started to see my comments and think, “Oh, hey, it’s that Vaynerchuk guy; he knows Chardonnay. Oh cool, he does a wine show—let’s take a look. Hey, he’s funny. I like him; I trust him. And check it out: he sells wine, too. Free shipping? Let’s try a bottle of that….” That’s what caring first, not selling first, looks like, and that’s how I built my brand.
That’s what I mean about revealing your company’s heart and soul.

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. In order to succeed now and in the future, it’s going to be imperative that we remember what worked in the past.

When Caring Meant Business

business owners cared about their customers. A lot.

Word of Mouth Loses Its Voice

If You Don’t Care, No One Will

Small-Town Living Moves Online

We check Facebook and comment on a friend’s photo of her new shoes the same way we once would have remarked, “You look lovely in that hat, Margie,” as we passed by our neighbor.
Social media allowed us to become more aware of the minutiae in each other’s lives, of what was going on, of what people were thinking and doing, than ever before.

A Full-Circle Power Shift

Consumers have more direct, daily contact with other consumers than has ever been possible in the history of the planet.

How the New Word of Mouth Is Different

Word of mouth is back.

Power to the People

Now, dissatisfied, disappointed consumers have the power to make companies feel the pinch.
Social media is a great tool for putting out fires, but it’s an even better tool for building brand equity and relationships with your customers.
Once you stop thinking about it as a tool for shutting customers up, and rather as a tool for encouraging customers to speak up, and for you to speak to them, a whole world of branding and marketing opportunities will unfold.

The Thank You Economy

We’re living in what I like to call the Thank You Economy, because only the companies that can figure out how to mind their manners in a very old-fashioned way—and do it authentically—are going to have a prayer of competing.
Everybody counts, and gets the best I have to give.
I always say that the real success of Wine Library wasn’t due to the videos I posted, but to the hours I spent talking to people online afterward, making connections and building relationships.
you have to take every customer seriously.
Your engagement has to be heartfelt, or it won’t work.

A Gift to Customers and Companies

to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated, and heard. You have to make them feel special.

Exceed Expectations or Lose

the standards have been raised by companies like Zappos, which will spend as much time on the phone with you as you need.
Fresh Direct, wraps your produce in bubble wrap and tucks an extra bunch of asparagus in with your order just to thank you for being such a great customer.

Engagement Is Not a Four-Letter Word

What Caring Looks Like

Get on Board

it’s the strength of your bond with your followers that indicates how much anyone cares about what you have to say.
It just makes sense that the better you know your consumers, the better you can tailor your marketing to them, and the more likely they are to buy from you. But many leaders can’t afford to worry about the long term, because their survival (and their bonus) depends on short-term results.

It’s Not About Social Media

Social media is here to stay.
We live in a world where anyone with a computer can have an online presence and a voice; whatever follows next will simply make the power of word of mouth that much more powerful.

People thought they had seen a massive cultural shift when the public adopted the Internet into their daily lives, but the bigger shift occurred when the Internet began to allow for two-way conversation. Learn how to implement a culture of caring and communication into your business, scale your one-to-one relationships, and watch your customers reward your efforts by using their new and massively powerful word of mouth to market your business and your brand for you.

Chapter Two - Erasing Lines in the Sand