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I heard Gary Vaynerchuk on NPR this afternoon talking about his book The Thank You Economy. Veynerchuk was an early adopter of e-commerce and social media and has successfully grown his Wine Library from a small store in NJ to an impressive online enterprise. His central idea, as it came across in the interview, is that social media helps businesses connect with clients in a very personal way. Vaynerchuk’s passion about this notion of emphasizing personal connection is very convincing because we can all understand its appeal. While we may slip and slide, there is no denying the appeal of that beautiful hand-written thank you card.

Image courtesy scrappin4my4

I will be reading the book soon because what I heard today has prompted me to investigate further. The book promises to be a primer on social media and small businesses. I liked the fact that Vaynerchuk was consistent in making the case for authentic interactions. Here are some of the ideas that came up in the interview:

  • Social media allows us to hear some of our customers’ thoughts that may not be product or service related – This offers a more comprehensive profile of our clients. We can think of it as the way Mom&Pop stores connected with the clients in their local communities with an understanding of general interests and familial relationships.
  • Social media is about engaging in the interests of clients – The idea is not to rush into sales pitch whenever a related product is mentioned. The emphasis has to be on engaging in a conversation. This gives the potential customer the choice in how they choose to relate to a company or business.
  • Social media allows a unique platform for interacting with loyal clients with positive experiences. While there is a rush to think of ways to ward off negative feedback and “play defense,” it is important to build on successes and cultivate those relationships also.

Vaynerchuk reinforced my belief in the importance of strategic listening as an important aspect of social media marketing. He also made a compelling case for social media to be seen as a platform for mature and meaningful client interactions. This is not one of those five ways for easy success in social media cheat sheets. This is an approach that demands thoughtful and authentic brand management. Here is a chance to take the everyday courtesies of “Please,” “Thank you!” and “Have a nice day!” to a whole new level. It demands we invest more in terms of time and effort but the end result promises to be a loyal network of customers. And that is an end goal that is well worth serious effort!