کتاب: از گریوی بپرس / فصل 15


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I’m often asked what fuels me, and 80 percent of the time my answer is gratitude. I’m glad I was born in a communist country and got to move to this country, where capitalism is revered and appreciated. I’m thankful that I haven’t had a lot of pain in my life, though it’s because I lost three of my four grandparents before I ever knew them. I’m grateful for the best mom in the world, for the best wife in the world, for a dad who taught me not to be full of sh@t, and for all the people I love.

I won’t say I know how to teach you to have more gratitude, but I can say that if it is something that can be developed you should go figure out how. Gratitude is my weapon in my day-to-day life. Period. Being an entrepreneur or a CEO is a stunningly lonely job. That’s not talked about much (though it did get discussed more frequently for a while after a spate of suicides within the tech community). As the head of a company, you are the last person in the line of defense. You are entirely responsible for everything. It’s a huge eye-opener when you realize that you are responsible not only for yourself and your family and loved ones, but for other people’s, too. The enormity of that obligation hit me hard when I was a kid building up Wine Library to 150 employees, and weighs on me even more now that VaynerMedia has nearly 600 employees. Keeping that commitment front-of-mind while battling all the competitors trying to beat you and put you out of business, all while navigating dynamics you can’t control, from Wall Street to geopolitics, can weigh heavily even when you’re not faced with a business catastrophe like losing an important deal or going out of business.

Gratitude is what has gotten me through my toughest moments in business (yes, there have been some, though I don’t talk about them much). Whenever I have lost a deal to a competitor, or an incredible employee, or millions of dollars in revenue because a state changed its shipping laws and won’t let me sell there (damn you, Texas!), I default to gratitude. Because I recognize that even if I had invested in Uber, and Woody Johnson decided it was time and I did buy the Jets tomorrow, none of it would matter to me at all if the next day I got a call that someone I love was sick or had died. Keeping that perspective allows me to handle anything and everything. Whenever I’ve been in my loneliest place with my biggest headache, thank God I’ve been able to step away from it and remind myself of all the great things I’ve been given. It’s impossible to complain and get too down when I do that.

Gratitude is what allows me to live my life the way I do, but it’s also a core element to the way I do business. I never, ever take it for granted when people take minutes out of their ridiculously busy worlds to watch my show or read my blogs or books. I spend much of my time online trying to thank my fans, followers, and customers as often as possible. I don’t understand why more brands and businesses don’t make that their mission, as well. It’s not as if consumers are limited to their neighborhoods or even their cities to find what they need or want anymore—the world is at their fingertips. It seems to me that when the competition is that widespread, you should be falling all over yourself thanking every damn customer who decides to spend some of his or her hard-won money with you.

imageAny thoughts on how to use social to promote nonprofits that are selling an experience and culture rather than a product?

The companies that have struggled the most to use social media correctly are generally charities and NGOs.

My big issue is with their manners. Many businesses with sizable audiences, including mine, get hit up every day by charities that ask us for donations or for us to share their content via a retweet or post. And you know what? Rarely do they even say hello first.

Can you romance a girl a little?

The rudeness and entitlement illustrate for me the fundamental problem charities have when they’re looking for help raising money: They’ve forgotten that we’re living in a thank-you economy (yes, that’s a book plug). Most of the nonprofits that ask me to help them assume that I’ll be compelled to give my money or use my clout on their behalf just because they’re working for a good cause. But when my time is limited, I’m going to focus my attention on the organizations that have bothered to build a relationship with me, not the ones who approached with their hands out. And I think the same is true for the rest of the population. Many charity organizations think that merely putting up heartrending photographs will be enough to move people to support them, but they’re overlooking the fact that it’s never the photograph that compels people to help—it’s the greater story it tells.

For NGOs and charities to succeed in social media, they have to do what all the for-profit businesses out there are doing—hustling, listening, creating dialogue, solving problems, building relationships, and storytelling. (For a good example of how nonprofits can execute this strategy, check out Charity: Water. It’s not only an excellent organization; it’s also got a killer social media strategy.) And then, like all businesses, they have to express gratitude and appreciation whenever anyone so much as looks in their direction. Social media is a wonderful place to express gratitude, even for organizations whose members prefer to remain anonymous. It’s so easy for a nonprofit to create a video or other public announcement of their thanks for the people that support their efforts.

Nonprofits that focus on expressing appreciation instead of expectation will be the ones that crack the code to success in social media.

imageDo you still believe marketing is headed toward one-on-one marketing?

More than ever. You know why? Because despite all the evidence (I put a lot of it into my book The Thank You Economy) about how good business gets done today when you listen to your consumer, most brands are still talking away. They’re like the guy at the party who won’t let you get a word in edgewise because he’s not really interested in what you have to say. When you’re in that situation, how long do you last before coming up with an excuse to walk away? The scene on social media is no different, except the consumer doesn’t need any excuse. When they’ve had enough, buh-bye. They unfollow, they move on, and they don’t come back.

One-to-one marketing takes time but the ROI is tremendous because so few businesses are actually doing it. I finally figured out that’s why my results are so often the exception instead of the rule. When you’re listening and other people aren’t, you look like a star. I’m still amazed at how much it means to people when I send them a Twitter video response or reply to them on Instagram to thank them for their follow. Almost every single Twitter video I’ve sent has been liked and retweeted. Why are people so excited? Because nobody else does it! But you can and you should. People love when you take an extra second out of your day to acknowledge them. It’s the equivalent of a nicely written thank-you note, except it takes less time to do and it doesn’t take two days to get to its destination.

Expressing gratitude helps you build lifetime value—“LTV.” When you’re small and still climbing the mountain, sometimes it’s practically all you’ve got to give. So spend your time being generous and grateful for whatever time and attention your customer gives you. You’ll see that it comes back to you eventually via word-of-mouth recommendations, sales, and legacy.

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