Excerpted with permission from HarperCollins Publishers.
At its core, social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners. They're going to have to take the long view and stop using short-term benchmarks to gauge their progress. They're going to have to allow the personality, heart, and soul of the people who run all levels of the business to show. And they're going to have to do their damndest to shape the word of mouth that circulates about them by treating each customer as though he or she were the most important customer in the world. In short, they're going to have to relearn and employ the ethics and skills our great-grandparents' generation took for granted, and that many of them put into building their own businesses.
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.
Note that I said you have to do it authentically. I am wired like a CEO and care a great deal about the bottom line, but I care about my customers even more than that. That's always been my competitive advantage. I approach business the same way I approach every talk I present--I bring this attitude whether I have an audience of ten or ten thousand. Everybody counts, and gets the best I have to give. A lot of the time, we call people who do a consistently great job "a professional," or "a real pro." I try to be a pro at all times, and I demand that everyone I hire or work with try to be one, too. All my employees have to have as much of that caring in their DNA as I do. How else do you think I outsell Costco locally and Wine.com nationally?It started with hustle, sure. 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. Yet I could have hustled my ass off and talked to a million people a day about wine, but if I or any of the people who represent Wine Library had come off as phonies or schmoozers, Wine Library would not be what it is today. You cannot under- estimate the sharpness of people's BS radar--they can spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. BS is a big reason why so many companies that have dipped a toe in social media waters have failed miserably there.