What Gary Vaynerchuk and my Mum have in common

Gary Vaynerchuk recently posted a video to Google+ Weddings vs. Marriage: A business story. He has a really interesting analogy about the lifetime value of social media. He feels mosts businesses today are acting like a bride that puts more energy and effort in planning their wedding than they do putting into their marriage. I recommend you watch the video below, for the full Vaynerchuk experience.

I had an epiphany while watching this video. When I was a kid my Mum (in her strong Belfast accent) would say to my sister and I “You two need to stay close. You’ve only got each other, remember that.” Typically I would roll my eyes and say “yes Mum” as it always felt she was demanding a friendship for us both.

My Mum grew up with twelve brothers and sisters on the outskirts of Belfast, N.Ireland – a region that in the sixties was simmering with an undercurrent of violence and conflict. My recent epiphany after watching the video from Gary was that Mum was teaching us a lesson in the importance of forging lasting relationships. She wasn’t expecting my sister and I to be best friends but to create a relationship that had a lifetime value, one that that counts when it matters most.

Many business are going full tilt at social media and demanding more followers on Twitter, more “likes” on Facebook and more ROI from their marketing teams. They are looking for short terms wins in an effort to capitalize on opportunities. How many of you are waiting on that Google+ page for your business because it’s the hot new girl in class. (Guilty)

If Gary and others are right the future of business is deeply entwined with social media/social business. It seems the greatest opportunity is the lifetime value of knowing your business is the one that a customer turns to because it knows he/she can count on you.

It’s not going to be easy. It’ll take time, energy and effort but the long term value is going to be almost unmeasurable.

The wedding day is an amazing memory but the value is in the marriage. Think about that when you are courting your customers. I think it’ll be worth the effort, don’t you?

Image Credit of Gary Vaynerchuk: Brian Solis

Conversations can change things, always keep listening

Ever been in the middle of a conversation and the other person says something that turns your world upside down?

Picture a young couple who’ve been dating a while and in the middle of a normal conversation comes the first utterance of the words “I love you”. We see that scene in the movies all the time, there’s the pause and then the response. Hopefully it ‘s one of joy, but sometimes the other person runs away screaming.

I was reminiscing a little this morning about the first time I told (my now wife) Staci I loved her. I can remember everything about it. It’s cemented in my memory. That one moment, those few words and the response to them changed my world.

Today many of us are online…A LOT… We’re constantly scanning our social streams, checking Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram…. whatever it is it’s become an all consuming activity for some. We’re making connections, sharing articles, we’re having conversations all day long. Whatever we’re doing there’s a lot of noise that surrounds us. It can be deafening, but we need to keep listening.

Why listen?

The first time I told my wife (then girlfriend) I loved her was in the middle of London on a night out. There was traffic whizzing by, people honking horns. Rowdy half drunk people yelling as they left the pub for the evening. It was noisy, there’s a lot going on in a city of over 7 million people. Imagine for a moment she hadn’t been listening through the noise.Those three words mean a lot, it took a lot of courage to say them. I might not have said them again for a while and our worlds may not have changed in the way it did.

So keep listening, in the noise you’ll find opportunities that might change your world! Of course I realize that my example assumes Staci saw me as an opportunity, but we’re still together 15 years later  so I’m running with it ;)