No Latitude on Gratitude

“Thank You.”

When put together, two of the most valuable words in the English language. A phrase so important most of us were continually reminded over-and-over by our parents, teachers and others to “Say thank you.”

Used under the Creative Commons License. By Fenng(dbanotes) on Flickr.com.

Yet, in social media, it is still one of the most underused phrases. Far too many brands believe that the process starts with the brand sharing an important post about the brand and ends with rabid fans blindly retweeting or sharing those posts due to undying love for the brand.

That’s not how it works.

Last week I complimented two large and well-respected wineries on Twitter and Facebook. To the first winery, it was a post of congratulations on a really well executed video that they posted on their blog (with a link to the video). This winery promptly responded with a simple: “thanks!”  To the second, I posted twice: a cool picture taken by a customer at the winery (including a glass with the the vineyard’s logo) and a picture of the first sign of harvest. The response from the second: silence.

I get it. I’m not Robert Parker or Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m one little guy in Texas with a couple of thousand Twitter followers and a thousand or so Facebook friends. But consider this math. An Econsulatancy study concluded that 90% of Americans believe recommendations from friends, and we are 71% more likely to buy if referred by a friend. Contrast that with the fact that only 14% of Americans trust a brand’s advertising. In most cases, branding and awareness that occurs on social platforms is more aligned with a friend referral than with an ad. That makes a positive brand mention on social media six-plus times more powerful than a paid impression.

So, how important is that gratitude?

Both wineries maintain an active Twitter presence, with thousands of posts and thousands of followers, and an active Facebook page. Both have made an investment in setting up and maintaining these social channels. And, both compelled me distribute their brands to thousands of my followers, many of whom were made aware of the brands for the first time through my posts. The net: they received free media through me with a potential reach of thousands and a 90% trust rate.

With the simple response to my tweet with “thanks!” the first validated they had paid attention to this one little guy in Texas and acknowledged my part in helping them build their brand. Based on the gratitude shown, which of the two do you think I will be more likely to post about in the future? Yep, the first. That means that the investment the second has made in getting me to engage with their brand is more likely to end after two posts while the investment the first made is more likely continue to pay additional dividends over time.

It pays to show your gratitude.

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