Success Secrets of The Social Media Marketing Superstars_Chapter 5 by entpress

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									chapter 5

Gary Vaynerchuk

G     ary Vaynerchuk has become a
      social media superstar by lever-
aging the power of websites like
                                              Chapter Highlights
                                          N   How to use social media
Twitter and Facebook to grow Wine             websites to build your
Library TV to 80,000 viewers a day.           brand equity
He was also instrumental in building      N   How to create positive
his family’s business from $4 million         word-of-mouth on steroids
to nearly $50 million. Gary has a         N   Why transparency and
massive following on Twitter and              authenticity are critical in
Facebook and has been featured on             today’s internet environment

NBC’s The Today Show, Nightline, and      N   The most essential quality
Late Night with Conan O’Brien. His lat-       for effective social media
                                              marketing success
est book is Crush It! Why NOW Is the
Time to Cash in on Your Passion. For      N   How the internet game is
                                              always changing
more information, visit his website at:

     Business Background
     My dad’s first job in the United States was at a liquor store. My family
     had emigrated from Russia to the United States shortly after I was
     born. We started at the bottom of the ladder, in many respects, but
     before long, my dad was not only able to support the family, he owned
     his own liquor store and was building his own business around it.
          I have always had an entrepreneurial streak, too. When I was a
     kid, I had a lemonade stand and sold baseball cards on the side. By
     the time I was 15, my side business earned me an average of $2,000
     every weekend. I was selling my baseball cards at the mall and
     learning a lot about business.
          Before long, though, my dad was insisting I go to work for him
     at the liquor store. I dropped my profitable weekend work to bag
     ice for $2 an hour. To say the least, I wasn’t happy.
          Over time though, I began to like my new job, especially when
     I began reading the Wine Spectator. I realized that many people col-
     lected wine like I collected baseball cards. Slowly but surely, I got
     more involved with my family’s business and developed a genuine
     passion for wines.
          In 1997, I changed the company’s name from Shoppers
     Discount Liquors to Wine Library and developed our first website: From 1998 to 2005 we put a great deal of effort
     into growing the business and transformed a $4-million company
     into a $50-million one.
          In large part I credit the success of our wine business to our
     internet efforts. The internet allowed us to compete on a level play-
     ing field with “the big boys”; it wasn’t just a dollars-and-cents game
     anymore. Today, thanks to the internet, most people can build a
     brand and a business around something they love.

     Building Your Personal Brand equitY
     With sWeat equitY
     In the modern world, the traditional gatekeepers—editors, publish-
     ers, producers, and moviemakers—are no longer in control. Today’s

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new technologies allow all of us to share our thoughts and opin-
ions, and get our message out to potentially millions of people in an
    This represents a fundamental
change in the way things get done and
is something that everyone reading this          The evolution of
book should carefully consider, espe-            the internet and
cially those of you who want to use                social media repre-
social media to grow your businesses.              sent an awesome
     In other words, we no longer have to
                                                   opportunity for
build our brands using considerable
amounts of money. Instead, the new cur-            everyone who
rency for developing our personal and              genuinely wants
product brands is a great deal of sweat            to build their own
equity. And this, in my opinion, repre-            brands, even if
sents the biggest shift in the business
                                                   they’re startups
world since the printing press. In fact,
it’s absolutely huge that revenues from            on shoestring
television, magazine, and newspaper                budgets. Total cost
ads no longer dictate how we build                 of a Facebook,
business.                                          Twitter, and Tumblr
     Years ago it cost me millions of dollars
                                                   account: $0.
to build Conversely,
I’ve only spent $15,000 to build Gary                • Secrets • Secrets • Secrets • Secrets and Wine Library TV,
my daily video blog. What’s more, the brand equity around and Wine Library TV is massive because
I’m able to monetize them in a variety of ways, with speaking
engagements, consulting gigs, endorsements, and the like.
     And these types of results are not far-fetched or out of reach for
most people—including you—if you leverage the power of social
media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and use them to control
your message to your target audience. Talk about word-of-mouth
advertising! It’s a marketer’s dream!

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      extending the Message With tWitter and
      FaceBook: Word-oF-Mouth Marketing
      on steroids
        In the 1930s and 1940s, Uncle Thompson and Grandpa Joe built
        their fruit stands, sneaker shops, and garden supply stores one
                                        referral at a time. Joe told Sam; Sam told
                                        Jane; Jane told Sally and Fred.
   Positive word-of-                         Think of social media sites such as
   mouth recommen-                      Twitter and Facebook as the modern ver-
   dations are still the                sion of word-of-mouth advertising on
   best and least                       steroids! Simply put, they’re incredibly
                                        powerful tools that allow online mar-
   expensive way to
                                        keters to extend their messages to thou-
   build successful                     sands of Janes, Sams, Sally, Joes, and
   businesses.                          Freds in an instant! Not only can I deliv-
Secrets • Secrets • Secrets • Secrets • er my own message to tens of thousands
                                        of people, but my recipients can reach
        out to thousands of others by “retweeting” my original message.
        They can also respond to me directly.
              Understanding the power of these free sites, however, is just
        part of the story. To see results, you need to use them to your best
        advantage. If you aren’t using the search function on Twitter (it’s
        right underneath the right side of your page), or you can find it at
        (, you’re making a massive mistake.
              The search feature allows you to eavesdrop on conversations
        related to just about any topic! In my case, I can type in phrases like
        “wine,” “Merlot,” or “Pinot Grigio” and learn a great deal about my
        target audience, including their wine preferences. Additionally, I
        can reach out to these same people and “friend” them—a great way
        to market to wine lovers!
              And this doesn’t mean you have to stick only with massively
        popular sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can participate in
        scores of forums, discussion groups, blogs, and more—as long as
        you pump out content.

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    After saying this, I usually hear something like, “Gary, I don’t
get this. You’re telling me to spend six to seven hours a day on
social media sites. When will I have time for my real job?”
    Here’s my standard answer: “This is your real job if you want to
become a voice in the game.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re
extroverted or introverted. It doesn’t matter whether you like to
write or prefer communicating via videos. It doesn’t matter
whether you want to sell mass appeal or niche products.
    Decide which platforms work best for you and what websites
will help you achieve your goals. For example, if you’re passionate
about coffee, you could create a video “coffee review” blog, and
you never know . . . one day you might be one lucky “tweet” away
from a Today Show interview and the title “America’s Coffee
    Five years ago, it was nearly impossible to get discovered this
way. Then you had to schlep to Los Angeles, work long hours, com-
pete for limited opportunities, and hope that someone important
would notice you. But, once again, the internet has significantly
changed this dismal landscape.
    Along with the additional benefits,
there are more challenges as well. And          You should never
that brings me to my next topic—the             publish anything
increasing importance of being authentic        online that you
and transparent in all of your social
                                                don’t want the pub-
media efforts.
                                                lic to see, i.e., overly
                                                                     personal informa-
authenticitY and
transParencY                                                         tion, questionable

Today’s incredibly powerful internet                                 photos, and offen-
technologies have clearly improved                                   sive jokes or
many things for entrepreneurs. However,                              remarks.
it’s important to understand that the very
                                                                        • Secrets • Secrets • Secrets • Secrets
technologies that allow you to spread
“the good word” can also backfire on you

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        very quickly, if you’re caught off guard or are indiscriminate about
        the types of things you share online.
              Nothing you put online will be hidden for long, so be very, very
        careful. You never know when someone with a flip cam will video
        your every move or pick up an inadvertent comment. Also, if you’ve
        got skeletons in your closet, clean them out. There’s no way to sur-
                                        vive in the online world if you’re not
                                        transparent and authentic.
   Online you need                          So what does the business model for
   to behave the way                    authenticity and transparency look
   you want to be                       like? It’s all about giving a crap. It’s
                                        people who consistently pump out
                                        good content and personally interact
Secrets • Secrets • Secrets • Secrets •
                                        with their fans. And this is exactly what
                                        I do. I get in there and personally
        answer my fans’ e-mails. Showing I care has been a huge differ-
        entiator for me and even the biggest “brands”—yes, even
        Oprah—should set aside 20 minutes a day to do this.
              The capacity to care about the people you interact with is the
        biggest reason why some brands win and others lose. The people
        who take charge of these things themselves are going to win, because
        we live in an age of complete transparency. Everybody knows every-
        body’s moves, and everybody knows what everybody is doing. It’s
        very easy to see who’s doing it right and who’s doing it wrong—
        and it’s even easier for the word to get out once someone notices
        you’re doing it wrong.

      VieWing social Media WeBsites as tools
      Social media websites are just tools. In many ways they’re no dif-
      ferent than hammers and screwdrivers. And guess what? In a cou-
      ple of years, there will be brand-new hammers and screwdrivers,
      and we’ll all have to relearn how to use them. Sites like MySpace
      and Friendster led the pack, followed by sites such as Facebook and

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Twitter, and newer “tools” like Ustream and Tumblr. Still, they are
all part of a strategy; not one of them is a solution.
     It’s important to remember that there are a million different
tools that you can use to build your brand. You don’t necessarily
need to stick with the ones that are capturing the most attention at
a given time. Keep in mind that these tools work just as well for
building offline business brands as they do for online businesses.
And they are either extremely affordable or free.
     Here are just a few ideas for using these tools wisely:

     1. Buy a $250 flip cam, and get into the video blogging game.
     2. Open a free Wordpress account, and get a blog site up and
        running in minutes.
     3. Go to places like, Google’s blog search, and
        Facebook’s fan pages and participate in local conversations.
     4. Finely target your paid-for ads. For example, a Heinz
        ketchup ad would do far better on a forum of ketchup lovers
        than in a food lovers’ magazine. The big reasons big media
        brands are failing are that they’re not specialized enough and
        advertisers don’t get enough bang for their buck.
     5. While things can happen very quickly if you’re good, you
        shouldn’t expect overnight results. Let’s face it, there’s a
        great deal of competition on the internet, especially since just
        about anyone can call themselves a raisin, coaching, fitness,
        or gardening expert and the cost of entry is the same whether
        they’re experts or not.

    So please, build a business around your passion. You’ll be hus-
tling 15 hours a day. There are no shortcuts. The people who win
have something worthwhile and unique to say and outwork others.

the gaMe is alWaYs changing
I’m very, very passionate about teaching people that the internet
game is always changing and they need to be prepared for it at all

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     times. Everything that’s said today and tomorrow will soon be irrel-
     evant, and we’ll be looking at what’s next.
         Today we love our iPhones. But what’s going to be the next big
     device? And what about all those cool apps? I’ve always loved
     iTunes, but what happens when music artists decide not to share
     the revenues and sell album downloads directly from their own
         In my opinion, “going direct” will be the name of the game, and
     the middle tier will undergo enormous filtering and experience the
     same struggles as the newspaper industry today. The internet is
     such a powerful direct connector from content producers to users
     that we will become increasingly less dependent on more tradition-
     al devices like TVs. I don’t need a television station, in fact, as I’m
     getting better ratings than some cable shows.
         Although it’s a lot to think about, in the next five to seven years,
     advertising dollars are going to be funneled into online social
     media platforms. And if you’ve got users or viewers, you can mon-
     etize them.
         Even better, this is just the beginning. The internet is still in its
     infancy. Social media use is even younger. Twitter and Facebook are
     pre-alpha. They’re like cavemen with clubs. If you think it’s too late
     to hop aboard the Web 2.0 and social media marketing trains, think
     again. They will continue to grow at rapid paces and grind even
     further into the revenue of traditional media—TV, radio, and news-
     papers. Smart online marketers will continue to keep their hands on
     the pulse of society. Pay particular attention to the desires, trends,
     and habits of those 18-years-old and younger because things are
     definitely changing and they will be in the driving seat soon.
         The music industry ignored MP3s and didn’t really think about
     the impact they would have on the industry. It was scared until the
     iPod showed up, but by then it was too late. Talk about cultural
     shifts and change!
         You can expect more dramatic changes to traditional media
     devices in the very near future: remote controls that work with your

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TV and computer; cable TV channels that allow you to conduct
internet searches; and podcasts that can be downloaded from the
internet directly to your TV.
    Turn this into your mantra: Expect change. Embrace change,
and most importantly, take advantage of change and learn every-
thing you can about how to effectively leverage powerful internet
technology to grow your businesses more profitably. You’ll be glad
you did.

Mitch Meyerson, Success Secrets of The Social Media Marketing Superstars, © 2010,
by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission
of Entrepreneur Media, Inc.

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