Vaynerchuk: Get on Social Media or 'You're in Big Trouble'
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Marketer and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk told participants at the U.S. Chamber's America's Small Business Summit that we're seeing a "culture shift" in media.
You would think someone with nearly one million Twitter followers and over 80,000 "likes" on Facebook would think of themselves as a tech person, but Vaynerchuk doesn't. He said, "I am not a tech enthusiast. I have no love for the gadgets." But he does "love to sell stuff," and since customers use social media, he has to be there. He warned the audience that if they are not on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, or other social media, "you're in big trouble."
At only 35, Vaynerchuk has extensive entrepreneurial experience. He started selling baseball cards as a teenager, then transformed his father's business from a liquor store doing $4 million to Wine Library doing $60 million in business. Now, he advises Fortune 100 companies through VaynerMedia, has written two New York Times bestsellers, (Crush It in 2009, and The Thank You Economy in March), and somehow finds time to be on Twitter and Facebook.
Vaynerchuk said marketing today is unlike what it's been over the last one hundred years. He argued that it is no longer about pushing messages onto the public through newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. It is about having a conversation with people. In this environment, it is the business that is "best at working the room in a cocktail party environment" that will succeed.
People now share so much about themselves openly on the Internet, said Vaynerchuk. Businesses can learn what their customers care about and use that information to deeply connect with them.
He used an example from Wine Library to illustrated this radical shift. His staff closely paid attention to a customer from Chicago who tweeted often about his love for the Chicago Bears and their quarterback Jay Cutler. Vaynerchuk told his staff to send him an autographed Cutler jersey. A few months later, the customer told them how much he appreciated the gift and vowed to buy all his wine from Wine Library.
For Vaynerchuk, the rise of social media means "We're at the dawn of one-on-one marketing." Now, "the consumer is part of the marketing game" and businesses have to adjust.