Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary V) was interviewed by Startup Grind and and shared a lot of great insights on topics that impact small businesses, like marketing, reaching customers and using social media. While we definitely don’t want to encourage you to BE Gary V, you have to be YOU, we know you can use his small business advice to your advantage.
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Gary V. on Marketing and Doing Business
You have to market and do business for the year we actually live in. Gary demonstrated this throughout his career in many ways. In 1997 he knew that computers were starting to get big. He focused his business on creating a website, doing email marketing and using Google Adwords. Some of these things were in their infancy, but he was using the tools of the time to build his business. Flash forward to 2006 and he also jumped on Youtube. Youtube had just started, but it was an innovative technology of the time, so he used it to create his Wine Library TV. Always focusing on what is relevant at the moment has led to his success.
Gary V. on Patience and Persistence
Gary has gotten a lot of emails from entrepreneurs over the years who claim they are being patient and wonder how long until they should just throw in the towel. Basically you just have to keep at it, and don’t quit! Want some inspiration? Consider that Gary did Wine Library TV for 19 months before it was really recognized on a large scale.
Gary V. on Criticism
Before writing his new book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary was looking through Amazon reviews of his first two books – getting angry about one and two star reviews. But he used that anger to fuel himself to do something better. He listened to the reviews to figure out what people were looking for, and then delivered it to them in his latest book.
Gary V. on New Trends
Although Gary started his Wine Library TV using Youtube, he let it go and ended up moving to another platform instead – a move he admits was a mistake. He did vow that he wouldn’t let the next big thing pass him by though, so when Twitter came out he recognized it as something great and decided to angel invest in it right away. And if you’re going to go into a new trend he says go ALL in. He spent hours every day when Twitter came out, just talking to people and answering their questions in order to build a following.
Gary V. on Family Business
Frustrated with your family business partners? Gary loved working with his father, currently loves working with his brother, and hopes to have the chance to work with his kids someday. “Family businesses, if you over-communicate and you care about the other person more than you care about yourself, are the single best thing you can ever do.”
Gary V. on Social Media Strategy
Social media platforms aren’t a place to just push your business out there and expect to get results. You have to create quality content that is native to the platform – for example, great pictures for Instagram, infographics for Pinterest, hashtags on Twitter, etc. You have to know who you want to reach and go to the platform where your target group is spending their time. If you know what you’re doing and understand the nuances of that particular social media platform, you can create stories about your business that are a perfect match for the platform…and that you engage with your target customers.
Gary V. on Social Media Content
Social media isn’t a place where you should run to beg for business or to brag about yourself. The point of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is that you should GIVE, GIVE, GIVE to your followers and fans. It’s a way to gain leverage with them. When you give and keep on giving, it gives you permission down the road to ask for business. It’s all about developing the relationship with all the key components that you want in any good relationship – trust, respect and connection.
Gary V. on Entrepreneurial Entitlement
With the creation of Facebook by college student Mark Zuckerberg, now everyone thinks they can create a startup. And when they have a business they believe that they are entitled to everything that comes along with it, including customers. But you aren’t entitled to anything – you have to work for it.
Gary V. on Storytelling to Make Sales
Storytelling can help you sell a product or a service to a customer. “You have to understand what’s the commodity and what’s not. What’s not is where you need to story-tell.” And a good story WILL translate into sales.
Gary V. on Social Media for Start-Ups
The first thing you have to do is figure out who you want to reach. Narrow it down to the demographic that you want to target, and then use social media to find them. You can use Facebook ads to find that exact demographic. You can also use options like Twitter search. But you have to win new followers and fans with interesting and quality content. You could start out by running an offer, but then you’ll get the “lowest common denominator fan” – the one who is following you to just get the offer. Instead you want to find people that are interested in your topics and truly want to connect with your business. Giving them the content they want will get them in the door, and you can market to them later.
Gary V. on What Social Media Platform You Should Start With
There isn’t one place that everyone should start if they’re looking to get into social media marketing. You have to look deep into what you want to accomplish and who you want to sell to – then go where those people are. So, for example, if you want to sell to 12-18 year olds you should start on Vine, but if you want to sell to 42 year old women you should start on Pinterest or Facebook.
Gary V. on Gaining a Twitter Following
You have to work to build a loyal following. Gary V did it by spending a lot of time on his Twitter profile, then searching and finding people who were interested in wine. He then took time to answer their questions – to jump into the conversations they were having and provide information and advice. Those people began to follow him and with time the base grew.
Gary V. on Facebook
Whereas some social media platforms are best for certain things – like animated gifs on Tumblr, real life pictures on Instagram, infographics on Pinterest – Facebook gives you a lot of freedom to do what you want. One new feature he recommends is Facebook dark posts – unpublished posts that can be used to target specific groups. That way you can send relevant, targeted posts to different groups, even if they’re not fans of your site yet.
Gary V. on Social Media Tools (Hootsuite, Google Analytics, Buffer, LocalResponse, etc)
All of these tools are fine and can work for your business if there is a good match between what you need and what the tool offers. You also have to know how to use the tools properly or you’re never going to see good results. You should also weigh the tool properties to what you want to achieve. For example, Hootsuite allows you to send out your messages to all networks at a click of a button – but Gary is completely against that because he believes you have to match the content with the specific platform to get the best results.
Gary V. on Investing
Gary has made a lot of investments in the past. Some are successful (for example, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) and some not successful. But when choosing who to invest in, he likes to “bet on the jockey, not the horse every time.” That means he likes to bet on entrepreneurs themselves – those that have the fire, the spark, the determination to succeed. One example is his investment in Birchbox, a female-owned startup that got a lot of “no”s before they got a “yes” from Gary.
Gary V. on Business Advice for Women, Minorities, etc
Being an immigrant to the US, Gary understands the difficulties certain groups face. But he boils it all down to execution. If you can execute your plan and make things happen then nobody will care. Underdogs can use their status as a motivator for the climb to success.
These are the main points from Startup Grind’s Fireside Chat interview, but if you’re hungry for more you can watch the full interview here. As you go forth, ready to try some new things in your own small business, remember the most important point – success doesn’t come easy, but if you’re willing to work hard, you may find it – just like Gary V. did.