Today, I spoke to Gary Vaynerchuk, who I also interviewed for the sixth issue of Personal Branding Magazine. This time, he’s back and his new book, Crush It!, is coming out soon. I caught up with Gary before his life becomes crazy and asked him questions about his marketing platform, traditional media against new media, quantity versus quality in social networking and more. This interview is unedited, just like Gary would like!
How important is Twitter for marketing your personal brand and building a platform to sell yourself, Wine Library, Crush It!, etc?
We’re in the eyeballs business. I don’t necessarily need or love twitter, Facebook or Ustream or Friendster. It’s more about listening. I don’t want a crowd of 50,000 and a microphone. I would much rather have that same football field and go in there and mingle. Too many people want the mic. I want to listen and engage with people and that’s the game. Twitter is important because it allows you to do it.
How has the traditional media platform differed from social networking for you?
TV is exciting for me. Right now I’m Ustreaming and I’m about to tell everyone that I’m going to be on the CBS morning show tomorrow morning. What’s cool is that someone will record this and someone will put it on YouTube 5 minutes after. Traditional media is great, but the ability to continue the conversation on new platforms is going to be very exciting.
Do you think everyone should have their own marketing platform? Is it good/required for one’s career, whether you’re a student/prof/entrepreneur, etc?
I don’t know if everyone should have their own marketing platform. I think everyone should do what the hell they like. The new web allows us to talk about the stuff we love. The fact that the cost is zero now is amazing.
Would you say that your blog or other social networks helped market Wine Library as a whole, not just your personal brand?
At some level sure, it helps winelibrary.com. They buy from me because they appreciate everything else I do, but it’s a very small factor. It’s not a factor I’ve paid attention to at all so I don’t know and haven’t done the homework to understand the true financial impact.
Does having a larger marketing platform make you more successful? Say, if you have 100,000 Twitter followers and 40,000 blog subscribers. What is better quality or quantity?
There is no debate at all. Your twitter count or the amount of people that watch you is not as powerful as a smaller following that is really passionate. The people chilling here on Ustream that don’t have as many followers as I do, but they might have a whole many more that are passionate. There are plently of people with 7,000 twitter followers and 6,000 are passionate. The number does not matter. It’s not even close. It’s about passionate followers.
It’s all hustle. It’s caring. It’s listening. It’s putting out great shit. It’s all that. If you don’t have the chops, you have no shot. If you don’t care a whole lot, then you have no shot. If you don’t work your ass off, you have no shot. This isn’t like one good thing does it. This isn’t like sign up for a Twitter account and you got this. You have to do it all. You have to bring it hard and you have to do a whole lot.
I’m stunned that people think there are shortcuts. I’m going to promise you right now that there are no short cuts. This is working 15 hours a day working till my eyes bleed and giving a shit about everyone and having a brain that lets me be smart about things. You can’t win big if you don’t have it all, but you can win a little bit if you have some of it.
Any closing remarks Gary?
It comes down to DNA. Just know who you are, try hard and be good to people. Life is much bigger than money and business. I just wish people understood how lucky we are to be living in this time to be connected to people. Even if you have six fans you shouldn’t take it for granted. six people have taken time out of their day to see what you have to say. It’s a special place to be in the fact that people care about each and their thoughts. That is powerful.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a 33-year-old entrepreneur whose dual identity as both business guru and wine guy has made him known as the “Social Media Sommelier.” A self-trained wine expert, he revolutionized the wine industry with his video blog, Wine Library TV, and grew his family wine business from $4 million to $60 million in five years. What raised Vaynerchuk’s notoriety even more than his business acumen was his foresight combined with his pioneering, multi-faceted approach to personal branding and business. WAs his viewership swelled to over 80,000 a day, and his family’s wine business grew to over $60 million a year, he made television appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Ellen DeGeneres, NBC’s Today Show, CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer, and The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, was featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and has become a consultant for Fortune 100 companies, and a keynote speaker around the world. He is the author of the new book CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion (HarperStudio).