ATLANTA – The way we use social media is broken, Gary Vaynerchuk told the Digital Summit in his keynote address in Atlanta. It’s not about how many followers you have. It’s about engaging with them and getting them to take action, he said.
New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk is the star of WineLibraryTV.com, a video blog launched from his platform as Director of Operations of national industry retail giant Wine Library. Known as the “King of Social Media,” he is one of the first-and one of a few-Facebook users who has maxed-out his friend limit, with over 17,000 pending friend requests. He is in the top 100 people followed on Twitter and has been headline keynote at South by Southwest Interactive conference and the New Media and Web 2.0 expos.
Vaynerchuk told the crowd at Atlanta’s Cobb Gallkeria, “Since the beginning of time, marketers have pushed their products out and still do. The problem: social marketing is relationship-based and most companies are looking for a one-night stand.”
His advice: Don’t follow people just so you can push your ads. You have to build a community and engage with them. You’ll have to show you care about the customer by delivering what they need to solve their problems. Context is what you’re fighting for: you’ll have to shut your mouth and open your eyes and learn about the end users.
Word of mouth is the currency.
Technology has brought us back together and is making it easier to share opinions of products instead of having to rely on TV ads and other traditional media. Vaynerchuk told the story of a “135 year-old” man who opened TweetDeck on his smartphone to decide which movie he and his wife should see. He was relying on the opinion of his network.
In building relationships with the customer, you have to show that you care about them by thanking them with something they can use and appreciate. Marketers are still spending money on dumb trinkets with their names on them. What good does it do?
Vaynerchuk, for instance, said a customer who placed a $15,000 wine order and how they engaged with that customer. Vaynerchuck has a staff person responsible for thanking the customer, and they found him on Twitter. They followed him for a month or so. The customer’s tweets were about a particular sports team and player. Gary’s staff shopped for a signed shirt by this player and sent it to the customer to thank him for his business.
Social marketing still is not used as much as it should be because big companies can’t scale it and small companies don’t have time.
“This stuff is helping to work to bring down governments, so don’t think for a minute that it’s not powerful or going away. Make time, whether you can scale it now or not,” he said.
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