He did speak about how Twitter and Facebook were the new printing presses. He also spoke about how all this new media is a C-change for our culture, and how anyone with a dream and computer access can be as relevant as Time Magazine or the evening news.
But what he said that got me so jazzed was that the people who consume this stuff are people.
All too often when I go to a speaking engagement about new media – and I’ve gone to a lot in the last year – the topic always boils down to, “how can you get more conversions/click throughs/impressions/sell more widgets.” It sounds like a fantasy football maniac talking about player stats.
What is rare and so refreshing is hearing someone say that customers are people, and people want to be treated like people. Sure, if you post the same Twitter message 30 times a day, and get 10000 followers to see it, and .5% of them convert, you’ll get 5 customers. Good for you, it’s money in the bank.
But if you actually talk to 100 people, and get to know them, and where necessary slip in that you sell what they’ve been talking about needing, you’ll do a whole lot better than .5%. What’s more, you’ll actually be using social media the way it was supposed to be used – not as another channel for spam.
Listening to him, I thought of all the elements of social media marketing that piss me off so much: Ping.fm, hot chick avatars, following complete strangers in the hopes they’ll follow you back… What Gary proposes is so much more fulfilling. Be a person. Find other people and converse with them just as you would if they were standing in front of you.
Make them want to be your customer.
And, of course, as someone who’s done this all before, I can tell you it does take a lot of work. It takes a lot of time. That’s why posting through an RSS feed is so popular! “I don’t have time to Tweet each person each day – I need to get things moving now!”
Those same people would then say approaching customers like they were drones to be conned into buying something en masse is the economical way to get things sold.
But I have to trust Mr. Vaynerchuk on his approach more, because he actually applied it to a business. His own business, no less. I’ve always said I trust the advice of a self-made millionaire more than I do anyone with 10,000 Facebook friends. And here is a prime example of a person who made his business thrive not through collecting followers and then message blasting them, but through real engagement.
This is what social media’s power is – not the number of people using Facebook, and oh goody I’m going to grab up as many of those idiots as I can.
The power is in it’s ability to let you communicate with others. Getting it to work isn’t about thinking around the fact that it’s a two-way street – it’s about being willing to use it to your advantage.