I have to start this blog with some truths. First, I love Gary Vaynerchuk. I like that he is real and raw. Second, I admire his work ethic. He is a hardworking individual who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get the job done. Third, I find value in his communication style, even in his harsh language, because it is authentic. Last, his strategic-thinking is so impressive that a video recorded in 2014 on the topic of storytelling and social media is still relevant almost 3 years later.
In this video, he makes some compelling points. He starts by tackling the notion of storytelling and the cultural realities of today. Namely, that we as a society are time-starved. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day, and as a result, we live our lives in “micro-moments.” What that effectively means is that marketers need to leverage those micro-moments by telling quick, easy to consume stories. However, Gary points out that this doesn’t mean that long-form content is dead, but rather all content must be worthy of our attention because we are living at “hyper speed.” That reality is particularly true if you want your more in depth content to be consumed.
Equally intriguing are his thoughts on context. I cannot tell you how many times I have done a social media audit for a client only to find the same post with the same image posted on multiple social networks. While this approach is certainly the simplest and indeed, the most efficient, it is far from effective. Why? Because the marketer has ignored the idea of context. When Gary speaks of context, he means that we act differently in different environments. For instance, I interact differently when meeting with clients than I do when enjoying some down time with my friends. That is context. So how does this apply to social media? Context as it relates to social media refers to the audience associated with the network. Simply put, the Twitter community is different from the Facebook community. As such, the marketing interaction needs to be customized to fit the network or the context. Without that, the interaction lacks humanity and feels disingenuous. Thus, the lack of effectiveness.
Gary also touches on something that was referenced in a previous post, namely the concept of emotion-driving marketing or “emotional attention”. I’m quite confident if I were to sit down with Gary and have a chat over coffee, he would confirm what I have suspected all along. He uses crude language, not just because he is a New Yorker (and I say that with love), but because it delivers an emotional reaction. It is part of what makes him stand out. Of course, some are turned off by the language, but it is memorable nonetheless. That is clever personal branding because emotion-driven marketing captures consumers’ attention. In a time when attention is increasingly difficult to gain, is it any wonder why emotional-marketing and branding works?
The final element worth noting is Gary’s comments regarding social media and the distribution of content. It is true that many marketers think of social media as a distribution channel for driving awareness and traffic back to their site, blog or offer. However, the real power of social media comes from being part of the conversation. That requires engagement, responsiveness and consistently providing value.
The title of this blog is a direct quote from Gary Vaynerchuk, and while it is unorthodox, I used it because it speaks to the power of social media. Building awareness is about enticing your audience to stop, look and listen to your content. Awareness is the first step in any effective marketing strategy, and social media is the ideal platform for capturing that awareness. However, it mandates a deep knowledge as well as appreciation for the networks themselves. You show your appreciation for the differences between the networks by using the native language of the social media network in the form of storytelling. After all, what is more compelling than a great story?