Vaynerchuk believes it’s easier done than said.
A few weeks back, at a networking event for fitness start-ups at We Work Spitalfields, we bumped into Gary Vee.
Okay, so maybe Gary Vee and his posse hustled right by us, probably on the way to the recording studio, but even in that short time, he made an impression on us.
He was busy. He was fast. He was in the moment. He was, as Gary Vee likes to do, taking care of business.
But Gary Vaynerchuk, to give him his full title, is more than just a hustler. Vaynerchuk is a worker, a thinker, a maker, and a doer.
Heck, if he ever bumps into George Osborne, they’d probably never spend a day apart!
But is the self-styled social media impresario a one off, or somebody we can learn from?
Is Vaynerchuk an opportunist, or a teacher? A Social media brat, or a social media brand?
Let’s take the whistle stop tour of his philosophy. First, Vaynerchuk tells us that there are three ways to communicate. You can use video, audio, or text.
Some people are talkers, others are writers, and some – well some just sound great.
So far so good.
Now, here is a wonderful quote taken from a flagship Vaynerchuck video, and delivered during what looks like a meeting with some awe-struck investors:
“Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are ABC, NBC and CBS, and what I’ve figured out over the last decade is how to make MASH and the Andy Griffith Show and ER and Seinfeld.”
Translation for those of you reading this in the UK; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky – and I’ve figured out how to make EastEnders, The Graham Norton Show, Broadchurch and Benidorm.
But these are bold claims – after all, Gary Vee has been at it for over a decade, and his videos are “only” pulling in an average of 100k views per clip.
Is it enough to justify Gary Vee’s bolder than brass claims?
It’s time to bust a myth. When we talk about social media influencers, we tend to think of characters that are untouchable; impossibly good at what they do, signing mega deals with advertisers and pulling in millions with a quick flash of their winning smiles.
This is categorically not the case with Gary Vee – or indeed, any other kind of influencer.
Because in the world of social influencers, a lot like the tech start up scene, you could say, as Malcolm Gladwell teaches us, hundreds of thousands of hours have gone into perfecting those moves.
Plus, there is a kind of hierarchy, which means whilst some influencers open a window into their lives, others strive to deliver more meaningful, helpful content, to compensate for their lack of star status.
At the top of the tree, there are the megastars – and there is only room for a few. PewDiePie or Smosh on YouTube, Justin Bieber or Katy Perry’s Twitter accounts –these are examples of the guys and girls who are cock of the walk. The people we all love to talk about.
One rung below, you have the super influencers. Think Tanya Burr, Jenna Marbles, or The Young Turks; social media superstars who never made It onto the big screen. This class of influencer also includes stars who have dropped out of the super celeb stratosphere; Russel Brand, Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld even.
And another rank below you have the social media grafters; The people who make a living, and sometimes only just, thanks to their relentless appetite for making social media.
These folk never give up – they don’t dwell on the failures, they don’t ask for sympathy – they just keep going, and by hook or by crook, they get there.
And this, folks, is the category that we would suggest Gary Vaynerchuck belongs within.
So, when Vaynerchuk says Fuck it! Just start! We salute him, and we listen to him, because if we’re trying to break into the social influencer game, our paths to success will mimic his far more Justin Bieber’s. This is a guy who came up the hard way – but he is somebody you will learn more from than almost anybody else on social media.
Gary Vee, unlike the superstars, who want you to believe they inhabit a different universe to you, will always tell it like it is.
He may not always get the views, but he keeps going, and always comes back for more.