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Kenneth Cline Sep 26, 2014

Going All In with Social Media Marketing

Go all in: that’s how bankers should manage their social media efforts, according to Gary Vaynerchuk, who knows something about using social media as a marketing tool.

From 2006 to 2011, Vaynerchuk utilized his daily web TV show, Wine Library TV, to build the wine store he inherited from his father into a national business. And it took all-in commitment to achieve that, as he explains: “I did nine months of my wine show every day and used Twitter all the time, five, six, seven hours a day for nine months, before anything really started happening. That’s a commitment that most people are not willing to make.”

In the process, Vaynerchuk established himself as a social media guru and went on to publish best sellers such as Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. Now CEO of New York City-based VaynerMedia, a social media brand consulting company, Vaynerchuk is scheduled to appear at BAI Retail Delivery 2014 on November 12 to tell bankers how they can move the needle in a digital marketing world. Below are just a few of the insights on social media and salesmanship that he will share during his presentation:

Q: You’ve been very successful in building your wine business through the application of social media, on Wine Library TV. How did you become so adept at using social media and digital advertising and what are some of the key principles that you learned along the way?

Vaynerchuk: I think it has to do with the fact that I’m just somebody who takes time to really respect the change in the marketplace. I jumped on social media for the same reason that I jumped on e-commerce in building a website in 1996, when everybody thought those were not as important as they ended up being. Or doing email service in 1997 when nobody realized email was going to be such a powerful marketing tool. Or doing Google ad words in 2000 or YouTube in 2006, less than a year after YouTube came out. Whatever comes next, whether it’s virtual reality or something else, I feel like I’ll be in that forefront.

Q: But in terms of actually making social media work, what are the things that mattered?

Vaynerchuk: The number one thing that matters is, social media needs to be a religion that you actually believe in. And I’m not kidding about that because it goes hand-in-hand with the number two thing, which is patience. Most people don’t go all in; that’s what it really comes down to. You have to believe that it actually matters and then allocate the time and give it time to breathe. Then it can become very important. I did nine months of my wine show every day and used Twitter all the time, five, six, seven hours a day for nine months, before anything really started happening. That’s a commitment that most people are not willing to make.

The third lesson is putting out good content. If I didn’t really know a lot about wine and didn’t know about it for 15 years before I started my show, there would have been really no reason for people to listen to what I had to say. And then I got lucky in that I have showmanship and sizzle in my DNA that actually made Wine Library TV fun to watch. The key is mapping your skills to your business and trying to sell to the right audience.

Q: Bankers have used social media with mixed results. Do you have any particular advice for them, based on what you know of their business?

Vaynerchuk: I do a lot of private equity consulting and I do my own venture capital so I understand bankers as well as I understand retailers. What they need to be careful of is not being fooled by the numbers. Bankers, by nature, are looking at a lot of data. What they are missing is what I have going for me, which is actually seeing around the corner and seeing the future. When you’re doing that, you’re investing in things that don’t have obvious return on investment (ROI), or a financial reward in the first 12 or 24 months. So, bankers often miss what’s around the corner and are not willing to invest in the next 24 months without a return.

Q: Sales is another area where bankers have struggled and where you take great pride in your skills. What advice would you give them about improving their ability to sell?

Vaynerchuk: I think selling is very similar to being a professional basketball player or a Mariah Carey-like singer, meaning I think sales is extremely DNA-driven. It’s one of the skill sets that’s less teachable than people realize. So, what I would actually suggest is, surround yourself with sales people.

Q: There are realms of consultants who will insist that sales can be taught …

Vaynerchuk: I would disagree. I think everything can be taught to a limit. Do I think I can be better at basketball? Sure. If I played six hours of basketball every day for the next three years, I’m going to be a better basketball player. Does that mean that I can play in the NBA? Absolutely not.

So, I would caution people, based on my twenty-year business career, that it’s better to put people in the best position to succeed. You will get a much better ROI teaching a natural salesman to become a better salesman than to try to convert an introvert or a non-sales driven person into becoming a sales person.

Mr. Cline is managing editor of BAI Banking Strategies and can be reached at kcline@bai.org.

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