9 Takeaways from Gary ‘Social Media Expert’ Vaynerchuk’s New York Times Profile

This weekend’s New York Times profile of VaynerMedia founder Gary Vaynerchuk is a must-read for anyone who works with social media. Some might call him the go-to master of social marketing, and he has a few nuggets of wisdom to share with readers. Here are some of the basics.

1. When he asks questions of his million-plus Twitter followers, he really means it:

“When a follower in Canada wrote ‘Just ran out of Tabasco,’ Mr. Vaynerchuk overnighted eight bottles.”

2. We’re not sure, but he might want you to buy his new book:

3. He’s a linguistic nerd:

“‘Hustle is the most important word ever.'”

4. He knows the value of engaging with everybody:

“About 90 percent of Mr. Vaynerchuk’s tweets are direct replies to people who have written to or about him.”

5. He’s not a snob:

6. Yet he’s far from humble:

“I have as big of an ego as it gets,” he said during a recent interview, in a tone suggesting that he was simply stating the facts, “but I have, stunningly, a lot of humility considering some of the accomplishments I’ve had.”

7. He can get people to engage with a random smiley face:

8. But he’s particular about hiring very clever creatives:

“‘The people I’m trying to hire here are journalists and improv actors…We need clever, funny and quick. If orange juice trees burn down in all of Florida, is there a play for our Tropicana client?'”

9. There’s a reason so many brands pick VaynerMedia to manage their social media:

“The Nilla Wafers Facebook page grew from 15,000 to 356,000 likes….sales are up 9 percent so far this year…and the advertising costs for that increase are a small fraction of a conventional media campaign”

The key here is Vaynerchuk’s ability to connect social to sales like no other via the “give, give, give, ask” strategy. (No offense to every leader at every other digital marketing firm, but you guys weren’t profiled in the Times this weekend.)

His basic punch-you-in-the-face-with-positivity strategy goes something like “voluntarily give people quality content several times before you show them where to spend money”, because content rules digital/social/mobile. Now where have we heard that before?