We cant help but to be hyper-consumed by something that is imponderable, yet surrounds us every second of every day. We can’t touch or see it in its physical form, but the internet dictates modern life to a point where we find ourselves going through the biggest cultural shift in communications since the invention of the telephone. Right now I find myself typing, doing online banking, connecting with friends half way around the world, and shopping – all online of course. According to embarkable.ie, it’s estimated that 94% of Irish people have some form of social media account; with the average Irish person spending 5.5 hours on social media every day. 1.8 million Irish people use Facebook every single day and 70% of Irish businesses have made the transition to digital sales.
“Social” seems to be the buzz word at the moment, and if you’re not doing it – or not doing it correctly – you could get left by the way-side. So when social media consultancy startup Leading Social brought a world-famous media mogul – Gary Vaynerchuck – to Dublin, you can bet your bottom dollar that there was plenty of buzz going around.
Originally from Belarus but an American citizen these past 30 or so years, Vaynerchuck developed a passion for sales and business from a young age, and at 17 had acquired his first online wine sales and distribution company. However at this time the internet was still a neonate. Nobody wanted to be a part of it and anyone over the age of 50 branded it as a ‘fad’; a trend that would soon die out. Fast forward 20 years and Gary Vaynerchuck is now an incredibly successful forty year old social media guru, legend and entrepreneur with a burgeoning $53 billion empire.
Think of your sixteen year old self at your favourite concert; remember the sheer anxiety you felt and how it was the greatest day of your life? That was the general consensus at this weeks event at The Mansion House; except the room was full to capacity with the majority age holder being in the 30+ age bracket.
Prior to Vaynerchuck’s hour-long diatribe – that much use of the F word doesn’t constitute as a “talk”- Samantha Kelly, Anthony Quigley, Niall Harbison , and Pat Divilly, who are all savvy media moguls in their own right and have incredible stories to tell, delivered engaging insights into maximising your social media presence, marketing and sales for both individuals and businesses who want to expand their brand identity.
The message was concise and coherent from each speaker: in order to create a sustainable and integrated brand – either personally or as an enterprise – you need complete consistency across the board. Your social media channels must convey the soul of the brand, business or service that you’re trying to sell or offer. Having strong social media channels will help you to build loyalty with potential customers, increase your visibility in the marketplace (think of all that exposure!), and has massive potential to increase sell-through.
All delegates agreed that Facebook and Twitter are rapidly fizzing out, while Snapchat and instant video apps are the forthcoming platforms of choice. We are living through a battle of the Facebook generation versus the Snapchat generation: In America in 2005, every 19-24 year old was using Facebook to connect. Now however ever 14-22 year old is actively on Snapchat. Gary places the blame on the fact that we are living in “age-ing down” of our society; whereby people want to live longer. He noted how people in their mid 30’s are now dressing younger than their parents when they were that age, and that the trend of youth-engagement is transcending into social media use. So should you expect your granny to be using Snapchat soon then? I certainly hope not.
Over the next decade, the biggest businesses in the world will be created, and thanks to social media we already have the ability to build something that goes from 0-50 million users in seconds. Next time you find yourself scalding your child for spending too much time on their phone, praise them instead. Chances are their future jobs will be mobile or internet orientated, and haven’t even been invented yet.
Gary Vaynerchuck’s latest book #AskGaryVee is now available worldwide.
Key insights of social media and entrepreneurship at Gary Vaynerchuck
Be consistent: Update your platforms regularly while sticking to the original soul of your business identity or brand. Explore what works best for you and your audience in terms of content, and collaborate with content creators so that you can link back to their work / platforms and vice versa.
Mobile: Your phone is the single most important thing in the world in terms of social media. Invest wisely in a good smartphone.
Do it: Don’t let fear of failure barricade you from maximising your potential
Snapchat: Think of it as an off-the-cuff Facebook where anything goes.
Tweet me: While Twitter is an excellent and personal way of expanding your brand and community, it’s only a tiny portion of the web, so don’t be afraid to expand and try new channels.
Don’t endeavour after your weaknesses: Excel in your areas of strength first and fore-most.
Ask for help: There will always be other like-minded individuals who may have tried and succeeded before you. Reach out and ask for guidance for your enterprise.
Get shit done: As entrepreneurs we tend to be perfectionists, but speed is the winning currency of today’s habitat. As Gary Vaynerchuck put it: “speed is 4 billion times more important than perfection. Get shit done, not get shit right”.
Be on top of trends: Gary recommends checking the top free apps available on the app store. Almost all social media platforms start here.
Positivity is key: engaging yourself with the right mindset from the outset will prepare you and push you to work harder, and to eventually become the leader that you set out to be.
Embrace failure: For every 25 disasters you may only encounter 3 successes but don’t be disheartened