The Gary phenomenon

There’s many ways in which Gary Vaynerchuck influenced me, even starting with putting myself out there in the first place. His mantra “document, don’t create” made it very apparent to me and many others that just starting with what you have is more important than strategizing your perfect Social Media entry. Also he illustrates over and over again that in a world where everyone is trying to perfect his or her online appearances, it is much more beneficial to be authentic in embracing the journey than faking success and expertise, especially if you’re in for the long run.

Gary is currently blowing up on Social Media. I first came across his content about a year ago, and at this point it is almost impossible to not have seen him in some podcast or collaboration on YouTube. Right now he has over 600.000 subscribers on YouTube and his followership is growing steadily. With this post I want to shed light on one possible reason for his recent successes.

If you’ve seen an interview with Gary, you maybe noticed subtle differences in his presence over most other YouTube (and TV) personalities. The main difference is: everyone wants to sell, Gary wants to help. Usually towards the end of basically every interview ever recorded, conversation topics awkwardly transition to presenting the interviewee’s new product in hopes of attracting new buyers. Gary does not care about this at all — there has even been times where he was seemingly annoyed when addressed with the topic of his book launch.

The real reason that Gary is winning is that he understands YouTube, Facebook and Instagram not as a promotion platforms, but as a social networks. While most people, if given exposure, just eagerly want to get to business, Gary rather avoids this. He understands that in the digital world, relationships count: you could be anyone selling anything, and people can’t immediately tell if you stand behind your product or are just after quick money. Gary knows that trust needs to be earned, and that can only happen if you keep giving and don’t start taking right away.

So what he focuses on instead is helping out the audience, right there on the spot. Every minute on air is dedicated to giving advice, motivation or inspiration to whoever needs it. The purpose is to have as many people as possible remember him by the end of the video. With every bit of exposure, a few more people follow him, and possibly stay engaged with his content. And at some point, after watching a lot of videos and “getting to know Gary”, a follower might convert to a buyer. But even if that does not happen, his strategy adds up: through a friend of a friend of a follower, some kind of opportunity might materialize later on. Or, as Gary says: “Doing the right thing is always the right thing”.

After having been a consumer of content on YouTube and Facebook for years now, Gary feels like a breath of fresh air. Not only is he an inspiration in discipline, confidence and social intelligence — he also directly demonstrates how Internet marketing works in the 21st century. Gary shows us a glimpse of what I believe will be the driving principle of our economy in the future: actually caring about your customer and “doing the right thing”.