Why Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz will be the first true transcendent social business star

The term ‘influencer’ is sorely overused in the social media industry.

That said, I strongly believe Brian Fanzo will be the first transcendent social business star of our era.

Looking broadly at the industry, Gary Vaynerchuk has blazed a path, through years and years of hard work, to the top of the social media ecosphere.

You saw it at Social Media Marketing World — Gary Tweets, Instagrams or Snaps that he’ll be at a certain location at a given minute, and people appear.

I love Gary, I appreciate all that he’s done for the industry, and I’ll continue to root for him until he does, in fact, own the New York Jets. (Go Cowboys.)

And then there’s DJ Khaled, he of “major key” fame. Khaled’s impact on the Snapchat world is unmistakable, and the “major key” phrase has permeated pop culture.

But for all the business advice you’ll find on DJ Khaled’s Snapchat broadcasts, his forte will always be the music industry. He might make boatloads of money, but sadly, “they” don’t want DJ Khaled to be the first transcendent social business star.

As the umbrella of social media continues to grow, and the impractically large bubble all of us social media users live in inches closer to its inevitable burst, the man I see emerging the strongest from it all is Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz.

I feel this way for one particular reason: the lessons that Brian preaches are not at all unique to a single social media platform — nor are they solely relevant through the lens of social media.

Brian refers to himself as a “generalist,” but in 2015, his aim often shifted from one platform, to another, to another — the key (major key?) being that his digital dexterity, paired with valuable insider access, made him the example to follow in the industry.

In 2016, more specifically over the last two months, I read a different Brian Fanzo. His messaging focuses less on the what and more on the why; it focuses much less on the apps and moreso on the fundamental, cross-platform execution of a strategy.

Being platform agnostic is not a new concept, to Brian, nor probably to you. Generalists by definition must live and die by digital agnosticism.

But take a closer look at the platitudes that Brian preaches and you’ll realize why his quotes belong not only on scripted Instagram images, but also 24"x36" laminated posters on the walls of junior high schools.

“Celebrate the wins of others.” “Look people in the digital eyeballs.” “Change the first meeting from a handshake to a hug.”

It almost feels like Brian isn’t thinking of his 66,000+ Twitter followers when he crafts these messages, but rather his three young daughters, who will grow up not hoping to understand social media but *needing* to be adept across platforms to handle basic communications.

Brian Fanzo’s messages are valuable to our generation, but they are vital to the next generation.

Brian Fanzo’s messages are valuable to our generation, but they are vital to the next generation.

As social media permanently becomes part of the fabric of our day-to-day lives, the messages broadcast from Brian Fanzo will be a major part of how the next generation molds the world into a better place.

Brian’s recent struggles to publicly define himself — his Snap stories truly have demonstrated a digital metamorphosis — have led to a height that no other digital ambassador has ever reached — the point of genuine social transcendence.

Gary is right there with him, he is — but two minor things make me lean to Brian over Gary:

  1. Gary’s insistence on relying upon blunt, vulgar language makes his messaging shockingly genuine, at the cost (which he fully understands) of offending the average viewer, and
  2. Gary’s ascendance to ‘stardom’ came largely before the emergence of live-streaming video, whereas Brian’s has occurred concurrently.

The other minor differentiation, in my mind, betwixt Fanzo and Vaynerchuk? Both are unquestionably family-first, but Brian’s semi-public approach to raising his young daughters adds an unquestionably human element. (All the respect in the world to Gary, who absolutely has his priorities in order as well.)

So what does all this mean? Where does this leave Brian’s value in 2016 and beyond?

To me, the sky is the limit. I, like many others, still shrug our shoulders and smirk when we look back seven months ago, when Brian made numerous very public overtures to become the Chief Marketing Officer for Twitter — outreach that has, to this point, gone unanswered. If I’m Jack Dorsey, I’m calling Brian before I finish reading this article.

If I’m organizing a social media conference in 2016 and beyond, the first phone call I make is to Brian Fanzo, with my checkbook in hand. It’s no surprise the young man finds now himself flying from city to city to city, and I can’t imagine anyone at any of the symposiums he’s featured at has left disappointed.

If I’m writing textbooks about the true value of social media in 2016 and beyond, the first page mentions Brian Fanzo.

If I’m running any business with the slightest bit to gain from social media, the first “influencer” I’m dialing is Brian Fanzo. (If the man’s on pace to change the world, I’m pretty sure he can sell your widgets.)

And if I’m a rookie entreprenuer of any age looking to get up-to-speed with the digital scene in 2016, I’m pouring every resource I’ve got into catching up with the young, backwards-hatted, bright-shoed Brian Fanzo.

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Chris Strub is the first man to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, and the author of “50 States, 100 Days: The Book.” He also can’t believe he just wrote 1,000 words about a Steelers fan. (Go Cowboys.)

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