BY SHARÍ ALEXANDER
GARY VAYNERCHUCK UNCORKS HIS ECRETS FOR BUILDING A SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTING EMPIRE.
simple video blog
about wine turned
into a social media
That’s the Gary
Vaynerchuck story in a
nutshell. Vaynerchuck was one of the
first pioneers of the new business fron-
tier. Instead of blazing a new path on
a mustang strapped with a six-shooter,
he toted bottles of wine, a camera and a
New York Jets bucket.
With the launch of WineLibrary.com,
Vaynerchuck grew his family-owned wine
retail store from $3 million to $45 million.
With the Web blog entitled “Wine Library
TV” and strategic social media efforts, his
empire continued to grow. Vaynerchuck
is now the co-founder of VaynerMedia,
a firm that helps brands leverage online
platforms and build engaged online communities. Who better than Vaynerchuck to
lead the way once again?
Vaynerchuck shared his jet-fueled rise
to the top and his plans for the future.
How did you build your social
media following when no one
knew who you were?
I was putting out good content. That
was No. 1. Putting out a show that
people actually watched helped build
the audience so I could invite people to
follow me on Twitter. But more importantly, I used what is now called Twitter.
com/search. In 2007, you could search
conversations on Twitter. I searched
people talking about wine and would
say “hello.” I treated it like a cocktail party. At that time, it was a much
smaller cocktail party with hundreds
of thousands of people rather than
the tens of millions of people who use
Twitter today. I’m good at working a
room and that helped me leverage this
new opportunity created within Twitter.
How did you get the idea to
blog about wine?
In 2005, I was sitting next to my Web
developers and they started watching two
video blogs. Immediately, I thought I could
do the same thing for wine. I was watching
You Tube explode that year and I thought
“this thing is going to be around to stay.”
How did you introduce your-
self? Did you say, “Hi, my name
is Gary. Here’s a link to my
No! I wanted to create and build
relationships that would last a
lifetime, not just for the next 24
minutes. I was offering to help
people be better at wine. So, if they
were talking about wine, I would say,
“Oh, that’s a great wine. You might
also like this.” I wasn’t selling; I was