I recently had the great pleasure of speaking at the prestigious Gulltaggen (“Golden Tag”) event in Oslo, Norway. Gulltaggen is the Nordic premiere digital marketing conference. Among the speaker lineup were two fellow prominent social media personalities: my friends Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan.
I loved being able to spend a fair bit of time with Chris Brogan – we had several great conversations over a few different meals. It’s the most time we’ve spent in person. (We both intentionally booked extra time for the Norway trip to enjoy connecting with the attendees and do a bit of sightseeing too). I got to catch up with Gary in just a few minutes, as is usual for us!
I’ve known both Chris and Gary since 2007; none of us spend a whole lot of in-person time together despite the fact we’re often at similar events. But, there is a distinct closeness among us – continually cemented with online connecting – which Gary mentioned from the stage during his keynote.
Building personality-based businesses
If you run your own business, scaling your social media management can prove more and more difficult as your online networks grow. Especially if you are what I call a “personality-based business.” That is, your name is the business. Your identity is wrapped up with the business so it makes it impossible to delegate (unless you’re okay using a ghostwriter, which most people I know are not!)
Personality-based businesses have become increasingly popular over the last few years with the boom of online social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We talk of “web-celebs” who are springing up in all kinds of industries, not just social media. Celebrity status, if you will, is no longer reserved for actors and entertainers.
But, from what I’ve experienced and observed, those personalities creating greater successes are the ones who can remain humble, genuine, caring, inclusive. They treat everyone as equals and don’t let people put them on pedestals. They scale their caring as Gary says. I do my best to fall into this category and I know for sure both Gary and Chris do.
Scaling social media
Gary gave a rousing opening keynote (as always!) at Gulltaggen, and I wanted to share some of his key points below that really got me thinking more about this whole issue of scalability. Yes, it can be difficult to scale if you’re the one running all your own social media accounts – but Gary is adamant that you can scale caring and I completely agree.
If you’re familiar at all with Gary and his philosophies, he talks about the importance of the “hustle.” You need to go the extra mile, be everywhere, push yourself that bit further, consistently engage with your online networks, personally answer emails and calls, and provide exceptional customer care.
Bigger businesses with the resources absolutely must scale. BestBuy, for example, do a great job of scaling – they have some 2,500 employees dedicated to customer service via online social networks. And likes of Starbucks and Audi lead the way in engagement.
But, those of us who run personality-based businesses have to make a conscious decision to really ramp up the connection time whilst still running the business. (Of course, the online engagement is a massive part of running the business!) In future posts, I’ll outline some of my own strategies for scaling.
Golden nuggets from @GaryVee
Here are my favorite soundbites from Gary’s talk at Gulltaggen:
- “There is absolutely NO reason why big brands can’t scale their social media engagement.”
- “Social media campaigns are like a one night stand. You have to MARRY your customer.”
- “We are now in a cocktail party and the people who know how to work the room will win. You can’t give a presentation at a cocktail party.”
- “For the first time EVER, businesses will NOT be able to catch up with just money… because they don’t have the emotional investment. It takes time to build up relationships.”
- “YES, you CAN scale caring!! Just look at myself, Chris Brogan and Mari Smith.”
- “How interesting that three of the personalities who are most engaged with their audiences are here speaking at this conference.”
- “Online social connecting is bringing us closer together. I’ve spent all of nine minutes total with Mari Smith in person over the years but I feel very close to her.”
- “Content is King. Marketing is Queen, and she runs the household. But, more important than content is context.“
- “Even in 140 characters, INTENT is grossly underrated. People try to just go for the sale. Is your intent pure?”
- “Want to know the ROI of Social Media? People are making point-of-purchase buying decisions based on their social graph!“
- “You MUST put your Facebook and Twitter URL in ads/print media/packaging, not just the Facebook and Twitter LOGO!!” [Gary is on a mission to ensure we don’t make the prospects work too hard to find our social profiles; even if it seems obvious to the company, still put your actual links next to the social logos.]
[UPDATE: I believe the video of Gary’s Gulltaggen presentation is not yet online but you may find it here at some point: http://norwaytv.com/. Meantime, check out this great video of Gary on SUCCESS Magazine’s site.]
Slides from Gulltaggen speakers
Chris Brogan’s presentation was equally as awesome as Gary’s, for different reasons. Like Gary, Chris has his own unique style of “edutainment” with a terrific sense of humor and timing. The Norwegians are first to admit they tend to be somewhat reserved and it can be challenging for presenters to gel with audiences in Norway. However, Chris’ humorous, relaxed style was well-received; I loved seeing the audience laugh along with Chris as he playfully poked fun at their teeny viking museum, for example! See Chris’ slides from Gulltaggen here.
Two other excellent, authoritative speakers at Gulltaggen were web analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik and online marketing expert, Bryan Eisenberg, who gave a terrific presentation on the future of shopping!
You can view the slides from my own Gulltaggen Facebook Marketing session and access the resources page set up for attendees here.
By the way, a word of encouragement for all female professional speakers out there – we need to see you on stage more! I’m frequently the only female speaker in an all-male lineup, such as I was at Gulltaggen. I’m not a big ‘gender-issue’ type of person, but it certainly would be a good thing to see a tad more balance. 😉 Just sayin.
Also, click here to see my favorite selection of photos and short video clips I took while in Oslo, Norway. If ever you have a chance to go, I highly recommend the Opera House, Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park (with 216 stunning nude statues!), and the Ekebergrestauranten where the hospitality and food are exquisite.
Please do share with me in the comments below your own thoughts on scaling social media and building personality-based businesses. How are you managing at your company?