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Gary Vaynerchuk On Scaling Social Media – Highlights from Gulltaggen, Norway

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.

Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk

Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk

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.

Gary Vaynerchuk at Gulltaggen, Oslo, Norway

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: 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?

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

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  1. Ralph Paglia on May 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm


    I am a 30+ year veteran of automotive sales and marketing who has been involved with discovering social media marketing within the auto industry since 2005… I really enjoyed your post and have been avidly sharing the key points you identified with many of my colleagues. I have also embedded your slide show into a forum discussion to share with my car guy and gal friends who wonder about events like this outside the auto industry. Thank you for your insightful post and for sharing your experience with so many.

  2. Anonymous on April 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    One of your many gifts Mari besides evolving from secretary, sales, management, software training and becoming a fully fledged successful entrepreneur is your ability to reveal the key elements of healthy relationships, and the importance of “emotional connection” online.

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:18 am

      Aw thank you kindly for saying, Beverly!! Wow, I’m impressed you took the time to know about my background. 😉 You’re a great connector yourself. xxx

  3. Solveig Malvik on April 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Mari, really liked your post and look forward to your future posts on scaling social media and personality based business. I’m just starting my personality based business and its quite intimidating all of a sudden having “me” out there in this way. I’ve been online and visible, probably more than most people I know, for a long time, but this just feels like a whole different dimension, its exciting, yay! So…look forward to your future insights and as always appreciate your advice, your clear and to the point posts and insights.
    – Solveig

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:19 am

      Welcome dear Solveig!! You’re in good company here – feel free to ask questions any time on my fan page at I do my best to answer all questions, plus I have a great community there and everyone is so helpful and friendly.

  4. Travis Campbell on April 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm


    Thanks for taking the time to summarize what was shared at this event. By all accounts it seems like it was a worthwhile event to attend.

    You are unabashedly a tourist! The question I have… did you try some of the Norwegian cheeses (Gjetost)?


    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

      hehee, hey Travis!! I looooooove being a tourist – even when I go back to Scotland where I lived for 20 years, I still learn new things about my country. I do believe I had some Norwegian cheeses on some of the dinners and, I must say, the breakfast buffet at the Radisson Blu Plaza was second to none… better than most Vegas casino buffets even!!

      • Travis Campbell on April 29, 2011 at 1:18 am

        I can only imagine. Been to Sweden and Denmark, but not yet Norway. Not sure I ever mentioned this to you, but years ago I spent some time touring Scotland. Great people there! Even made a birdie at St. Andrews golf course!

  5. Kristi Hines on April 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Great summary – I especially like the golden nuggets. Now if only more businesses would not only read those, but take them to heart with it comes to their social media strategies, everyone would win!

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

      Amen, Kristi!! Thanks heaps for stopping by. 🙂 I appreciate you.

  6. jhaubein on April 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Mari, Great post! Three of my favorite people all in one place- wish I was there 🙂 I saw Gary Vee speak for the second time at SXSW and was blown away! I wonder if he swore as much as he did there? 😉 I also really enjoyed getting to know Chris Brogan at lunch a few years at SXSW. You three are the real deal! Always replying to people’s questions when you can on social media and even if it’s just with a simple thanks. If you’all can do it then, you’re right there is no reason why brands can’t scale either. Now all we need to do is get you to speak at SXSW and we’ll be all set!

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:22 am

      Hiya Jennifer!! Good to connect with you again. haha, yes Gary swears whichever stage he’s on or country he’s in!! 🙂

      Many thanks for your sweet words. Indeedy, I’d love to speak at SXSW sometime soooon! Maybe 2012. 🙂

  7. on April 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Great post, Mary. Just “discovered” you through Pat Flynn’s, and already absorbed so much. Thanks for great facebook insights!

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:23 am

      Awesome!! Good to see you here!

  8. Marcbinkley on April 27, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Hey Mari. My name is Marc Binkley. I’m seriously passionate about understanding and measuring the business-consumer interface. I’m a regular guy, eh. I’ve never met the three of you in person yet you all have said hello to me on social media platforms. With one simple ‘hello’, youve each created a fan. I feel personally connected and genuinely excited for each of you. You all have passion about what you do. You all have a lot of interesting things to say. Part of what you all write creates the language I use every day.

    I don’t know how you measure the scalability of that, but you all have armys of fans talking you about your person brands. Thanks for proving that there is another way.

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:23 am

      Lovely to connect with you hear, Marc. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thomas on April 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Hey Mari, thanks for pumping out good content and of course for the positive comments about Oslo. I’m also trying to build my infobusiness about similar things that you teach (it takes time – baby steps, right?). I’ve been a big follower of GaryVee for a while too, and totally agree with his philosophies. Let me ask you a question if you don’t mind – How do you manage your time, or manage yourself rather (as Peter Drucker would say) when you have so many followers and tweets and questions (like mine) interrupting all the time? Do you manage to stay focused on getting real work done with so many interruptions? I completely agree that personal branding and building relationships is very important, but do you ever feel that once you reach a certain level it can get in the way of your concentration? Sometimes I feel “you people” bend time somehow!

    • Mari Smith on April 29, 2011 at 12:29 am

      Hiya Thomas!! Ahhh the great self-management (vs. time-management).

      Honestly, some days I wonder how I do fit everything in. But, I’m actually using the big jar method, in essence – have you heard of that? The big rocks go in first – all your priorities, followed by smaller rocks, pebbles, sand then water. Only if the contents are put in the jar in that order can everything fit in. If you try to fill the jar the other way around, it’ll overflow with water and sand long before you can even get one big rock in.

      So, I do my utmost to have self-care at the top of my priority list every day: proper nutrition, relaxation and the right amount of sleep for me (8hrs minimum!)… plus breaks, personal growth time, spiritual time, connecting with close personal friends. *Then* fit work in around those “big rocks.”

      For my social media engagement – I use the “grouting” technique as I call it. That’s where a minute or two here and there throughout the entire day and it all adds up. I talk about it on the Success Magazine interview – here’s an excerpt:

      Time is indeed the “great equalizer.” Oprah, Obama, Trump, Zuckerberg et al have 24 hours a day just like the rest of us. 😉 Having a great team helps too and knowing what to delegate!

      Hope these ideas help!

  10. Donna Moritz on April 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Fabulous Post Mari – you are right about two things, if you three can engage and scale caring with your personal brands being so massive, then everyone should take heed and learn from the three of you….and yes, there should be more women up on the platform. Thanks for waving the flag for the ladies, and keeping those boys honest!

    • Mari Smith on April 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Hey Donna! Many thanks for your kind words – glad you got some inspiration here!! xxx

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