So you want to be the next Oprah?

As the “Social Media Sommelier”, Gary Vaynerchuk was able to take his passion for wine and turn it into a trans-media business. He shares some helpful advice, along with clever anecdotes to really get you motivated to Crush It!. Subtitled, “Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion”, Vaynerchuk reveals his three secrets to success: “Love your family. Work superhard. Live your passion”. Throughout his book, he uses his power of motivation and enthusiasm to truly inspire his reader. But where does social media come in? He demonstrates how someone can take their offline interests and convert that into a mediated business all while establishing a personal brand.

Recognizing the domestication of social media, as it has become a “second home for most Americans”, Vaynerchuk teaches us how “to navigate the digital waters of social marketing to build a business and promote a person brand based around what you love most”. Now, he does not provide a technologically in-depth formula for creating and maintaining an online brand, but rather shows the avenues one needs to take and ways in which one can begin to establish an online presence based around their passion. A cross between a motivational speech and a how-to-guide, “Crush It!” gives you the hope as well as a roadmap on how to begin this new journey into your passion.

Vaynerchuk emphasizes the power in genetics. In order to create a successful brand online, one must rely on their own biological make-up and embrace who they are. He stresses being one’s own self. The technological affordances of social media tempt us to create pseudonymous profiles and take on stock characters we think are more marketable. However, Vaynerchuk proclaims, “The most important thing to remember is to be authentic, to be yourself. That authenticity is what will give you your greatest chance of success”. Once authenticity is achieved and maintained viewers are then able to see what you stand for as a marketable individual, thus kindling your personal brand. As Vaynerchuk goes on to write, developing your personal brand is living and breathing your resume. Our online posts become conduits for our personal brand and the spreadability of such posts create a word-of-mouth effect unimaginable without social networking sites. He also says that once our personal brand is authenticated and accepted, it will lure viewers and readers to your site and essentially to you.

But how can you start to get viewers to even pass through your page? Vaynerchuk also goes into the ways of creating communities as well as its importance in having a successful networked brand. After choosing the right medium for your venture, he expresses the two ways to work your content on that medium. “The first is a lure, creating it, posting it, and allowing people to come to you as they discover it. The second is to use it as a lasso through comments on other people’s content that relates to yours, inserting yourself into existing conversations and actively creating reasons for your audience to come to you”. Capitalizing on the asynchronous nature of social media, as well as the inevitability of context collapse, you are given the opportunity to promote your knowledge and your brand on various platforms in hopes of linking new viewers to your own conversation of your passion. By joining pre-existing conversations, you build your credibility and along the way you leave posts that spark readers to click through to your own content. Vaynerchuk, however, stresses the need for your own content to capture. “If your content is smart and interesting and eye-catching and entertaining – and if you’re the best, it should be – most people who come to your [site] will be happy to become regular readers, viewers, or listeners.” This can easily be accomplished when you are living and breathing the content of your passion. He makes it clear that it is necessary to continue to learn about your subject, learn about the tools of the technology, and even learn about your competition. When you talk about your passion non-stop, someone is bound to hear you. But how long will it take?

Vaynerchuk continually keeps his reader grounded and makes us face the reality of the supposed venture we want to embark on. He declared, “Do you have any idea how many people introduce themselves to me with, ‘Hi, I’m going to be the next Oprah’? I’m all about being confident, and I respect anyone who’s got big ambition. But let’s face it, not everyone is going to be Oprah.” Now we may not be able to achieve Oprah Queendom but it is possible to get to the top of a more niche field. With the explosion of free digital and even mobile social media platforms, the everyday individual is able to take advantage and capitalize on their passion, whilst making the previous gatekeepers irrelevant. But now that everyone has access, disregarding the digital divide, how can two rivaling personal brands compete? Care. The “best marketing strategy ever” cannot just be applied as a sympathetic concern but rather with a vigorous devotion.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s life becomes a framework for the dreamer with a hidden passion. From the chapter titles alone, his message of how to get motivated and started can be gleaned. “Passion is Everything”. That passion combined with mediated platforms will help to “Build Your Personal Brand” in “A Whole New World”. When you “Create Great Content” you have to remember to “Keep It Real…Very Real”. If your personal brand and content are enticing you can start to “Create Community” by “Digging Your Internet Trench”. His final paragraph truly conveys his books message: “True success lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion. In telling your story. In authenticity, hustle, and patience. In caring fiercely about the big and the small stuff. In valuing legacy over currency. Social media is an important part of it for now, but won’t always be.” He understands the reality of our fickle society and rather than leaving us with a blue print for how to use the media of the moment he provides us with the motivation and the reminder that the power is in us to Crush It!.

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