The ROI of every Social Media Platform | Fireside Chat with Tyra Banks at Stanford Graduate School
This is one of my favorite fireside chats in a while because the depth of the discussion around the good vs bad of social media , really got me fired up at Stanford ...
- I met Gary at some conferences, I saw you speaking and I was just, I thought this man was a genius. And, not just the content that was coming out of his mouth, which was so helpful to a lot of these stalwarts that were in this room that just were very clueless and were five years, ten years behind when it came to what their companies needed to do in terms of social media.
- Hello class, how are you? I’m doin’ a lot of things, but it’s really interesting. I’m doin’ a lot a lot of things that, there’s 50 other things I could tell you I’m up to, but it’s really interesting, and it’s really what we’re talking about here in it’s most basic form.
We’re spending a lot of time here, I remember from last year, I’d been listening, even though I was on my phone for the first 30 minutes, here I think there’s a lot of, a lot of conversation here around the content.
You know, meaning, how do I want to present myself? A lot of things you’ve been debating and asking questions about? I think that it’s a really interesting thing to make something happen, to make everything that you want to happen, it takes content and distribution.
And there’s very few people that are doing a good job and really understanding both of them at the same time and more importantly, unlike the world we grew up in, where distribution was so stagnant and understood, the content didn’t factor distribution into it.
Whereas making a video for Instagram or Facebook or YouTube has to understand how distribution works to have a chance to be successful. So artists are struggling with math, and mathematicians are struggling with art.
- I’m not sure, and that’s the truth, because I don’t really spend any time on auditing who’s doing it well or doing it good or doing it smart. I spend 100% of my time on the end consumer’s attention.
- So I wanna talk about attention when it comes to you. You have built this business that continues to grow. I mean, last year, it was double the size or something. But you also have a personal brand.
- YouTube was two months old. I saw it, I’m like oh shit, this is gonna be the next big thing, and I started a wine show in February 2006. I sat at a desk like this and drank four bottles of wine for 20 minutes and it exploded.
I was just long winded and talked a lot and so they dragged out, but I built a personal brand very early on in the scheme of things because of the YouTube show, and then Twitter came out and that’s when I started getting smart and started investing in these things.
I’m like oh, that’s gonna be the next big thing. So I got on Twitter early, I was one of the first 25 people in the world to have a million followers on Twitter, which is really wild because everybody else was from Tech TV and, you know, Digg Nation, and it was very techy, Twitter the first two years.
A friend, I recalled this very recently, I did something very early on in my career where it was extremely noble for, pretty radical reasons that I didn’t even need to or should have even maybe, right?
And the kid asked me why did I do that? And my answer was, because I’m scared that Dateline’s gonna roll up on me and ask me the question. Intuitively, at it’s earliest point, I understood the internet was gonna expose all the shadows of our society.
Like, at a very young age, I figured it out. I didn’t realize it, but all my actions spoke to it. So when Wine Library TV’s first episode started, even though I wanted to sell wine, I was like shit, what if I’m at a party, and somebody gives me a glass of wine and says, if Ryan’s like hey, what do you think of this wine?
And I’m like, oh it’s terrible, you’re like, well you’re a piece of shit, you said it was phenomenal on episode 136. And I was so scared of that, that basically from the beginning, I went ultra transparent, but I thought I was, I was doing it for business.
I was 32 years old, I was an entrepreneur business man, there was no fame, there was no, I was already you know, I was a grown up. Like I wasn’t thinking, it wasn’t what I dreamed to do, it’s nothing that I, I never thought that I would walk the rec FO like I just did right now and take nine selfies.
- A hundred percent, but I don’t think you need a personal brand to build your business. I think you need self-awareness to build your business. And so, even listening to some of the questions, like David D’s question here, like when I was listening to some of the questions, and I brought this up last year in this, and I’m gonna say this again, I understand the class you’re in, but I’m an unbelievable buyer of betting on your strengths and punting your weaknesses.
Or are gonna waste way too much energy, or it’s super uncomfortable. Now that doesn’t mean if you’re an introvert, you know, it was funny, when you talk about somebody just standing there, I’ve always thought about authenticity.
But some of the stuff that I most enjoy is just depth of knowledge. The people that have followed me around personal brands, a lot of them are not charismatic or pretty or that interesting, there’s just such a deep expert in their field that their podcast, for example, is dominating.
- Well that’s where I’m going, I totally agree. - At the beginning of this course, I say that it’s not about being big and it’s not about being like you, but you can be shy, you can be awkward, you can be, and you can lean into that.
- A hundred percent. - That can be your personal brand. - And then just having context of like, what I’m assuming the ambition of this room is. It’s about self awareness. And back to my self awareness, you know, as it started happening I’m like, oh yeah, I was a good class clown and oh yeah, I do wanna talk at the dinner table and control the conversation.
So like, it became obvious to me, wait a minute, there’s something here. And then when I made the transition of talking about business, not about wine, it really went to a totally different place because, you know, this is what’s great about documenting everything, I was saying things that nobody agreed with and then ended up being true.
- Like Instagram is gonna get bought by Facebook, and that became true, and then I’m on CNN for predicting it and then they’re making fun of me because it was a billion dollars and I said he stole it. And if you go read the comments on YouTube of the clip, the first two years everybody makes fun of me: asshole, pushing propaganda, how can you pay a billion dollars for a company that’s only 500 days old.
I think one of the great reasons to build a personal brand is to document, you know, imagine watching the documentation of all the things we put on a pedestal. Like imagine if Steve Jobs had a vlog back in the day.
You know, I also am projecting technology. One of the biggest reasons I document my life is that I think my kids are gonna sell the IP of people being able to be in meetings with me in the future and be our environment.
- Okay, before you we that, just to frame it up, first of all we have to decide, you know, what you’re doing, meaning, you know I always question would I have even been on social media if I didn’t use it for business purposes.
Like, I don’t consume content. You were talkin’ about, you know, some of the streaming TV, like I consume very little outside of the Knicks and the Jets, my consumption of actual content, because I’m reading, I’m consuming people’s behavior on the internet.
- Personal brand. - Okay, on a personal brand level, Facebook is the single most important platform still, because of scale. Just true general scale, unless what you wanna talk about and what you’re about only skews 21 and under, you have to be on Facebook.
To me that’s oxygen. - And what should they be talking about on Facebook? And then let’s talk about the difference between a personal Facebook page and a business Facebook page, with them as the head of their business.
- What Tyra’s talking about is there’s two ways to play on Facebook, you can build a business page, a personal page, if you have any commercial ambitions it should be a business page. They work different on the algorithm, you’ll have different tools, so the answer is, for business purposes, we’re here, it’s a business page.
- No, I’m a very big believer that people overthink this. I think you can go anywhere with it. I think you know, look at data and see what happens. Some people resonate on a personal level, others don’t.
Again, I think this comes down to self-awareness. I also think the type of content you post is self-awareness. There’s people in here that can write their ass off but like freeze when there’s a camera, you know?
So there’s a lot of variables. I think, you know, one thing that I wanna make sure all of you understand is that the written word, video, and audio have been the way we’ve always consumed stuff and it’s the way we will always consume stuff.
And so I think, one of the things is, right now the medium is so visual that I think a lot of people here are pressured into thinking it’s about the camera world, and I think there’s an incredible upside in written word and audio.
I think everybody at this point understands it’s a lot bigger than we thought three or four years ago. - I was just gonna talk about it in a second, because you talked about it last year and it’s blown up.
- You know, so Instagram’s the next establishment, it is the establishment, it is the most contemporary and important platform, in my opinion. It’s already gotten to the 50- and 60-year-old set, so it’s pretty much now at scale, right?
- I have empathy if you come from the industry you come from, if somebody says that they’re building a high fashion brand, I still think that Cartier’s best move is to show a little humility and a little not fanciness.
- Snapchat, which I don’t understand how to use that damn thing. I still don’t, I don’t know what I’m doing. I was doing, trying to record videos the other day for something else, but using their filters, and I was like I have no idea if the whole world is looking at that.
- Yep. You know, for me, I think trading attention, I think Snapchat is actually one of the most interesting places to be on right now, because everybody bounced. Yet, there’s still an ungodly amount of attention if you care about 11 to 30.
But again, if you’re starting a lifestyle fashion brand, and maybe your audience is millennials 25 to 45, if you’re a really thoughtful marketer, you’ll realize that winning 13 to 22 will drive your business.
So, I think Snap matters if you care about winning under 25, but I’m not convinced that they make it out of this, they’re gonna have to innovate their product, they’re gonna have to come up with something now.
- Twitter’s the water cooler of our society, you know, which has an important place to be. I think Twitter’s more about listening and reacting than pushing out content, which is why so many people struggle with Twitter.
So for example, even you said, my Twitter’s a mess, the engagement’s low, that makes sense, it’s a fire hose, too much content. However, if you personally use Twitter different than you used everything else, instead of posting on it, it’s when you engage with people or jumped into conversations or culture hackin’ it, you would crush.
So it’s a counter punching platform around copy. And this is super important, I think you’re getting a sense from me, like I’m telling you right now, the world is grossly underestimating the strategy and nuances of these platforms.
So, there’s a lot of people here who are quite clever, and that might be the platform, and that is, actually, it’s tough to like, well what am I gonna post? What’s amazing about Twitter is, you don’t have to do that.
You can just follow the conversations, get involved. Like there’s a meme right now going on based on do you hear, right? There’s such a place for that, there’s such a place, you have to be creative, it’s creative writing.
- Linkedin’s super interesting because Linkedin was a utility, for you know, jobs, and has absolutely evolved into a content platform. Linkedin’s an incredibly thoughtful place for a lot of you. It’s a place to do white papers and thoughtful, it’s an incredibly interesting b2b place, but it’s about producing content, it’s about blogging and making videos and posting on Linkedin, not spamming people and messaging them to like get a contract from them.
- And then, is there anything on the horizon? Like is there, this is the next. You’re smelling it and that people need to get on there early because the earlier you get on you tend to have a bigger following.
- I was super right about that, and I’m happy about it because it’s really helped a lot of my, you know, all my content’s free, my audience watches it, I love the idea of them benefiting. And so many of my audience, because of that rant that I was going on two years ago.
There’s so much to talk about. AR’s gonna be super rad, machine learning and AI, super interesting. But for me, the reason I’m obsessed with voice and the apps that are gonna be built on top of Alexa and Google Home and Apple Pod is that we’re about to be affected for real for real in about 36 months.
You are going, I would say, looking around, you would’ve never guessed, I bet you all of you, looking around, just kind of gauging ages here, it would’ve been hard for you to believe how much texting compared to how much phone calling you would be doing.
You would’ve said maybe 50-50. I’m sayin’ it right now, remember it one day, I can’t wait for you to email me, you are gonna be blown away by how much voice interaction you’re gonna do in seven years.
I’m gonna be an entrepreneur, I’m not gonna type. I’m not fucking use, why would I type? Then my whole life became type, right? It’s all type, it’s all, now we’re all deep into type, we’re gonna go back to it because what we care about is lack of friction and speed, and it’s going to be faster for you to do something without voice device always on, everywhere, always, than it is to take out your phone and text your mom.
- So my mom, she’s living with me now and she had an Alexa, and I was like get that thing out my house right now because I’m just so nervous about being recorded, everything that I say being recorded.
Think about what you’d have to really do to massively, I mean where, where are you going? I mean you gotta, you’re really into the most extreme territories, which is, if you’re doing those things, if you’re murdering somebody, I promise you the tweet is the last of your concerns, so this place of like, I can fuck this up, you really can’t.
You have danger if Rick, the VC who’s about to write you a check, didn’t like that you said that and now doesn’t. And I think the reason I’ve been ale to live so free is I’ve never put myself in a place where somebody has financial impact on me.
- So I actually, I’m sure you probably know some of these guys. Like I used to watch these daily vlogs every day, like Casey and this other guy Jesse who was always with him, and both of them eventually, they stopped doing their vlogging and their social media presence was severely dialed back because they were talking about having this mixture of personal and professional, it negatively impacted their businesses and it negatively impacted their personal relationships.
For example, people wanna say that social media has a lot to do with teenage suicide and bullying, what they don’t wanna talk about is that modern day parenting is so over-coddling, we do not put our kids in a position to feel any detrimental actions in the first seven years of their life, which then forms a reality that they’re so entitled and unable to deal with any adversity.
Let’s talk about the combination, let’s talk about the most extreme case. The woman who made a racist joke about HIV in Africa and was on a plane and fucking Google made the search result of her follow her plane path and when she’d landed in South Africa, everybody was there?
- Of course, but be he could’ve too. Right? Again, I think we’re having a really interesting, but he could’ve. But he could’ve, and people have and I think the more important question is that, what happens next?
Because now the Anthony Wiener who’s eleven will know that the world is watching much more and it may formulate his behavior and never got into place because the world that Anthony Wiener grew up in and the world that I grew up in was mainstream media protected all this bad behavior.
And life’s about alternatives. So we demonize this new technology, which is actually doing incredible good for us as humans, we’re just in a certain chapter where we’re going through the middle stage where we’re reconciling.
- [Audience Member] I disagree, meaning that, so a lot of people do, probably, what he did, a lot. Especially in politics. But he’s the one that took that action to then, which was then the final catalyst of his downfall.
- Go ahead, please. - Which relates to this, which is, if there are people who ignore gender, your race, your socioeconomic status, or your position or power, that indicates whether or not you rebound or whether or not it has adverse effects that you cannot bounce back from.
- A hundred thousand percent. But the internet, to me the question is like, a tweet isn’t, let’s go back to the original seed. A tweet or the form of communication isn’t the culprit, there’s far deeper things that we’ve taken this conversation to, right?
- I’m not saying it’s good or bad, I’m just saying it’s fact that somebody says something on a social network, on a platform, and because companies, advertisers, whatever it is, are being led by the mob, they tend to act quick and swift and fast, and it can really ruin somebody, whether it’s for two weeks–
- But again, the woman on Fox saying something and everybody reacts on the internet because a kid retweets from Florida could’ve also been the New York Times featuring that. You’re talking about more scale, but I don’t think we’re talking about, you know, it’s a very interesting conversation, obviously we’re getting, you know, into this, which is super fun for me.
- Yeah but let’s talk about it in a different way. But Taylor Swift also used that platform to create, this has gotten very philosophical, which by the way, I’ll live on, I love this shit, but Taylor Swift is going to have a hit song in about 24 months.
- Let me answer a better way. I actually have zero emotion for social media, I don’t give a fuck. I’m being dead serious. - I feel like 100% opposite of what you’re saying, you’re like defending it at all–
- I’m not I’m defending the human race, I’m not defending, I’m being serious! I’m defending how humans react and what we actually do with each other, and now that we have scale to actually see it, it’s something that we’re struggling to completely quantify.
I mean it, I mean I’m thrilled with the thought of social media being gone, I think we grossly, I think we’re starting to quantify how unbelievably important communications is, and how it’s dictated everything.
You know, I’m a child that was born in the Soviet Union where my mother’s my hero, who tells me at one point in my life that she wrote a book report that Fidel Casto was the bravest man in the world, and she read it to me, and it just was like, maybe because I had that Soviet U.S. kind of thing goin’ on, I grew up in the ‘80s, I was always hypersensitive to this, the day after 9-11, I basically spent three hours a day on Al-Jazeera’s website, for two and a half years.
This happened, like I’m fascinated by communication. And so I’m not defending social, I just think that we should have more complicated conversations about it and I think most people take it very literal and aren’t looking at it, I don’t even wanna say it that way, I don’t think I’m thinking about it better.
- Yes! - Without social media, the paparazzi would’ve put up your picture. - Yes. I’m not saying that it’s awful, I’m on it Gary. I think you’re thinking that I’m saying that it’s the devil, which I do think it is, but I also think it’s an angel, I think it’s both.
- I think the question where it all started is does a piece of content ruin your life? You know, at it’s most basic. I think it’s more complicated than that. I don’t think it does. - I think it’s both.
- Your silence is predicated on the fact that you can spend all your time between now and next year’s class, and your not gonna come up with the example that isn’t attached to something egregious in the actions. - I’m not passionate enough about this to really spend the time, but if I was, you would go down.
- I find this stuff so fascinating. I had Ted Koppel in my reputation management class, and he talked about the democratization of content and how everyone is a content creator and I came back with, you know, you have to be a conscious content creator, and I think what you’re saying is, anyone can put out content.
- What it means is, I think when, back to the way the question was phrased and I’m not picking on it that way, it’s like, can a tweet, you know, ruin someone’s life? I think the question becomes, what happens next?
I mean I think we are dramatically more forgiving, back to my I’m debating for people, the human race not social media, I think we’re massively underestimating our ability to still be sitting here with all our capabilities and I think there’s a gross under-estimation of the human spirit and the kindness and the empathy, and I think that’s what’s playing out.
You know, I’m thinking about these style bloggers I like, and they’re sort of getting into reviewing Outlander, which is a very passionate fan base, and they said something like, well, you now we’re not so into this plot line or something like that, and the fans just kind of leapt on them.
- Yeah, and I think it’s just different, it’s sort of what we’re discussing. - It’s faster. And it’s shorter. But I think the thing, we’re spending so much time on the first 24 and 48 hours of the test, and not talking about the actual impact, and then more importantly, what then that means to human behavior.
Once you go through a full cycle, I think a lot of what you’re seeing now, emerging a decade into this, is people being less fearful. Everyone’s like, oh we’re talking about less and we’re more scared.
- So there’s one thing, a student, Benji, from last year. You put a lot of pressure on him. I remember him sitting in this room and he said that that he’s trying to grow this base of people and he maybe wants to go into politics and Africa, and he’s a television personality right now and he’s got all these people and he kinda doesn’t know what to do with them.
- Yes. - And I saw his face, and his face crumbled. He just was like, what? However, he took your advice and he says that his social media following has grown threefold in one year, and the embrace that he gets from his country, he feels has a lot to do with what you told him to do, which was engage.
- You know, not to re-harp our last 15 minutes, but I’m a very big fan of doing the right thing leads to the right thing, and I think there’s a lot of different ways to look at it. I’m blown away by the selfishness of most people as they try to build their personal brand.
- If you have the luxury that somebody finds you interesting enough to consume what you have to say, to not reciprocate that with an engagement or an acknowledgement or listening and more importantly for me, I think one of the reasons I’ve been able to map a lot of this behavior is, that’s all I do.
My post is actually secondary, it’s what happens next and my ability to interact, and then that gives me insights. You know, the insights you get from actually reading everyone of your replies and then engaging with them is extraordinary.
- I have a question about leading indicators. You’ve talked about how you think voice is gonna be the next big thing. I agree with you and I think that the leading indicator there with that, we develop the ability to analyze that type of data, and that’s the reason that these devices are successful, and so, how do you kind of pick up leading indicators?
- So yours was a little bit more quant based. The technology is still pretty behind, or advanced depending on the filter you look through. My leading indicator, you know, is really just human behavior.
Like, I’ll look at how many people, just little subtle things start happening. More anthropology and qualitative stuff, like man, a lot of people are really listening to their headsets, just like listening and the music and then you start seeing podcasts being talked about more often.
So, you know, maybe some lightweight social listening, but you’re always trying to parallel where the technology is. The reason so many people lose money that come from Stamford is they’re tech right, they’re human wrong.
And so we can travel and do other things, you’re not required to watch. And so, it fits where we’ve evolved into, which is we wanna do multiple things, and so we’re on the go, so the passive nature of voice is remarkable.
I mean, things like we exchange information, so I’ll give you a great one. You were in New York promoting your book. I guarantee four years from now, you would’ve been on my podcast, because through voice, the one time you would’ve thought maybe I should reach out to Gary, by the time you get to a phone, you’re onto another thought, you know.
- Because I was busy, but did a lot of podcasts. - No, I saw, which was great. No I mean, what I’m fascinated by is everybody here is gonna book meetings with each other through voice, and it’s gonna plug into the calendar app and decide for us when we can meet.
There is absolute, it’s cliche, no right way. It depends on, you know, if you’re an improv actor none, if you need to read the script 30 times, you know, and so like it’s a very personal mission, and to try achieve to somebody else, it’s just like a hockey player wanting to become a basketball player, like why?
And to be frank, for me it’s far more empathy, and then for others in here, I would just tell you, to let an anonymous social media comment take you away from your ambitions is really not a good idea.
- I’d say, we are human beings and it hurts, but would I try to do as fast as possible is like it hurts and then push it back out, and to get it away from me as much as I can. And sometimes it’s just going past that person, sometimes it’s muting them.
It depends on how nasty the hate is, sometimes it’s blocking them and then I get nervous, I’m like wait I blocked them and now they’re gonna see that I blocked them and then they’re a super hateful person so it’s just gonna make them even more hateful and show up outside.
- I’m fine with same. Obviously I do think that they’re slightly different enough where you can do some contextually different things, but, for example, actions better than words. My daily vlog goes on both pretty much the same.
Being entertaining on video is a real skill. And so, just a lot of people that are, especially if you’re a CFO, you know, math-driven operator, you know there’s people that have both, but you can already see that so many of them don’t map.
You know there’s the left, the right thing. So that, I struggle with, I get sad for my friend who’s building a great sass business and she thinks that she needs to start a YouTube show, and I’m like, you don’t have to, you’re building an incredible business.
- So, I’m curious what you think about the role of social media in grant building for businesses that are not individuals. Because I can seek out the first way when brands would put up their content in general and then use social media just to amplify the content.
And people think it’s her social, it’s not. It’s the content their making on Facebook and Instagram and running ads against. My friends, Facebook ads are so grossly under priced, and right now they’re running between six and eight, ten dollar CPMs, they’re gonna be 50, 70, 80, there’s only one stream.
- More a personal question. So, I love the idea that social media exposes us it doesn’t change us, and I’m curious how you thought about a level of exposure, because that’s ultimately the choice that we have is how much we’re exposing over time.
- So, similar to Tyra, and I’ve been putting out content since 2006, there’s literally not a single photo of my family on the internet. You know, that’s something my wife and I decided, we didn’t wanna put, because as my notoriety grew, we knew that there would be ramifications to that–
- So your family, I’m just curious, is there talk of anything else that you’ve done. Like I was really thinking about being more deliberate about this going forward, how you made that decision about what is exposed and what isn’t.
- I go the other way, and Iris will tell you this and the rest of my team. I’m completely fully on the record because I just am, like I’m just not worried about the collateral damage ‘cause I know what my intent is.
- I have. I had a vine that went super viral four years ago on the toilet. And obviously that’s for fun and you’re kinda being a little silly about it, but I mean, you know this gets, again I already went heady enough I can get real heady.
- But that’s the beauty of the meritocracy of it. It’s not how much you put out, it’s the value exchange that you’re creating. So it’s not how much you’re putting out, because to your point, you can dilute if you’re unable to maintain.
- And I think overexposure was something that was dramatically more relevant when you had platforms that had so much awareness. A hit T.V. show in 1983 had 50% of the country watching it. There’s nothing that has that much attention anymore, so it’s almost impossible to overexpose.
- You’ve seen my content, it sounds like you do more creating content, I was wondering how do you think about that on a day to day basis and how does that affect your relationships with people in real time. Like, you just spend so much time on your phone that you feel like it affects your relationships.
- Well first of all, I think it’s micro because the macro is that I work 18 hours a day, that affects my relationship a hell of a lot more. At home, or when I’m with friends, I don’t consume anything. I’m with them, the problem is, that’s only 20% of my time overall. - Got it.
- So for example, on the weekend, like when I’m really home, I consume very little. And I create even less. - So it’s really more the consumption, the creation of what throws back to your job and outside of that–
You know what’s weird about that? I also don’t think I would’ve drank alcohol if I didn’t grow up in the wine business. Like I didn’t have a single beer, you know, so it’s been funny that my life is kind of like that.
Her posting about a subject matter and you guys engaging with it is what I’m consuming. Which is why, I’m sure you even can tell, it’s not about being right or wrong and I think my points of view are grounded in an obnoxious amount of practitioner-ship, and an awful lot of energy towards trying to figure it out for an awfully long period of time.
- But to me, I’ll tell you something else. Let me actually answer your question now in a different way. I think it’s great that every single person sitting at a dinner table looking at their phones, it means that they don’t value that person in that moment.
- Yeah and the region and growing, and I’ve only really been focused on Facebook, more recently in the last year when I started realizing how the brand won’t cache, I hadn’t really been doing nothing and had a little bit of an organic following.
- But here’s the great thing. So for example right now, this is a podcast as well. What’s amazing about video is you could strip the audio. Like I’m a top 100 podcast in the world, and I never sit down and do a podcast.
I don’t like it, I don’t know why. I would never ask Tyra for a selfie, I don’t like it. But other people, but that doesn’t mean I’m right or wrong. It’s being right or wrong for yourself, but it’s content.
- It’s gonna be the leverage, because this world is bigger than traditional, so it’s going like this. So you gotta do it and it will get you there, or it will just become it. You’ll realize that you’ll be able to keep all the economics.
- That’s right, that’s right. I mean, this is, so I knew blogging was gonna be big in 2003 2004, but I didn’t do it. ‘Cause I was running a wine business, I didn’t have the luxury of being able to afford a writer, and I can’t write.
- Oh it’s huge. - It’s the groove that I’m kinda engaged with. And I’m doing it more to see if I can grow something, and I struggle with growing. I’ve chosen a vertical, my images are consistent, how– - How many, well because, because that’s just one tenth of it all.
A growth strategy around distribution matters. Like, what hashtags do you use, who do you DM, how you collaborate, is it totally organic, there’s so many variables. - What do you think, follow for follow, not cool.
Surface level, no strategy, surface level, right? I would tell you that the people that are growth hacking and getting 500,000 followers the wrong way, trick the masses, but lose with the real currency, and then lose.
- The real version of follow for follow is spending 40 minutes while you’re laying on your bed ‘cause you’re passionate about it, hitting hashtags and that culture, and going in, reading and watching or looking at the photo, and then meaningfully writing two sentences to add to the conversation on the photo that you just saw.
- So I wanna talk about starting a following and I think you kinda went into a little bit. So one of the things that I’m really interested in is I’m moving to New York and I’m gonna be an investment banka, and it’s a space where you don’t see a lot of black women, you don’t see a lot of plus size women in professional services–
There’s nobody that owns it. So don’t even think about that ever again. Because, think about it, whatever clever financial, plus size, African-American people, whatever you come up with, if god would forbid, AKA I hope it gets going, well then everyone’s gonna use it, it’s not an own-able, it’s a utility for discovery, it’s not an own-able thing.
- That to me is a hell of a lot better. As long as you’re not doing it where, you have to be thoughtful right, because, for example, if you go hashtag right now Gary B wine club, which is my wine club, there’s like six spammers sorta just putting their propaganda over it, so all my fans who are watching my wine videos tryin’ to find other people to talk about wine are getting inundated with shit.
If you jump into and write a hashtag, you probably wanna be respectful of the hashtag. So I’m assuming since you’re a part of that culture, fine, but if then if all your content is very hardcore finance, it kinda defeats it, so you have to be clever and respectful.
Does that make sense? - Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And then, my second question was, so when you’re starting to think about this, the way I think of it is, probably start with Instagram, like get my face out there, like my outfits, all of that– - I, well it depends, let me ask you a question.
- So I would tell you, I would tell you that you really have to get serious about Instagram and get serious about writing or making videos on Instagram. Because, you’re going to make a quicker, more meaningful impact on that platform and my belief, because you’re gonna start with people that are living the game versus aspiring to the game, Instagram and the psychology and what’s going on there, I think you’re gonna find a lot of friction.
- Yeah to me, use LinkedIn and Facebook as your blog, because it has built in distribution, whereas your own blog at first, I think, whereas that was right in the early 2000s, I think building a blog comes secondary now because you can siphon the distribution and awareness from these platforms.
And what’s really crazy, and I don’t think people realize this, these platforms are rewarding long writing. I would tell you one of the weirdest hacks that I stumbled on by accident, hence why I always do so much ‘cause this is how you find it, there’s a Wilmington post I wrote, I just was in the mood and I just wrote, right.
- When you’re thinking about, you have different messages and different things you talk about. Like I like retail, I’m a spin instructor, I wanna write short stories and all these different things. How do I push into the different channels and do I have to dedicate one channel to a specific thing.
- I love where you’re goin’ with this, it’s a really thoughtful question. Couple things, number one. Everyone of you are fundamentally different when you’re in a different social network, psychologically. You are fundamentally different.
When you are literally on your phone in Linkedin versus when you’re on Instagram, you’re just so different you can’t even imagine. Just like you’d be different in class than going to Vegas with your girls for the weekend.
We’ve got multiple gears. So yes, I think distribution, and that’s what I alluded to very quickly, distribution and content are so much more married than they’ve ever been, so yes I’m very thoughtful about what I put in Linkedin versus what I put, I mean my delta between, especially because who I am, and I play that way, the delta between what, I mean I’m putting things on Snapchat about like Lil Xan, which I’m not gonna put on Linkedin.
- No, no. And I think, this is the point I was making and we obviously went into the outer space with it, I don’t think a single piece of content is as heavy as everybody else does. I don’t think if you’re branded as a singer on your Instagram that if you made a post about your little sister or liking cheeseburgers or what you thought about yesterday’s tornado, that some like catastrophic event of you breaking the theme.
- I don’t know if you talked about this already, but what is the role of like, what used to be blogging is sort of now long form radicals, I know you can post professional things on Linkedin, but I see a lot of people using Medium or other places to get kind of like, thought pieces or, for me I come from performing arts.
- I just referenced to your point, I think there’s a lot of places you can write. So as long as you’re really invested in your medium, I think Ed Williams is actually the best entrepreneur of this generation, building tools.
Let me have it on my website so they come there and then they may use me. To me the brand equity is so much more valuable. You writing natively in Facebook versus it being a link out to your blog has a distribution capability of a thousand delta because it’s not native and Facebook’s gonna downgrade that.
And I’ll give it to you basic as you go through it. Always make it about the audience. The audience doesn’t wanna click your fucking link to go to your website, they just wanna read it in fucking Facebook.
- Then if your audience isn’t there, then you shouldn’t do anything, right? I’m with you, you don’t have to everything. Now, I referenced it earlier with the Snapchat thing, if your audience is not there, and that’s what you want your audience to be, the answer’s that you don’t need to be there.
And then number two, be careful because sometimes your audience eventually gets there. So like, when I was tryin’ to get brands to build Facebook up in 2007 and 2008, they were like, this is my company, our customers are not there.
So the question I had was, separating out personal from business, because I’m not trying to build a personal brand. But– - You’re trying to establish a reputation, here’s, here’s where I was about to go.
What we’re really talking about is reputation. So, all of us would want that for some reason. So again, like I told Adam when he was like meh, I was like yeah but you’re one piece on the blockchains of impact on the yen may be great for your business.
It’s just putting out the content. What I’ll tell you is, and this is where a lot of people get caught, Facebook’s virality and scale is so great, I would argue often, it’s going to over index your business nerdy business content than what you would do on Linkedin.
And so, sure, he or she may be on her Facebook looking at their college friends that graduated in ‘68, but if your piece of content shows up there and they read it, your point of view on viable chemical engineer, like.
- I have a question on content. So, a quick backstory, I was in public service, California, Sonoran Business School, and tryin’ to do something like start ups, relationships, social mission driven and helping entrepreneurs of color and women, so my initial thought was tryin’ to start a podcast this summer with people who are kinda like cross sector, because I’m tryin’ to figure out how do I create some type of reputation like being business person because it’s really hard to shake government when you work in that for so, I was in it for five years, right, but it does brand you–
Or, you know, make an impact, like have the leverage, raise capital off of my equity, whatever. Your only thinking about what’s in it for you. For me, I’m only thinkin’ about what’s in it for you, because I know the collective scale of attention has, the collateral damage of that much attention is unlimited opportunity for me.
- Because it changes the dynamics of how she’s seen. It changes the conversation. It’s in her best interest, she’s not, notice how she’s not using Vogue or People Magazine because she’s already won that game.
- Not the readers of the Wall Street Journal, my friend. No, her, she got something out of it with her audience. She was able to change the perception to her audience on Instagram that follows her for being a model, got it?
He’s contemporary, he’s young. Value exchange, that’s what’s happening here. And that’s why, taking it a step back, the reason I’m so over-indexed is because my value exchange is I figured out a way to bring so much value to people without asking for anything in return because I’m monetizing in other areas, not tryin’ to get you guys into my $3,000 a month master class.
- You’re so you, personally, off of two conversations, have to think about, no no, it’s amazing. This is why I’m here. You have to have a totally different conversation with yourself, which is you are valuing other people’s opinions too much.
This is the most exciting, most passion-able thing. Oh, great, I brought it up. My mother is my hero, right? Like I went to a 94% African-American college of low income, just went out of business, like I’ve lived a life that put me far more into places that weren’t, like I look like.
Watching all my most progressive liberal friends, which I’m an absolute social liberal person, being mad at technology, but it is the unlock to the thing that they’ve always wanted. I’m like, my friends, we’ve had it one way for 90 years, and you’re not happy with the way it is.
Don’t you understand this is the thing? So, you’re so caught up on this self-promotion because of the judgment and thinking there’s, people think in fancy, respectful, finance, Wall Street, fancy fuckin’ places, that self-promotion’s a negative.
- And here’s the best part, right? I’m gonna be right not because I’m smart, because I’m living so deep in the vortex and just watching, it’s already happened. This has already happened. This has happened. This is not like it’s coming.
If you look at every single thing that’s happening. You think the fuckin’ four old white guys that owned all of media in America were gonna let Me Too happen 20 years ago? What do you think’s happening? I invest in a lot of female companies, like six, seven years ago, on the back of knowing they weren’t getting funded properly.
It was like a business thing, it’s not like ‘cause I’m the most noble man. It was just like stupid, for me it’s like, I don’t care who you are, this is business. That’s the last thing you should be thinking about. Like, so a lot of my girl friends are like, Gary but cool, fuck man, but they’re like guess what, cool Gary but I still can’t get funding from fucking VCs, so I’m like don’t take money from VCs, they’re bad deals anyway.