KBIS Opening Keynote Speaker Gives Encore Performance

By Chelsie Butler
April 24, 2013

With his wit, charm and ingenuity, Gary Vaynerchuk stole the stage as the KBIS 2013 opening keynote speaker. Well after his time was up, audience members were still asking questions, pausing to applaud in response to him ensuring it was okay that he took up a little more of their time.

His message was loud and clear: Social media can and should be used to jump start any business.

Having begun his career as a lemonade-selling aficionado at the tender age of five, Vaynerchuk then moved onto baseball cards and eventually created tremendous opportunity as a pivotal part of his dad’s liquor business.

Aside from just being familiar with the social media outlets available today – and he mentioned some I have yet to hear about – it’s important that we know how to use them. He claimed that 99 percent of social media users have no idea what they are doing and that they grossly misunderstand what is going on with our consumers, whose attention is shifting right before their eyes.

And then Vaynerchuk gave two examples of companies that faced their challenges head on in creative, genius ways.

About 100 years ago, Michelin figured out that people weren’t doing enough driving for the company to make money. In response, the tire manufacturer started an annual restaurant review to create a buzz and make people want to travel outside of the city to dine at those chosen. And did you know that Guinness Beer is the same Guinness that started the Guinness Book of World Records some 50 years ago? Apparently then, and maybe now, people like to talk sports and trivia while visiting their favorite watering hole, so this is an example of branding at its best.

These days, those kinds of opportunities are virtually at our fingertips through social media opportunities, but Vaynerchuk says it’s okay to be reasonable, adding that it’s necessary to stay slightly ahead of where the world is, but not so far that it becomes impractical.

Some of his suggestions are to:

-          Become familiar with www.techmeme to stay on top of essential, timely tech news.

-          Get Facebook and Twitter accounts if you don’t already – it’s not going to hurt you.

-          Go to LinkedIn and find out who your target is, and use their data to your advantage.

-          Familiarize yourself with Pinterest, as this is important to the kitchen and bath design industry.

Vaynerchuk stressed that no business decisions are being made without regard to social media; they are all being filtered through this all-important, digital outlet.

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