Last week Linktree’s co-founder, Alex Zaccaria, got the chance to sit down with the O.G. marketing guru, Gary Vaynerchuk – or Gary Vee as he’s known to his fans. And he’s got many of them: millions follow him across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for his (very direct!) marketing wisdoms.
It was a big deal to us when Gary Vee started using Linktree. To many, Gary is the King of Side Hustlers, having grown an empire out of advising people how to make money doing the things they love online – things the Linktree community is incredibly passionate about.
As his side hustle, Gary has written five New York Times bestselling marketing books, has a very active YouTube channel, is a prolific influencer on Twitter and invests in tech startups like Snapchat, Uber and Venmo. As his hustle-hustle, Gary runs Vayner Media, is in the wine industry, and co-founded Empathy Wines, a wine club that wants to break some of the stuffiness in the industry.
Alex wanted to find out how he juggles all that, and for his advice for our community of budding entrepreneurs and business-owners. Here’s what went down when Alex met Gary.
Alex: Hey, thanks for using Linktree! I wanted to ask why you see that as a good strategy for you?
Gary: “Hey man, I use it on Twitter, I use it in swipe ups on Snapchat and I use it on LinkedIn.
“I think the tool is eliminating friction for the end user. You know, I didn’t pick it because I like you guys, or knew you guys, or had an investment in it. You come across tools and I felt that what it does visually in a ‘2019 way’ is eliminates friction.
“And it’s literally as simple as that. It is a very well thought out utility for the modern web. And I am a very good practitioner for the modern web and that’s that.”
"It is a very well thought out utility for the modern web. And I am a very good practitioner for the modern web"
That’s what we’re really focused on, making something super simple.
“I’ve lived through a lot of iterations of the internet and sometimes you don’t need to add spikes to a screwdriver. That’s what I like about your product. More features is not always the answer. As a matter of fact, let’s make this very clear, more features is usually not the answer.”
Good to know. I wanted to ask you your advice, for our Linktree community.
“Sure. By the way, just for fun of community. Hit me up on Twitter, @Garyvee, if you’re a user after you see this, I’d love to interact with some of the fellow users.”
A lot of our users are just starting out, they’re side hustlers, people at home trying to make a go of it –
What’s your advice for them?
“Patience, because a lot of times when you’re doing a side hustle you can’t wait for it to take over your job that you hate.
“Patience and then audit your other activities if your side hustle’s ambition is to become your normal life. You have to scrutinize what you’re doing on Netflix. You have to scrutinize Candy Crush, you have to scrutinize the movies, you have to scrutinize baseball cards and footy and sticker collecting.
“If your ambition is for your side hustle to become your actual hustle, the key is not how much you work. It’s not even how much time put in the side hustle. It’s every other hour, because every other hour needs to cut. It can be put into the side hustle which speeds it up to become your actual hustle and that’s what a lot of people want.”
What’s their first step? How do they grow an audience when they don’t yet have a team behind them?
“Ok, A – be self aware. What are you good at? Are you good at video? Are you good at audio? Are you good at written word?
“And B, community. It’s community management. It’s engaging in the comments. It’s going on Twitter search, getting into conversations around your genre.
“Say you want to be the foremost expert about Pokemon and you’ve no followers, you have to post content, but you also have to be part of the community. There is a lot of ways to jump into conversations in Facebook groups and forums – it’s 1998 stuff, but it still works in Twitter for sure. Try hashtag searching on Instagram, finding pages and adding value.
“This is one big game of value adding – not what’s in it for you, what’s in it for them. Eventually you’ll get yours.”
"This is one big game of value adding - not what's in it for you, what's in it for them."
I’ve noticed you’re going all in on the texting platform. What’s your vibe there?
“Having 70,000 people on a text special platform like I do right now converts better than having 3 million followers on Facebook.”
It’s the one-to-one conversation?
“That’s right. And it’s cool. I grew up loving Randy, the Macho Man Savage. If he had this and I was 16 and the Macho Man texted me back, I’d lose my mind.”
There are so many platforms these days – do those starting out need to make content for all platforms?
“First matters. Yeah, best always wins in the end. But first does matter. So, if you’re the first lawyer in Australia to get on TikTok, and TikTok becomes Instagram, it goes mainstream…there will be dividends there.
“I think one of my biggest strategies around social media is to start with ‘yes’. While everybody else starts with no, “no, I’m not going to be on TikTok, that’s for 12 year old girls”. I’m always going to see that and be yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
“And by the way, there have been the famous yeses of Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat, but nobody talks about the non-famous yeses. I was a yes on Peach. I was a yes on SocialCam. I was a yes on Vero. I put in a lot of time and effort, not necessarily to post, but to watch those platforms that people thought were going to become the next big thing and they didn’t. But I don’t view that as wasted time. A ‘yes’ culture strategy always works.”
"A 'yes' culture strategy always works," according to Gary Vee.
I love that. Would you have any advice for founders, like me?
“I think the biggest advice for you as a founder is a very meta thing and we’re doing it right now. You’ve got such a strong tool. And to our point earlier, you’ll do product innovations, but essentially you’ve got your tool. I think it’s now about awareness content. You know, you’re no dummy. You know that this interview is going to get you eyeballs from my community that normally wouldn’t have been on. More of that!”
That’s great, man. Thanks very much.
“A real pleasure.”
A true pro, Gary is using the PRO features super well. Take the thumbnail images on each link – they direct you to where you want to be at first glance.
He’s also using the Mailchimp newsletter integration, which collects the signup in-page, without sending your visitor away from your Linktree. That means they’re still in situ to help engage with more of your content. And he’s used all of his social icons at the bottom of the Linktree, to save taking up space on the main ‘Tree. Gary uses his Linktree link on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat to grow his global audiences.