People who know me understand that I love good wine and I believe strongly in the economic and societal value of open public networks like Twitter.  So, a couple of years ago when I learned about Gary Vaynerchuk, I had no choice but to like him, too.

Gary Vaynerchuk is, in my opinion, a world class expert regarding how to sell effectively on Twitter.  He got that way not by trying to “sell”, but by focusing on how he could use the internet to help people find the wine they might like the most.

Here’s a quote from his book, The Thank You Economythat tells his story:

When I first started tweeting, I had no brand recognition; no one knew who I was. To build my brand, I started creating conversations around what I cared passionately about: wine. I used Search.Twitter (called back then) to find mentions of Chardonnay. I saw that people had questions, and I answered them. I didn’t post a link to and point out that I sold Chardonnay.

If people mentioned that they were drinking Merlot, I gave them my Merlot recommendation, but I didn’t mention that they could buy Merlot on my website. I didn’t try to close too early, like a nineteen-year-old guy; I made sure to invest in the relationship first.

Eventually, people started to see my comments and think, “Oh hey, it’s that Vaynerchuk guy; he knows Chardonnay. Oh cool, he does a wine show – let’s take a look. Hey, he’s funny. I like him; I trust him. And check it out: he sells wine, too. Free shipping? Let’s try a bottle of that….” That’s what caring first, not selling first, looks like, and that’s how I built my brand.

-Gary Vaynerchuk, The Thank You Economy

Gary’s lesson here is simple: if you want to sell effectively using social media, then focus on finding people who need your help – and help them!  After they get to know you, your chances of closing new business will increase.  And so will your online reputation.

This shouldn’t come as a shock.  Finding needs and meeting them is, after all, how all businesses grew before the internet.  Gary V simply applied sage selling wisdom to a new social network – and, voila, the legend of Gary Vee was born.

We could all learn a thing or two from Gary’s approach to social selling (and from his success).
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How to sell on Twitter, according to Gary Vaynerchuk by