Among the many reasons businesses are curious about using social media is that they see it as a way to reach current and potential customers. There's probably no better case study on how a business leverages social media to connect with customers and grow itself than Gary Vaynerchuk's Wine Library.

Using social media, and especially an infectiously popular video series called The Thunder Show, Vaynerchuk has become one of the stars of the social media sphere. The Thunder Show allows Vaynerchuk to connect with customers by doing product demonstrations (often panning wines he sells).

His passion for the industry comes through in each episode.

As a result of his success in using social media to build awareness for Wine Library, Vaynerchuk is deservedly acknowledged as one of the experts in the social space. He is a constantly requested business and social media speaker, and we are delighted to have him keynoting the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer conference.

Here he shares with us the reasons your company should pay attention to social media, and what impact these tools will have in the years to come.

Q: At the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer Conference you'll be keynoting, with the topic being "Uncorking Your Brand With Social Media." You are a wonderful case study for building a personal brand via social media, but how would you explain the importance of social media to a business that isn't familiar with this space?

A: Social media in my opinion is the next battleground for branding. Like print, then radio, then television, then the internet, this is a clone of the internet space that has a lot more impact on your brand.

Q: Obviously, you have found a way to use video to grow your business and "The Thunder Show" is incredibly popular. Do you think we'll begin to see more businesses create videos on a regular basis to promote their products and/or do product demonstrations?

A: Yes.

Q: In addition to your keynote presentation at the Digital Marketing Mixer, you'll also be on a panel concerning using social media and email together as marketing tools. Do you think that it's better for businesses to silo their social media efforts away from their other business processes, or should a business try to work their social-media efforts into their existing business functions?

A: Both. It really comes down to the assets of a business. If you can add social media as a layer on top of what you are already doing, then obviously that is ideal; but if you don't have that capability, you have to siphon off the top of what you are doing already and create a situation in which social media becomes part of your day-to-day routine.

Q: I think that one of the reasons that The Thunder Show is so popular is because viewers love the passion that you show for the wine business and the products you sell. When a business chooses someone to head up their social media efforts, how important is it to find someone who's passionate about their business?

A: Passion is very important, but to me it is even more important that the person is authentic.

Q: Finally, Twitter seems to be getting a lot of attention now from businesses, but where do you see the growth for companies in the social-media space? What tools or type of tools do you think we'll be talking about in 2009?

A: If you're not using Twitter and Seesmic and Ustream and Facebook, then you are not a business that's going to be competitive in 2009 and beyond. Predicting the tools that will be used then is borderline impossible; having the knowledge that you need to use those tools is essential.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier