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"Meshugana" is a Yiddish noun for a crazy person. Full of crap. That's how Gary Vaynerchuk described himself as the Digital Mixer lunch keynoter today. The highlight of day two of the MarketingProfs conference, Vaynerchuk told us that word-of-mouth is changing. Spend time in social media space and our friends and fans will build our brands.

"Position yourself to be happy," he says, "and do it every day." Sounds easy?
It's not, he says. "Nothing comes easy. Hard stuff takes time."
OK, so maybe it reiterates what your parents told you all these years. But in this case, Vaynerchuk makes so much sense.
The son of Russian immigrants living in New Jersey, Vaynerchuk gained his notoriety as director of operations for his family business - Wine Library. Using social media, he grew the business to a $60 million online enterprise with customers worldwide. His WineLibrary TV attracts 80,000 visitors daily. He's appeared on Conan O'Brien and Ellen, and has been mentioned in Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. And what got him here?
Living and breathing social media. He gets about 1000 e-mails a day and answers them all! He Twitters nonstop and particpates in conversations on a multitude of social networking sites, being authentic and transparent. That's the key, he tells us.
He ridicules traditional advertising, telling us it's a waste of time. When someone in the audience tells him she had to threaten to quit her job if her boss didn't let her launch the company blog, he told her to quit. If organizations and individuals aren't into social media full force, it's an advantage for those of us who are now building our brands on social networking sites. By the time they "get it," he tells us, we'll be far ahead.
And it's not something that management can assign to interns or junior staff, he advises. To be authentic, the "man" himself has to interact online. (Sorry, "woman" doesn't have the same cachet as an expression.)
Does Vaynerchuk have down time? Only when he's 30,000 feet above the earth and can't access the Internet.
Vaynerchuk is full of energy, excitement, and ambition. His goal in life is no small feat - to own the New York Jets. I don't doubt he'll do it.
Is he full of crap - meshuga? I don't think so. Watch his TV show and you decide.
So, your turn. Are you engaged in building your brand with social media? Are you spending more time in this medium than others? What's your experience?

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image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel