"Stop Asking Employees To Tweet" Says GaryVee

Michael Brenner on Oct 29, 2013 in Social Media

garyveeLast week I presented at BtoB Magazine’s Digital Live conference in New York on the future of content marketing.

But kicking off the event was the real star of the show, Gary Vaynerchuck  (@garyvee). It was the first time I saw him speak and he did not disappoint.

I already covered some of Gary’s ideas when I spoke about how empathy is the secret weapon to social marketing success. In his book The Thank You EconomyGary says that it is the company who cares the most about their customers and makes them feel like they have a personal connection will succeed.

We are already starting to see advertisers consider content marketing over advertising to try and do just that: show customers they care. But Gary took this to a whole new level.

He started the presentation by claiming that his success as an entrepreneur came down to one simple idea:

Market like the year that you are in!

Gary claims he was able to grow and beat his competition by marketing to people in ways that they want: providing information in new and relevant ways vs. just trying to promote what he was selling. He said that no one ever asked for an ad and claims his competitors were still marketing like it was 5, 10 even 20 years earlier. He stated:

I love social media because it sells stuff; otherwise, it really doesn’t matter in the context of business. 

In You’re All Media Companies, Gary calls content the cost of entry to being relevant in today’s society. After a great question from a social media manager in the audience about how to scale social marketing, Gary responded:

Don’t ask employees to tweet about your brand. It just doesn’t work and may hurt them and your brand” (Click to see tweet)

I agree with Gary that we are all media companies and that the strength of our brands comes from the connections we make through the human stories we tell and not by employees tweeting promotional messages because their boss asked them to.

I learned a lot from the 30 minutes Gary spent on stage but there were more great insights from the conference. Here are a few of the top tweets from #BtoBLive:

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook  and Google+ or  Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 15 comments
  • Gregory Kohs

    This doesn’t look like it was intended as a joke, Michael:

    Here are a few of the top tweets from #BtoBLive:

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    • Michael Brenner

      Twitter embed code must’ve been acting up. Maybe they’re distracted by the IPO? 😉 But thanks for letting me know. It appears to be working now!

  • Allison Lattanze

    Great blog, Michael. I love it. I’m interested in more discussion around the the title of your blog. What do others think? Ouch on the Twitter connection issue. Was there a wifi problem?

    • Michael Brenner

      I was so thrilled to hear him say this! It’s always an uncomfortable situation when the boss asks for a tweet. You do it because you HAVE to! And the audience knows it. Looks like you saw the same Twitter issue as Greg. Hope it’s working now!

  • Trish Nettleship

    Michael in concept I definitely agree, however finding those passionate employees and empowering them to speak (“tweet”) is very different than forcing employees to tweet. I still believe and have seen it first hand that employees are the biggest advocates we have. We must empower them to speak if they chose to.

    • Michael Brenner

      Hi Trish! I agree that providing employees with updates to great content and letting them decide whether to tweet is a great idea. I have seen many organizations implement daily “Tweet suggestion” lists. But the moment an executive asks for a RT, I think it begs the question of whether that is an authentic action or a fair request.

      • Horatiu Mocian

        Hi Michael, where do you think is the line between asking an employee to RT (bad) and letting them decide what to share (good)? I think that providing them with company-related content is a subtle (and elegant) way to ask them to RT.

        There are several tools (ours included) that turn employees into advocates by providing them content to share and gamifying the whole process. Do you think offering (non-monetary) rewards for employees that generate awareness and engagement is a good approach, or will it generate unnecessary competition?


        • Michael Brenner

          Hi Horatiu, I think providing them with suggestions for valuable suggestions is definitely a good thing. As far as gamifying, I think it all comes down to what kinds of behaviors you are rewarding. If you are rewarding employees for sharing promotional content that no one wants, then that damages everyone.

  • Dare

    Hi Michael,

    Gary—is a living legend in the content marketing age. His insight and perspective are unparalleled.

    I may not fully agree with him on the aspect of telling your employees to tweet; will only disagree if the employer is forcing or cajoling them to do it. However, if it’s persuasive, I think its a good point of action.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Dare, It may be a subtle thing but providing employees with suggestions and letting them make a decision is fine but asking them to tweet is just a misuse of power and drives an obviously inauthentic experience for the audience.

  • Dara @WiseInk

    Hi Michael — great summary of a talk I wished I had heard. Thanks for the insightful post. I’ll stop asking our employees to tweet about us 🙂

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Dara. Hopefully the slideshare gives you the main points and feel free to borrow any and all of it.

  • Igor Bielobradek

    Hello Michael, thanks for inspiring post!

    I would paraphrase Jay Baer here:


    When I talk with my colleagues, I try to show them it is in their own best interest to build their own personal brand. I say: “Look, here’s the great content, with valuable insight for your clients. Make them see you’re part of it. It’s will help the firm, sure, but most importantly it will help to build YOUR personal connection with them. It will help you to meet your goal here and now, but it may help your future endeavors too.”

    Of course, there must be great content employees are proud of, but I believe the only way to spur employees advocacy it to show what’s there for them.


    Show what’s in there for your customers
    Show what’s in there for your influencers
    Show what’s in there for your employees
    There’s a pattern, isn’t it? 😉

    • Michael Brenner

      Igor, thanks so much for the comment. You just made my day! This is a pattern in business and life. If you truly and deeply seek to help others, you get what you need in return without asking. It all comes down to intention.

  • Sophie Tran

    I could not agree more about the differences between authentic advocacies and ‘suggestions’ vs forced promotional social activities.