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Agent2021 starts a full day of marketing excellence

Wow, what a week it’s been! For most people, the week culminates on Friday. TGIF, they say.

But the high point of my week was Thursday, Jan. 17 to be exact, when I eagerly checked out the Agent2021 conference at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The conference was a one-day event educating real estate, auto, insurance and mortgage agents and owners about social media and digital marketing innovation.

Man, I was blown away! These people are experts. They have it together. But they’re gracious, too, and they took a few minutes to record some interviews with me for broadcast on Fried On Business later in the day.

Jon Morgenstern and Avery Durnan

First up were Jon Morgenstern, Vice President of Paid Media at VaynerMedia, and Avery Durnan, Vice President of Media Platforms. Gary Vaynerchuk, along with his digital agency VaynerMedia, hosted the day-long Agent2021 conference.

Facebook, Instagram and similar companies were prominent there. Jon said it’s because they know that their growth is coming from small to mid-sized businesses.

The conference objective, Avery said, was to reveal to smaller businesses some of the insights that VaynerMedia has garnered from working major companies.

And those insights are substantial. VaynerMedia offers a dizzying array of services all geared toward helping you make the most of the new social media environment.

Jon said Gary’s ambition is different from most large agencies. He wants to buy brands, build them up and flip them – building up huge cash reserves so he can one day buy the New York Jets. No kidding.

He does this by providing outstanding service, Jon said. Most agencies are too focused on the bottom line, he said, to serve their clients well.

Don’t be intimidated by the social media platforms, Jon added. They’re becoming easier to use, and creating content is becoming cheaper all the time.

Start today, said Avery. There’s so much you can do and it truly builds brands.

Click here to listen to the complete interview with Jon Morgenstern and Avery Durnan of VaynerMedia.

John Henry

Then came an insightful interview with John Henry. John was a keynote speaker at the event and is a Partner at Harlem Capital and host of the TV show Hustle on VICELAND.

He has also cofounded a non-profit incubator, Cofound Harlem, with a mission to incubate over 100 companies north of 96th street in New York City.

Business tests every facet of your character, John said. It strains your mental, emotional and financial well-being.

You must decide if you want that. Do you want to endure that in the name of success?

Then, if you know you have the passion, you must rely on that during the tough times – because there will be tough times, he said.

John said a high point of his career to date has been the opportunity to involve his family whenever possible. For example, the shaving company Gillette contracted with him to produce an ad for Father’s Day, and his father had a key role in the spot.

So I had to ask: What is your one, go-to thought that helps you break through the inevitable down times?

“I just lean into what I know this all could be 20 years from now,” John said. “It would be the greatest crime to know what your potential could be but then not get there.”

The TV show Hustle premiers Feb. 10 on VICELAND. John trails struggling business owners and helps them take their businesses to the next level. It is produced by Alicia Keys and Marcus Samuelsson.

Click here to listen to the full interview with John Henry of Harlem Capital.

Wanda Myles, my co-host, and I had a wonderful time at Agent2021. The big takeaway is the art of storytelling. Your social media efforts have to communicate a larger narrative, not just be an elaborate information feed.

You have to be authentic. Be you.

I want to send a special thank you and shoutout to keynote speaker Matt Higgins – the CEO of RSE Venture and vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins – for sending a personal video message to my wife Vivian that made her day.

Bekah Carlson

The day would not have been complete without a conversation with my top-notch social media marketing consultant Bekah Carlson of Carlson Integrated.

We talked about content marketing collaboration. In other words, how do you select the best partners for your social media efforts?

Look for a strong referral, Bekah said. Look around at the marketing you like, and see who they’re using.

“When you’re building a collaborative team, you’re really building a truly professional relationship, and you’re building a partnership. These are the people who are communicating your brand, on your behalf, to the world around you. So it matters that you have people to work with that you like and that you click with,” she said.

I’ve said it before: Make sure you have value system alignment.

Bekah concurs. If you aren’t building your enterprise in collaboration with people you respect and enjoy, it diminishes your joy in the effort. It takes away some of the meaning and purpose.

Bekah said Linkedin is currently her favorite social media channel for reaching business people.

“One of the things I’ve done most recently is to really maximize the groups you’re in,” she said.

All of these platforms have tutorials on how to get the most out of them, so don’t be afraid to try something new. I will be adding Instagram, for instance, to the Fried On Business media channels. It’s tough to figure out given the logistics of the show, but we’re going to make it happen.

Now, the folks at Agent2021 say that Instagram is even more important than Facebook, and Bekah agrees.

“We’ve just started adding all of our Facebook clients to Instagram accounts,” she said.

All of this can be overwhelming and intimidating, but little wins are the key, Bekah said. Small victories inspire you toward the next one. And then the next. One step in front of the other. Just keep trying.

“As you build your capabilities, you’re going to find – before you know it – that you’re going to feel adept. You’re going to feel confident that either you’re doing it yourself well or the people around you are doing it well. And it’s just going to lead to even more success,” she said.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Bekah Carlson of Carlson Integrated.

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