Book Notes: Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Social media mastermind and vlogging powerhouse Gary Vaynerchuk gives us a follow-up to his Crush It book about how to leverage social media platforms to build a personal brand.

Here is a collection of notes, in the order in which I took them while reading.

Those have been shortened, because there’s a lot of quotable content throughout the book. They are still pretty long.


Part I – Get Pumped

Recap of Crush It: The goal is to teach entrepreneurs to monetize their passion by using social media to build a personal brand, in order to attract customers and advertisers. In other words, the goal was to make you an influencer.

Giving in early to ads/advertisers could prevent you from growing as big as you can on social media.

A personal brand can be your way out of a tight spot. It gives you options. Examples given are Julie Andrews, Oprah, The Rock, Muhammad Ali.

Personal brands aren’t limited to creative types.

The principles are universal; the path is individual

What really matters: Intent, Authenticity, Passion, Patience, Speed, Work, and Attention.


3 characteristics:

  1. Commitment to service
  2. Desire to provide value
  3. Love of teaching

The ideal ratio is 51% altruistic, 49% selfish.

Your source of success is how much you care. Still the best marketing strategy.


Don’t try to fake it, it can’t last.

Respect the audience.

Lesson from Crush it: put your money back in your business.


There’s no point in trying to be an entrepreneur without passion.

Passion is your backup generator when all your other energy sources start to sputter.


Live simply, put others ahead of yourself.

As a side note, this section was surprisingly short considering how much Gary likes to talk about patience in his Vlogs.


Patience is for the long term, speed is for the short term. The pressure it creates in between is where the diamonds are made.

Don’t overthink, do. Get over the fear of being called a loser.

You’re better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you only try three times and always get it right.


When you first start, there is no time for leisure.

The only additional thing you have time for is your family.

Pay attention to feelings of being overwhelmed (or other feelings). Self-awareness is important.


You have to pay attention to where attention is going.

The eight essential: Content.

From Crush It: To monetize your personal brand into a business using social marketing networks, two pillars need to be in place: product & content.

Content should be native to the platform it is published to: don’t put the same stuff on every platform.

Great content is passion plus expertise.

Document, don’t create.

Every story has been told, but not by you. You are the unique piece of creative.

Documenting isn’t valuable because it captures how interesting (or not) you are; it’s about preparing for how people will watch you ten years from now.

Be purposeful in how you interact/produce. Think about the value you are delivering.

When the haters show up, shake it off.

Excuses for not going at it come from fear:

Fear of Failure, or others opinion: Don’t give a crap what people think. Let yourself be your sole judge and jury.

Fear of Wasting Time: Under 35? Not an issue. Your option of doing 9 to 5 isn’t going anywhere. Don’t be scared of wasting your time, it’s not that valuable yet, especially if you’re just sacrificing Game of Thrones time.

Fear of Seeming Vain: Everyone looks like an ass when trying something new. Everyone’s an ass until they’re a pioneer. Don’t care what others think.


Part II – Create your Pillar

1st step for everyone: create a Facebook business account.

How to get discovered:

Smart use of hashtags

Direct messaging: Reaching out and offering value, asking for nothing in return

You should count on this process taking years, not months.

General concept: reach out, make an offer they can’t refuse, produce something that doesn’t make them regret they gave you a chance.

Young crowd, creative. 101:

ride the hashtag


Create content for people like yourself.


Unpolished content works on the platform.

Good place to scale since your competition might be too focused on Instagram.

Snapchat 101:

Be more mundane and spontaneous on Snapchat, it works.

Snapchat 201:


Use other platforms to “up your cred”: blog about Snapchat for example.

Create Snapchat events



Twitter is the watercooler of society: more about conversation than consumption.

Twitter 101:

The place to listen, react, hijack.

The key is to listen well.

That technique takes time.

Twitter 201:

Good for biz-dev. It’s the place to reach out to people since they are more likely to be there to communicate.

Features a more complete and trustworthy directory, meaning less fake accounts.

Retweets are a powerful thing. The “word of mouth” it allows is unparalleled.

It’s easier to post lots on Twitter, giving you more opportunity to spark word of mouth.

Don’t forget to listen more than you talk.

Bring your smarts and your cleverness.

Persistence is everything (also true for Youtube)


More 18 to 49 visit YouTube than TV networks during primetime hours.

YouTube 101

Looks don’t matter much (but video quality does)

Vlogging is the ideal “Document, don’t create” platform.

Interesting is subjective. You don’t decide, the market does.

Listen to the market, adapt the content over time.

Give it time… Something like a year.

YouTube best practices

Video Optimization: Title, Descriptions, Tags, Thumbnail, Youtube cards.

Channel Optimization: Banner, About section, Playlists, Trailer.


Has to be part of any social media strategy.

Facebook 101

Use the flexibility (pictures, written word, video).

Greatest ad-targeting product out there.

“Sharing” culture/word of mouth for distribution.

Best place for people with no followers to start.

CPM is usually pretty low for ads.

Is shifting towards video.

Facebook 201

Facebook Live will be hard to get right, but rewarding for those ready for it.

Use wirecast and when doing Facebook Live for max interaction.

Collaboration is still key.


7 Step to Biz-Dev on Instagram:

  1. Have great content
  2. Search relevant keywords (or target by location)
  3. Click the hashtag(s) that show up
  4. Click every picture with said hashtag(s)
  5. Investigate the accounts to confirm they are owned by people/companies in your field
  6. DM these accounts a custom message (NO SPAM)
  7. In the message, explain what drew you to them, why you are worth paying attention to, and what value you offer

Only a tiny fraction will respond. It’s ok, that’s all you need.

For more:


Less intimidating than video for some.

Listeners “buy time” with podcasts because they listen while doing something else.

Podcasts 101

No real trick, gotta have great content

Promote using other social media, as well as collaboration

iTunes soon coming with analytics to help understand the listeners.

Voice First (i.e. Alexa Skills)

The culmination of our addiction to speed.

Skills 101

Keep content super brief

Make the content native

Highest quality content as possible, since it’s easier to “unsubscribe”

Skills 201

No such thing, it’s too new.

This platform is important because it’s the future. Even if you’re popular now, you’re part of the next generation’s “traditional media”.


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