When it comes to the use of internet for personal promotion and branding, one thing comes in mind. Content! Everybody has heard that content is king and since Web 2.0 standards made it easy for everyone to share, comment and interact in various ways, the experts started to create and propagate content. Many believe that the Web 3.0 is going to be based upon the synthesis of existing web data and the possibility to create new data. This is why successful self promotion nowadays is based upon two things. Expertise and Organized Data Flow.

But the key question remains. How should you promote expertise? As a service, or as a product? Or, if you want to follow some tested and successful paths, should you prefer the V-Service or the F-Product? What is this? Bare with me for a moment. Let’s start by looking at two opposed points of view!

Point of View 1 - The Customer

The internet has dramatically changed the way we define the answers to our needs as well as the way that we buy things and services! The content is out there. There is a lot of content, numerous tips, tricks, howtos, articles, videos, audios, podcasts, pdfs, ebooks and presentations. Oh, let’s not forget the links! There are millions of websites on the world wide web and counting. Thus, the potential is great, but extreme filtering is also required in order to obtain quality information. How can the customer decide what’s good and what’s not? Two approaches dear customer:

Be the search expert!

The customer has to become expert at various types of searches. Including but not limited to relevance search (the well known search engines), real-time search and online bookmarks search (a search by the way that can uncover an expert in your field).

Follow the expert’s advice in your field!

This one follows since you have to search and spot that expert first

Point of View 2 - The Self Promoter

Since the customer determines the demand, the self promoter has to be in the search results and has to be able to establish himself as an expert! You have to tweet, you have to discuss in blogs and forums and you have to provide fresh and valuable content in order for people to keep your blog posts in their online bookmarks. One thing is for sure, you need a blog which is the standard way of the modern era for publishing!

The V-Service

Gary Vee's Twitter Stats

V is for Vaynerchuk. Be there and take care of everyone! The V-Service is the suggested way of getting found online by the video blogger, author and public speaker Gary Vaynerchuk (or Gary Vee). In the Vaynerchuk case of course there are products (wine and books) but Gary sells himself as a service. He will eventually respond to every email, tweet or comment and he seems to be everywhere, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The key to his approach is passion and care. You have to love what you are doing and you have to be willing to help everybody!

The Self- Promoter Perspective

Is Gary Vee successful online? Let’s take a look at his Twitter stats.

Followers: 899,091
Gets Retweeted Every (# Tweets): 1.2
Link Percent in Tweets: 2.9%

Whoaa! Approaching the million followers!!! One thing is for sure, and that is the fact that Gary Vaynerchuk’s tweets have many impressions. What about clicks? Clicks presuppose a link and it is obvious that Gary is not the guy that posts links since only a 2.9% of his tweets contain a link. But he replies a lot. 90% of his tweets are replies. Gary engages in the conversation and he probably is the guy that has put this kind of communication on the map.

The Follower Perspective

What’s in there for the follower? A reply to a problem for starters and that’s something that you are going to get even if you email Gary. The follower is also going to participate in discussions and have a lot of fun. If you are a interested in wine or social media and have something to ask to the expert, Gary Vee is your guy.


Gary Vaynerchuk has a history of success as an author and a video blogger and he sells himself as a service. He is passionate at what he does and, when we talk about social media, he is almost everywhere (from Twitter to Star.Me) 24/7. Is it possible to be ultra useful to 900,000 followers trying to be there for each and every one of them? In my personal opinion the answer is a clear No. The logic behind being there for every follower, is throwing simple advisory pieces of information to establish yourself as a leader in your field, so that the portion of your followers that become clients, although small as a portion, it is quite large as an absolute number. The same applies to his two great books (Crush it and The Thank You Economy). Most of Crush it serves as an inspiration guide while the killer how-to advice lies in the one out of twelve chapters, titled Make the World Listen. The book is worth buying even for this single chapter, although the rest of book is very good overall. But it is clear that Gary’s favorite method is the Approach by Volume.

The V-Service VS the F-Product

The F-Product

Tim Ferriss' Twitter Stats

F is for Ferriss although it could easily stand for f* awesome! Timothy Ferriss is a world famous athor who has written two books, in two very different fields of interest. The 4 Hour Workweek is a perfect guide to marketing, time management and financial freedom while the 4 Hour Body is a described as an uncommon guide to rapid fat - loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman. Both of the books made it to the top of Amazon. How is this possible? How can anyone be an expert in both marketing and weight loss???

The Self- Promoter Perspective

How about Tim Ferriss? Is he successful online? Twitter stats again.

Followers: 273,802
Gets Retweeted Every (# Tweets): 0.7
Link Percent in Tweets: 70%

Hmm, a quarter of a million followers! Not as many as Gary Vaynerchuk but still a lot of impressions. But when it comes to clicks, Timothy Ferriss is the king! His tweets get retweeted before they get tweeted (!!!) and 70% of his tweets contain a link. This link can send the clicker to his personal blog or an affiliate site. The 4 Hour Body was heavily promoted through his blog with sneek peek content released every now and then! And based on the results, it is fair enough to say that his internet marketing strategy was ultra successful.

The Follower Perspective

Bu why should anyone read Tim’s posts and why should he click his links? That’s easy. Because every single piece of content that Tim promotes is a goldmine of information! Quality content on steroids!!! The 4 Hour Workweek is a step by step by substep guide to scheduling, business automation, time management and mobile lifestyle. Each chapter contains a tone of links related to the subject under discussion and the book is accompanied by a blog with case studies and updates. The 4 Hour Body on the other hand is a step by step by substep guide to fitness and wellness and it is still in the top 100 books on Amazon for a 299 days period. Although his books are complete guides, you can learn a lot more by adding Tim’s blog to your rss feed, from the newest tip on speed cooking to the marketing tactics and stats behind the official trailer for the book.

Do you want to find some interesting people to follow, other than the ones suggested by Twitter. Take a look in the people that Timothy Ferris follows. He currently follows only 326 people and this makes it very easy for you to spot some great experts in various fields.

Can you engage in the conversation with Tim Ferriss. No way! Ferriss’ model is based on three fundamental things axes. Minimize your support, maximize your results and live your life to the max. So, while his products keep his customers and followers happy, he keeps busy being happy himself with his free time.


Timothy Ferriss’ marketing model is based on top quality content. He is the best broker of information and he sells himself as a product. He supports his products a lot and those products are huge databases of quality content, constantly updating on what’s new and hot. And his products carry a lot of links! When a friend of mine once asked if the 4 Hour Workweek was worth buying, I answered that the book was 100% worth buying even for the links alone. Is it possible for a product such as a blog or a book to be a great tool that covers the needs of 273,802 followers? Absolutely yes!!! A good product has no limits. Promoting yourself through a good product is based on the logic Approach by Quality.

The Science Behind

Ideas may turn out to be good or bad! But numbers have a nasty habit of telling the truth. If you are interested in learning the science-based findings about what works and what doesn’t regarding social media, I suggest that you read the Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas. Here are two interesting charts taken from Dan Zarella’s excellent book.

Highly Followed Accounts Twitter, Links - Followers Correlation

Engaging in the Conversation is the biggest myth on social media while Publishing Great Content is the standard value!

How should you promote yourself?

Would you rather be efficient or effective? Would you rather support everyone, or support a great product that supports everyone? I vote for the last.



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