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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Using the Gary Vaynerchuk Playbook

by Julie Clarke-Bush, on May 9, 2019 5:41:00 AM

AOC doing Vaynerchuk

Have you been wondering what’s going on with political Instagram?

That’s what I’m calling it when politicians use Instagram.

Beto making slimeWhether it’s Beto O’Rourke making slime with his kids or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) debating if her Mac-and-cheese leftovers are still good, the world is loving these Instagram stories.

Many media outlets are writing articles that theorize about what’s behind the strategy. See here, here, and here

Are AOC’s behind the scenes stories of her first days in Congress a strategy to showcase how things are different for a woman? Is this a plan to expose how the system is not set up for the working class? While those things are happening, I have a simpler explanation.

She’s following the advice in Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crushing It.

AOC debating leftoversGary Vee, as he’s affectionately known in the marketing world, gives advice to entrepreneurs on how to build a personal brand online. His book outlines how to be a social media influencer.

(I tried to slide into AOC’s DMs to ask if she read the book. I’ll update my Insta story if she replies with an answer.)

If you’re working on a political campaign, keep reading. I believe the next election cycle will be won by candidates who can slay on social.

Here are 5 ways AOC is becoming a social media influencer by using the Gary Vee playbook:

1. She creates content on the regular by documenting her life.

Your ground-game team knows getting in front of the public means you have to visit every state. Digital experts know creating digital content helps your campaign visit every phone. The content can be Tweets, blogs on your website, and posts on social media and Instagram stories. Gary Vee says you need to produce content quickly and not worry about aesthetics. Be genuine, offer value, and don’t worry about production value.

2. She gives, gives, gives and then asks.

Gary Vee wrote another book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. This is a reference to how online marketing is like dating. You don’t just walk up to someone and ask them to marry you. First, you get to know them, date them, and if it’s a good fit, you ask them to get married. In short, offer value before asking for the sale. AOC’s Instagram is 90% of her documenting her life. The other 10% is asking for donations or asking for participation in causes she cares about. So many politicians make the mistake of just asking for a donation and offering nothing in return.

Here’s me with Gary Vaynerchuk on his Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook book tour. He visited Powell’s Bookstore here in Portland on December 12, 2013. He’s very accessible. I had the opportunity to ask him a question, but I was too starstruck to say anything. #marketingnerd

JJRH-CLarke-Bush-large- copy

3. She’s authentic and speaks her truth.

If AOC messes up, she owns and uses it as a way to show you she’s a real person. Gary Vee has advised politicians to get all the skeletons out of the closet so the rival has no ammunition for attacks. Her transparency gives her leverage by being open when her critics aren't. 

Example of AOC shaming the haters here. 

AOC is working for the people4. Her intentions are pure.

She knows she was sent to D.C. to be an advocate for her community. Gary Vee says you can do all the work to become an influencer, but if you don’t come from a place of genuinely wanting to help, people will see right through it. When AOC states she’s there to represent the working class and speak on behalf of those who don’t have a voice,  you believe her. I think this ability to speak from the heart won her the election.

5. She answers her follower’s questions 

The real way to leverage social is to interact with your followers. Like I said, Gary Vee makes himself accessible. He goes out of his way to interact with his fans. He even has a show called Ask Gary Vee where he takes questions and answers them. AOC invited her followers to an “Ask Me Anything” session on Instagram. Both know that if you have a fan or a follower, interacting and acknowledging them is akin to kissing babies and shaking hands.

To wrap things up.

Remember the picture of Hillary walking in the Chappaqua woods? Two days after the election, we saw her going for a walk in the woods with no makeup and her dog. We finally saw a glimpse of the real woman.

hillary walking in the woods

If only she had shown this side during the campaign.

If you’re running for office or thinking of it, step one is to build an audience. ANYONE can build a personal brand and become a political influencer on social media these days. Gary Vee’s book has many examples. While none of the examples have anything to do with politics, AOC shows the secret to winning is the same.

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