Garbage GaryVee Advice

Let me get something out of the way: I am a Garyvee fan - to some extent. I follow him on Instagram and Twitter. Mostly so I can send some of his inspirational stuff to my kids, because, you know, if a parent said the same thing, it usually has minimal impact on the kids (“Dad, stop giving me a lecture”).

I was dishing out similar advice to my friends and clients in 2000-2005 (before anyone had heard of Garyvee), telling them that they shouldn’t be watching so much TV and then complain about not having enough time to work on their moonlighting and passion projects. But people will listen only if you have any clout or authority. And at the time, I didn’t have any, because I was working at a job, just like the people I was giving advice to. And even today, I don’t have any, when it comes to my kids and close friends lol!

A lot of his advice is great for young folks - which is why I sometimes forward his post to my kids. “Work your face off”, “Eat $#it”, “Be grateful”, “You’re still so young, so don’t worry about being too late”, (paraphrasing), etc. All that is great for the youngins.

But for most of us, a lot of his advice about growing an audience, is impractical. You and I can’t hire a videographer, editor, and social media marketer to follow us around all day like we were the Kardashians, and create a Truman-show of sorts. And I don’t think most of us even care about doing that.

A lot of his advice about social media is borderline garbage.Like… trying to put content out on all of the platforms, getting on every dang platform that comes along and trying to game “attention” - the kind of stuff that works for a teenager with no bills to pay, nothing to lose, no family or house or chores to take care of, and most importantly, no real products to sell and no real business to run.

Ok, so maybe that makes the case for hiring a social media manager. But still, unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do that, so they all fall for the endless trap of gaming systems.

Case in point: This article.

In the article, he talks about something he calls the “$1.80” strategy of growing your Instagram account. And it basically involves leaving your “2 cents” on 9 of the top accounts for 10 different hottest tags. Get it? 0.02 * 9 * 10 = $1.80.



The above image and the snippets below are all from his actual article:

“I love this! Great way to spread positivity!”

Realistically this shouldn’t take any more than 2 minutes per post.

If you love the post and admire the aesthetic, say so!

If you think a friend would benefit from seeing it, share it with them.

Any of that that sounds like a genuine, deep, thoughtful conversation or discussion to you?

The whole tactic sounds like the sales script given to sleazy scumbag telemarketers in an underground boiler room.

You don’t attract your 1,000 true fans by leaving spammy one-liner comments (“I love this! Great way to spread positivity” is an actual example in the article) on “hottest tags” or other people’s accounts and wasting 2 hours a day on fake engagement.

You attract your 1,000 true fans and develop followers, friends and fans and customers, by putting out epic content, thoughtful and meaningful content that makes people think/learn/laugh/cry/etc, being interesting, having a personality, being funny, inspirational, or educational etc, and creating sustained excellence for a long period of time.

And then hire someone on Fiverr to blast your account with a million fake followers for 5 bucks. Just KIDDING!! :-).

And then spend money to promote your Instagram account and put it in front of enough targeted (as much as you can) audience, and see who is drawn to your content.

This whole rant came about because I saw someone ask about how to grow their Instagram account, and out came a bunch of BS advice, like someone linking to the Garyvee article above.

I would actually say, take a step back and think about whether you really need to worry about promoting your Instagram account. Having followers on any platform doesn’t mean you’ll make money.

Imagine spending that 2 hours a day (as Garyvee seems to suggest that you and I waste on social media) and spending that on creating a remarkable product or service and creating an actual business and providing real value to your audience.


If I were your business coach, and you told me you wanted to grow your Instagram following, the first thing I would ask you is “Why?”.

If attention is what you seek, there are way better ways to build an audience. The quicker you want to build it, the more it is going to cost you in terms of paid ads. Organic exponential growth on Instagram is pretty much impossible even if you put out tons of great content every day.

So a better question would be: How can I reach my target audience?

And there are WAY better ways to do that than trying to grow your Instagram account by leaving cheesy, spammy comments on “hot posts”. When I see someone promoting that, it causes the same kind of visceral reaction and shaking of my head like seeing someone eat Tide pods (laundry detergent cakes).

If you want to do it like grown-ups and non-spammers who don’t have the time to sit around posting spam comments, check out my course about building an audience from scratch, at . Solid, fundamental, sensible, practical, proven ways of growing an audience.

Also, check out a couple of related episodes from my podcast where I talked about this stuff.

Likes And Loves Won’t Show You The Money

How to Become an Overnight Success

The Real IG That Is Critical To Your Business

Now go do it.

– Ravi Jayagopal
And check out my main podcast about digital marketing, at


Great post Ravi, and I agree 100 percent that our friend Garyvee is fun, quotable, and even sometimes insightful- but he also just talks a lot of nonsense that most of us shouldn’t even bother trying to apply.

Make real content, drop REAL comments where and with accounts that you’re genuinely having fun with, and maybe just maybe you’ll pickup a few honest followers who made their way to your follow button because you weren’t an annoying human comment spam bot.


Ravi: I like your advice about delivering instant gratification (in your Alexa Flash Briefing at the bottom of the post). Making people jump through hoops to get a little something in exchange for their confirmed email seems greedy. That’s putting yourself and your perceived needs first.

But giving them some little something on the Thank You page is a great idea. It’s like an amuse-bouche given without asking at the beginning of a restaurant meal. The chef wants to thank you for coming in by amusing your mouth.*

It doesn’t need to be much to be appreciated. In fact, that’s the core of the “go-givers” philosophy espoused by Bob Burg and John David Mann: create value and touch people’s lives before asking for anything in return.

That instant gratification may come back to you through immediate gratitude on the part of your prospect. It’s the start of a great relationship, you can hope. The rest is in your follow-up.

*Warning: when the little gift given at the beginning of the meal is meat-based and the diners aren’t asked if they eat meat, it could blow up in the chef’s face in the form of teeny-tiny uneaten and returned plates. The meal gets off on the wrong foot in that case…

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@Tim_Prentiss, great point. I just might steal that one for a future episode :wink: . Will be sure to give you credit, though.

Yeah, the chef might want to warn about nuts and dairy and other allergy-inducing items too lol!

I hadn’t seen or heard that word amuse-bouche in such a long time. Beautiful word though. I’m a word-nerd, in case one didn’t know. And that word is making me hungry right now :smile:

I was a pretty big GaryVee fan as well. I concur with your assessment about what he is saying to those of us who have been in the trenches for a while. We are eating $h!t and working at this platform-build thing, but we have to focus our efforts as well. There just isn’t time and energy to do everything. he does.

I can’t spent tons of time on Facebook, Facebook Groups, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Periscope, Twitter, MeWe, Minds, Gab, LinkedIn and Snapchat AND still create great content on my own blog. It just isn’t going to happen, and if GaryVee had to do it all himself, neither would he. After all, I believe even he started with one platform: WineTV on YouTube.

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realsmallscalelife is spot on. Most of us don’t have the staff to do all the things Gary Vee does.

Plus, it’s not necessary. I don’t “do” social media (freakin’ hate Twitter, FB, etc), don’t create video content, don’t have a podcast, etc., yet my little 2.5 person operation seems to do just fine.

Also, excellent observation about how Gary started.


I suspect it helps to know who your audience is.

If you are looking grab a giant swath of attention, then GV’s ideas make sense.

But my market is very very niche. So niche I don’t even care about iTune rate and review or being found there, because people find out about my podcast from their friends. So if I keep delighting them, they will continue to gossip about the podcast.

These days the call to action (well, one of them) is “if you like the podcast and find it helpful…share it with a friend.”

My goal is to have the listeners do the heavy lifting of chattering about the podcast on whatever social media they enjoy.

And I like Gary’s idea of surfing the top of a few #ideas, but only in the areas that I want to play in

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Ravi, when I got your invite I was going to delete it. ( just another forum, I thought…another “time suck.”)

But I got here 2 minutes ago and I am already glad that my growth mind defeated my fixed mindset.

Gary Vee hacked my retirement.
Yes. I saw his " You got experience" video.
And, BOOM! Just like that I was all in again after 4 years retired in Florida.

I got seduced by his #HustlePorn and wemt to Cuba to put on a Hackathon. haha.

I’ll prefer to take advice from someone like you, a cool, self-made Entrepreneur (I’ve known you and your wife for years…Much Respect) over a guy that has big financial backers to answer to and looks like he could have a heart attack ANY second.

Relentless schtick gets old fast…as does Gary Vee.



I mean, he does a lot for getting people to think about things and inspire them to act. I mean, how many of us didn’t stand up and cheer when he said, “You can make $70,000 on Smurfs. Smurf it up!”

Getting going and documenting your life is interesting to some, but it really comes back to the message and your market. What is your why?

Why are you doing this?
Why should people listen to you?
Why should people TRUST you?
Why should the BUY anything from you?

You have to do some self-evaluation and thinking before you act.

I mean, we ALL know why Gary is doing what he is doing: he wants to buy the Jets someday.

But we also know he loves the attention and wants to be Tony Robbins to millenials and GenZ.

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Not that I have all the answers to those questions. We are working on some rebranding and retooling on our platforms right now.

We all have our own path and our goals; it is up to you to figure your way out and then execute!

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Did you see the article in the New York Times today about how Gary Vaynerchuk wants to buy the New York Jets? Here’s a link:

Would it be good to be so rich that you could buy your favorite team? @RaviJayagopal - would you pay Lebron all that money? I bet you would…

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Yeah, he’s been saying that for well over 10 years now I think. I used to listen to his podcast for a few years and I’ve heard that from him.

I’m totally fine with having grand ambition. My own personal theory is, shoot for the moon, and maybe at worst you’ll land on top of a skyscraper somewhere.

Today, it would cost between $1-$2 Billion to own a Basketball team. And even if you could come up with that kind of money, you have to find a team that is willing to sell. I’m sure there is a price at which someone would think about selling, but you can’t overpay just because you want a team. That wouldn’t make business sense because you’ll end up losing tens of millions of dollars each year.

Anyway, if I had that kind of money, I absolutely would buy the Los Angeles Lakers, which is the team LeBron plays for right now :-). Oh, by the way, the LA Lakers are probably worth more like $5 Billion, and they ain’t selling anytime in my lifetime. So it’s all moot :slight_smile:

(LeBron is #23)

– Ravi Jayagopal

I wrote this back in Nov 2018, and I feel even more strongly about this tactic.

Terrible way to grow your audience.

There is a better way. Check out .