Expert offers 10 rules for success in social media

Neil thinks Twitter is a fast-moving hummingbird, Pinterest is a new version of pin the tail on the donkey, and Google+ is a search engine used by large, overweight people. Neil is an idiot but I love him.

In fact, success today in almost every business demands proficiency in social media, and Guy Kawasaki, one of the most well-known and charming social media experts, was recently in San Diego where he spoke to a packed audience at the MIT Enterprise Forum. Kawasaki is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, former Apple evangelist and best selling author. He has approximately 1.3 million followers on Twitter. When he talks, people listen.

Kawasaki’s retort to entrepreneurs who say they don’t have time for social media. “This is marketing. How are you going to reach your potential customers with the $1 million in seed capital that you have? How are you going to get the word out? Social media is the best way to get the word out with a limited amount of capital. In a startup you need three people. You need someone who can make something, someone who can sell the thing and someone who can collect the money. Which one are you?”

Here is a summary of Kawasaki’s top 10 rules for success in social media.

1.    Start yesterday—You need to start attracting followers the moment that you start designing your product.

2.    Segment the services—Facebook is about people with whom you have pre-existing relationships such as your friends from high school or college. Twitter is for creating perceptions or communicating snippets of information since you only have 144 characters. (Guy’s tweet that night was “UCSD campus has great WI-FI.”) He uses Google+ to find people who share his passions such as his love of photography. Pinterest is about pinning pictures of things like cool shoes, food, cars, or furniture. And Guy says it straight up– LinkedIn is about “pimping”– looking for a job or looking for an employee.

3.    Create a great profile on Google+ to show that you are a likeable, trustworthy competent person. Kawasaki’s advice is to put your personal photo off to one side and have the picture behind your face communicate your interests such as skate boarding, surfing.

4.    Curate and link—Find great content and show it to people. Show that you understand the sector that you’re in order to position yourself as an expert. For example, if you own a restaurant, post and link to articles about interesting recipes and food, not just about your menu. You want to provide content that is so good that people want to follow you.

5.    Cheat—One way to cheat is to look at what’s trending on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook and then post the same story. Don’t be proud.  (I love that Guy tells the truth.)

6.    Restraint. Limit self-promotion to one out of 20 times. For example, if you do social media for Virgin America, you can tweet about a new restaurant or show in Las Vegas 19 times, and the twentieth time you can tweet about a special airfare to Las Vegas.

7.    Add bling such as a picture or video.

8.    Respond to comments to your posts. There are no magic algorithms. This is how you win hearts. You need to both create and maintain the dialogue.

9.    Stay positive or stay silent. Kawasaki explained how he blocks people who post inappropriate comments.

10.  Repeat. “Not everyone for whom your post is relevant will be at the computer when you put it up, and not everyone will scroll down eight hours of tweets to find your jewel,” said Kawasaki who noted that CNN and ESPN run the same story every few hours over the course of a day.  His Tweets are repeated four times every eight hours and usually generate the same number of clicks. “If you don’t get complaints, you aren’t pushing far enough,” he said. “As long as it’s high quality stuff people don’t mind. If you notice that I repeated my tweets, then you don’t have a life or you aren’t following enough people.”

Guy Kawasaki is a brand that he works at promoting 24/7. You need to find your own right blend of time and effort because social media is an essential part of connecting with customers.

Rule No. 185: Unless you live in a cave, are a hermit or a Buddhist monk — well, you understand.

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