On Friday afternoon, I listened to a webinar by Guy Kawasaki on how to build a social media following.
He started by explaining why a large social media following is important. For him, social media is always a means to an end and just another way to do business. This means that he can never have too many followers. While quality engagement is key, he believes that the best way to get that is to build quantity first (I would argue that this isn’t quite true, but that the methods he suggests using are generally likely to increase both quantity of following and quality of engagement).
He then provided the following 10 tips on building a following:
1. Start yesterday – you need to be building a social following as soon as possible.
2. Segment the services – be aware of how each channel is used. He divides them as follows:
- Facebook – people you already know
- Twitter – broadcast to the world
- Google+ – share passions with other people (who you may not already know)
- Pinterest – find cool stuff to share, aesthetically pleasing
- LinkedIn – show yourself as an influencer
3. Make a great profile – he used Peg Fitzpatrick as an example. Key tips include:
- Banner should tell a story.
- Profile image should show you as likeable and trustworthy – nothing else. Some people use profile image to try to tell the full story, which gets complicated. Banners should tell the full story, profile images should have a simple message. Ideally the profile image will be a high quality image that is 90% your face. Guy likes that Peg’s image is slightly off-centre.
- Fill in all the information that you can.
4. Be a great curator and linker:
- Every post should have a link to the original source.
- There are a number of good tools for curation, including Alltop and StumbleUpon (both of which I have used and would recommend).
- Find great stuff and share it to tell your story.
5. “Cheat” – use quick wins, such as:
- Get people to share your content, so that they are showing your expertise – social proof.
- Use your knowledge of your audience to give them what they want.
- See what’s already popular – use tools such as most read/most commented on news stories.
- Share hot stories – what’s working for other people will probably work for you.
- Give credit to good curators and develop good relationships with them – they may start to curate your content.
6. Restrain yourself – Guy recommends that 19/20 content pieces should be informational and 1/20 should be promotional.
7. Add “bling”:
- Guy shares a relevant picture that he has sourced to accompany every single post to draw people in and make the posts stand out. These are about 4-500 pixels wide. He will always credit the source.
- Wikimedia is a great source of stock images.
- Embedding videos is a good alternative.
(Click on images to enlarge)
8. Respond – don’t just push out content, make sure you are engaging too.
9. Stay positive or stay silent – there is no benefit to posting negative content or comments.
10. Repeat posts:
- Post in large quantities and post often.
- Guy repeats all his tweets 4 times as 8 hour intervals.
- Most people will miss the post first time – you may upset a couple of followers by repeating, but you are likely to gain more than you lose.
- Most companies do not post enough.
- Nothing in social media is gospel – there are no set rules on how often it is OK for brands to post.
- Guy repeats all posts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Q1: How do you deal with complains?
A1: 1. Fix the issue. 2. Send a message saying, “Sorry about this, let’s resolve it offline.”
Q2: What images is it OK to use?
A2: Using images that aren’t yours is a grey area, but Guy feels it is OK as long as they are clearly credited. Stock images from sites such as Wikimedia are a great resource.
Q3: Do you post the same content on different channels or tailor to each channel?
A3: It depends. Generally the content is the same for Facebook and Google+, and as similar as possible for Twitter considering the character limits. This content will be around 70% information and 30% bling. He will vary timings and formats across each network as appropriate.
Instagram and Pinterest are both for eye candy, so he will post about 70% bling and 30% information. On Instagram he will post things “just for the hell of it”, but on Pinterest he is more selective and will only share great images.
Q4: Are there any companies that shouldn’t be using social media:
A4: It’s fast, free and ubiquitous – why shouldn’t they use it? Anything can be made interesting. Even for B2B, every transaction is between two people, so the same principles are relevant. He spent a little while trying to think of any type of company that shouldn’t be on social media and couldn’t find any strong examples (except potentially plutonium salesperson…)
Q5: Should business avatars use a person or a company logo?
A5: It depends on the business. If you are a small business owner, then you are the business so it might be best to use that. The larger the company gets, the less important a face is.
Q6: How should companies measure success?
A6: Some marketers will find variables they can control so that they can justify their fees.
The key question is: are you selling more or not?