Coffee. Friends. Guy Kawasaki. Social Media.

Yesterday I was pleased to attend an event hosted by the Social Media Club of Chattanooga. It was at my favorite coffee house and lots of friends were there, so it would’ve been fun regardless of presenters or speakers or whatever. However, it would be hard to describe watching a “live” (by Skype) interview with someone like Guy Kawasaki as a bonus.


The interviewer was John Martin of the Small Business Round Table, and he conducted the interview for his Internet radio show SBR with John Martin. Each week, John interviews small business owners, successful entrepreneurs and others who have wisdom to share with those of us working to build profitable businesses. John asked Guy questions about failure, venture capital and much more as we all looked on, listened and learned.


Guy Kawasaki is successful and excellent at what he does. He also seems to be a genuinely nice person who is interested in helping people, sharing his knowledge and teaching others how to be…enchanting. I think, though, that some of the things he said during the interview should be put into perspective.


For example, John asked about the way that Guy uses Twitter. Now, Guy has been scolded many times for posting too often, using a team to post under his name and other practices that some people view as “bad” or “wrong.” The thing is, it’s working. For Guy.


Guy has two accounts on Twitter, and if you follow both of them, you are probably seeing his name pop up quite frequently in your stream. He says that he posts each link that he wants to share four times a day – twice on each account. Now, if I re-posted things four times a day, people would get irritated really quickly. But Guy has something like 400,000 followers between his two accounts, and they are all online at different times. Some might check things in the mornings, others in the evenings – and that’s not to mention time zones. So, if you have 400,000 followers it makes good sense to share the same thing four times a day.


But if you don’t have that many followers? If you only have a measly couple of thousand? You are probably alienating people by repeating yourself so frequently, particularly if you are posting links to your own stuff (Guy doesn’t do that, by the way). Most of us can get by with posting something twice, but that’s about it.


Guy does something else that probably wouldn’t work for the rest of us: he uses social media like a billboard. He broadcasts on Twitter, which is why he wants tons of followers. For him, a follower is a set of eyeballs that might click on a link and look at an ad – and might even click on the ad.


He almost never retweets anything, mostly because he says he pays no attention to his stream. He is not using Twitter to engage in conversations. This works for a man who is hanging out on the NY Times Best Seller List, owns a couple of companies and is a respected authority in his field.


It probably wouldn’t work for you, and it definitely wouldn’t work for me.


Small business owners need to be having conversations on Twitter and Facebook, as well as platforms like Instagram if you can. We need to be talking to people, and participating in useful discussions. You know, being authentically ourselves and stuff. You can get a lot of ideas and inspiration by using social media, and it could go a long way in your business venture. Don’t forget, the more conversations you have with your followers, the higher the chance you will get more. And if you don’t, you could always decide to grow your instagram with nitreo if you wanted to get a bit of a boost to help you along the way. There are always options that you can consider, but the most important thing to take from this is that social media is the go-to place to help drive your business forward. For the business owner with a small reach and even smaller budget, real conversations with real people who spend real money are the power of social media. We can talk to people, make them love us, find out exactly what they need then sell it to them.


I would never presume to say that someone like Guy Kawasaki is doing it wrong. I will say that most of us cannot hope to do it the way he is and be successful. Do you follow Guy on Twitter or like him on Facebook? How do you feel about his tactics? Would you ever try to replicate his success using his tactics?

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