Guy Kawasaki’s strategy for marketing with Twitter
Guy Kawasaki, former ‘evangelist’ at Apple, is considered a marketing expert, particularly when it comes to using Twitter. He boasts over 850,000 followers, follows almost 299,000 users and tweets continuously throughout the day.
His approach may seem a little aggressive and haphazard, until one looks at his business venture, Alltop, which is a curator of content. Described as an online magazine rack of popular topics, Alltop features an A-Z list of topics, including generic interest areas such as food, technology or sport, popular websites and blogs, such as Techcrunch, and other topic categories such as product or business names.
The site’s mantra is a quote from author Clay Shirky: “It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.”
Twitter is one of the main tools that Kawasaki uses to share content aggregated on Alltop. He does so religiously, somehow finding the time to tweet links to many of the thousands of articles fed through the site daily.
His solution to finding the time to tweet is hiring ghostwriters. Crediting Twitter as a major part of Alltop’s success, Kawasaki employs several people to contribute to his tweets. “I use ghostwriters because I want to provide as many interesting links as possible, and several intelligent people (assuming you think I’m intelligent) looking for interesting stuff will find more than one intelligent person,” he writes on Smart Business.
With a team of five employed to curate content and maintain his Twitter feed, Kawasaki, invests in social media significantly. But how many people would he suggest other businesses need to maintain an aggressive approach to Twitter such as this? Only one to begin with, “working really hard, unencumbered by a clueless boss and a luddite legal department”.
“Certainly one person can get things going enough to prove that Twitter makes sense for a company to add more people to do it even better,” Kawasaki adds.
Scrutinisers of Kawaksaki’s approach might also assume that the sheer number of people he follows would render the micro-blog unusable from a listening perspective. Kawasaki disagrees. His approach is to look only at replies, direct messages and tweets that contain ‘guykawasaki’, ‘alltop’ or ‘guysreplies’.
He doesn’t read his timeline, instead preferring to answer almost every reply and direct message. The reasons he follows so many people therefore are simple, “first, common courtesy and second, so that people can send direct messages to me. I like direct messages because they are more efficient than email. I don’t read the timelines of all the people that I follow.”
Kawasaki recommends that companies repeat their tweets to ensure that as many followers as possible see them. The extra eyeballs who will see each link outweighs the tiny number of people who will complain about it the repetition, according to the former Apple employee, who is also the author of 10 books including Enchantment, Reality Check and The Art of the Start.
When asked to give his advice on using Twitter for marketing purposes, Kawasaki replies there is no right or wrong way to go about it, and the only way of finding out what works best is trial and error.
“Twitter is far beyond Trixie telling Biff and Carly that her cat rolled over,” Kawasaki says. “It’s a platform. As such, there is no wrong or right way, just as there is no wrong or right way to maintain a website or blog. The bottom line is that there’s only what works and what doesn’t, and you won’t know which is which until you try.”