Guy Kawasaki is a special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is also the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. HubSpot invited Guy to reveal the secrets behind his incredibly active and popular social media profiles that enable him to reach millions each day.
Many people ask me how I manage my social media accounts (and others make stuff up rather than figure out what I do). Here are the gory, inside-story details of what I do. Perhaps you may find some of my methods useful to help you get the most out of social media, too.
On Twitter, I'm @GuyKawasaki. My Twitter practices defy the recommendations of social media "schmexperts" (schmuck + experts) to manually post a limited number of tweets and not use automation, repetition, contributors, and ghostwriters.
I have never been on the Twitter Suggested User List, and I have more than 1.2 million followers. I attribute this success to providing a lot of interesting links that people retweet. These retweets expose me to many people who then follow me. There are five (yes, five -- count 'em) sources that feed my Twitter account:
I co-founded a website called Alltop. Half of it is an aggregation of 30,000 RSS feeds organized into 1,500 topics ranging from adoption to zoology. The other half is a website called HolyKaw.
HolyKaw provides a continuous flow of interesting and diverse stories that should elicit the response, “Holy cow!” (Holycow.com was taken but since my name is pronounced “Cow-asaki,” I figured that HolyKaw would work.)
The posts on HolyKaw are short summations of stories, a picture or video to illustrate the story, and a link to the source. Approximately twenty people/organizations have contributor-level access to HolyKaw.
We pay several as editors -- they are not “interns” in the sense of unpaid students. Organizations such as Futurity and National Geographic also have contributor-level access because they consistently post great stories.
The headline of a HolyKaw post -- for example, “Compilation of stories about introverts, outsiders, and loners” -- automatically generates tweets that go out through a custom app called GRATE, for “Guy’s Repeating Automated Tweet Engine." These slightly modified tweets appear four times, eight hours apart.
The reason for repeated tweets is to maximize traffic and therefore advertising sales. I’ve found that each tweet gets approximately the same amount of clickthroughs. Why get 600 page views when you can get 2,400? Like CNN, ESPN, and NPR, we provide content repeatedly because people live in different time zones and have different social media habits.
2) Repurposed Google+ Posts
Three other people also post to HolyKaw via Google+: Peg Fitzpatrick, Trey Ratcliff, and me. (I explain this in the Google+ section below.)
3) Repurposed Facebook.com Posts
Peg Fitzpatrick manages the Facebook.com/guysco brand page. When she posts stories there, they automatically appear as tweets.
4) My Comments and Responses
I use Tweetdeck to respond to @-mentions of @Guykawasaki, as well as to direct messages. If you see a response tweet, it is always me -- never anyone else.
5) Promotional Tweets
Finally, if you see a tweet that is promoting my books, appearances, or investments, it’s almost always one that I posted with Tweetdeck or that Peg Fitzpatrick has scheduled using HootSuite.
On Google+, I'm GuyKawasaki, and Google+ is the core of my social media existence. It is the Macintosh of social media: better, used by fewer people, and often condemned by the experts. Unlike other social media profiles I own, no one else ever posts, responds, or comments on Google+ as me.
My orientation toward Google+ (and social media in general) is what I call the NPR Model. My role is to curate good stories that entertain, enlighten, and inspire people 365 days a year. My goal is to earn the right to promote my books, companies, or causes to them just as NPR earns the right to run fundraising telethons from time to time.
My posts range from first-person accounts of being a black tourist in China, what happened to Allen Iverson after his NBA career, and gifts from Air New Zealand. I use five primary resources to find stories to post:
1) My Alltop Account
This is a custom compilation of the RSS feeds of websites such as In Focus, The Big Picture, YouTube, and NPR that are mother lodes of great content. This is my one-stop shopping cart for content.
Yes, I post what my contributors post as me (i.e. under my name) because the HolyKaw contributors are often better at being me than me. Wrap your mind around that.
3) What’s Hot Feed of Google+
Think of this as crowdsourced story leads. The beauty of this feed is that you know that people have already judged the stories as good, though it tends to be heavy on Android news and inspirational quotations.
4) Most Popular Stories
When I’m checking out stories from the first two sources, I look at the “Most Emailed” and “Most Popular” listings on the right side of most websites. These often yield great material. I’ve also compiled a collection of most emailed and most popular feeds at Most-Popular.alltop to make this even easier for you.
5) Pointers From Various Friends and Family
Many people know that I’m on the hunt for good content, so they send me leads. These are almost always good enough to post.
Some of my Google+ posts pass the “holy cow!” test, and there is a plug-in to publish Google+ posts to a WordPress blog. This means I can cherry pick my Google+ posts for HolyKaw. (Look for the hashtag “HolyKaw” to see which will appear in HolyKaw and later Twitter.)
Peg Fitzpatrick, Trey Ratcliff, and I use this method to select some of their Google+ posts for inclusion in HolyKaw. They do this to gain additional exposure since these posts are tweeted to my 1.2 million Twitter followers four times eight hours apart through the HolyKaw GRATE machine.
Three Google+ Power Tips
I adore Google+, so let me provide these power tips for using the service:
1) Find anytime, but post when you’re cogent.
I often get up in the middle of the night and check Alltop and the Google+ What’s Hot feed on my Nexus 7. When I find something good, I share it to a Google+ private community with only one member: me. When I wake up in the morning, I go to this community to see what stories I found in a less cogent condition and write up a post.
2) Schedule Google+ posts.
There are multiple ways to schedule Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest posts using various tools. However, Google+ makes it harder than those services. There are two ways to do this, however. First, there’s Do Share, a Chrome extension. Second, if you have a HootSuite enterprise account, you can schedule to a Google+ Business Page (as opposed to a personal profile). Since my Google+ focus is on my personal profile, I don't use the HootSuite method.
3) Get rid of trolls.
Be a hard-ass: Get rid of people who irritate you. Think of your Google+ posts as your swimming pool. If people pee in it, throw them out. There are some people you need to get out of your social media life. A Chrome extension called Nuke Comments is a lovely solution because it enables you to delete a comment, block the person, and report him/her with one click.
I have two personas on Facebook: Facebook.com/guy and Facebook.com/guysco. The first is a personal profile, and the second is a brand page. I operate them differently.
First, a virtual assistant monitors my Google+ account and manually adds most of my Google+ posts to Facebook.com/guy using Buffer. (Disclosure: I advise Buffer.)
There are plugins that can automatically publish Google+ posts to Facebook. However, every Google+ post is not appropriate for Facebook, and there’s no way for me to tag the ones that are appropriate. Thus, a human has to make the decision, download the photo or YouTube embed link, make minor edits such as removing the “+” in Google+ +mentions, and post to Facebook.
I monitor comments at Facebook.com/guy and respond to them as much as time permits. My virtual assistant never acts as me, so either I answer or there is no response at all.
Second, for Facebook.com/guysco, Peg Fitzpatrick, whom I mentioned earlier, makes all the posts to this page, and these stories automatically become tweets. This Facebook Page is a branding effort for “Guy’s companies,” which are primarily my books.
On LinkedIn, I am Guy Kawasaki. The virtual assistant who takes my Google+ posts and publishes them to Facebook uses the same process for LinkedIn using Buffer. One of the cool things about Buffer is that you can post to Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time, so this is easy.
There are seldom comments on my LinkedIn posts, so I seldom visit my posts to respond -- of course, this may be a self-fulfilling process. But I have to draw the line somewhere, or I’ll never play hockey during the day, which is a key component of my happiness.
On Pinterest, I'm Guykawasaki, but Peg Fitzpatrick manages my Pinterest presence. There are two reasons: First, I don’t have enough time to do a good job with more than three services (my priority, in order, is Google+, then Twitter, then Facebook).
Second, I don’t have Peg’s magic sauce to manage Pinterest as well as the Pinterest community deserves. Part of doing social media well is knowing what you don’t know and what you can’t do well, and then finding someone who does.
Don’t get the impression that there is a huge team of people doing what I described above. The total of all resources, excluding my own activities, is approximately one full-time equivalent. In addition, I spend three to four hours per day creating my own posts and commenting and responding.
To summarize, here’s quick wrap-up to review my social media methods:
Twitter: Mostly generated from the headlines of HolyKaw stories, four times, eight hours apart; contributions via Google+ and Facebook; and manual promotional tweets.
Google+: Me only. Think of me as the Mike Rowe of Google+ -- I'm willing to do the "dirty jobs."
Pinterest: Peg Fitzpatrick acting as me.
Facebook and LinkedIn: Virtual assistant reposting some of my Google+ posts.
Again, no one responds as me (for better or worse, as I've sometimes learned) on social media, though many different people may be behind a post.
This is how I manage my social media presence as of May 2013. I hope there are techniques here that you can use. Stay tuned, because my procedures are ever-changing.