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The Guy Kawasaki Guide to Rocking Your Online Marketing

If you want to do well with social media, then the first thing that you need is a strategy.


Maybe not – at least, according to Guy Kawasaki; venture capitalist, founder of, and the author of a dozen books, including the recent bestseller Enchantment.

Guy breaks a lot of the “established” rules of social media, and ignores a lot of the best practices taught by “social media experts”.

And you should listen to him.

After all, it’s hard to argue with a man who has well over 400K followers on Twitter and almost 60K Facebook likes!

Guy Kawasaki has over 400k Twitter followers

The Three Pillars of Enchantment

The foundation of social media is elements that are timeless – they worked in Dale Carnegie’s time, and they still work today. The three elements are likeability, trustworthiness and quality.

1. Likability. If people don’t like you, they’re not going to listen to you, let alone purchase your product or service. People prefer to do business with people that they like, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that one of the best ways to develop relationships with your audience is to be likable. You smile when you meet someone in real life, and you can send a friendly greeting when you meet someone online.

2. Trustworthiness. You must do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. If you develop a reputation as unreliable, dishonest or questionable, you won’t enchant people. You develop trustworthiness by trusting others first, dealing fairly with everyone you meet, and making your conflicts of interest visible to people.

3. Quality. Arguably the most important of the pillars, everything you produce must be worth reading, buying, or just spending time thinking about. Great products and services are DICEE: deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant. Think about Apple’s products – you want to be the Apple of your market.

Applying the Pillars to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

Once you have basics down pat, then you can move on to applying social-media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

These are fantastic tools that provide a megaphone that you can use to spread your message and develop your business. Unfortunately, “social media experts” cause a lot of confusion and frustration with their recommendations.

It starts with their recommendation that you absolutely must first create a strategy with goals, milestones, and expected results that you can follow, step-by-step, to success.

This is ridiculous.

It’s ridiculous because it overlooks the most important part of social media: that they’re social, free-flowing, ever changing, and malleable for each person’s style. If you were a kid going to a new high school for the first time, would you sit down and plan out a detailed, step-by-step strategy on how to make friends and become popular?

Not likely.

In fact, it would be pretty scary if you did.

Here’s how Guy uses Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. These aren’t the only ways, or the best ways – but this is how he uses them, and it works.

Guy Kawasaki Twitter Profile

Twitter is a Link Economy

The currency of Twitter is links.

The way to get street cred is to share great content, whether it’s your own, or that of others.

Position yourself as a content expert by acting as a content curator. Don’t worry about frequency, and go ahead and tweet the same thing several times per day – just focus on finding lots of excellent content, and sharing it far and wide.

Guy has got hundreds of thousands of followers that are interested in the content he tweets about, because he tweets about things that he finds genuinely interesting, and that meet the standards of the three pillars.

If you’re genuinely engaging with people on Twitter, then you’re going to be creating relationships with people who have interests and passions that are at least somewhat similar to yours. This gives you the opportunity to expose them to new content and ideas and vice versa.

If something on the internet makes you say “Holy cow, that’s amazing.” It’s very likely that your audience will have the same reaction, and will appreciate it being brought to their attention.

So start researching, and start tweeting.

Facebook is a Picture Economy

Guy Kawasaki Facebook photos

With Facebook, it’s all about pictures.

Use pictures – whether you post them, or your readers post them – to trigger conversations. Create a fan page to position yourself as an expert, and then focus on pictures.

People, after all, are visual – they respond well to things that they see, and Facebook is the perfect environment for them to take what they see, and share it with their friends. That creates conversations.

Guy is much more proactive in terms of posting content and responding to people on Facebook. It’s active for him, whereas Twitter is more reactive.

The personal nature of Facebook inclines it towards honest interaction.

Even company pages are connected to personal accounts and your face is right there next to the actions you take. Another serious benefit to using Facebook as a communication forum is that your Facebook account is likely already filled with people who are interested in you, what you have to say and what you’re doing with your time. Take advantage of that fact.

So start uploading and tagging pictures.

Google+ is the Wild, Wild West

Guy Kawasaki Google Plus Profile

Let’s be honest – no one really knows what works on Google+ yet.

So far for Guy, Google+ is Facebook on steroids: post a picture or video and get up to hundreds of comments. Respond to the comments, and you get more comments. As far as I can tell, the only commonality in the items that Guy posts are that he finds them interesting, and that others largely agree. Because there’s more space than on Twitter, and the interface is much cleaner than Facebook, there’s opportunity for extensive dialogue.

But it’s really too soon to talk about best practices, except the best practice of jumping in and getting your feet wet. It’s going to be interesting over the next few months to see what turns out to be an effective and sustainable use of Google+, whether for business, or personal communications.

Whatever the best strategy for Google+ turns out to be, Guy will find it and use it, because he doesn’t wait for someone else to show him the way.

You can do the same – just jump in!

Guy K Google Plus Video

No Guts, No Glory

Regardless of the platform, set yourself up as a likeable, trustworthy, quality-driven person in your niche.

Just dive in by always posting great links, pictures, and video, and then see what happens. As you learn the capabilities and shortcomings of each platform, you’ll figure which one serves your needs the best—or maybe they all do in different ways.

Now the question is: Should you do as Guy does?

You shouldn’t trust him any more than you should trust social-media experts. This is what he does, and maybe his practices can help you.

Admittedly, he’s an outlier, and he breaks a lot of the “established” rules. This may not be something that you can get away with, or maybe, it’s what will make you successful.

There’s only one way to find out.

About the Author: Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, expert marketer, and the Freddy Krueger of Blogging. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on how to build an engaged audience from scratch.

Note: This post is adapted from the new book Engagement from Scratch! How Super-Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same!

  1. Guy Kawasaki is worn-out celebrity nerd.

  2. “Now the question is: Should you do as Guy does?”

    This is an incredibly relevant question, and touches on survivor bias. I’ll only note – in passing – that there is a legitimate problem with focusing on success.


    I believe Guy’s like/trust/quality strategy *is* correct. I don’t believe his tactics would work well for me (thus, they won’t, it’s self-fulfilling, I’m ok with that). But they might work well for others.

    This whole space is fascinating. The barrier to entry to being a celebrity has dropped to, basically, zero.

  3. This advice is a bit of a no-brainer. Likeability, trustworthiness and quality are obvious qualities you should present when online. The success of Guy lies in his exceptional ability to pick and distribute topics that interest most of his followers. At least I like most of them!

    Keep up the good, work, Guy!


  4. @PaulK – 1+ :-)

    @Dave – I totally agree

    I’d also say that the cred for Guy is that he used to be a main character at Apple (in marketing) and therefore has gotten his ability for people to want to follow him: he doesn’t have to do anything because he’s already found a following.
    So his method works well if you already have cred…. if you have to build it up in a certain area of expertise… I’d rather have a good solid strategy, a well thought out plan…. and a well thought-out tactic on how to improvise within the constraints of the plan.

    I, personally, don’t believe in his method.
    For instance: you get a free old book if you like his FB page.
    What does that tell you about his FB following – it’s overhyped. A lot of people are only there becuase you could download a book by him for free IF YOU LIKED HIM FIRST.
    How’s that for enchantment…. So before really knowing anything other than the hype you have to like him… so a lot of people do – then find out that they actually don’t like the book too much… but are too lazy to unlike him so they just don’t connect (and thus nearly never see anything anymore after a small period of time) or just hide his posts.
    So he gets asked for LeWeb, etc. And builds his cred – more people who come into this field hear about him because of that and thus the circle goes on (as they too will like his page because they can download the book).
    So yeah… it works for him, but not in general.

  5. Shailesh Tripathi Dec 03, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Very nice this guy kawasaki and his effort on twitter and google plus, I too want to be like that.

  6. Good tips. I will use some of them to my company.

  7. This is an interesting blog-post. I went to Guy’s talk once, and I could see how other social media people dislike his views. Many people think he is too spammy.

    I like the Danny’s writing style in this blog-post. It is neutral. It works for Guy, but we definitely need to think what works well for us.

    A lot of great food for thoughts indeed!!

  8. I totally agree that Guy has a special leg up on most of us due to his legacy. However, I will have to say that every time I login to Twitter, I end up always clicking on Guy’s tweets. It’s actually annoying how much I gravitate towards his topics.

    It really comes down to his headlines. He’s really REALLY good at coming up with headlines that make me click through.

    That’s one of Guy’s qualities that I would definitely spend time studying.

  9. Jonathan Wold Dec 09, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Good thoughts.. We have a company Facebook page that has sat around doing pretty much nothing for way to long. Thank you for the motivation! You’ve inspired me to go out and look for the little ways ways to serve our current and future clients better.

  10. For an entrepreneur without a lot of online marketing expertise, I find these to be helpful guidelines. Sure they may be obvious, but a lot of great advice usually is. A fresh reminder never hurt anybody.

    Whatever your opinion may be about Guy, he’s found a method that works for him and his brand. The point here is to take the initiative and find new ways to engage your audience.

    Thanks for the helpful tips!

  11. “Guy Kawasaki keeps his content exceptional and fog-clearingly simple for “us” social media experts.” – Tracey Bond

  12. Chimezirim Odimba Nov 02, 2012 at 11:00 am

    People like those who like them. So show them you like them. People like people who are just like them (people who identify with them). So show them that you are just like them. People trust authority figures. So show them you are an authority in your niche. You can achieve this with top quality content and that would tie up like, trust and quality.

  13. 1.4 million followers on Twitter and his Tweets only get 1-5 likes?
    His strategy is the worst.


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