Guy Kawasaki: Twitter As a Tool for Social Media

March 24, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Alright. It’s time to do this liveblogging thing again. And if it feels like we’ve just sat through a Guy-Kawasaki-talking-about-Twitter keynote it’s because we have. At the PubCon Guy Kawasaki/Chris Brogan chat. And yet, here we are at the first day of Search Engine Strategies New York to do it all over again. Yey!

I’m kidding. We love SES. But seriously, here we are again. Do you have your breakfast in hand? Can I have it? Because my morning has been seriously not fun.

Okay, I take that back. I just had my first Kevin Ryan sighting of SES.  [swoon]

Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki Keynote – Photo used with permission by

We’re kicking things off a bit late here. Typical Day 1 craziness.  But Kevin Ryan is heading up on stage so I guess that means we’re about to get going.  Kevin brings the action.  He introduces his parents who are in the audience and celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Aw! That’s kind of cute. Though, also sad. I wouldn’t want to celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary at SES NY.  I hope I’m not still liveblogging by then. I will be, won’t I? Okay, I’m rambling, but so is Kevin.   We both decide to stop.

Welcome Guy Kawasaki!  He asks how many people are on Twitter and lots of people raise their hands. He says we can just tweet that he’s a dick now. Okay, then!

He thinks Twitter is a tool (I think Guy is a tool). He doesn’t judge people who use it differently than he does, but he doesn’t like the Twitter nazi’s who think it’s all about relationships.  Lisa =Twitter Nazi. Got that?

Nobodies are the new somebodies. In this world, you have to approach things differently. He loves Twitter. He thinks its the most powerful marketing tool since television. You can reach hundreds of thousands of people for free. He loves that.

Lesson #1: Forget the A List

They’re overrated. They’re like the mafia that you have to suck up to. It’s all bullshit, according to him.  Marketing has been a trickle down philosophy. If you could get one of the big names to talk about you then their wisdom will trickle down to the masses and people will care about your company. He doesn’t believe that. Instead of trickling down, it should be bubbling up. You don’t know who the best evangelist will be for your service.  And with Twitter, these people will find you.

Don’t ignore the A List (but forget it? That makes sense.). Try to get into TechCrunch and BoingBoing, but also go out into the community and look for the person who loves and embraces what you do. Twitter is all about finding those people.

Lesson #2: Defocus

You don’t know who will be your most useful follower. It’s not the top dogs. It’s one person you’ve never heard of who will carry the battle for you.

Lesson #3: Get Lots of Followers

He believes Twitter is a numbers game and you need to get lots of followers. You want more places where people can find you and talk about you and send the message up. His theory is that you need to get a lot of followers. It’s controversial. Other people (like me, and those with souls) think that instead of getting a lot of followers that you need people you are engaged with and that you interact with. He doesn’t buy that. To him, it’s a game of big numbers.

Should you automatically follow everyone who follows you?  He does. He thinks its arrogant if you think that you believe you are worth following but the person following you is not worth it. He uses SocialTool to keep his followers in sync. Now he follows more people than that follow him because people have *unfollowed* him. Lots of people laugh. I’m thinking those people have never seen Guy on Twitter and that’s why they’re laughing.  You couldn’t pay me to follow Guy Kawasaki.

He also follows everyone so that they can DM him. I don’t buy that, but okay, Guy. We’ll pretend.

The best way to measure the quality of your tweets is how often you’re retweeted.  He uses ReTweetist to see how many people are retweeting him. He checks if 5-10 times a day.

Guy admits that he has people who find things and tweet for him. He doesn’t understand why that’s a big deal and people are laughing. My stomach is turning. Seriously.

He says the number of followers you have is meaning less and less these days. Which totally contradicts his mantra of “get lots of followers”.  He brings up the Suggester Users list that caused so much Scoble drama. He says he doesn’t know how to get on that list. Then he takes some shots at the people who are located in that box because he doesn’t know who they are. One of the people he “doesn’t know” is A Googler (@google), you know, like the search engine. [There are SEO sessions going on all week, Guy. You should stick around.]

He’s talking about other ways to measure influence and talks about the Twitter epenis site. It’s really nice to see him make such a joke out of Twitter and the people who follow him. This is mildly disgusting and I don’t want to liveblog it anymore.

How do you get more followers/ value out of Twitter?

The key to finding more followers is finding interesting stuff to tweet. He uses StumbleUpon and AllTop.  People like to click on interesting stuff.

Lesson #4: Monitor what people are saying about you

He pulls up a Twitter Search for his name in real-time and I hide in my chair a bit.

Monitor your company, your name and your segment.

Lesson #5: Copy Best Practices

He talks about Twibs. It’s a site that tracks what companies are doing on Twitter. It’s basically a company directory for Twitter. You can see what the big dogs are doing and then copy them.  He talks about Comcast Cares and Jet Blue and all the standard “watch these guys” Twitter accounts. Nothing more.

Lesson #6: Search

He takes people through Twitter Search and shows the audience how to monitor important search terms.  He also goes through the Advanced Search options and goes down the advanced parameters and how to narrow things down by zip code. He says its useful and for perhaps the first time, I agree.  It’s great for business development.

Lesson #7: Tools

  • TweetDeck: He shows his personal TweetDeck and how things are all broken out.
  • Twhirl: He uses Twhirl to monitor his two Twitter accounts. (I thought that’s what the people he hired to tweet as him did?)
  • CoTweet: Built for companies who are tweeting. It’s Web-based. You have multiple accounts and multiple people. You can assign tweets to people. You can monitor tweets.

Lesson #8 Squeeze the Trigger

He talks about Tynt even though it has nothing to do with Twitter.  It’s one line of JavaScript that you add to your site. Then, when people copy and paste text from your site, it’ll also attach your URL. There’s also a dashboard component where you can see what text people have taken. He says this leads to more traffic. I don’t know much about Tynt, but what I have heard, isn’t good. So I’ll put a warning label on that.

[Ironically, Eric Lander brought up Tynt on Twitter as Guy was talking about it here in NY. Eric must share a wavelength with SES NY or something. Eric calls Tyntt Lesson #9 Make It Easy to Share

Sadly, we have to wrap this up. Guy says he doesn’t care that its time to go, we started late so he’s going to keep going. He doesn’t care about the other sessions. Okay. Unfortunately for him, I do.

See you in a bit.


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