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6 Unconventional Social Media Strategies From Guy Kawasaki

I am thinking of starting a podcast, so I was tooling around the Interwebs looking for some to listen to for ideas on format, etc., when I stumbled upon one that covered unconventional social media strategies.

Beyond the great title, the interviewee also caught my eye – Guy Kawasaki, CEO of Canva, bestselling author, and all-around marketing guru. I knew immediately that I’d have a lot to learn from this podcast, which, at 45 minutes, was pretty long. I listened to it for you – here’s what I learned:

  1. Go three rounds and then stop

Conventional wisdom: Engage and keep the conversation going

Unconventional wisdom: When you get pulled in on a conversation on social media, go three rounds and then stop engaging.

At that point, you can say, “Let’s agree to disagree.” While it’s certainly a good idea to take a stand on social media and defend yourself, prolonging a heated exchange with someone who is not going to change their minds is a waste of time and energy.

  1. Blog on LinkedIn, not your own blog

Conventional wisdom: You must blog on your site to build your brand

Unconventional wisdom: This blew my mind: Kawasaki no longer blogs on his own blog. He’s a huge name in the industry, a bona fide thought leader with 1.4 million followers on Twitter alone! But he put it like this:

‘A blog, particularly if you are starting out for the first time, is like starting a store in the middle of nowhere. You believe your merchandise, marketing, etc. is so good that people will come to your store. That is your blog.

‘For most people, and I include myself, it’s much better to go into a pre-existing mall where there already is natural or organic traffic, like LinkedIn or Google+. ‘

  1. Focus on quantity over quality

Conventional wisdom: Quality always trumps quantity

Unconventional wisdom: Kawasaki is all about quantity when it comes to getting your message out there. Mind you, he doesn’t mean you should be putting crap content out there or buying followers – quite the opposite.

What he really means is that, instead of sending out one tweet per message or blog post, send out four or 10. He follows what he calls the CNN model – run your story 10 times.

  1. If you’re not pissing someone off using social media, you are not using it right

Conventional wisdom: Everyone has to like you.

Unconventional wisdom: No, they don’t – and I have to say that I agree with this. Take a stand and share your ideas and opinions. Let people get to know who you really are. As Kawasaki points out, it’s OK to lose followers; you’ll end up gaining more who really like you.

  1. Screwing up on social media is not the end of the world

Conventional wisdom: Make a big mistake on social media, and your brand will suffer permanent damage.

Unconventional wisdom: Definitely not! Kawasaki was hard-pressed to find an example of a company that was destroyed because someone said something dumb on social media.

  1. 90% of what you share on social media has to pass the re-share test

Conventional wisdom: Share interesting stuff.

Unconventional wisdom: That doesn’t go far enough – 90% of what you post should pass the re-share test. It needs to be so valuable, informative, and entertaining that people are compelled to re-share it with their networks.

As Kawasaki pointed out, “When you re-share something, it’s like telling your friends, ‘You should eat at this restaurant.’ When you’re telling someone to eat at a restaurant, you are risking your reputation. When you re-share something on social media, you are also risking your reputation.”

Do you use any of the above strategies to great effect? What else works on social media for you that also bucks conventional wisdom?


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