In this installment of expert interviews, we had the chance to discuss the impact Twitter has had on marketing and branding with Guy Kawasaki, the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” that aggregates significant stories on all sorts of topics. He is also a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, which is makes direct investments in early-stage technology companies. Additionally, Kawasaki is the author of multiple books. His latest Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions explores how to transform situations and relationships into enduring, powerful relationships.
Elise Redlin-Cook: Hi Guy! You are very active in the Twitter world, how has the way you tweet changed since you started?
Guy Kawasaki: I’ve come to view Twitter as a marketing platform and not just a social network. I push the edge of using Twitter for marketing purposes–and not everyone agrees with my practices.
I truly believe there is not right and wrong with Twitter. There’s only what works and what doesn’t work for a person or a company. My Twitter use is confusing for many people. I have ghosts and contributors for @guykawasaki. They produce tweets that are closer to news updates than personal updates. In this sense, my tweets are like @Mashable.
On the other hand, no one ever responds to @ messages, mentions, or direct messages as me. These responses are always by me, and I try to answer each and every one of these.
No one tries to do both. Some Twitter accounts may have more news links. Some may have more personal tweets. But none have both like I do.
Elise: What kind of impact does Twitter have or your brand or business?
Guy: Twitter will go down in history as one of the most powerful branding tools. Right now, it’s second to only Facebook–and many people may consider it better than Facebook.
I truly believe there is not right and wrong with Twitter. There’s only what works and what doesn’t work for a person or a company.
Elise: What advice would you give to a company just starting to use Twitter?
Guy: The three best kinds of tweets provide information, analysis, or assistance. If a company would focus on these three types, it will do just fine. Here are examples. Information: “Verizon announced an iPhone.” Analysis: This means that AT&T has competition, so it has to improve its network. Assistance: “This is where you figure out how much your old iPhone is worth.”
Elise: What goal do you hope to achieve with Twitter?
Guy: I don’t have a goal for Twitter as much as goals for my new book, Enchantment, and my website, Alltop.com. Twitter–and Facebook–are a means to make them successful.
Elise: I read your book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions” over the weekend. (Thanks by the way for sending me a pre-released copy- I loved it!) and really enjoyed the section on Twitter. You said “Twitter is the most powerful enchantment tool I’ve used in my career.” which needless to say is a glowing recommendation for the service. Can you elaborate on why you feel this tool is so enchanting?
Guy: Twitter is so enchanting because it’s fast, free, and ubiquitous. It’s also totally what you make it. It’s clay in the hands of a potter. There is no other way to reach so many people so fast and so cheaply. It’s marketing nirvana. As Dave Winer told me when I first started on Twitter, “I was born to tweet.”
Elise: We are also about to release a new guide entitled “Twitter for Business: A How-To Guide” written by our Content Strategist Abby Gilmore that echoes a number of your suggestions throughout your book on how to engage people manually while making it personal. Can you share an example or two of how this tactic has worked for you on twitter?
Guy: First, I was once in San Diego to fly out to a U. S Navy aircraft carrier. At 10:00 pm I discovered that I didn’t have my MacBook charger, so I tweeted out a request to borrow one from anyone in the area. By 10:30 someone delivered it to my hotel.
Second, I was looking for a hotel during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I posted a tweet asking people what they thought of a particular hotel. The owner of another hotel tweeted back that my books have changed his life, so he wanted to offer my family a free room for the Olympics. Can anyone top this?
Thanks Guy for the great interview! If you are looking for more information on how to use twitter for business please take a look at our recent webinar “Twitter Tactics for Business” by our resident Twitter Expert Abby Gilmore and share your twitter stories in the comments below.