I have been meaning to write this post for some time and continue to get sidetracked and have my ADD kick in which keeps me from writing (oh look something shiny). It wasn’t until Guy Kawasaki recently wrote a post on Twitter as a business tool or as he refers to it a Twool, that i decided I had to finally get words to a page.
I am referring to Guy’s post of a few days ago called “How To Use Twitter As A Twool.” I had to look twice to see if he spelled that correctly. Normally I do not disagree with Guy. He has about twice the brain power I have and it shows in his success and frankly his bank account. When he speaks people really do tune in and listen to his advice. He is one of the leaders in the world of tech and social media which is why I don’t often disagree with his blog posts. In this instance however, I have to say I think he misses the mark on a couple of things. Not because Twitter should not be used in business as part of your online social media arsenal, but because his advice comes from on high and not down in the trenches.
Guy has paid his dues early and has worked hard to garner the celebrity status he has today. He has launched a few online things that take off immediately just because it has his name attached to it. Some of his things are not too popular as in Truemors, but other things he has are quite cool and do well such as Alltop. I needed to preface my post with all of this because I have seen companies like Guy’s try to launch and get attention and hit below the mark. His companies get instant saturation because he is in the cool kids group. I struggle to help some companies not in the cool kids group get the traction they deserve and help with with the use of tools just like Twitter, which brings us full circle to my point (we had to get there sooner or later).
Guy provides 10 ways to use twitter as a business tool and I agree with nearly all of the points made but I wanted to clarify the point or flat out tell Guy he is wrong. The first of his 10 tips caught my attention immediately:
1. Forget the â€œinfluentials.â€ You must buy into the theory that products and services reach critical mass because mere mortals spread the word for you. This defies the common wisdom that a handful of â€œinfluentialsâ€ shape what the rest of us try and what we adopt. In the online world, these influentials include Mike â€œI can go a week without Twitterâ€ Arrington, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, and to some extent me.
Guy is very much correct in his opinion that mere mortals will make your business a success. The problem with that statement however is the fact that mere mortals do not have the accessibility to the information as much as the influentials like Guy and Robert Scoble and Mike Arrington and Seth Godin. It is easy for Guy to say I can’t make or break your company you have to have a product that doesn’t suck. Agreed Guy, but you have to have the ability for a mass amount of the little people to actually hear of your product and then you can sit back and watch the buzz begin. Not everyone has that luxury. I watched at Blog World Expo when you mentioned a company you were looking at everyone madly making a note to go and see what company you mentioned. Yeah, it was a cool company, but because you mentioned it, I actually had a chance to check them out. My advice is don’t discount getting the info to the people through a megaphone such as those influencers mentioned. It is the somebodies that get the information to the nobodies. I myself would never hear about some of the cool stuff in the tech world had it not been for Robert Scoble having access to things where I cannot get past the door. Yes, Robert Scoble is the Richard Grieco to me being a Butabi brother. This is a blog post unto itself (more to come).
Remember the Motrin debacle? It took a few of the influencers in the Mommy blogdom to get the ball rolling, then the army of the nobodies were able to take the ball and run. Actually that is not true completely as a nobody mentioned it to a somebody and then, well you know the outcome. Getting the influencers to light the fuse is a part of the equation Guy discounts in his post. I think it is one of the more important parts of the puzzle. Guy has never not been invited to the party. He has not stood on the street hoping his name is on “the list”.
I also wanted to touch on the third point Guy makes in his tips:
3. Get as many followers as you can. I recently explained what I do to get more followers. Click here to read about my methods. Ignore people who tell you that itâ€™s the quality of your followers not the quantity. Theyâ€™re trying to make friends, not use Twitter as a tool. And, truth be told, there are only two kinds of Twitter users: those that want more followers and those that lie. You can follow me here.
The reason you want more followers is the law of big numbers: the more followers, the more people talking about what you do, the more you can reach the tipping point. If you think you â€œknowâ€ exactly who can and will help you, you are deluding yourself.
I purposely ignore those people on Twitter that don’t use the tool as it is intended. This is a fine line you must learn to walk. Guy seems to imply that getting followers is important, and it is (follow me here) but how you get those followers is more of the point. I get many people that follow me on Twitter and when I go to their twitter page they have perhaps 10 updates in the last 6 months or even not at all and they have 3000 people they are following and have about 100
people that have reciprocated that action. This is in no way using Twitter. You have to put a little effort into it to get anything out of it. Yes, Guy is correct, the more followers the larger the reach, but make sure you are not shelved as a Twitter spammer. Your influence will be ignored.
At the end of the day however, pay attention to Guy and what he has to say about things. He had a hard time with twitter at first and I must admit I unfollowed him and ignored any Twitter stream he had. He has since turned that ship around and really uses Twitter as a tool for his own business. I have read a book or two and the man is a genius when it comes to doing things right. Guy’s latest book is Reality Check and I don’t yet have my copy. I’m hoping I can get one of those checks soon.
[tool photo via flattop341]