If you want to grow your business, there are few more qualified people to give you advice on the topic than Guy Kawasaki, a thought leader and one of today's most powerful voices in entrepreneurship and marketing.
Kawasaki was formerly chief software evangelist for Apple and is now chief evangelist for Canva. He has launched multiple successful companies, including Garage Technology Ventures and Alltop, and has advised numerous companies, including Motorola, StumbleUpon, Evernote and Paper.li. Kawasaki is also the author of 13 books, which have been both New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. He literally wrote the book on social media marketing—he is the author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users.
A bottom-line guy, Kawasaki doesn't shy away from telling the truth in ways that cut through the noise to deliver streetwise advice from someone who's been there and done that, many times over. We caught up with him to get a few of his incredibly practical insights for small-business owners.
What would be an effective social media strategy for a small-business owner who wants to grow the business?
First, the start of effective social media is to provide a great product or service. Then social media is easy. Social media isn’t lipstick you can put on a pig to make the pig beautiful. A pig is still a pig. Small-business owners should run from an author who says he can help you sell crap.
Assuming you have a great product or service, the most effective social media strategy is to establish a presence as a sector expert that creates and curates valuable content. By establishing a reputation for expertise, a small business gains credibility and endears itself to its followers. Hopefully, this will lead to more business.
For example, a restaurant that establishes itself as an expert in food—consumption, preparation, etc.—is probably a place where people would like to eat. Again, the restaurant has to make great food, but the rest isn’t rocket science—you simply work hard to provide value and hopefully reap the results.
Your recent book, The Art of the Start 2.0, addresses startups specifically. Is there any advice from the book that can benefit small-business owners that are beyond the startup stage?
Seriously, does the “startup” stage ever end? Sure, after a while some details are set, such as the name, legal structure and seed capital, but small-business owners constantly face new challenges. For example, every new product requires a launch. Growth requires new employees. Raising capital is seldom “one and done.”
Look at the topics of the chapters: leading, launching, team building, evangelizing, socializing, rainmaking, partnering and enduring. A successful small business may not need to bootstrap or pitch for funding anymore, but it needs the other 80 percent of the book. If a small business doesn’t need to do these things, it’s probably comatose or dead.
So, what are your top social media insights for small-business owners to help them avoid false starts and take their business to the next level?
A few tips: All of your posts cannot be promotional. Most of them should provide value, not sell what you do. Before you share anything, ask yourself if it’s so good that people will re-share it to their followers. Always include a graphic or video with your posts. Repeat your posts—you should not assume that everyone you want to reach is viewing your social media at the same time of day. I’m all about tactics, not high-level strategies. Now go and implement.
Bruna Martinuzzi is the founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd., and the author of two books: Presenting with Credibility: Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations and The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow.
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Photo: Courtesy of Guy Kawasaki