Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of taking part in a social media webinar hosted by Guy Kawasaki, who is known for being a social media guru because of his outrageous amount of followers on various platforms, which total over 7.5 million overall. He once served as Apple’s Chief Evangelist, and is currently the advisor to the Motorola Business Unit at Google. This Guy (double entendre intended) obviously knows his stuff, but he had a very refreshing outlook media in that he flat-out disagreed with the majority of social media experts on some central issues. For instance, he expressed his detached view of social media, controversially admitting that he viewed social media only as a sales and promotional tool, not a personal way to connect with your brand audience on an emotional level.  I found his thought process interesting enough that I wanted to share with you all Guy’s 10 guidelines to increasing your Followers on all social media platforms to increase brand awareness and visibility, thereby increasing sales.

STEP 1: START YESTERDAY. Guy believes in the shotgun approach, which means that you can’t wait until a product, special sale, or some other promotional item is about to launch before you start talking about it. He feels that the longer your audience has to digest the information and be repeatedly reminded about it, the stronger the impression and their desire to connect will be. Therefore, if you have a book idea, don’t wait until you’re almost done with it to talk about it-Tweet and Facebook about your epiphany, and take your increasing base of followers with you through every step of the process.

STEP 2: SEGMENT THE SERVICES. Guy thinks that it is important that you understand the difference between each type of social media and your target audiences within each platform, so that you better know how to approach that market and reach them most optimally. He calls it the 5 P’s: Facebook=PEOPLE you already know, Twitter=PERCEPTION of your brand, GOOGLE+=PASSION for your industry and brand, Pinterest=PINNING your self-expression, and LinkedIn=PIMPING your brand and your services. Find out which of these platforms for sharing work best for your unique purposes, and then focus more on those areas.

STEP 3: MAKE A GREAT PROFILE. Guy views the social media world as a “Hot or Not” type environment-you have only seconds to make or break the initial first impression of your brand, so it better be good. Spend time cultivating a profile that plays up the qualities and characteristics that make your brand interesting, likeable, and trustworthy-it will be time well spent.

STEP 4: CURATE AND LINK. The most important part of establishing yourself as a person to follow is being able to recognize great content that is relevant and intriguing to your target audience to share. In order to do this, one MUST stay up to date on industry news, and take the time to sniff out the best stories. For easy access to your own industry news, Guy suggests checking out Alltop.com.

STEP 5: CHEAT: Guy admits that sometimes it’s hard to figure out what content would most appeal to your followers in a vast sea of stories, and he is not above recommending that you “cheat” the system by sharing links to the “hottest” stories of the day. To figure out what qualifies, Guy simply suggests checking out the most emailed/commented upon stories on various news websites-if they’re popular there, it’s likely they will be appealing to your followers.

STEP 6: RESTRAIN YOURSELF. Oftentimes, companies are driven to talk about themselves and the things they’re trying to promote constantly on their social media feeds. Guy says this could not be farther from the truth; people find this boring and block it out. Guy believes you should only talk about yourself/your product when it’s really important, averaging around once every 20 posts. Otherwise, you should be sharing funny or informative content that is relevant to your industry, helping to establish yourself as a useful source and interesting thought leader.

STEP 7: ADD BLING. In today’s attention-deficit society, people are less focused on digging into meaty content and more attracted to flashy, shiny objects. In order to hold your follower’s attention, you must provide both; Guy recommends finding an intriguing image for absolutely ALL of your posts, as it will draw the reader’s eye towards your story and compel them to keep reading. Without imagery, your post will just get lost in the crowd.

STEP 8: BE RESPONSIVE. When people take the time to interact with you, they want to “feel” the connection and know that their voice is being heard. Although Guy admits this is one of the most taxing aspects of social media (as, in his eyes, it’s not truly about connecting), he says that responding to every comment directed towards you is a very necessary part of keeping followers engaged with your brand and coming back for more.

STEP 9: STAY POSITIVE OR STAY SILENT. While some people think social media is a great place to display opinions on controversial topics or voice their displeasure, Guy finds that people respond a lot better to positivity. He also is not a proponent of people blasting a brand via social media for bad service or job dissatisfaction-he maintains that everyone makes mistakes, and one bad experience does not a bad company make.

STEP 10: REPEAT. Guy’s most against-the-grain advice was his belief that one SHOULD post stories and information multiple times. While most social media experts view this as an impersonal and lazy cardinal sin, Guy actually thinks you’re doing a service to your followers, most of whom wouldn’t see your story the first time around. He maintains that by sharing the post several times, you are ensuring that more followers see it, and connecting with more people that would be interested in that story.

Above all, Guy states that there are no real “rules”, as each industry and company is different, and he encourages you to test out several things and pay close attention to the results to find out what methods work best for you. Post a lot, experiment, and tap into your brand’s unique offerings and potential! May the FOLLOW be with you! #mediamavenout