“I have a personal mantra for my life which is to empower people.”
According to Guy Kawasaki, one of the best ways to do that is through writing. He started in 1987 with his first book, The Macintosh Way. Most recently, he published The Art of the Start 2.0 and The Art of Social Media, which he co-wrote with his Canva colleague & social media master, Peg Fitzpatrick.
“I just feel a compulsion to try to communicate what I learn,” he says.
Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, a graphic-design online service and former chief evangelist of Apple. He is the author of over a dozen books, which focus on the tactical and practical ways to empower people.
Kawasaki was one of the Apple employees responsible for marketing their Mac in 1984, and as an innovative marketing specialist, he was an early adopter of social media for business. He praises it as a powerful tool that enables startups to market themselves on day one for free, making it much easier for new businesses to compete and gain customers than ever before.
Speaking with Derek Andersen of Startup Grind, Kawasaki tackles one of the big questions many entrepreneurs and founders grapple with:
What’s the value of social media, how do you monetize it, and turn it into something tangible for your business?
Provide value, put in the work
The first and hardest part, Kawasaki explains, is getting followers. That’s the crucial bit! How do you get followers? "Well, he says it’s simple, just provide value."
“It’s about what they want to learn about, not what you want to say. I proselytize the concept of the NPR model (National Public Radio in America).
“NPR is a free service, but they run a pledge drive to raise funds to pay for operations. The reason they’re able to get away with that, and indeed the reason that people donate, is because they’ve earned it," Kawasaki explains. NPR provides excellent content that listeners love.
People should think like NPR, according to Kawasaki. Provide such great content that listeners will have a feeling of reciprocation.That translates to social media specifically through what Kawasaki calls the “Reshare Test.” If the content is good enough, then your followers will reshare it with their followers. If their followers love it, they will follow you, and reshare even more content. The result is free promotion and an ever-growing following.
“At the baseline, it is a lot of work.” Kawasaki admits that he’s beyond normal, and has roughly the equivalent of two full-time people, including super-star Peg Fitzpatrick, helping him with social media. But for most people, he says it’s probably two to three hours of work a day. Not everybody can have a super star behind them, but you’ve got to put in the work.
Build it, sell it
"As an entrepreneur, there are only two things you really have to do: you have to make it and you have to sell it. Social media is the selling part of it."
“To ask ‘How can I do social media when I have so many other things to do?’ What I hear you say is ‘how can I do marketing when I have so many other things to do?’” You have to do social media.
Unless, of course, you’re McDonald's. In which case, Kawasaki says go ahead, throw money at it. For the rest of us, there’s social media. And that’s good news.
Watch Startup Grind's Hangout with Derek Andersen and Guy Kawasaki: