Guy Kawasaki’s Tips for Social Media

Do you know Guy Kawasaki? I didn’t really know who he was until I signed up for (highly recommended!) and started watching his lectures on how to properly use social media for a business. I thought that for part of my series on how I am trying to learn to “harness the power of social media” as an author, I would tell you about what I learned from him. If you want to know more I highly suggest you check him out, or buy his book, The Art of Social Media with Peg Fitzpatrick. Here are a few of his tips in general about posting on social media:

Always Add Value

You can do that in four different ways:

  • Information
  • Analysis
  • Assistance
  • Entertainment

Pass the “Re-Share” Test

Post such great content that people will want to re-share it. He gives an example of a great restaurant that you tell all your friends, “YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS PLACE!” That endorsement can be a little scary because what if your friends hate the place? Suddenly your reputation is on the line. They might not trust you anymore!

But, what if they love it? Then your reputation as a person to listen to grows. I personally love sharing things with friends and making those connections, but I am definitely hesitant to do it in a public forum. Often the things I like feel so niche that no one else will really care. On the other hand, that’s the great thing about social media, isn’t it? You can always find your people.

Use the NPR model

I got a little thrill when he mentioned NPR and some of my favorite programs. He uses them as an example because they create such great content that when they come around begging for money twice (or more) a year, people feel an obligation to reciprocate and pay back in some way. Yes, we might complain about the campaign drive, but we know we need to give back!

In addition to NPR, I personally experienced this with one of my favorite podcast teams at Storywonk. They have given me so much great information, analysis, assistance and entertainment that I felt the need to sing their praises, and show them my support in any way I can. And when they discuss their Patreon donation page I’m immediately in favor of giving them some money if they’ll just keep doing what they do!

Feed the Content Monster

When using social media you can’t pop in and out, leaving vast silent holes. I definitely find myself in this loop, partially because I don’t know what to say or share. Guy has some tips, naturally. Some people might not feel these are all genuine, but I’m going to share them any way because they give very clear answers, and maybe will help you see how others do it.

  • Piggy back off of others, using services like, or, which are aggregate services that gather popular stories on specific topics.
  • Post what’s hot on Facebook to your own page
  • Be bold. Take a stand. Show what you are interested in.

Obviously, this last one needs some clarification if you are doing this for a business. Take a stand and be bold as it relates to your brand and your company. Maybe talking about dietary restrictions isn’t right for your brand, but talking about a story about getting motivated to be creative. It depends on the angle and the topic.

Also, for those of you thinking that piggybacking is cheating, it’s not. Post what you like, and what interests you. It’s not cheating if you see a video and would also send it to your best friend and share it with your FB friends. That’s just engagement.

His last tips were a little more technical, but useful:

  • On Facebook or Google+ keep posts to 2-3 sentences
  • On Twitter, keep them to 100 characters (even though you have 140) so that others can add their two cents when they re-share
  • On blogs, keep it to 500-1000
  • Pay attention to the right size of photos so that it’s easier to view on different mobile platforms.


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