kawasakiThe Tweet was on at the Search Engine Strategies conference today as author and internet entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki unpacked a box of tricks, optimization sites, and a few controversial concepts to increase the business effectiveness of using Twitter. His most surprising advice: don't be too impressed with your amount of followers.

"I think the most important measure of success on Twitter is "retweets,'" he said in his conference keynote. "The number of people following you means less and less."

That comment contradicts some of Kawasaki's own recent writing, but a 1,000 percent growth rate will cause an expert to reconsider his thinking. Kawasaki listed some of the people and organizations that top the amount of followers to show that the average business person can't compete, and can't be relevant when Twitter followers are stacked up against CNN and Barack Obama. Kawasaki said he is able to attract followers because of the quality  of the links he includes in Tweets. The quality then leads to retweets, which can be measured at ReTweet, and can mark a trail for interested customers.

Some of Kawasaki's Twitter tips:

  • Link Sources: Kawasaki finds useful links to Tweet about at sites such as StumbleUpon and Alltop. He is the co-founder of Alltop, and uses categories such as science news and oddities. A link to a site such as "peanut butter cheesecake" was retweeted by more than 100 people as Kawasaki was making his presentation.
  • Search tips: Using advanced search on Twitter can be an effective business development tool. Example:If a mechanic specializing in brakes searches Twitter for handles that need new brakes within a 100 mile area, Twitter just produced a lead.
  • Tools: TweetDeck works well, Kawasaki says, for tracking one account. However, for multiple accounts he uses Twhirl and challenged the management of Twitter to produce an effective dashboard to manage the activity on several Tweeter accounts.
  • Company Tweet Tools: CoTweet allows companies to track and respond to all the activity on Tweeter by using search terms.
  • TwitterHawk: Here Kawasaki's tips ranged into the controversial. TwitterHawk allows companies to set up search terms that will automatically generate tweets. It costs five cents a tweet to use. Companies can cultivate tweets and respond to them manually, but with the size of the followers some companies have attracted, automation is a logical step. Question: Have Twiiter users opted in for automated messages?
  • TwitterFeed: This tool puts sends a companies RSS feed directly to its followers, and other blog networks, when published.

Published 24 March, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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Comments (7)

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Christian Schenk

Ineresting tips, however not very surprising.

over 9 years ago

Guy Stephens

Guy Stephens, Social Customer Care Consultant at IBM Interactive Experience/GBS/Mobile

Will we now see a surge of RTs?

over 9 years ago



What, HE finds useful links?? What about his recent admission that he uses ghostwriters to dig up and publish links under his name? Read here: http://snurl.com/ehxmv. Something just a bit disengenuous there.

Plus, ReTweets as an indication of "success" or importance or relevance or whatever borders on ludicrous. Yes, it MAY indicate some degree of each, but using retweets as a true measure of any of them is so flawed from a statistical standpoint that I don't even have time to get in to it.

Don't get me wrong, I think Guy is a terrific promoter and a true evangelist. But when your entire business is promoting your own persona you'll gravitate to whatever statistics/metrics best support the maintenance of your personal brand.

over 9 years ago


Jose S.

A mechanic would be specializing in "brakes". Not "breaks".

over 9 years ago

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

I don't doubt there's something valuable going on here, but it is all getting a bit bizarre.

Spend time digging up links you think lots of people might re-tweet?  I'd rather stick to the day job.

I 'follow' Guy Kawasaki and I'm afraid, likeable though he is, his tweets are mainly alltop ads and auto-generated links to generic webstuff.

A huge amount of Twitter traffic comes down to people stroking their own egos. The word 'followers' is part of the problem.  Guy, they're not REALLY following you.  They're just leeting your stream of goo flow into their wider goo-river.

The challenge is trying to do something valuable despite the prevailing dynamic of celebrity-watching. ego-stroking and pablum-churning.

I do use Twitter and try to add links to things I think people like me might be interested in -- including the content my agency publishes (for ourselves or our clients).  I've also made some good contacts on it.  But this is a bandwagon. And some very silly tunes get played on bandwagons.

over 9 years ago

Aliya Zaidi

Aliya Zaidi, - at Mrs Aliya Zaidi

Jose S.: Thanks, and good spot. I've corrected this now.

over 9 years ago

Felix Adewoye

Felix Adewoye, search & e-marketing at mvgmedia

I think i agree with the comments that doug made. I think we have to tread carefully when we talk about twitter. I am currently reevaluating what part twitter should play in a promotional strategy for our clients. The challenge is to offer something of "perceived value"  to your followers and not get caught up in the "goldmine rush"

over 9 years ago

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