tweetieGuy Kawasaki’s twittering puts my occasional chirps to shame and if you follow his tweet-stream, you have to wonder how he has time to do anything else. A few weeks ago the American Express Open Forum for Small Business published an interview with Guy that tips his hand. Here are some of his secrets:

Question: How do you find so many links to tweet?

Answer: I use three principal sources: Alltop, StumbleUpon, and SmartBrief. These sites curate and aggregate information to make the hunt for quality links much, much easier.

Question: What is your workflow?

Answer: I find interesting links and write-up a short summary using BBEdit that I post to Holy Kaw, and then Objective checks the Holy Kaw RSS feed once per hour and tweets new articles.

Question: Isn’t that a long, complex process just to tweet something?

Answer: Twitter is a marketing tool for me. It’s not a “social” activity or a game. This process is what it takes to make Alltop successful.

Question: How long do you spend on Twitter every day?

Answer: Asking me this is like asking Tiger Woods how much he plays golf. “It’s what I do.” If I’m on the computer, I’m on Twitter, and I’m on a computer eight hours per day.

Question: If a company wants an active, aggressive presence on Twitter, how many people does it take?

Answer: One person working really hard, unencumbered by a clueless boss and a Luddite legal department, can do it. Certainly one person can get things going enough to prove that Twitter makes sense for a company to add more people to do it even better.

Repeat Tweets

Question: Why do you repeat your tweets from @guykawasaki?

Answer: I repeat my tweets because no one’s followers are on Twitter 24 x 7 x 365 nor do they scroll back to see what was tweeted already. This is the same reason that ESPN and CNN repeat news stories throughout the day—can you imagine a news network assuming that everyone has seen a report after running it once or that everyone has recorded the news and will look back?

I have tracked repeated tweets, and the amount of click throughs on the second and third instances of a tweet is almost as high as the first one.

Question: Do you recommend that companies repeat their tweets?

Answer: Yes, if they want to ensure that as many followers see their tweets as possible. There will be tiny number of people who will complain, but you cannot make all your followers happy.

In fact, if you’re not pissing someone off on Twitter, you’re not using it to its fullest potential. Companies should not let a few angry people dictate their marketing practices.


Question: Do you use ghostwriters?

Answer: Yes, four people contribute to my tweets: Annie Colbert, Gina Ruiz, Noelle Chun, and Catherine Faas. 
I use ghostwriters because I want to provide as many interesting links as possible, and five intelligent people (assuming you think I’m intelligent) looking for interesting stuff will find more than one intelligent person. At the end of every Holy Kaw post, you can see who created it if you’re curious.

Question: Do your ghosts respond to @s and direct messages for you?

Answer: Never. They only tweet outgoing links to interesting sites and blogs. They never respond for me or as me.

Question: Why did you hide your use of ghostwriters?

Answer: I didn’t hide this fact. As soon as I started it, I disclosed it. My attitude is: “As long as the tweets are good, why does it matter who wrote them?” Do you think Ralph Lauren himself designed every article in his store?

Question: Why do some people attack you for using ghostwriters?

Answer: Because they are angry, little people who cannot generate content, so they try to generate controversy to get attention. They also assume that I have to cheat and use ghostwriters to respond to people because they are incapable of dealing with the volume of @s and direct messages that I get.

Question: Do you recommend that companies use ghostwriters?

Answer: Most companies are “brands,” so this isn’t an issue unless people are so dumb as to think that Richard Branson is @VirginAmerica. Issues arise when the Twitter account is a person’s name.

For example, should @Lancearmstrong use a ghost? For some tweets, I’d say it’s perfectly okay—tweets about cycling news and information, for example. However, if @Lancearmstrong says his bike was stolen, he pulled a hamstring, or he can’t stand the color yellow, it has to be him.

Let’s say the Twitter account is for the CEO of a company. I’d rather read the interesting tweets of a good ghost than a clueless CEO. It’s the same reason politicians have speechwriters. As my mother used to say, “Behind every successful politician is an amazed speechwriter.”

>> Read the complete interview on American Express’ Open Forum here.

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