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The Art of Social Media

by Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick
clock12-minute read
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The Art of Social Media
How to make social media work for you. You might know Guy Kawasaki for his autobiography Wise Guy or for being a member of the innovative team that launched Apple’s Mac computer. But the author is most well known for his work as a marketing specialist and now he’s bringing that marketing expertise to you! The Art of Social Media (2014) is an anthology of Kawasaki’s most effective marketing tips for launching your business on social media.
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The Art of Social Media
"The Art of Social Media" Summary
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Summary by Alyssa Burnette. Audiobook narrated by Blake Farha
Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook feed and wondered, “Why on earth would someone post that?” or “Do they really think anybody cares?” We’ve all been there, right? Because people post about everything from their baby’s potty-training progress to what kind of sandwich they are (according to a personality quiz)! As a result, it often feels as though the internet is just a void for lots of idiots to scream into… publicly. And with all that social media clutter, it’s unsurprising that you might find yourself asking, “How do I make people listen to what I have to say?” or “How can I be sure my posts aren’t annoying?” Well, over the course of this summary, we’re going to answer both of those questions and more.
Chapter 1: Posting With Purpose
Because our iPhones have become digital extensions of ourselves and our identities, how we represent ourselves online is just as important as cultivating a positive reputation in real life. For example, in real life, you probably wouldn’t wear your sweat pants and bedroom slippers to a board meeting where you wanted to be taken seriously. But for many people, their online presence is the digital equivalent of doing exactly that. If this describes you, you may be wondering, “What’s the big deal?” Social media is a more casual world, after all, populated by funny memes, cute kitten videos, and arguments with strangers on the internet. It’s not the same as real life at all… right? Actually, the author affirms that your digital life can be more important and have more detrimental consequences than your flesh and blood existence.
Here’s why: thanks to the evolution of technology and our overreliance on digital media, social networking has literally changed the way human beings relate to one another. It’s changed the way we do business. It has necessitated updates to criminal law. And, in the United States, it has also changed national immigration policy. As of 2019, all visitors to the United States who are applying for any type of travel visa are required to list their social media handles. Similarly, across the United States and the United Kingdom, many employers and universities are requiring applicants to list their social media handles on college and job applications. The purpose of these policies is clear: institutions of employment, immigration, and higher learning want to vet your social media to determine your suitability for acceptance in their organization. As a result of these policies, we can infer only one thing: your online presence matters.
And if you want to be taken seriously as a brand or an employee, it matters even more! But how do we know what is and is not acceptable? And if your current behavior is unacceptable, what can you do to fix it? Of course, the first and most important rule of thumb is to be careful about what you post online. The author summarizes this by saying simply, “Post with purpose.” Before you post anything, stop and ask yourself thequestion: what does this say about me? You should also consider whether certain posts are necessary and whether they might harm or help your reputation. So, for example, think about how you’d feel if your boss looked up your Instagram and noticed that your username is “butt_smasher?” Likewise, if you’re applying for a job or traveling to another country, you might want to avoid the type of usernames that people often put down as a joke. “Herpes_free_since_03” might have sounded funny when you and your buddies were drunk and goofing off on social media, but you probably won’t be laughing when you don’t get the internship you wanted and that’s the reason why!
So, instead of making rookie mistakes that will wreck your future and eliminate your opportunities, try to post with purpose instead. Choose a simple and straightforward username. (Pro tip: the best way to do that is to use your own name!) For example, my Instagram handle is “_alyssa_caroline_writes.” This is clear, easy to read, and in one sentence, it identifies me and what type of content you can probably expect from my Instagram. So, if you want to be taken seriously on social media, you should strive for something similar. The author also observes that a good profile picture is crucial to making the right impression. For example, let’s say I’ve set a good standard with my Instagram username “_alyssa_caroline_writes,” but my profile picture is something stupid and unprofessional like a goofy meme or a blurry snap of me getting drunk. Neither of those set a good tone at all and it means you probably wouldn’t feel inclined to look at my profile or connect with me on social media. But instead, my profile picture is a crisp, clean, well-taken shot that clearly shows my face. In the picture, I’m posing and smiling, and this tells you that I’m a real person who has taken the time to create an attractive and professional profile picture.
I carefully chose that picture because I wanted to connect with people. I wanted them to look at that picture and say, “Oh, that looks nice!” I also specifically chose a photo that I would be happy to show any colleague, employer, or prospective business partner who might want to interact with me. In other words, when I chose my username and profile picture, I was posting with purpose. So, that’s our first lesson from this chapter: think carefully about how you’re representing yourself online and post with purpose.
Chapter 2: How to Gain Followers
If you’re on any social media platform, this is probably the number one question on every user’s mind. Whether you’re interested in making it big as an influencer or promoting your business, everyone wants to increase their following on social media. And to that end, many people pursue a number of controversial options to make this happen. Some people commit the cardinal sin of buying followers. (And if you don’t remember anything else from this book, please remember to never do that!) Why?Well, for starters, buying followers is a bad idea because it’s likely to get you banned. Platforms like Instagram are big on authenticity and they’re really cracking down on “get followers quick” schemes. So, if you attempt to boost your following through one of those dodgy “get 10,000 followers overnight!” sites, there’s a pretty good chance that Instagram will catch on.
But another important reason to avoid buying followers is that it doesn’t actually help you as much as you think. That’s because buying followers typically rewards you with a bunch of bots and fake accounts who will never actually engage with your posts. And if you have 10,000 followers and 2 likes on any given post, people will realize that your account isn’t actually as popular as it appears to be. So, in that respect, buying followers actually hurts your attempt to grow your social media presence! So, how can you really boost your following? Well, the truth is that there is no simple social media hack that will produce the results you want in an instant. No matter how many people flood the internet with Instagram hacks and tips to allegedly get you 1,000 followers in a heartbeat, the reality is that there is no substitute for good, hard work. Because ultimately, that’s what it takes to build a successful social media presence.
If you really want to get more followers, then you have to create authentic and compelling content that your followers will want to see. But this book can’t tell you how to do that and neither can any other resource that claims to have all the answers. At the end of the day, books like this one can tell you what not to do and we can give you a few basic tips and tricks to help you get started. But we can’t come up with ideas for you. Ultimately, your social media success will be driven by the curation of real and attention-grabbing content that will make people want to read more. And creating that type of content is a matter of trial and error. So, spend some time thinking about what your followers might want to see. Think about the topics that are relevant to your business. Cultivate a vision for your brand and use that to inform the color scheme and sense of style that you’ll bring to your posts.
Compelling titles will also help you garner more views, but be careful to avoid titles that sound too much like clickbait. “You’ll never believe what happened to…” or “Click here to find out…” are both prime examples of clickbait titles and everyone correctly recognizes them as spam. So, instead, focus on headers like “Top 12…” or “How to…” that you can connect to relevant topics and keywords. This will help you add your voice to the conversation on popular topics and put your work in front of people who are searching for your content! These growth strategies may take some time and they definitely won’t get you 10,000 followers overnight. But they will help you to generate authentic engagement and make genuine connections with the right people. And that’s how you’ll achieve the growth you really want to see!
Chapter 3: Combine Your Platforms to Expand Your Reach
Most people on social media have a blog. Whether you’re a writer, a business owner, or an aspiring influencer, a blog is a great way to translate your ideas into an easily readable format. A blog can also be a great way to connect with others on social media; if your content is relatable and compelling, your readers will likely share your article with friends or post it on their own platforms. And when that happens, you increase your views, readers, and blog traffic. No doubt about it: when done right, blogging is a win-win for everybody! But if you haven’t yet connected your blog to your social media platforms, you might be missing out on an important strategy that can help you achieve the results you want.
So, how do you do it? One simple way to start is by linking your social media platforms on your blog’s homepage. If you’re using a blogging service like Wordpress or Blogger, both of them have options that will allow you to embed little social media icons in notable positions on your blog. For example, in the top right corner of my personal website, just slightly above my site’s header, I have three little pink icons that denote Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you were to click on any of those icons, you would automatically be directed to the corresponding social media profile for my site. This gives you the option to check out my social media profiles, follow me if you want to, and share my site’s content via your own social media platform. So, that’s one way to do it!
Another good strategy is to include links to your blog on your social media. For example, I’ve used the bio section of my Twitter and Instagram to include a link to my website. That means that if you were browsing my social media and saw that link, you might think, “Hmm, wonder what that’s about?” and click the link to find out. This would take you straight to my website and boost both my social media and blog traffic! And lastly, you can also take advantage of embedded links. If you’re familiar with blogging at all, you probably know how to do this already. But if you’re not, get ready to meet a tool that will change the future of your business! If you’re writing a post on any topic, you can embed a link in any line or sentence of your article with a couple of simple clicks. This link can direct readers to a source that backs up the statistics you’re using or to another resource that proves your point. Or, if you’re a guest blogger for another publication, you can use this tool to direct readers back to your own website or to a relevant article you’ve written!
All of these tools are a little bit different, but they do have one core thing in common: all of them can be used to increase your views, boost your followers, and spread your message to a wider audience. On their own, your blog and your social media platforms can be powerful tools. But when you combine your platforms, you can expandyour reach and connect with more people. This will help you grow your brand and generate the online traffic you’ve been hoping for.
Chapter 4: Final Summary
These days, everyone from your thirteen-year-old daughter to your neighbor’s goldfish is on social media. And because it’s so accessible, it’s tempting to think that social media is “easy.” But the truth is that it’s easy for anybody to post a picture. Being successful on social media is an art form that not everyone has mastered. Fortunately, however, by following the author’s top tips, you can learn to master the art of social media for yourself. Just remember to post with purpose, use authentic content creation to attract followers, and combine your platforms to grow your reach!

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