Business guru Kawasaki points the way

By Gill South

Entrepreneur-author Guy Kawasaki wants to give all Kiwis his tips to weave their own brand of enchantment.

Guy Kawasaki says the main purpose of social media is providing a platform through which a business can tell its story. Photo / Getty Images
Guy Kawasaki says the main purpose of social media is providing a platform through which a business can tell its story. Photo / Getty Images

Former Apple chief evangelist and now entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki says he wants to help New Zealand be even more enchanting on his upcoming visit here on Wednesday.

The author of Enchantment: How to woo, influence and persuade has been invited to New Zealand as a speaker for the Air New Zealand Social Media Breakfast series.

The special adviser to the Motorola business unit of Google, Kawasaki will be talking to public audiences about how sites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest can be used to increase marketing reach and sales conversions. Kawasaki himself has more than five million social media followers.

"Throughout my life, I have always had to enchant people - that's what I do. I want to win friends and influence people, I want to leave my mark," said Kawasaki, speaking from his home in San Francisco.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author summed up how social media should enchant people.

"You earn the right to tell your story by providing value," said the co-founder of online magazine rack Alltop.com. Kawasaki's main advice to businesses on social media is to be a great curator of their website or blog and to always include a picture with every new post.

The purpose of social media is to build a platform through which you tell your story, he added. Businesses should be writing about their genre, not just about the services they sell, he added.

"Air New Zealand does not just tweet about Air New Zealand but about New Zealand tourism. For example, let's say a budget travel magazine writes an article about how to pack efficiently for a three-day trip, it would not be unrealistic to think that that article would assist Air New Zealand travellers."

For businesses deciding which form of social media will be particularly useful there is no one right answer, said Kawasaki.

"If your business is around cool food and fashion then you'd probably use Pinterest, if it's about personal perception, then Twitter, if it's about passion, then Google+," said Kawasaki.

The Apple alumnus prefers Google+ for his own purposes.

"Google+ is like Facebook but kinder, gentler and more intelligent. The integration of pictures is better, the technology is slightly better. It's like picking between New Zealand and Australia," he said.

Kawasaki recently posted a photo of his two dogs sleeping on the bed together on Google+.

"I want to show that I'm not just a tweeting machine. It's a piece of interest on 'Guy the person'," he said. "I would do that 5 per cent of the time. If you follow me on Google+ you would not see: 'This is my new house.' I do it just enough."

The social media expert admits to having his Twitter comments ghostwritten which has attracted some criticism.

"But Google+ is me only."

"There is no right and wrong way," he adds.

"Some people have criticised me for doing Twitter outsourcing, but my march towards ever more followers continues unabated. I don't really care."

The former Apple evangelist will be running two sessions on his visit to New Zealand - one on social media while the other will be drawing on his latest book, Enchantment: How to woo, influence and persuade.

The author of many books said he was inspired to write Enchantment after becoming a fan of social psychology books such as Dale Carnegie's 1937 best seller How to Win Friends and Influence people and Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion by Rob Cialdini.

In Enchantment, Kawasaki explains how to influence people's hearts, minds, and actions and bring about voluntary and enduring change. On his visit to New Zealand he will be talking about strategic steps to create new product and service offerings.

"I define enchantment as the process of delighting people with a product, service, organisation or idea. The outcome of enchantment is voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial," he says in the book.

"Show people your magic," Kawasaki urges companies. He gives the example of three laid-off Waterford crystal makers from Dublin who entrepreneur Denis Ryan persuaded to move to Nova Scotia and open a factory and showroom. During warm weather, the company, Nova Scotian Crystal, opened up a garage door to the street so people could watch the craftsmen at work. This brought customers into the showroom who ended up buying $80 glasses.

"When people see how your magic works - manufacturing, brewing, cooking, designing - they develop an interest in what you do and they are more likely to buy your products, support your idea or join your cause. Factory tours and behind-the scenes looks are all powerful enchantment tools," says Kawasaki.

He adds: "Do you know anyone who went on a winery tour who didn't conclude that the winery's products were good?"

Building an ecosystem around you is another crucial step for start ups, says Kawasaki in the book.

The presence of this kind of community complements a cause and fosters endurance, he says. According to Kawasaki the components of an ecosystem include user groups, websites and blogs, consultants, developers, resellers and conferences.

"Create something that's worthy of an ecosystem. This is a constant theme of mine. The key to enchantment, evangelism, sales, presentations and building a system, is a great cause," adds Kawasaki.

In fact if you create a great cause, you may not be able to prevent an ecosystem from forming.

"By contrast, it's hard to build an ecosystem around mundane and mediocre crap no matter how hard you try."

Publicise the existence of the ecosystem, he advises. If you're going to all the trouble of supporting an ecosystem, you should make your ecosystem an integral part of your sales and marketing efforts.

The Harley Owners Group, HOG, for example is one click away from the company's home page, says the author.

And a tip for small and large businesses: "A diverse team helps make enchantment last, because people with different backgrounds, perspectives and skills keep a cause fresh and relevant.

"By contrast when a naked emperor runs a kingdom of sycophants and clones, the cause moves towards mediocrity."

•The third Air New Zealand Social Media Breakfast event will be held at The Langham in Auckland on May 15. Tickets at $75 (including breakfast) are on sale now from Ticketmaster.

Kawasaki's tips

Social media
Businesses on social media should be great curators of their website or blog.
Always include a picture with every new post.
They should feature their genre, not just about the services they sell.

Your business
Let people in behind the scenes: When people see how your business works they develop an interest in what you do and they are more likely to buy your products.
Build diversity: A diverse team helps make enchantment last.

- NZ Herald

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