Yesterday’s Twitterstorm over Matt Bacak’s press release should remind us it’s easy to make mistakes in the PR/marketing/social media realm.
Since Bacak’s already been skewered across the blogosphere, I won’t dwell (too much) on his mistakes. Rather, I’d like to compare his approach to a real social media success story.
Matt Bacak’s Misguided Approach to Social Media
With a single press release, Matt Bacak became the posterboy for social media worst practices. His self-proclaimed rise to “Twitter elite” status made him the laughing stock of…well, Twitter.
Here’s what Bacak got right:
- He has lots of followers on Twitter
- His TwitterGrader grade — a relatively meaningless measurement — is was 99.9%
- He has attracted lots of attention
But here’s what Bacak got wrong:
- Lots of followers doesn’t mean you’re a social media master. It means you have an audience. So does the bearded lady, Matt.
- Annointing yourself is a lonely, desolate, desperate plea for attention. Congratulations, here’s your crown. Now what?
- 1,900 followers is NOT a large audience.
- Social, Matt. Social. You must…have…interactions. As in, between people.
To be fair, the goal of a press release is to get people to write about you. Here’s what they’re saying about you:
- MrChristoperL – What Happens When Social Media Goes Terribly Wrong? The Bacak Truth
- Technosailor – Bacak who?
- Digg – The Biggest Douche in Social Media
- Media Pirate – Back to Social Media Bacak’s
- Jamie Scheu – Promote Your Way to Irrevocable Personal Humiliation
- DaveFleet – 5 Lessons About Self-Promotion in Social Media
Lisa Hoffmann Shows Others How to Succeed in Social Media
By contrast, my friend and PRstore colleague Lisa Hoffmann is a case study for social success. Here’s what Lisa does that Matt Bacak just doesn’t get:
- She connects with people on a human level, without regard to status or rank
- She doesn’t give a lick about her TwiterGrade
- She listens to you with undivided attention
- She praises others — publicly — without ulterior motive
- She can hear the excitement, heartache, hope, fear, or anguish in your Tweets
- She promotes the great work of others with sincere enthusiasm
- She does it all with a gracious humility we could all learn from
What makes Lisa’s success remarkable is that she’s not a social media poweruser. Sure, she has Facebook and LinkedIn pages, but she doesn’t use them much. She sticks to a few platforms — mostly her blog and Twitter — and she uses them well. And she’s never issued a press release about herself.
Scan Lisa’s Tweet stream and you’ll see some brilliant stuff. But you’ll only get half the picture. Lisa does her best Twitter work via DM. My guess is 50% of her Tweets are DMs…it may be more than that. She’s connecting with people on a deep, meaningful level via Twitter and you’re not seeing any of it.
Lisa uses another social tool most of us forget about: the telephone. She gets 1 or 2 calls a day from someone she met on Twitter. Lisa talks to those who’ve connected with her online as if they’re lifelong friends. If you need to vent, she listens. If you need advice, she offers it. If you need a swift kick in the ass, she’ll do that, too.
So What’s the Payoff?
I hate stats. Stats lie. But since Bacak likes stats so much, let’s talk stats. Here are some of Lisa’s:
- 1,544: Followers as of 12/2/08, an increase of 147 new followers rom the previous day and 247 new followers in two days.
- 180: New followers added in one day after Jim Connolly tweeted about Lisa — once. (See video here and read about Jim here)
- 835%: Growth of Lisa’s Twitter audience since July 2008, an average of 11 new followers per day (for the record, Bacak has added about 9 followers per day over the same time period)
But like I said, I hate stats. The value of Lisa’s network isn’t in the quantity of her connections, but in the quality. She’s earned the admiration of smart folks like Mack Collier, Jason Falls, Ann Handley, Beth Harte, and even Chris Brogan. She was invited to speak at WordCamp Charlotte in November, and it’s just a matter of time ’til she lands another speaking gig.
Lisa Hoffmann won’t be my colleague at PRstore for long. Someone will recruit her soon, I’m sure of it, and it’ll be the smartest hire they’ve ever made. If Matt Bacak truly wants to succeed in social, he’d do well to skip the press releases and learn from Lisa.