Matt Bacak vs. Lisa Hoffmann: Two Approaches to Social Media

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:

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.

  • http://www.customerflypaper.com John Easton

    Scott:

    Thank you for making this comparison of SM styles. As Lisa is so fond of saying, “you get what you give…” I only hope that others follow her and your examples.

  • Bone

    The nut: What good is an audience if they are not listening? What good are you if you are not listening to your audience?

    Best, level-headed response to this situation I have read.

    Following you now.

    - Bone

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Absolutely spot on, Scott, and one of the reasons I placed Lisa on my 10 PR People to Follow on Twitter – I have nothing but the highest regard for what Lisa does, both for social media and PR. She is definitely one of the “new leaders” at both bringing the 2 mediums together, and moving them forward.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert-digital-marketing-blog jasonbaer

    Great juxtaposition. I only know Lisa through Twitter, and have found her to be one of the most genuine, grounded, and giving of all the folks I've had the pleasure of meeting.

    Viva Lisa.

    Note to Bacak and the rest of the world. Even 20,000+ Twitter followers puts you only on the level of a small-ish community newspaper from a reach perspective. Get over yourself.

    As I've said, my Mom (who is super smart and way above average on technology) has no idea who Chris Brogan is. Or Gary Vaynerchuk. Or Kevin Rose. Or Scoble. And certainly not Bacak (or sadly, Lisa). Until the “real world” knows (and more importantly cares) about you, this whole thing is the sound of one hand clapping.

    Not that growing a following the right way via Twitter isn't important. It is. But it's only important to the relatively small group of people that are also trying to build a following (for now).

    Great post. Thanks for writing it.

  • http://altitudebranding.com Amber Naslund

    Scott,

    Boy am I with you on the Lisa Hoffmann fanwagon. She's a gem. Not only does she get the whole intent of this space, but she's so genuine and real, it's impossible not to like her. I'm so glad that you countered Mr. Me above with someone as dedicated and awesome as Lisa. Good on you.

  • http://www.mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Thanks, Brady. “What good are you if you're not listening to your audience?” — LOVE that rephrase!

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  • http://www.customerflypaper.com John Easton

    Scott:

    Thank you for making this comparison of SM styles. As Lisa is so fond of saying, “you get what you give…” I only hope that others follow her and your examples.

  • Bone

    The nut: What good is an audience if they are not listening? What good are you if you are not listening to your audience?

    Best, level-headed response to this situation I have read.

    Following you now.

    - Bone

  • http://newmedialisa.com Lisa Hoffmann

    I really don't know what to say about all this except thank you. Everyone here has added something positive to my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to connect with you all.

    A special thank you to you, Scott, for all the complimentary things you say here. You are the one who got me interested in social media in the first place, and I am so fortunate to work with you.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Absolutely spot on, Scott, and one of the reasons I placed Lisa on my 10 PR People to Follow on Twitter – I have nothing but the highest regard for what Lisa does, both for social media and PR. She is definitely one of the “new leaders” at both bringing the 2 mediums together, and moving them forward.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

    Great juxtaposition. I only know Lisa through Twitter, and have found her to be one of the most genuine, grounded, and giving of all the folks I've had the pleasure of meeting.

    Viva Lisa.

    Note to Bacak and the rest of the world. Even 20,000+ Twitter followers puts you only on the level of a small-ish community newspaper from a reach perspective. Get over yourself.

    As I've said, my Mom (who is super smart and way above average on technology) has no idea who Chris Brogan is. Or Gary Vaynerchuk. Or Kevin Rose. Or Scoble. And certainly not Bacak (or sadly, Lisa). Until the “real world” knows (and more importantly cares) about you, this whole thing is the sound of one hand clapping.

    Not that growing a following the right way via Twitter isn't important. It is. But it's only important to the relatively small group of people that are also trying to build a following (for now).

    Great post. Thanks for writing it.

  • http://www.WebBusinessFreedom.com BrandonUttley

    Scott, you are right on the money about Lisa. I have rarely come across someone “virtually” who was so genuinely interested in helping others connect, without expecting anything in return. I've since had the pleasure of meeting her in real life, and she is just as friendly and engaging face-to-face. You've got a great colleague with Lisa.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Couldn't agree more, Danny.

    For those who haven't seen it, check out Danny's Top 10 here.

    Lisa also made Mark Harbeke's list of 10 Small Business People to Follow on Twitter.

    And of course, I'm taking credit for discovering her. Check out Lisa and the other brilliant minds on my own list of 10 Twitter Users Who Deserve Attention.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    My pleasure, Jason.

    On a cool side note, your mom (and the rest of America) may know Gary Vaynerchuk now. He was on the CBS Early Show this morning.

  • http://www.theharteofmarketing.com Beth Harte

    I cringed even seeing Lisa compared to the likes of Matt Bacak. It's almost like tarnishing a white rose just by putting it next to a dirty ashtray. ;-) But, it does prove a point doesn't it?! Lisa deserves every ounce of praise that she gets…she's smart, nice and genuine. And, I bet she doesn't like the spotlight shining on her right now unlike some. Lisa ROCKS and we should all take a lesson from her.

    Scott, thanks for letting people know about Lisa and her work. She really does deserve the praise. :))

    P.S. I hate these stats too. Like Jason Baer said, they really are meaningless. And as Mack Collier often says, it's the folks who you don't hear about that are actually rolling up their sleeves and doing implementing social media the proper way.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Thanks, Brady. “What good are you if you're not listening to your audience?” — LOVE that rephrase!

  • http://altitudebranding.com Amber Naslund

    Scott,

    Boy am I with you on the Lisa Hoffman fanwagon. She's a gem. Not only does she get the whole intent of this space, but she's so genuine and real, it's impossible not to like her. I'm so glad that you countered Mr. Me above with someone as dedicated and awesome as Lisa. Good on you.

  • http://newmedialisa.com Lisa Hoffmann

    I really don't know what to say about all this except thank you. Everyone here has added something positive to my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to connect with you all.

    A special thank you to you, Scott, for all the complementary things you say here. You are the one who got me interested in social media in the first place, and I am so fortunate to work with you.

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  • http://www.bigsexymedia.com Rafael Marquez

    I wrote about this also, but I compared Bacak to Ford Motor Company in my post. I agree with you that social media is about making connections with people, and having conversations with them. Social media is not about “listen to me” it's about “let's talk”

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  • http://www.thesocialpath.com DavidGriner

    One issue this brought up with me was the fact that I don't think marketers should always practice what they preach. I'll bend over backward to help clients get the word out to the right audience, but I'm not going to sit around using the same promotional tools and techniques just to feed my own ego. (Sorry, I mean “to prove how powerful I am.”)

    There's a pretty big gulf between knowledge and douchery. And you've drawn up a perfect black-and-white example, Scott.

  • 93octane

    An excellent article, Scott. Of course, I'm biased, as I get to see Lisa almost every week here in Charlotte, NC, and yes, she is all this and much more.

    I can remember just a few months back when we were encouraging her to start her blog and find her voice online. She found that voice with her first post, and has been shouting it to the world since.

    One of the best things about Lisa is her ability to ask questions and make a great discussion. One day soon, I too expect her to be snapped up by a very savvy company looking for their own “rock star”. Hopefully, for us, that company will be here in Charlotte so we can keep her here.

    Oh yeah, I guess I should say something about this Bacak guy too…well, I voted for him, so I hope he'll make a good president. Wait, what? Barack? Oh…my bad.

    Lyell E. Petersen
    @93octane
    http://twitter.com/93octane

  • http://twitter.com/93octane 93octane / Lyell E. Petersen

    An excellent article, Scott. Of course, I’m biased, as I get to see Lisa almost every week here in Charlotte, NC, and yes, she is all this and much more.

    I can remember just a few months back when we were encouraging her to start her blog and find her voice online. She found that voice with her first post, and has been shouting it to the world since.

    One of the best things about Lisa is her ability to ask questions and make a great discussion. One day soon, I too expect her to be snapped up by a very savvy company looking for their own “rock star”. Hopefully, for us, that company will be here in Charlotte so we can keep her here.

    Oh yeah, I guess I should say something about this Bacak guy too…well, I voted for him, so I hope he’ll make a good president. Wait, what? Barack? Oh…my bad.

    Lyell E. Petersen
    @93octane
    http://twitter.com/93octane

  • http://www.bigsexymedia.com Rafael Marquez

    I wrote about this also, but I compared Bacak to Ford Motor Company in my post. I agree with you that social media is about making connections with people, and having conversations with them. Social media is not about “listen to me” it's about “let's talk”

  • http://www.thesocialpath.com DavidGriner

    One issue this brought up with me was the fact that I don't think marketers should always practice what they preach. I'll bend over backward to help clients get the word out to the right audience, but I'm not going to sit around using the same promotional tools and techniques just to feed my own ego. (Sorry, I mean “to prove how powerful I am.”)

    There's a pretty big gulf between knowledge and douchery. And you've drawn up a perfect black-and-white example, Scott.

  • http://twitter.com/93octane 93octane / Lyell E. Petersen

    An excellent article, Scott. Of course, I'm biased, as I get to see Lisa almost every week here in Charlotte, NC, and yes, she is all this and much more.

    I can remember just a few months back when we were encouraging her to start her blog and find her voice online. She found that voice with her first post, and has been shouting it to the world since.

    One of the best things about Lisa is her ability to ask questions and make a great discussion. One day soon, I too expect her to be snapped up by a very savvy company looking for their own “rock star”. Hopefully, for us, that company will be here in Charlotte so we can keep her here.

    Oh yeah, I guess I should say something about this Bacak guy too…well, I voted for him, so I hope he'll make a good president. Wait, what? Barack? Oh…my bad.

    Lyell E. Petersen
    @93octane
    http://twitter.com/93octane

  • http://skepteye.com Dave Johnston
  • http://skepteye.com Dave Johnston
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  • http://www.mediamensch.com Andrew Kaplan

    Scott,

    Meeting you and Lisa at the BarCamp Charlotte came about because I was just starting a new twitter about LinktoCharlotte. I didn't have many followers, nor had I spent much time networking in the Charlotte community at live events. Lisa via Twitter, immediately reached out to me to invite me to a lunch with other social networking types and Lisa's encouragement was one of my reasons for attending BarCamp.

    So kudos to you to recognize a colleague..That is as giving as Lisa! PRStore is lucky to have both of you!

  • http://www.mediamensch.com Andrew Kaplan

    Scott,

    Meeting you and Lisa at the BarCamp Charlotte came about because I was just starting a new twitter about LinktoCharlotte. I didn't have many followers, nor had I spent much time networking in the Charlotte community at live events. Lisa via Twitter, immediately reached out to me to invite me to a lunch with other social networking types and Lisa's encouragement was one of my reasons for attending BarCamp.

    So kudos to you to recognize a colleague..That is as giving as Lisa! PRStore is lucky to have both of you!

  • http://www.mediamensch.com Andrew Kaplan

    Scott,

    Meeting you and Lisa at the BarCamp Charlotte came about because I was just starting a new twitter about LinktoCharlotte. I didn't have many followers, nor had I spent much time networking in the Charlotte community at live events. Lisa via Twitter, immediately reached out to me to invite me to a lunch with other social networking types and Lisa's encouragement was one of my reasons for attending BarCamp.

    So kudos to you to recognize a colleague..That is as giving as Lisa! PRStore is lucky to have both of you!