Tips for Entrepreneurs: Social media works!

“Israel’s largest technical and marketing communications conference,” it brings together technical writers from across Israel for a one-day industry event.

Bank Hapoalim Cash Back 370 (photo credit: Sivan Faraj)
Bank Hapoalim Cash Back 370
(photo credit: Sivan Faraj)
Next Thursday, February 7, is MEGAComm. Billed as “Israel’s largest technical and marketing communications conference,” it brings together technical writers from across Israel for a one-day industry event.
I spoke there last year. A notable bonus that that speech gave me was that I spoke under sponsor banners, which included famous names like Bank Hapoalim and Adobe, just above my head. This later made its way into several newspaper articles, and those logos in the background only helped me get even more speaking engagements.
This year’s keynote is being delivered by Canadian musician, author and social media sensation Dave Carroll, whose runaway hit protest song, “United Breaks Guitars” chronicles the real-life experience of how his guitar was broken during a trip on United Airlines back in 2008, and the subsequent reaction from the airline, which was, shall we say, less than satisfactory.
After trying to gain recompense from the airline, and finding it impossible, he thought “what can I do to bring attention to this?” Let’s suffice it to say that the YouTube video received a whopping 12,813,006 views, in addition to the many other millions of dollars worth of negative media attention focused on the airline.
Over 150 million people have already been exposed to this story – and that’s without counting this article! Yet again, this underscores how with social media, each customer has a virtual hilltop to protest from should their reasonable expectations not be met.
So, when Paula Stern, the organizer behind MEGAComm told me that this year’s conference had Carroll flying in to keynote, my reaction was “If he’s coming to Israel, I want to lunch with him!” I remember when the story happened – how, at the time, one of the articles about Carroll’s protest song had the description of the lady on the plane (who did not know him) saying: “My God, they’re throwing guitars out there!” Magazine articles then blamed Carroll’s viral protest as being the reason that $180m. dollars subsequently was shaved off United’s stock value. While other factors were probably at play as well, I’m sure the many millions worth of negative publicity certainly didn’t help.
So what did I do? I went to Google, searched for Carroll’s Twitter account.
Finding it easily, I then went to Twitter, and sent the following tweet: “@DaveCarroll May I invite you out to lunch when you come to Jerusalem in 2-3 weeks?” That very same day, I got a response from him, giving me his personal e-mail address and inviting me to contact him there with details.
In response to my e-mail he replied, saying: “Hello Rabbi: I’d love to share my first kosher lunch with you.
Thanks for the offer. I’ve always wanted to visit Israel so once again, ‘United Breaks Guitars’ continues to open new doors and opportunities for me. I look forward to meeting you.”
Easy, no? No “protecia” required. To paraphrase Thomas Friedman, social media means that “the world is flatter than ever.” You don’t have to be a “somebody” to reach out to someone who is.
Any book or newspaper article you read, and any piece of information you come across that has relevance to you, to your business, or in life is something you should pursue. It’s so easy! I’ve interacted with multi-millionaires, famous authors, media personalities, and much more simply by sending a Tweet to them. And one of the beauties of Twitter specifically, is that as an open medium you can follow conversations that they have responded to and see the chain of interactions that led to that response.
Retweets, interactions, and friendships with people like Joe Scarborough from NBC? Check. Inventor and investor genius Lori Greiner of the ABC hit show Shark Tank? Check. Bill Pruitt, the producer of hit shows like Donald Trump’s The Apprentice and winner of four primetime Emmys? Check.
It’s also gotten me columns in places like Direct Marketer magazine, clients, speaking engagements, and more. The Twitter search feature can be your best friend! Many in the world of social media focus on Facebook (which is useable for business, but not as easily as people think) and LinkedIn, where everyone is soliciting everyone else (yuck!).
But Twitter is a much underrated, powerful tool that can transform your business. I personally used it this way last week! And if your guitar gets broken by an airline employee, it might not be the end of the world. In fact it might be a door to a whole new world of opportunity!
The writer is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business publications.