They say the key to becoming an expert is to practice a task for 10,000 hours—we give it to you in 10 minutes. Today’s interview with an expert features Oscar Del Santo, an online marketing specialist, bilingual author, lecturer, and undeniable master of Twitter. Join us as we talk personal branding, marketing, and exactly how far it is from Twitter to heaven.
1. How did you get into the rather unique world of personal branding?
The lack of a coherent and powerful personal brand earlier in my career was perhaps the worst mistake I ever made. It held back my career progression for years and it meant that people did not necessarily believe me when I made claims about my abilities, my skills or my expertise. Once I realized the importance of personal branding, I made a commitment never to fall into the same trap, and I have never looked back. Today, I am one of the most respected personal branding professionals in my country and the Spanish-speaking world, and it is my turn to help others.
2. Is it getting easier or harder for businesses to manage their reputations these days? It seems like the social media sword can cut both ways.
Businesses need to take social media seriously. We live in a world with a democracy of opinion on the Internet and that means that mistakes and unfulfilled promises can quickly translate into a barrage of criticisms. Having a strategic presence on social media is important not just for reputation purposes but for customer service and many others: the benefits are manifold. Having said that, positive reviews are also made possible by the Internet. It is a sad fact that many customers would love to express how happy they feel about a given product or service but they are unable to since they are not given a channel to do so. That is also something that businesses must provide these days. Social media is definitely here to stay, and turning these outlets into your friends rather than your foes is forward-looking and cost-effective.
3. What is the Personal Branding Plan?
A Personal Branding Plan is a specific plan for a specific individual with specific goals in mind. In Spain we have spearheaded the implementation of personal branding plans with the first online course for that purpose. The idea is slowly but surely catching on. In a broader sense, we should all have a Personal Branding Plan or PBP and take the reins of our personal branding.
4. Can you tell us a great example of online marketing that you’ve been a part of?
The greatest example I can bring to mind (and that’s closest to my heart) is that of a 27-year-old unemployed male who found a job after two long years of applying some of the personal branding concepts I preach. He was truly excited, and so was I.
5. I see you’re an expert on Twitter. What drew you to that site and motivated you to become so involved with it?
Twitter is so much a part of my life that I can honestly no longer imagine it without it. I truly enjoy microblogging, and in my new book ‘De Twitter al Cielo’ (‘From Twitter to Heaven’), I have done my best to share the wealth of experience I have gained in the past few years for the benefit of as many people as possible.
Twitter offers us the golden opportunity to implement personal marketing strategies, build a community of friends and followers, and reach those who can truly help us achieve our goals. Specifically, it is a great platform for job seekers, those wanting to reinvent themselves and switch careers, and anyone with a personal marketing goal who wants to add value through their work, product or service. It would be extremely short-sighted to miss the wonderful opportunities offered by Twitter, and I can only recommend newcomers give it a try and see for themselves.
6. What’s the best way for a company to get more Twitter followers?
To implement a decisive Twitter growth strategy such as the ones I recommend in my book.
7. Is there an ideal frequency with which one should tweet?
Not really. Dan Zarrella has studied tweeting ‘scientifically’ and has been incredibly helpful in letting us know the best times to tweet, but otherwise it depends on various factors such as the content of your tweets, your target, etc.
8. How much consideration should a company give to who they follow? Is it all about getting as many followers as you can, and thus following as many people as you can? Or can that backfire?
It is about reaching those who can help you achieve your goals and building a useful and mutually beneficial community. In some cases that will translate into hundreds and in others into millions.
9. Being bilingual, have you observed any differences in how English speaking people use Twitter vs. how Spanish speaking people use it?
Spanish-speaking people are such a diverse lot that it is hard to know! I would say that we see many more ‘personal’ tweeters as opposed to ‘professional’ tweeters in Spain and Latin America, although the tendency is beginning to shift.
10. Exactly how far is it “From Twitter to Heaven”?
Thanks to my book, not very far at all! 🙂 Seriously, Twitter has been the most useful tool I have found to achieve many of my dreams by adding value to others, establishing partnerships, sharing good content and ideas and meeting wonderful people. Twitter has enabled me to reach my own personal heaven in some key areas of my life and I am convinced that it can be of equal help to many others. It can truly happen.
When not conquering Twitter or helping his clients with their online reputations, Oscar Del Santo contributes to various specialized agencies, institutions, business schools and universities from both Spain and Latin America. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Oscar!