John Sparks owns his own social media company, an internet marketing business where he helps businesses expand their reach online: Online Image Works. One of the things he prides himself on is his experience on Twitter and how he’s been able to use Twitter to build a massive following and build some word-of-mouth marketing. In this interview he has some great tips and advice on using Twitter.
John Sparks is the Owner and CEO of Online ImageWorks. He has a passion for helping others learn about social media and technology and has become known as a nationally recognized social media coach.
Zeb’s Take – Twitter and Building Relationships Online
It was a blast talking with John. It’s always great to talk with someone in the same space as I am. We were talking about Twitter. I love the examples he gave and how he was able to help people out with Twitter. One of the things that he said that I thought was interesting was strategically stalking people with excellence in a good way. He mentioned it a couple of times. It’s something he uses to build a Twitter following and get people to engage and interact with him on Twitter and it could be used on other social media channels as well.
What he does is, if there is a person he wants to go after (he used the example of Oprah) he will do a little research and find out who is really connected to that person. Then he reaches out to those people, works to build a relationship, a genuine relationship, and potentially get that opportunity to meet the person you’re trying to go after.
I’ve never used Twitter in that sense, but it’s not a bad idea. On LinkedIn they do have that function sort of built in to their system. One of the cool things LinkedIn does is show your connections and how you are connected to them. For example, if I wanted to target golf course general managers, I could search for that and in the results it will show my connections. 1st Degree Connections are people that I’m already connected with. 2nd Degree Connections are people who are connected to someone that I know. If that is the case, I can ask for an introduction from the person I know who is connected with the person I’m trying to get a hold of.
LinkedIn is great for that, but I really like how John is using that same idea and strategy for Twitter. That has been working well for him. He’s been able to build up quite the following. He’s one of the top Tweeters in Dallas, which is very cool.
It was a great interview. I hope you learned a lot about using twitter and social media. Thanks to John for the great interview.
Go out there and find your success.
Find out more about John Sparks or Online ImageWorks
Visit OnlineImageWorks.com, which is his website hub.
John can also be found on all the social media platforms at /iamJohnSparks (ex. facebook.com/iamJohnSparks, twitter.com/iamJohSparks and at gplus.to/iamJohnSparks)
- “It’s building those relationships online and then taking them offline.”
- “You can have anything that you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
- “People reach out to people who reach out.”
- “Make sure when you’re messaging people that your intentions are coming across as being good natured.”
More From the Interview
John has a media background working at television stations across the country. He was a newscast writer for broadcast journalism. Then ventured into the business world, then into education and finally was able to bring all that together when he started his business Online ImageWorks.
Social media, and the whole idea of people being able to access things when they want to and to interact was really exciting to John. The idea of using his background and skills to help people use these tools properly convinced him to start his own company.
Among other things John works on SEO, conducting social media campaigns, websites, design and coaching. It’s important to make sure people’s name looks good out there online. Coaching, how to use social media; sharing the idea that people reach out to people who reach out and that it’s a powerful tool if it’s used correctly.
Twitter is John’s favorite social media platform. The area where we can have instant communication is interesting.
Businesses can use twitter to engage customers and as a listening tool.
John says businesses should use social media for several reasons. Social media increases your visibility. It shows people that you have something of value that you are offering in the market. It gives your business the chance to show what makes you different from everybody else. It can help you stand out in the crowd. And, it’s a great relationship builder; everyone wants to feel like they are welcome, special and appreciated. It’s building those relationships online and then taking them offline. It’s a great stepping stone for the offline conversations that happen later on for businesses to convert customers into possible clients down the line.
John sees so many companies that put up a twitter logo or pinterest logo and then you go there and there’s nothing there. There is nobody managing it. John’s advice for those companies is that if you’re not using the tools then get rid of the links.
What’s one trick or piece of advice that the average person may not know about social media and how to use it effectively?
Strategically stalking people in excellence in a good way.
The people that they are most socially influenced by on Twitter are the people at the very bottom of their friends list. Those are the people that instantly came to their mind when they first joined Twitter.
Oprah, just for an example, follows about let’s say 230 people. So if you can interact with and build a relationship with one of those people on Twitter. Then you could potentially get an introduction from that person. Thinking about LinkedIn and their 1st 2nd and 3rd connections, look through her list, look through their lists, look for Oprah’s 3rd connections. Look towards the bottom of the list and pick out the ones that do not have the verified account, the blue checkmark. Those people are probably going to be easier to connect with.
John says a lot of cool things have happened over the last 2 years owning Online ImageWorks. Just having the opportunity to work with some of these people and watching their businesses grow. John says seeing these Twitter accounts grow to a point where they’re getting verified on Twitter and build a following by thousands, and it’s not just about the number of the followers, but about the quality of the followers you have.
In conversations with people on twitter you have to be really careful how you talk with people so you don’t offend them. Twitter has the reputation of being light and fluffy. Where people don’t hear your voice, they don’t know your voice, they don’t know your true intentions. So make sure when you’re messaging people that your intentions are coming across as being good natured.
How did you get where you are?
Going out there and basically, I wanted to be a social media influencer. I’m soon to be on the Forbes and Huffington Post list of top 50 social media influencers. Going through and doing my research and finding out, okay if this is what I want to be who are the people that are on that list right now, and who is following those people, and how can I get some of those people to come follow me. And what can I add of value to get those people to follow me.
I would say finding those people that are in your industry that you’re interested in. And making a list of those people. And then going out and seeing who’s following those people. Provide good content and follow those individuals and see if you can engage with those people and follow them as well.
On Twitter, you just have to get out there and do it. Get out there follow people, engage, you’re going to make some mistakes, it’s gonna happen; mentioning people incorrectly, retweeting incorrectly… but you just gotta do it.
John recommends the book, See You at the Top.
You can have anything that you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. That’s what success is about.
You have to have that positive mindset and take every positive thought captive. Turn those negative thoughts into thoughts of being successful. Even in your darkest moment. If not, you’re going to get sidetracked.
That positive self talk that’s so critical when starting a business and being successful on social media. John prides himself on his positive uplifting tweets — It’s amazing how many people go out there and will retweet those over and over again.