How recruitment industry leader Greg Savage grew his Twitter following to 30,000+

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EPISODE 13 OF THE REPUTATION REVOLUTION PODCAST

Take a long term view and put time and effort into it. 

So says Greg Savage, the 56-year-old former recruitment company CEO who over a period of five years has built a Twitter following of 30,000+ and speaks internationally to a growing appreciative audience, thanks to his blog and social media.

This interview started off as a riff on a recent blog post Greg wrote on how he got 30,000 Twitter followers, and we cover his tips and lessons learned in some detail. Aside from Twitter, Greg explains the important role his blog The Savage Truth plays in growing his profile and influence – this is a blog, by the way, that gets read up upwards of half a million people a year – plus he touches on LinkedIn and why it too plays a key part in Greg’s personal branding efforts, with some of his updates attracting some 50 comments during the course of a day.

HOWEVER … If that wasn’t enough gold right there, the self-described “reborn digital native” also tosses in two almighty examples of ROI – return on investment of social media, experienced first-hand. If you’re a social media cynic, tune in or shut up 🙂

Greg is on the advisory boards of 10 recruitment companies, he is an international speaker and an investor in recruitment companies; indeed, he is a brilliant case study in (his words) “how you can build a presence in a niche that leads to real sales and real profits”.

Here are some of the yarns and tips Greg shares in this chat:

  • Discusses how he was  known locally in his industry (recruitment) but how social has amplified awareness of his brand internationally – for example, he just returned home to Sydney from South Africa where he sold out speaking conferences in Johannesburg and Cape Town; the audience of both events was made up of people who read Greg’s blog and followed him on Twitter. Ditto England – Greg has travelled there three times in past 12 months, events were very well attended and again, all driven by Twitter and Greg’s blog.
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  • Don’t blame the platform: It’s not social media (Twitter) that’s trivial, it’s the user that can be trivial.
  • “If you don’t tweet five times a day, if you don’t have a proper bio, if you don’t think about it and be consistent about it, you may as well close your Twitter account down” (if you want to use it for business).
  • You need to get serious about the time you allocate to it (and also the time frame – “it’s a long game”).
  • You’ve got to be serious about the content you put out, and you have to invest time to engage.
  • Speak on Twitter how you would in a business meeting, not in a pub!
  • Don’t finesse your Twitter stream too much to satisfy a broad audience.
  • Stay tuned to Greg’s answer to the statement by many business people that they don’t have time to tweet (“ludicrous” he says)!  “People are wasting their time doing the wrong things; all we need to do is to allocate it to those tactics that are more productive in the modern age.”
  • How a Twitter call-out for a MacBook Pro power cord while in a Perth hotel demonstrated human generosity; within an hour Greg had two cords delivered from people he did not know.
  • Invest 30 minutes a day – 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at the end of the day will help you build your Twitter following significantly, if you do the right things.
  • If you’re a thought leader, having a social presence is critical, and frankly if you don’t have time for that, you probably don’t have time for your career.
  • You need to treat Twitter like a real-life situation: “If somebody says something to you in a bar or in a restaurant or in the street or in the office and you simply don’t reply, that would be remarkably rude and offensive and they’ll never forget. And it’s funnily enough the same on social media.”
  • Broadgagement – this is a mashup word Greg uses to explain his Twitter strategy – it’s a mix of broadcasting of interesting links along with engaging: “Those two together have been … the formula that’s worked for me”.

RECOMMENDED READING: How I got to 30,000 Twitter followers  by Greg Savage.

Return on investment

But the interview doesn’t stop at Twitter tips and advice. Greg also provides examples of generating ROI from social media, viz:

  • EXAMPLE  1 – Greg sold out two speaking conference events in Johannesburg and Cape Town – 250 and 100 turned up respectively, paying 1500 rand a pop (approx. A$150), this was despite him not having  a mailing list for people in South Africa  – both events were filled up as a result of Greg’s efforts via Twitter and his Savage Truth blog.
  • EXAMPLE 2 – Greg used to be CEO of Firebrand Talent, a startup boutique recruitment firm. The Firebrand experience saw huge return on investment from social media – half the candidates it placed in 2012 came from the company’s social strategy, he says. Firebrand placed about 700 people in permanent jobs a year across its 10 offices; half of them came from social with an average placement fee of $15,000 – “there’s an ROI if you want one” (and that was in 2012 with a two-year-old company)! HERE’S AN INTERVIEW I DID WITH CAROLYN HYAMS FROM FIREBRAND.
  • “So done properly, over a longer period of time, the financial imperative is very, very compelling,” Greg says.

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BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE …

Greg tells the story behind an article he wrote for his blog (called ‘How Did It Get to Be ‘OK’ for People to Be Late for Everything?’) that got picked up by the Huffington Post and went viral, attracting over 375,000 Facebook ‘likes’ and sparking interest with the Today Show in the US, which in turn set off another wave of interest in the story with other TV and radio programs (although Greg turned down invitations to be interviewed).

Greg did, however, get an immediate surge in subscribers, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections as a result of the HuffPo exposure.

The lesson? That content and social can catapult you into a world that you would never be able to get into otherwise.

If you’re an aspiring thought leader or entrepreneur, you really must tune into this compelling interview with Greg Savage.

FOLLOW GREG ON FACEBOOK and/or Twitter; I also recommend you read his blog, The Savage Truth.

Remember to subscribe on iTunes and not miss an episode! And if you enjoy what you hear, I’d really love it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Thanking you! 

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