📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Apple's First Social-Media Guru on the No. 1 Way to Market Your Brand Peter Friedman ran social media for Apple before it was even called social media. Here's his top social-media secret for building buzz around your brand.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Peter Friedman ran social media for Apple before it was even called social media. Working directly with Steve Jobs starting back in 1984, the Harvard Business School grad oversaw AppleLink, which spun off as the beginnings of AOL (America Online).

Live and online from about 1985 to 1994, AppleLink was Apple's first online community for users, third party developers and Apple product dealers across the world.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books for Every Entrepreneur This Summer

Fast-forward to today, 18 years since Friedman, author of The CMO's Social Media Handbook (LiveWorld, 2014), left Apple to launch LiveWorld, the social media content company he is still chairman and CEO of today. We'd say the leap worked out quite well for him.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has grown to become one of the most trusted names in corporate social-media marketing. LiveWorld's client list reads like a Silicon Valley A-List roster, boasting heavy hitters like Intuit, Cisco, Hewlett Packard and Flipboard, to name a few. There's also Dove, Pfizer, General Electric, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and, well, you get the point.

Related: Social Media's role Will Soon Shift From Driving Awareness to Creating Revenue

So, what's Friedman's top social-media tip for building buzz around a brand? Party like a rock star.

Create a fun, upbeat environment -- on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, on all of the social platforms your brand has a presence on -- in which your current and potential customers can talk to each other. The key, Friedman says, is to encourage them to chat up your brand together, as if they were at a killer party at your house.

"My favorite metaphor for social-media marketing is that you're throwing a party," a Fedora-topped Friedman told us this week at the C-Suite Network Conference in Marina Del Rey, Calif. "When you build a really good party, everyone wants to come."

Related: For a Company to Rise Above the Rest, the CEO Must Engage in Social Media

But no one wants to hang around at a party where the host gets up in front of everyone and talks about himself the whole time. "Everyone will say, "Whoa, what an ego this guy has. He doesn't even care about us. His schtick is getting boring. Let's leave and we're never coming back.'"

In social media, think of your target customers as your party guests, as potential brand ambassadors mingling amongst each other. Foster connections and conversations between them by posting social content about topics that resonate with them 80 percent of the time and only weave in brand messages 20 percent of the time. It's a delicate but critical balance.

Related: To Keep Your Brand's Social Engagement Strong, Focus on These 3 Questions

"When you have a good time at a good party, people go, "Wow! This brand really understands us. They make a great party. I want to come back to this brand's party and bring my friends. Then people will equate their positive online experiences with your brand with your products and your services."

Think about it. What kind of social media party are you throwing for your customers?

Related: Don't Make These Social-Media Blunders That Businesses Keep Repeating

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Social Media

How To Start a Youtube Channel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube can be a valuable way to grow your audience. If you're ready to create content, read more about starting a business YouTube Channel.

Science & Technology

Brand New GPT-4o Revealed: 3 Mind Blowing Updates and 3 Unexpected Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Unveiling OpenAI's GPT-4.0: The latest AI with vision, auditory, and emotional intelligence abilities is revolutionizing industries. How will it affect your business?

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


You're Reading Body Language All Wrong — And It's Putting Your Next Business Deal On The Line. Decode Non-Verbal Cues By Following These 5 Steps.

In the intricate dance of business meeting negotiations, the nuances of communication become the fulcrum on which decisions balance. For the astute entrepreneur, understanding body language is not just a skill; it's an imperative. However, relying solely on isolated gestures can be deceptive. To truly harness the power of non-verbal cues, one must grasp the concept of "clusters."

Business News

The Music Giant Behind Beyoncé, Harry Styles and Adele Bars ChatGPT From Using Its Songs

The world's largest music publisher sent letters to more than 700 companies demanding information about how its artists' songs were used.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."