This is the third of a new series on Klout influencers (“Klout Stars”) and how they got to where they are today. The first was with Brian Solis, the second with Dave Larson of @TweetSmarter, and today we’re excited to interview Rick Bakas.
About Rick: Author, Certified Sommelier and Brand Strategist, Rick Bakas is globally recognized as a thought leader in the world of wine and social media. As the first Director of Social Media in the wine industry, he influenced new ideas and new concepts that connect wineries to new consumers through tweetup tours and global online wine tastings. Rick specializes in translating personal and corporate brands to new media. He is an adviser at Bakas Media, a new media branding agency in San Francisco.
1. How’d you get started on social media?
“In the 1980′s my best friend’s dad had the first home computer I ever saw. He showed me how to log into usenet groups and chat with other people. When America Online came out I was one of the first 500 people signed up for the service. That’s about the time I was bit by the wine bug and spent hours chatting with people about wine. When new sites go live I tend to gravitate to them and quickly discover the conversations about wine or bacon.
In 2007, I launched a mobile wine+food app called Culination that failed miserably, but it led to working for a startup in Boulder called Iggli. During that time is when I really got serious about building a personal brand online.”
2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?
“Consistency is king in my book. Pick 3-5 subjects to be an authority on and consistently be a conduit of information on those subjects. Being a conduit of useful information means I share content about wine, food, bacon and branding that originates from me or comes from another source. I’m always sharing consistently on those subjects. Usually it’s a 50-50 mix of content. Half is content I create, and half is content I find elsewhere.”
3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?
“I’d advise against taking shortcuts or trying to game the system in all things online. Numbers like Klout scores or SEO rankings on Google have algorithms that are constantly changing, and when they do the true organic results will speak for themselves. Short cuts or manipulations will be corrected, which will result in dramatic score adjustments that expose the people who fluff their numbers.
Consistent engagement on Twitter and Facebook will provide the fastest true organic increase in someone’s online influence. @ reply all day everyday on Twitter and interact often with many people on Facebook in their posts via “likes” and shares. I’d also organize some online events (like #Chardonnay day) where you bring people together online around one idea or hash tag. Your name and handle will be mentioned a lot as the organizer or point person and all those mentions or interactions impact online influence.”
Want to hear more from Rick? Follow him on Twitter as @RickBakas.
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