Want to learn how to market on Twitter effectively? Watch Shaquille O'Neal

February 26, 2009


Back in November of 2008 a Twitter account been set up with Shaquille O'Neal's name but was being operated outside of his control. To address this problem directly, Shaq joined twitter as THE_REAL_SHAQ and fired off his first message:

"This is the real SHAQUILLE O'NEIL"

Since then, Shaq has taken strongly to twitter. He posts dozens of messages each week and since an article about Shaq's twitter takeover ran in the New York Times, his followers have grown to over 175,000. This growth is fueled by his celebrity and, well, his Bio says it best:


Shaq has embraced the essence of what twitter is, authentically joining the community rather than treat it as simply another marketing channel. He is truly connecting with fans. Below is a short list of some of the innovative and clever things Shaq has done that have fueled his massive growth of followers:

1. Making his efforts personal

Shaq lets followers know when he is stuck in traffic, watching NBA TV, hanging out with Steve Nash, or being a worse free throw shooter than his son. Giving his followers a closer look at what he was up to gives him an opportunity to genuinely connect with fans and people who aren't too familiar with him.

2. Naming the twitter universe "Twitteronia" and treating its residents specially

Shaq has had a couple of encounters with twitter followers in the real world (described below) and he has made his policy clear: If you see Shaq and you're on twitter, introduce yourself. If you created twitter? He'll buy you lunch.

3. Making public Twitter appearances

Shaq in Restaurant Twitter

A couple of weeks ago Shaq let people know he was eating at a local restaurant on twitter. A couple of guys decided to go check it out to see if it was the real deal:

We went in, and to my surprise the MDE(Most Dominant Ever) was sitting in the corner booth by himself. We gave the man a nod and "Hey" as we walked to our table and were soon whispering back and forth like 12 year old girls at the 7th grade dance.

Given another 2-3 years, I'm sure we would have worked up the nerve to go talk to him, but before that could happen Sean's iPhone buzzed with a "tweet" from Shaq.

I feel twitterers around me, r there any twitterers in 5 n diner wit me, say somethin

"Of course" he said, "Pull up a seat" The behemoth slid over and patted the booth next to him.

4. A giveaway to anyone that finds him

Just this week Shaq posted that he was in the mall and anyone that touched him in the next 20 minutes with a twitter handle gets 2 free tickets. Whether someone found him remains to be seen.

Lessons from Shaq

If you're trying to connect with your customers, fans, colleagues or even friends on twitter and you are not sure what it is all about, take a lesson from Shaq. Be authentic, understand the medium, and most importantly, make your connections real.


Seo83's avatar

Great achievement Shaq. I really get inspired from you and will do the same as you did. Thanx for guidance..

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