How Shaq’s mom inspired him to go from online braggart to savvy social media strategist

Like many of us non-famous folks, Shaq used to use social media mainly to boast about what he had in life until his mother turned him around.

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It’s hard to strike the right note on social media, especially when you’re a celebrity. Should you just come right out in the open about your fabulous lifestyle – or act like you’re just a humble working person?

Former basketball player and prolific product pitchman Shaq was interviewed by Hoda Kotb on the Today Show on Monday. When asked if he had an adage that he lived by, he talked about his philosophy on social media.

“When I send out Tweets [he has 14 million followers] it’s 60% to make you laugh, 30% to inspire you and 10% to promote what I’m selling,” Shaq said. “I came up with that formula because when I first started doing Twitter I didn’t really understand social media. I was kinda in showoff mode. ‘Look at my house, look at my boat.’ ”  (See below for examples).


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His mother, with whom Shaq’s always been close, wasn’t a fan and encouraged him to use his position for more positive things.

“My mother called me one day and she said ‘Stop showing off. Be humble. You should use [social media] to inspire people.’ ”

And the 60/30/10 formula was born. So if you go to Shaq’s Twitter today, you might read something promoting The General Insurance, or his big and tall menswear line, or talking about basketball.

But for a look at Shaq’s bad old days on social, one need only look no further than his older Instagram posts, from “Jump on the G5” to “Just got my Vaydor” to a stunning variety of custom wheels to finally, Shaq posing with a crown.

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MY HOOPTIE

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.