This is a periodic series of reviews, reactions and mentions of business and marketing books that made it from the bookshelf to the coffee table. Lots of books spend time on the bookshelf, some collect dust, many get read. A few make an impression.
Read more to find out which ones inspire and which go back to the shelf.
The Zen Of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way To Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, And Increase Revenue By Shama Kabani
Anyone who knows me knows that I find writing in, highlighting, dog-earring or otherwise marring a book to be a most profound sacrilege. And so I’ll admit here that this book brought me to sin. Not only did I highlight, but I folded and dog-eared at least a dozen pages, fell asleep with it under my pillow and otherwise transgressed against the sanctity of books everywhere.
Why? Well, this book had what many idea books lack: actual ideas. You ever read one of those recommended must-haves that make you feel really good about yourself, enmesh you in positive-executive thinking, tell you to go out and lead the world! And then sort of leave you scratching your head when you’re done because the room is empty and there’s nobody to lead? All those great things swirling in your head vanish the moment you close the cover.
This book is not that.
What You’ll Learn
If you want a good primer on social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with a little bit of SEO and some video advice thrown in for good measure, you’ll want to get this book.
Not only is there good background on using these tools, but by purchasing the book you’ll have access to Shama Kabani’s ongoing updates (a great resource, considering that by the time I’m done writing this sentence, social media will already have changed. And by the time I finish writing this next sentence, it will have changed again. And by the time… you get the point.)
If you want some practical ways to use those social tools, along with resources to help you get started, you’ll want to get this book. Lots of books give you “ideas”, but those ideas are mostly ephemeral wisps of conceptual notions. Sounds good on paper, but when you’re done reading, what the heck are you supposed to do? Shama Kabani tells you. And how. And why.
If you’re busy and don’t have two weeks to devote to parsing somebody else’s prose (some executive who likes the sound of his pen on paper) and want something that you can digest in a short amount of time so you can actually get off your couch and use social media, you’ll want to get this book.
Plenty of 300 page books out there are just 250 pages too long. This book distills the important things into straightforward reading that you’ll be able to dog-ear and highlight to your heart’s content in a single day.
If you like direct, no-nonsense information that’s instantly understandable and speaks to you as a human being, you’ll want to get this book. Reading it was like having a conversation. There were sample stories and notes from other authors and marketers that make this a very friendly book.
It has the ability to spark ideas and get you energized to get out there and start casting your social net right now.
What This Book Is Not…
A history of social media or any of the tools you’re about to use. Don’t expect a dummy’s guide with charts and graphs and usage statistics and trends.
It is not a step-by-step or hour-a-day guide. Rather, it’s a collection of simple, practical, immediately employable tips for using social media in your business.
If you’re way too new to social media and need the 300 page version of “what it is and how to get corporate stakeholder buy-in” this book is not for you. It’s a “get started now” book, so if you need the long and winding background, save this book for next.
Then again, maybe you should start with this one and get your creative juices flowing before the statistics bore you right out of trying your hand at social media.
If you’re way too advanced and you’ve got your HootSuite account and UTM tags and Pluggio schedule and twelve Facebook discussions going, this book is probably not for you, either. If you’ve already got all that, you probably have a pretty good handle on things.
Then again, if you want a refresher and some basic good do’s and don’ts, pick it up any time.
The 10-Second Wrapup
As someone who tweets, updates, blogs, stumbles, diggs and otherwise makes a living helping people do the same, I found this book to be an enjoyable, direct, practical help guide. Some of it was familiar, some of it was new, and all of it was insightful.
I’m glad I read it, and I’m even glad that I abused it with a highlighter.