The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users the new book by by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick is released today in Hardback (I know that hardback bit seems like an oxymoron) but there is some interesting stuff which chimes with my recent blog post Twitter Then And Now.
I follow Kawasaki on Twitter and have been interested in his writing in the past but I tend to tune him out on Twitter as I find his frequency of posting a little off putting. That may be a cultural/territorial thing as he has a lot more focus on sales and marketing than me (which is fine) and I’ve never really looked at social media as a way of generating sales (though now happily use it in www.transportapi to connect to users and potential customers).
But I do think Kawasaki is one of those people who gets both the market and reciprocity agenda inherent in social media and this is a book geared towards business users. He’s been around social long enough to be an early adopter and was smart enough to see its potential for marketing and engagement from way back.
To reinforce that point – I got an advance look at the book because I got an email from one of his team offering me the opportunity to review it via a platform called Net Gallery which publishers are using to connect with bloggers. I wouldn’t have thought that I’d have enough followers or standing to be invited as a reviewer (hence the genius of flattery) and it’s great that reviewing opportunities are widening beyond the main stream media (which makes sense when you think about the value of ratings and reviews across other industries like travel and hospitality and indeed Amazon itself).
But back to the Art of Social Media. Much of the content will be useful to you if you are already literate in social media and just want to check that you are keeping up - I get to do this by having lunch or drinks with Matt Navarra from The Next Web every couple of months. Matt's got an obsessive (in a good way) interest in new platforms so I always learn loads from just meeting him (and he is incredibly generous about sharing his knowledge) but if you don’t have a Matt Navarra – then this book will definitely do the trick of keeping you up to speed with platforms, tools and tips. (of course through the art of social you can always have your own Matt Navarra by just following him on Twitter!)
The authors Peg Fitzpatrick and Guy Kawasaki
Where it really works for me is in Chapter 10 when in How to Avoid Looking Clueless the authors provide some great ammunition that I intend to use (and have been using) with people who are obsessed with the “key message” view of the world. When CEO’s or “professional communications people” try and hijack social to do what they have always done (trying to graft their old views onto new technologies)
Don’t be an orifice
Denigration of other points of view is lame. Complaining that a post is not perfect for you is lame. If you don’t like a post just move on.
Don’t tell people what to share
Telling people what to share is not just a sign of cluelessness, it’s a billboard of cluelessness. If you don’t like what a person shares don’t follow them. (LOVE this) “the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth and the Internet does not revolve around you”
Don’t Buy Followers, Likes or +1s
Only losers and charlatans buy followers, likes and +1’s. (There follows a great list of how large companies slide down the slippery slope but the snapshot is “You may never be caught buying your way into social media, but to do so is pissing on your karma, and karma is a bitch)
Don’t Ask People to Follow You
If you want more followers earn them (like do the hard work to be a good member of the sharing community)
Don't ask People to Share Your Posts
If your posts are good they will – if they are not - they won’t
Don’t Announce Your Unfollowers
No one cares
Don’t ask why people Unfollowed you
(No one cares)
Don’t be a Pimp
You will also look clueless if more than one of your twenty posts are promotional (this is the hardest thing for most senior execs that I deal with to understand) it's not about you it's about them.
On balance - yes
Don’t call yourself a “Guru” or “Expert”
I always try to correct people who call me this at conferences or talks – but it’s true – the platforms and channels change so fast you’ll never remain a guru or expert – the "experts" are always at the edge experimenting and don’t have time to call themselves “gurus” because in the end they are not experts they are people.
Don’t abdicate to an agency
Never (never) take the advice of someone who has fewer followers than you (I love this one. I’ve screened people interviewing for social media manager positions who have like 3 tweets and 10 followers). “If you practice what your preach you won’t need an agency” because you will be an agency".
Don’t delegate your social media to an intern
"This is like believing that having a penis makes a person a urologist or owning a car makes a person a mechanic”. This in not because interns don't have great new perspectives they do - it's just that lots of senior people use this as an excuse to avoid taking social media seriously.
I also really like the description of platforms
Google + = passion
FB = people
LinkedIn = pimping
Pinterest = pictures
Twitter = perception
which is a neat way of remembering that you use these channels for different purposes and to interact with communities in different ways.
The final chapter How To Put Everything Together is a great case study you can use to approach anything you want to launch (they use a book launch by way of example but it could apply to pretty much anything) and it comes with the authors warning "This strategy is only for untrained amateurs. It will make your head explode if you are a trained expert who's accustomed to weeks of strategising, testing and consensus-building inside a large agency". Amen to that.
(Oh and there is a brilliant list of apps and services included in the appendix including many that I'd never heard of and look forward to exploring further. So thanks for sharing guys)