The Art of Social Media

On the cover of the book The Art of Social Media, authors Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick set the expectations with their subtitle: “Power Tips for Power Users.” They’re not kidding.

Art of Social Media
Art of Social Media

This isn’t a book that takes the time to make a case for why you should be using social media. Guy has covered that topic before, and countless others besides him.

Guy and Peg dive right in to practical tips that are actually worth your time. As a marketer myself, I can’t say how many posts I’ve read about how to “do” social media (and heck, how many I’ve written). This book goes far beyond a quick blog post with specific recommendations on social media at a high level (what tools to use for scheduling posts, how to discover content, etc.) all the way down to tips for each network (how many posts per network is appropriate).

Even now, looking back at my highlights in the book, I have to fight the urge to go and optimize my profiles so that I can finish this review.

Several of the tips that the authors offer are both obvious and overlooked at the same time. Case in point: stick with one picture for your social media profiles.

At one point, I chose different profile images just to create more diversity, but I realized later on that my intention to show different aspects of my personality did not help to create a coherent view of who I am.

Is This Content Worth Sharing?

I loved the concept of the authors' “passing the reshare test.” If you don’t think your content is worth others’ resharing, then they certainly won’t think it is, either. And if you’re using social media for business, that’s a real problem.

Piggybacking on that is probably my favorite quote in the book:

Theoretically, you follow people because of the quality of what they share. Therefore, it makes sense to watch what they share, cherry-pick the best stuff, and share it too. If you don’t reshare much of their stuff, it means you’re following the wrong people.


How to Find Content to Share

Finding content can be incredibly challenging. While there are plenty of tools out there, there are several industries that are not served simply by more examples of the most popular movies or current events. These industries require a little more focus.

The authors have pulled together resources I’ve never heard of in this book, and I’ve already found content for the company I work for as well as our clients. These sources alone make the book worth reading, as again, these lists (and descriptions) go much more in-depth than what you’ll find in a single blog post.

More than I Needed at the Moment

Peg and Guy delve into topics that I don’t find myself needing at the moment, but I’m glad to have a resource to turn to when the time comes.

For example, I don’t host current Twitter chats or Google Hangouts yet, but I think it's a great idea. The tips in here take an abstract idea (to me) and make it very solid with details that include making sure that your interview guest in Google Hangouts definitely has a Google+ account and remembers the password for it.

Beyond online chats, the authors also utilize their experience from their time working with Motorola to discuss how an event can become social online, too. Instead of creating a one-time hashtag that you’ll use and then kill off (like #TodaysEventCityName), the authors recommend an evergreen tag that can last over multiple events. Why go through all the trouble of mobilizing so many people only to kill off the momentum through inattention?

Effective for Both B2C and B2B

It’s easy for a business book to become too slanted for one direction or the other in its advice. I have to say that when I read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, I felt that it didn’t apply nearly as much since I don’t work in a B2C space. But, because the authors of this book do have such a wide range of experiences, and because they were able to crowdsource some of the ideas and tips for this book, The Art of Social Media does a great job of covering a multitude of communication pathways.

Kudos to Guy and Peg.

The Art of Social Media is immediately actionable from page one. Don’t miss it.