Generally I loathe how-to books. But the cheery "Social Boom!" (full mouthful of a title: "Social Boom! How to Master Business Social Media to Brand Yourself, Sell Yourself, Sell Your Product, Dominate Your Industry Market, Save Your Butt ... and Grind Your Competition into the Dirt") by Jeffrey Gitomer caught me by surprise, and its energetic calls to embrace business social media have inspired me to offer you these 6.5 reasons to read it.
No. 1: If you've yet to buy into "business social media," you will now.
Gitomer's book is specifically targeted at latecomers to social media, encouraging them to "wake up and smell the retweets." Distinguishing between personal social media (often associated with inane drivel) and business social media (which can drive sales), Gitomer believes that the latter "is the new cold call." "Waiting," Gitomer concludes, "is more expensive than starting."
No. 2: Unless you're a social-media expert, you'll find lots of useful tips.
While this book is not meant for expert practitioners, it does provide a broad range of useful tips on how to optimize results on the big four: Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn and YouTube. For LinkedIn, to take on example, the book goes well beyond the basics of profile creation and linking to contacts; it encourages readers to set up a "group" that can establish them as valuable experts at the epicenter of their field.
No. 3: It's not dull.
Supported by 12 "guest columnists," "Social Boom" is downright boisterous -- and rich with pithy quotes and enlightening cases. Sally Hogshead chimes in with "9 Ways to Fascinate the Goldfish" -- an entertaining treatise on how to engage in this attention-deficit era. And Mitch Joel uses an iPhone app created by a Procter & Gamble brand to cajole the laggards to revolution. Asks the droll Joel: "If Charmin can make social media work using toilet paper, what's got you all blocked up?"
No. 4: Step-by -step instructions don't make it seem too easy.
"Social Boom" acknowledges the time-consuming nature of social media. "Yes, it's hard (especially at first)," explains Gitomer, but he encourages readers to take a highly disciplined approach, beginning with a game plan. Review competitive activity, engage with your customers and allocate more time to learn what's new online. And then set achievable goals, like getting 200 connections on LinkedIn. He explains the rewards of all the hard work this way: "The more I give, the more attractive I become, the more engagement I create and the more connections I gain."
No. 5: It's a useful framework for determining what should be shared.
Gitomer is a stickler for delivering "value" regardless of the social-media channel. He encourages readers to put themselves in their customers' shoes and to deliver something that is helpful on either a personal or professional level. Instead of hard-sell tactics he prescribes genuine, authentic and transparent "messages of value ... without expectation of return or response." Valuable content is rare, Gitomer notes, but it will be apparent when others pass it along.
No. 6: The pieces all come together (on your blog).
According to Gitomer, the primary connection point for all social-media content is the blog, and he points to his own (which displays his YouTube videos and Twitter stream while linking to all his other social channels) as an example. Given the importance of blogging, Gitomer offers up his own approach to writing, which includes making sketches, avoiding the politically correct and a conscious disregard for traditional grammar.
No. 6.5: The author himself is a piece of work.
Scattered like breadcrumbs throughout the book are footnotes called "GitBits" that encourage readers to visit Gitomer.com, and to engage by typing keywords into the site's GitBit box. "GitBits" meet Gitomer's "value" criteria -- and help to make the book truly his own -- as does his habit of ending lists with 0.5 rather than a whole (to "brand me and set me apart from all other list makers").
"Social Boom" is a pep talk that provides a step-by -step guide to getting started and making the most of this relatively young but potent marketing weapon. Social-media veterans may find it useful either as refresher or as a gift to stalwart skeptics to get them off their collective behinds.