I’ve read a bunch of books on social media and they all have the same problem: they’re outdated faster than you can say Facebook newsfeed. Likeable Social Media is no exception unfortunately, despite the fact that the book was updated from a previous version and was newly released this year.
Any book that still mentions Foursquare as a legit social medium is and highlights Facebook’s introduction of the ‘Like’ button, well, outdated. Plus some of the examples are a little ‘old’ as well, like mentioning how great Ashton Kutcher is at tweeting (he messed up big time during the Jerry Sandusky scandal in November 2011) and highlighting Lady Gaga and omitting the more recent social media success Taylor Swift. The social media landscape changes so rapidly, with new social media popping up and updates making old versions obsolete, that it’s hard to stay up to date in a printed book.
Solid Social Media Approach
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing useful to be found in the book, because there is. It’s a solid approach to social media for companies and organizations, though ‘social media’ in this case means mostly Facebook and Twitter. Other social media are mentioned in an appendix (Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, to name a few), but aren’t covered in depth. All examples come from Facebook and Twitter, with an occasional YouTube anecdote thrown in.
But the advice is practical and spot on, and this author, unlike many others, ‘gets’ the social part of social media. The strategy he explains (stressing engagement, authenticity, and ‘soft sells’) simply works. This becomes especially evident when he discusses how to respond to negative comments or feedback and how to deal with mistakes. Don’t delete, respond quickly, and apologize profusely if necessary are the right way to deal with this kind of stuff. Again, I do think he could have come up with more recent examples than the infamous ‘United Breaks Guitars’ drama from 2009 (!).
Some of the topics covered are:
- What real engagement looks like
- How to think like your consumer
- Providing value
- The power of stories
- Turning customers into fans
- Dealing with bad press, negative comments and goof-ups
- Integrating social media into the whole consumer experience
Likeable Social Media is a solid, comprehensive approach for companies and organizations, especially those that have little experience with social media. But even for the more veteran users (like me), there’s new stuff to learn.