Book Review – The Art of Social Media

There are a lot of books written about social media. I have an entire section of my bookshelf dedicated to it. The problem is once you’ve read them and understand the basics, they all tend to be a bit same same. And so that’s where they stay. On the shelf.

But what Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick have created with The Art of Social Media is different. This is the kind of book that will never sit on the shelf, because it will be a constant reference piece.

The Art of Social by Guy Kawasaki & Peg FitzpartickI’ve had the opportunity to review the book before it is released this week, and consider it one of the “must reads” for any practitioner of social media.

While the tag line bills it as power tips for power users, anyone who wants to move their brand forward, be it personal or business, will find more than one thing in this book to implement right away.

It doesn’t get bogged down in strategy, rather focusing on actionable tips for each of the major social platforms, designed to help you make an immediate impact.

Focusing on the core platforms that everyone uses (including the oft maligned G+), it presents the “how” of social media in a way that anyone can understand – how to create the the optimal profile, how to curate and produce good content and how to grow your base of connections across all platforms, before jumping into some of the more intermediate concepts – hangouts, events and chats, and how to bring everything together.

I was lucky enough to ask Peg Fitzpatrick some questions about the book:

peg-fitzpatrick-round-960x960Q: For me this book falls into the “necessary for success” category for anyone in any size organisation who is serious about social. What was it that prompted you to write it?

PF: One of the questions that I’m frequently asked is “how I do all the social media that I do.” And that response was longer than an email response or blog post.

Q: You’ve called it The Art of Social – do you think it is more art than science?

PF: One of the working titles was The Art and Science of Social Media but it was changed along the way. I think we covered “the art” in this book with the how-to’s and how we do things. The science of social media would be the measurement and metrics which we didn’t cover in this book. It all works together to be the art and science in my opinion.

Q: There are a lot of heavy reads out there on the topic, and more content being generated on “best practice” every day, yet this book is remarkably lightweight and comprehensive at the same time. Do you think there is a tendency to over think social strategy and lose focus on what actually works?

PF: Yes. We also wanted to diffuse some of the “best practices” with people being told HOW they have to do social media. It’s really a personal thing – not one size-fits-all.

Q: Visual social is the big thing right now, and gets a lot of coverage and how to in the book, which is great – any thoughts on what comes next, and will the same principles we’ve always worked to continue to apply?

PF: I think that visual social media is going to continue to grow and expand into 2015 with SlideShare taking a big step forward as an even more relevant content marketing platform. Although we’ve heard a lot about visual marketing, a lot of people have not changed their practices. It’s imperative for blogs to have great graphics and to have all the Open Graph settings working. It needs to be easy for people to share your content and creating a visual brand for your content is a must.

For me, the important message of the book is that you shouldn’t get paralysed by strategic thinking. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s also important to not let that plan inhibit you from trying something.

While the medium itself can be unforgiving of mistakes at times, sound tips like the ones in this book give you a solid, safe base to begin from based on the collective knowledge of two amazing practitioners.

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Click here to buy it now from Amazon.

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