Outsmarting Social Media

Outsmarting Social Media by Evan Bailyn tackles the subject of using social networks in order to reach your target audiences. He focuses on Facebook and Google primarily, and then tosses in a few notes on Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This shows one of the issues here. Most of social networking is currently happening on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. He doesn't even tackle Pinterest, and only briefly looks at Twitter.

A second issue is that a good portion of the book is taken up with histories of Google and Facebook, how they are similar, how they differ, how they had relationships in the past, and how they might renew those in the future. If this was a "history of social networking" I might find that all useful - but I've already read that material elsewhere. In this book I was hoping for a solid set of details about what specifically to do to help my efforts.

So those are the two main down sides.

On the up side, there is a great deal of helpful information in here, woven amongst the other data. Always be ethical - it will serve you best in the long run. He says right out that this book is not for raw newbies or for gurus. It's meant for the middle group who has a basic idea of how to use the systems and needs help polishing their techniques. Don't blast out "click here" or "do that" messages. Social networking is about building a relationship with people. Talk with them. Ask them questions and elicit their opinions. Find a cause they care about and support it.

He recommends strongly that you simply try a variety of techniques. Tweak the words. Change the photos. What you might think would work brilliantly might fail. What you doubt would work might be a huge success. Keep trying and testing.

He also provides some warnings about social media. He points out there are sites that watch for "check ins" and alerts thieves that those people are currently not at home.

In general, I really would have liked to see much more practical information. There are multiple pages about his dreams for creating a friend-finding site, and multiple pages about how Google and Facebook get along and don't get along - but those don't help me build my social networking reach. There are pages and pages about running ad campaigns - but I'm not interested in doing that right now. I would have loved far more information on examples of how to use Twitter, with good and bad, and case studies. I would have loved examples of how to use Pinterest, what works, what doesn't work, frequency of update in different industries, and so on.

Still, it's a fairly quick read, there is useful information in here, and I greatly respect his message of being ethical and supporting causes. So I'll give this a 4/5 with the caveat that you'll probably still need other books in order to get a well rounded message that you can fully utilize.

I was sent a free review copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.

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