BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Not for everybody ...

I ended up getting this book as part of a "package deal" at a networking event where one of the authors was speaking ... I'm not so sure that I would have picked it up otherwise. While it is a "social media" book, this is far more than most aimed at "companies" rather than to individuals, and is very "strategic" in that context. If I was still the Director of Communications of some company (and wasn't already enmeshed in social media), this is the sort of book that I'd want to have handed to me. Unfortunately, I'm approaching two years out of work, and not only do I not have a company for which to implement something like this, I also don't have the nice "extras" like a smart phone and a data plan. I bring up this point because the book has a couple of dozen "extras" which are available only via Microsoft Tags, which are sort of like QR codes, but Microsoft's proprietary system. I was amazed that there wasn't any alternative approach for connecting to this material other than via one's smart phone ... I can't be the only person out there without a one (although, I must admit, that at most networking events I attend it sometimes seems that way). Would it have killed them to have done a link to put in the description copy that accompanied each of the MS Tags? I don't think so. It just so happens that I "know" both of the authors from Twitter, and have been nagging them about this point ... unfortunately, neither of the web sites noted in the book have any clear way of finding the info (although a list of links is on one page on one of the sites, it doesn't appear to be linked to from anywhere else, and, on top of that, several of the links are already broken). Needless to say, having developed web sites and promotional programs (i.e. exactly this kind of thing) for many years, this drove me nuts.

Anyway ...

The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social is a cooperative effort of Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra), VP of Social Strategy for social monitoring service Radian6, and Jay Baer (@JayBaer), Social Media Strategy Consultant and founder of Convince & Convert. They both bring a lot of business acumen to the table here, and have put together a book which is targeted differently from most of those that I've covered in this space. Personally, I don't get the concept of "7 Shifts" particularly ... yes, these are seven areas that will need to be addressed for most companies to implement effective social media interfaces, but each is, generally speaking, too broad to efficiently be addressed as a particular "shift" ... but that might just be me.

Again, this is very much targeted to those at a company/corporation who have been tasked with "doing some of this social media stuff", and is, on one hand, somewhat targeted to the social media "newbie", but is, on the other hand, very much addressing somebody solidly ensconced in the corporate structure. It took me a good quarter of the book to really "get in sync" with it, as it initially just read "flat" (certainly as compared to other social media books out there like Scott Stratten's Unmarketing!), but once I "got" that this was more of the "internal memo" sort of business document its tone started to fit. This sort of takes the thrust of David Meerman Scott's Real-Time Marketing and PR and pieces together a step-by-step outline for how a company might expand into the social media sphere.

The "7 Shifts" here are as follows:
  1. Engineer a New Bedrock

    This looks at the "culture" of the company/organization. To effectively use social media, there needs to have "speed, nimbleness, and decentralized decision making", while embracing independence and a free flow of ideas. Sadly, this is likely the biggest hurdle for most companies, as its not only involves the commitment of those at the top, but a level open communications far beyond the present norm.

  2. Find Talent You Can Trust

    Needless to say, to achieve the aims here requires a different sort of employee with a different collection of skills. Frankly, I found this section encouraging, as the ideal hire in this scenario is the "well rounded" sort, which is a 180° turn-about from the "precise parallelogram" peg/hole model so prevalent in the current job market!

  3. Organize Your Armies

    Developing a "real-time" business will demand organizational models that "will distribute decision making and authority throughout the company" with "faster, more fluid communications within and among the ranks".

  4. Answer the New Telephone

    "Just like you've put a phone on everyone's desk in your company, you'll incorporate social media listening capabilities into your work to power your day-to-day business." This won't all happen at once, but will move from implementing a few tools to the point of total involvement.

  5. Emphasize Response-Ability

    Two concepts here, the "Humanization Highway" of ever-increasing engagement, and the "Opportunity Economy" which allows your products and services to be "pulled" by the customer. "You'll start talking to your customers in ways you never have before ... what starts as reacting and responding will give way to contribution and participation, even your own storytelling."

  6. Build a Fire Extinguisher

    Obviously, one of the essential roles for Social Media is "putting out fires" when they arise. This "shift" deals with creating response plans which empower employees to be a the point of crisis response, with clear structures of how communication flows in crisis.

  7. Make a Calculator

    Sure, everybody wants to know what's the ROI on social media ... here's how to determine your organization's Key Performance Indicators, and measure how the metrics work for these.

An interesting bit of data from this last section is how many results Google comes up with for "social media ROI" verses ROI for any other advertising medium, 208,000 for social media, with the next highest being "e-mail ROI" at 12,200 ... and "billboard ROI" squeaking in at a mere 148 ... obviously the quip "what's the ROI on the telephone?" hasn't quite filtered into the zeitgeist, as most folks are still trying to wrest "exact numbers" for social media, while plainly "vague" numbers (entire markets generalized from samples only a fraction of a percent of the population) are common currency in most other vehicles!

It's certain that eventually Social Media will become as much a necessary tool as any of the standard "commercial message" vehicles have been, and the movement in this direction will change almost everything about business. The NOW Revolution is a handbook on how to bring one's company into that new reality sooner rather than later. As this has only been out for a month or so at this point, it's probably both available at the brick-and-mortar book vendors with business sections, and at the best discount from Amazon and B&N on-line. If you're involved in social media, you will probably want to add this to your knowledge bank, and if you're in a position with a company that's seeing the writing on the wall about needing a social media program, this is certainly something you'll want to pick up.

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Tags: book review
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