My Takeaways From The Book Social Nation

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, January 10, 2011 at 09:23 AM with 0 comments

“They just don’t get it” is a phrase I hear a lot when people who work in social media talk about people or companies that are new, struggling or resistant to being immersed in social media. Part of this frustration on those who are consumers or consultants is around the educational component of it. Part of the frustration of those who don’t know or understand social media is the complete need to be educated on something that, in many cases, is altogether new to them. Thus there is a need for education to make everyone’s lives easier.

Educating people on social media, from organizational cultural change to actually tweeting and everything else in between and around it is the talk in Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business, a book by Barry Libert. The author presents a good book in Social Nation on what social media is, and does a great explanation that it is not just a plug into an organization, rather in some cases how it drives change and thinking of what an organization actually does.

As a believer, practitioner and “walk the talker” of social media, did I have takeaways from this book? Surely. And many of these are driven by interactions with clients and prospective clients with regards to their approach to social media.

Getting into social media today is more complicated than getting into the Web in its early days – I recall fondly building my first commercial Web sites for clients going back to the mid 1990’s. Back then it involved a lot of education and there were always new and changing elements. Today it seems like all that is involved in social media, still in its infancy, is much more comprehensive, intricate and to some complicated than the Web’s infancy. Working with one firm for a Web site may have been all you needed then, today you may work with one offering many services, or many offering just one.

Explaining it is not enough and may not always be relevant – just like businesses need to define their niche, social media needs to be articulated to that niche for it to truly be understood. In the book, Libert gives examples about Zappos, Apple, Google and Ducati, but very few about small to mid-sized businesses. These are good examples, but as I can see using his book as one to offer to a client or a prospect client to digest, more relevant issues to less than large companies are more relevant to a small business, especially as I see more copies of this book being read by entrepreneurs than corporate executives.

You need to talk to everyone – Often people think being a social company is just talking to customers, when it should be to talk to everyone, including all employees, partners, investors, etc. Having a common voice to all will make communication overall easier.

Social Nation is a good primer for a business or individual currently not using social media, or is personally but not professionally. It is not for someone already engaged or working with social media, such as myself, as the book is preaching to the proverbial choir at that point. Although saying that, the accompanying Web site to the book, at socialnationbook.com - offers a unique and interesting social quotient (SQ) test. Coming off of reading StrengthsFinder 2.0, this was a similar experience. So what is my SQ? The 3 words that were presented to me after the quiz were Visionary, Creative Thinker and Transparent. You can take the quiz yourself, and there is no charge for it.


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