October 28, 2012
Get Up To Speed with Online Marketing by Jon Reed
Because of the reviewing I do, I've been targeted at work for working on their online marketing. This means that despite my lack of background in anything marketing, I have to research and come up with ideas for the law firm I work at to better reach a market through social media and other avenues. Obviously despite growing up with technology, this means that I have to learn things I don't already know. So enter this book, which I thought would be a good start.
Get Up To Speed covers a very wide range of topics. Some I already knew, some I didn't really care about, and some I was very interested to learn new things on. From blogging to setting up RSS feeds to twitter, this site covers a lot on how to use popular social media sites. Facebook and LinkedIn are predominant, as is twitter and running your own blog, and youtube even gets some time in this book. There are others, but they are run over rather briefing and don't get the center stage. For all these medias, there are suggestions on how to use it to the best of your ability for your business, in addition to screenshots of some of them, and instructions on how to use some of the different medias in different ways. There are also examples from other businesses on how they used social media to improve themselves.
Reading this at times was very interesting and at other times very boring, like slogging through a dry textbook. I think the problem lay in the detail. While some areas were extensively covered and I learned everything I wanted to, others only had summary descriptions and it left me wondering how to use it properly. For instance, because of how complicated blogs can get with their different pages and other features, I think that chapter could have been widely expanded while Twitter or LinkedIn could have been a little less. I realize that this is probably in the eye of the beholder, but in general I think most businesses would find that more helpful. There is a section on how to get yourself noticed on social media sites, but it was somewhat brief and didn't really clear up anything for me in that regard.
But I did learn a lot of new things. Especially in terms of site analytics. Thanks to this book I found a site to track my own personal blog analytics, which I had wondered about for awhile. There were a lot of links to different trackers like this and other programs that help monitor how sites are doing and their popularity. Which is a boon to business owners who want to see if they are profiting from social media. This book is very educational but for those who aren't as tech savvy, it may be hard to even read this book let alone implement what it suggests. While being a business owner right now means using the internet, a vast majority have only set up a website, if that. And they may not be familiar with the tech speak used in this book, despite it's clear definitions on how to use the different social medias while using that tech speak.
I was disappointed to see that Pinterest wasn't mentioned or Etsy in this book. I don't know that Pinterest was quite at the popularity it is now when this book was in its development, but it was probably around at least. And Etsy has been popular for at least a few years and deserved a mention. It's a very good tool for a lot of small businesses out there. But I guess that that's an inherent flaw in this book. Despite getting out into print fast, like technology itself, it will soon be outdated and not very useful. Media and social media changes every day and a print format while helpful at the moment, will become a door stop after too long.
A comment on the charts and pictures in this book. There were some that I tried to look at that already appeared to be changed a little bit. Social media updates rather quickly so don't walk into this book thinking you'll be able to follow the pictures exactly. Take some time and read the words, those are what stay the same rather than the site layout. That being said, the excerpts in regards to the businesses themselves telling their stories (and not the excerpts involving the charts and pictures) were interesting to read and a good look at how social media actually works for a business.
But for now, if this book is purchased in the next couple of months, maybe a year at the outside limit I think it will be moderately helpful for a small business who wants to get their word out there on social media. I know that I'll be implementing one or two things I found here at work, although a lot of it was extraneous. A good resource for some things, but don't let this book be your only look into online marketing.
Get Up To Speed With Online Marketing