social media

Book Review: The Art of Social Media

I just blazed through The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, the latest book from Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick regarding online social presence. I believe this should be on any current Social Media Marketer/Analyst/Strategist's reading list. Even though I've used the major social media platforms discussed in the book for years (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.), I still walked away with some great insights on how I can enhance my usage across these various platforms.

Tons of Tips

This book is packed with hundreds of social media tips (123 to be exact). These tips range from just basics in social media to help establish your brand (picking a screen name, what kind of pictures to use for your profile, etc.) to using advanced features of specific platforms (e.g. Chapter 8 - How To Run Google+ Hangouts on Air).

In addition, Guy and Peg give a plethora of online web services and tools that can be used to provide interesting or entertaining content (Chapter 2 - Feed the Content Monster) or help in publishing posts to multiple platforms and streamlining or scheduling posts to different social media outlets. There are also a number of online tools that can enhance the usage of a specific platform, such as Twubs for tracking Twitter hashtags or Tiberr for increasing exposure of one's blog post. I even used Guy's graphic tool service, Canva, mentioned in the book to create a quick and easy graphic for this review.

Some Criticisms

Most of the information found in this book is very useful, but as Guy and Peg point out, "No matter how smart you are, best practices always change, because the platforms change how their sites work." Technology moves fast and iterates quickly, and the same can be applied directly to social media. If you're going to read this book, read it soon and quickly, because even though this book was published in December of 2014 it's starting to become outdated. For example, Guy mentions how to "Use Comments and +1s to Run Polls [on Google+]." However, Google added a built-in polling feature to Google Plus in October of 2014, so there's no longer a need to use the workaround of adding comments to a post and use the +1s as "votes" in his example.

My own personal tip: if you're going to read this book, get the eBook version from Amazon or the book's website. The eBook contains hundreds of useful URLs to the services and examples listed throughout the book, and you can quickly jump to the example or resource provided with a quick click of the mouse or tap of the finger. I do not recommend reading the physical dead-tree version like I did. Although I could Google many of the tools Guy and Peg mention in their book, it still left me with frustrations of not being able pull up several examples while reading. The screenshots and pictures were sometimes difficult to make out in the printed examples as well.

The Bottom Line...

All in all, whether you're just starting out in social media or perceive yourself as a seasoned veteran in the social arena, this quick and easy read contains plenty of useful nuggets to extract and help you increase your online presence.

Update: As Guy points out in the comments, physical book readers can got here to find a digital document containing all of the URLs listed in the book.

Twitter Testing "Buy" Button for Feeds

Image via Twitter announced a new buying system in the works for users today with the aim to make shopping on a mobile device more seamless. Partnered brands, artists, and charities such as Burberry, Eminem, and (RED) will begin to tweet special offers and merchandise with a "Buy" button that will allow you to purchase the product directly from the tweet. Since this is in the testing phase, only a percentage of U.S. users will see this new purchase method, and the user will need to follow brand in order to see the special offering.

It appears that Twitter is working with online payment startup Stripe, as pointed out by Re/code, to secure credit card and billing information. Once you make your first purchase through this new buying initiative, your payment information is encrypted and stored so additional purchases can be made more easily. Twitter goes on to say that "your credit card is processed securely and won’t be shared with the seller without your permission."


A Virtual Strip Mall

I believe Twitter is building up to make a virtual strip mall, but with the advantage of having only stores that users want to see and shop from. This can be a powerful revenue medium for Twitter, which has been trying to find ways to monetize its service outside of traditional advertising methods of sponsored tweets. Using this new approach, however, users will be able to build up their own custom strip mall and see what they want to be sold by following the brands they want to buy from. If this testing phase goes well and more brands hop on board to increase their own revenue streams, the 271 million active users Twitter reported on in Q3 of 2014 will begin to look quite valuable as this new initiative is pushed out to more users later in the year.

Source: Twitter