The Art of Social Media

I will say this about Guy Kawasaki’s ‘The Art of Social Media’: It is the best primer to get kicking on social media. Somehow, I never came around to reading any of Guy Kawasaki’s previous books. For the uninitiated (if there are any), Guy is a leading authority on social media, a pioneer of blogging and a key proponent of many social media platforms. He has been writing and publishing since the time when Mikhail Gorbachev was busy peddling Perestroika. His first book ‘The Macintosh Way’ was published in 1989 just after he had left Apple. To cut the long story short, Guy is a top influencer on Linkedin, Google+, Facebook and Twitter; he is someone who has cut his teeth in the trenches of social media. His tips are easy to follow and implement and are a great tool for anyone still learning the social ropes.

For startups and established organizations, social media platforms are a must-have currency to leverage. And what’s best, almost all of them are free to hop on. Guy and his Untitled-design--31-co-author Peg Fitzpatrick help the reader get off the ground. As a reader, you gain the wherewithal to build and enhance your social chops. That said, let me mention that ‘The Art of Social Media’ stops well short of being an exhaustive guide. It’s a primer with the pieces of advice coming in form of small how-to-do pointers. The authors suggestions mainly revolve around how to optimize a profile, how to create and curate great content, how to use various social platforms, how to feed social media and blogging off each other, and finally, the most crucial aspect of it all: how to gain more followers.

I love this nifty little book for all the practical advice it serves up. Since everybody is on social media these days, people don’t have time to study others’ profiles, they simply make a snap decision based on what they see. So, a profile with a long-winded name or a display picture of an egg or a blank description is dead in the water to start with. Guy even lends his wisdom on something as normal as how to create a good avatar and I must say his suggestions are immaculate. To create an awesome avatar, Guy says,”Go asymmetrical, face the light, have at least a 600 px. wide image.” Tops.

Social media is simple. Guy Kawasaki declares in the chapter titled ‘How to perfect your posts’:”If you share good stuff, people will reshare it, and you’ll get more interaction and more followers. Everything else is delusion.” Creation of good, powerful content aches many a social marketer. Good for the reader that the authors share some immaculate tips to create and curate great content. The idea to use an editorial calendar to schedule blog posts, social media activities and promotions resonated with me a great deal. Not only does it help you overcome confusion and inertia, it also puts into perspective everything about the upcoming monthly activity.

Though his key aim is to enlighten people on broad social media, Guy Kawasaki does share platform-specific tips in the book. His stellar knowledge of Google+ triggered me to immediately update my own profile (see, this is what this can book do to you). His tips on Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google Hangouts and Twitter come in more than handy. Since the book was published in 2014, there is no mention of the latest craze, Snapchat, which might disappoint a few readers. But then, it’s not a major lacuna either. I am not sure when Guy and Peg would revise and update ‘The Art of Social Media’, if at all they intend to. I think they should because considering the fast-changing dynamics of the social scene, a lot could change over the next one year – something that might render a few or more parts of this book outdated.

My recommendation is to order this book today if you still lack the social nous and wish to get up the curve. It reads like a breeze. I finished the book in 5-6 sittings given I am a deliberate reader. It has good content, great tips to get you started on the right foot and it’s entertaining, too.

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