It’s been about five years since the marketing world has been saturated with books about social media marketing. Brian Solis’ book, Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, is definitely the most comprehensive.
While Solis doesn’t use this book to offer larger strategy models or the step-by-step instructions for putting together a social media plan for a business, he does get deep into each social medium . . . even the ones most of us had forgotten about. The first part of the book (through chapter 14) is structured as what Solis calls “The New Media University.” Each chapter focuses on a different type of social media. The remaining chapters attempt to encapsulate the “how” through discussions of the conversation prism, how to infuse posts with your brand and organizational considerations of a social plan.
This book has a ton of information. For me, however, the structure was somewhat problematic. Focusing on each social medium as its own entity seemed to downplay the integrative nature of the genre as a whole. In the second half of the book (which is not broken into part I and part II: I just naturally draw a line between the definition portion and the implementation portion), there’s no solid outline of how an organization should build and maintain a social strategy. Instead, each chapter focuses on one aspect of the plan.
In the final chapter of the book, Solis largely eschews the idea of quantitative measurement for social media. I think there are many varying opinions out there about measurement, but I do think that watching the Web traffic that’s referred from social links, plus watching the number of online conversations and how they correspond with social output are effective ways to get a general numerical handle on what your presence is generating.
Is this one worth a read? Absolutely. Is it a manual for your organization? No. But it does provide outstanding context for understanding the social media in general. If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts.