Perhaps I am just a cynic, but whenever I see a word such as “Fundamentals” in the title of a book, I immediate start to wonder if I am about to review a simplistic rehash of all that has been written before.
Happily, “Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field: Social Media Fundamentals for Business,” by Tracy Sestili (@tracysestili), is no such book. Rather, it is a well structured book containing invaluable information that anyone wanting to use social media for promotional purposes will be glad to have at hand, and to continue to use as a reference.
Prior to running through the various social media platforms, Sestili explains the importance of determining your social media strategy and the difference between a social media strategy and a social media campaign.
“Before you decide to jump into social media and create a profile on every hot social network of the moment, consider setting goals. Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to get out of using social media?’ or ‘What do I want to get out of this particular social network?’”
As Sestili suggests, simply having a presence on each of the main platforms does not guarantee success. It is critical to understand who is your target audience and which of the platforms they usually frequent. For example the author tells how young African American women tend to like using Twitter and Pinterest, whereas mothers in the 25 to 45 age bracket are more often to be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and blogging.
Again, she writes:
“Jumping on every popular social network is not a strategy. Understanding where your audience hangs out, how they consume content, and how they share content will allow your message to be amplified by the right people: potential customers.”
The author of “Taking Your Brand From the Bench to the Playing Field” talks about the setting of goals which are measurable, the selection of the correct keywords to enable your audience to find you, and the need to connect and build relationships with influencers in your specific industry.
The following chapters go through each of the main social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Google+ pages, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sestili describes how to get the most out of the various platforms, and gives a detailed account on the lesser used functionality available on each of the platforms, providing hints and tips from her own personal use and experience.
The information supplied in “Taking Your Brand From the Bench to the Playing Field” is high quality and has been written in a way that is easy to follow and apply to your own business circumstances.
The topic of blogging is covered in quite some detail, and it is evident from what the author writes that she has a great understanding of what it takes to create an effective and engaging blog. From my own experience I have found that many businesses make the mistake of using their blog to promote themselves or their products. As the author correctly states:
“Your blog should serve as a valuable resource for your readers, solving a problem or adding valuable insight to a topic that they can put into practice.”
To complete the book, social analytics, managing social media, and the creation of media campaigns are also each given a chapter of their own. The need for analytics is well explained, as are the various tools which can be used to obtain the key metrics that anyone using social media should want to review. As Sestili points out, you need to find out if all your time and effort is paying off, and if there are any modifications needed to increase your ROI.
I was particularly happy to note that the author, unlike many, did not gloss over the fact that:
“Managing all of the different channels can be overwhelming. One thing many businesses struggle with is time, money, and resources, all of which are required to manage your social media presence well.”
I thoroughly enjoyed “Taking Your Brand From the Bench to the Playing Field,” and the inclusion of exercises at the end of each chapter should help the reader to create a viable social media campaign for his or her own business.
The book has also been written in such a way that is can serve as a reference book to be used whenever you are in need of further ideas to freshen-up or plan a new marketing campaign.
About the Author
Tracy Sestili is the CEO of Social Strand Media which she launched in 2010 after having been the Director of Operations, Project Management and Business Intelligence at TiVo, Inc. for nearly 10 years. As a social media author, speaker and strategist, she has taught social media and branding courses at San Francisco State University, AcademyX, and HULT International Business School.