The book "Social Media Sucks" is a captivating account of the reality of social media that any person, business or otherwise, can benefit from.
One of the things I like when selecting a book from the review pile is that I really don’t know what to expect. By choosing to live in South Africa, I am not exposed to the players in the field of American business, and therefore I cannot prejudge a book by name alone.
“Social Media Sucks! (If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing),” by Sebastian Rusk, is my type of book, which I found to be a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read. The author begins by giving an account of his early days when first starting out in the world of business. This to my mind is a nice way to start a book, enabling the reader to build an affinity for the author, and I personally enjoy reading the experiences of fellow business people.
“Social Media Sucks” is written in a conversational style and is aimed at anyone in business irrespective of their level of experience in the use of social media.
Whether you are using social media already, or are still unsure or reticent to participate in its use, there is value in reading this book. As the author states:
“The reality of participating in social media is that there is no more ‘should.’ It is an absolute ‘must’.”
Throughout the book Rusk identifies and elaborates on a variety of keys points to keep in mind when using social media. In doing so, he also includes an assortment of examples from his own experiences and from those of well known companies and brands.
The author points out the fact that many companies and brands still fail to understand that the purpose of a social media platform is not to sell a product or a service.
Social media platforms should be used to build a relationship and engage with your customers and followers. The object is to provide engaging helpful content, and to get your message out enabling your customers to get to know, like and trust you.
If done well, what will follow are a trusted brand and a loyal group of clients who see you as the place to go in your field of business.
“You are not blasting your message and shoving it down consumers’ throats. That is what advertising is for. Social media is here for you to explain your brand and tell your story – not to constantly pitch your brand. This does not mean that you can’t sometimes promote your brand via social media. It just means that listening and engaging always comes first.”
Be Accountable, Not Invisible
As the author explains in “Social Media Sucks,” in addition to using social media to talk to your consumers, it is also important to give them a voice and to listen to what they too have to say. Many companies are under the misconception that by not having a social media platform they are preventing any criticism of themselves or their brand.
This is totally incorrect.
Irrespective of whether a company has a platform or not, their consumers can and will talk about their positive and negative experiences using the multitude of methods now available to them. The one thing that social media has not changed is the power of word of mouth. Long before the inception of the Internet and social media, it used to be said that the best form of advertising was through word of mouth.
Social media has not changed this; in fact it has amplified it, and to ignore it is a huge mistake. Having a social media platform enables you to respond to criticism, to be seen to care and to right the things that are found to be wrong.
“If you are a business owner and someone complains about your brand online, it is imperative that you respond quickly and decisively. Defend your brand, or else word of mouth will spread the wrong message. You cannot stop the flow of word of mouth, but you can influence the message being spread.”
Daily Deals and Mission-Based Brand
When explaining the purpose and value of daily deals, Rusk urges the reader not to see them as loss of a percentage from their profit margin. Instead, they should be seen as an opportunity to capture lifelong customers and brand ambassadors.
What must be implemented are ways to ensure that you can continue to communicate with these potential clients, and they with you.
Mission-based branding, suggests the author, is another productive method in reaching out for lifelong customers and brand ambassadors.
By having a mission for your brand, you are showing people that you are prepared to give as well as receive and it is not just your brand about which you care.
“Social Media Sucks” is a great read. Instinctively from the tone and the way a book is written, one can get an idea of whether the author has something that they truly want to write about, or whether it is simply a book they have chosen to write. It is clear to my mind that Sebastian Rusk is passionate and willing to share his love and knowledge of social media.
If I were to make one slight criticism however, it would be the chapter detailing “five brands that are doing social media right.” The Starbucks, Zappos, and Oreo stories seem to appear in most books when companies using social media correctly are referenced. Surely there must be other companies and stories that can be cited?
If not, hopefully there will be more in the future if they take the time to read and take on-board the information contained within “Social Media Sucks.”