KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age  doesn’t deal with the subjects you would expect from a social media marketing  book. It’s not about “getting one million followers on YouTube” or “reaching verified status on Twitter in one month”. It’s about something deeper. It’s about leveraging your brand to make a lasting impact. It’s about developing a competitive advantage and having your brand work harder so you don’t have to. Author Mark Schaefer, expert marketing consultant and keynote speaker, tells businesses (and everyday individuals) how to tap into that power to make waves and gain attention .
What is Known About?
From the start, KNOWN makes it clear that influence is not the same thing as fame. Understanding the difference can be a little tricky. In this era of social media, anyone has the potential to be famous. Fame is something that everyone wants, yet few people actually have. Influence, however, is something that everyone can have, but not everyone wants.
Why? Fame is sexier.
Fame is also extremely competitive and brief. It requires more and more energy to reach a large audience.
Influence works the opposite way. Becoming “known”, Schaefer shares in his book, requires less energy. The focus is on providing value to a specific audience. But, for small businesses, this approach also comes with a built-in competitive advantage. It is extremely useful when applying for a job, looking for clients, or increasing your online presence .
On the other hand, building influence , compared to “being famous”, requires a lot more ongoing work. With fame, all you need is an attention-grabbing “thing” and a large enough audience. Becoming “known” requires the 3 C’s:
- Commitment to a long-term vision,
- Consistent content,
- A specific craft that offers value.
In fact, Schaefer’s advice runs counter to what might be considered important when “becoming YouTube famous” or “going viral”. It also runs counter to the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy made popular by the movie “Field of Dreams” and unfortunately embraced by some in the business community. But according to KNOWN, anyone seeking to build influence must find a unique value he or she can provide to a specific audience (a “space” as the book calls it) and communicate it in a consistent way. KNOWN helps readers define their potential “space” of influence and craft a strategy for growing that “space” into something larger than you ever expected.
Schaefer  works in the marketing industry from almost every potential angle you can think of. He is a marketing strategy consultant, keynote speaker, professor, trainer, entrepreneur, executive director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and startup advisor who also serves as co-host of “The Marketing Companion” podcast. In addition to all of the above, Schaefer is the holder of seven patents, a former student of Peter Drucker, and author of a best-selling book on Twitter.
What Was Best About Known?
Schaefer’s KNOWN distinguishes itself as a book for businesses and individuals who are tired of the “get more followers” advice and want to see the bigger picture. KNOWN provides that bigger picture. As Schaefer points out, the goal of an online presence should not be to keep searching for the “viral” ingredient. The goal is to build an online presence that speaks to an audience ready to interact. Developing that presence starts with certain principles. KNOWN explores these principles and provides examples of everyday individuals who use them to build a brand.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
Schaefer’s book is an excellent guide for transitioning from brand visibility to brand influence. This is a key step most other social media books are missing, yet influence is something that businesses desperately need (even if they don’t know it!) The book’s emphasis, however, is focused on the initial part of that critical transition. It opens up the possibilities. It is up to readers to figure out how to transform the book’s possibilities into realities after following the book’s initial steps.
Why Read Known?
KNOWN is a must-read for any individual, group, or business trying to build an influential brand. The book delves into the topic of influence much more comprehensively than other social media marketing titles. It rakes some of the vagueness out of the concept of influence and offers a collection of concrete strategies for building a brand from the ground up. KNOWN features real people who found an interest (even if they had to teach themselves from scratch).and followed the book’s principles to thrive. This makes it an ideal book to go along with another book reviewed on Small Business Trends, The Power of Broke  by Daymond John. John’s book shows you how to leverage the resources around you to build a business. Schaefer’s book focuses on scaling that business into an influential brand.