Book Review: The Social Media Survival Guide

The Social Media Survival GuideSocial media has been evolving over the last few years.  It may have started out as a shiny new way of connecting with people, but it’s turned into a powerful sales and marketing tool that will help you grow your business and your customer community.

There have been several social media books that have recently come out to incorporate all the new learning we’ve accumulated in this area over the last couple of years.

The Social Media Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business Exponentially With Social Media (@SMSurvivalguide)  is a must-have reference book for any business that wants to have a social media strategy, but just doesn’t know how to use it to get and keep customers.  I received this as a review copy and wanted to share it with you because I still get asked so many questions about social media.  I wanted to share the most current information with you.

The Social Media Survival Guide Takes Social Media to the Next Level

The authors, Sherrie Madia, Ph.D., and Paul Borgese, show you how to:

  • Add social media tactics to your already existing marketing program.
  • Plan for the further evolution of technologies so that you’re not left behind when your customers move to the next big thing after Facebook or Twitter (this is important).
  • Manage the overwhelming demands of existing social media programs.

The authors approach this book from the small business owner’s and strategist’s perspective of what would be the best use of your time.  They don’t think being a technical expert in programming is a good use of your time, nor do they think that scouring the sea of social media books out there is a good use of your time.  They feel that the best use of your time is figuring out how to make use of the technologies out there to overcome the declining sales and diminishing leads that make today’s business climate so challenging.

What’s Inside The Social Media Survival Guide

This book is in its second edition and will take you through the following:

  • How to get corporate buy-in for social media.  (Your success depends on it.)
  • How to determine your objectives for a successful social media strategy.
  • Understanding your organization’s ability to determine what you need to know about the different applications.
  • How to hire experts – and what to look for when hiring experts.
  • Developing a mini-social media campaign.  This goes beyond just setting up profiles and takes you through an exercise that will help you test the waters.
  • Understanding the social media value proposition and how to match that with your organization’s value proposition.
  • Laying the groundwork for the next generation of social media tools.

The book is written in three parts:

Part I: Who Moved My Audience? – This section includes a series of chapters designed to prepare the reader for action.  The authors take an authoritative approach and reassure readers that they weren’t stupid or crazy if they chose to ignore the social media craze in the beginning.  After all, you didn’t become a successful business owner “by running after every shiny object.”

Then they take you on a journey that deftly combines the traditional elements of marketing and communication strategy with where they fit into today’s social media communication tools.

By the time you finish Part I, you will be confident and ready to get your social media party started.

Part II: Expedient Content Starters – This section answers the question “Where to Begin?” As you might expect, this is the meat of the book and will focus not just on developing content, but on developing content that engages your audiences and gets them to act and connect with you.

Of course it starts with developing a strategy that engages your visitors, retains their interest and gives them reason to stay active and ultimately give you money.  Borgese and Madia also offer the very wise advice of creating content once and publishing it in multiple places and in multiple formats.  This is probably the single best piece of advice for any small business owner who doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by the social media monster.  Re-purposing content by using multiple formats might look like attending an event.  Then while at the event, recording some video interviews, you can convert those interviews to podcasts, then transcribe the interviews and turn them into a report.  You might also write a summary article about the event and then break out each individual point or section of the article into deeper, more detailed articles.

The authors also do a fantastic job of reviewing the different platforms, their strengths and weaknesses, and what you can use them for.  One of my favorite points is the one they make about people coming to Facebook to reconnect with people they already know, rather than to meet new people.  That means that what your company does on Facebook has to mesh with that audience intent.

Another example is that people visit Twitter to read and learn new things, not to shop.  People shop on eBay.  This is why you shouldn’t “sell” your audience on Twitter; it’s perceived as spam.

Part III: Bring It – The last section is perhaps the most important of all.  It warns against treating social media as a numbers game where you stomp onto the scene and buy out or acquire fans or a community.  It’s important to remember that your social media community actually has asset and brand value, and it’s worth the time and effort to authentically attract the right people to your sites.

This section also takes the time to help you understand how to measure results and return on effort and investment.  The chapters in this section offer practical resources.  I found myself clicking through many of the websites they mentioned throughout this section and learning something new on each one.

Who Will Benefit Most From This Book

If you feel like you know enough about social media to be dangerous, this book is for you.  It’s not really written for advanced users, although as an intermediate to advanced social media user, I can tell you that I was engaged and learned a lot from this book.  Beginners will have the benefit of getting tried and true advice that’s already been proven and studied, so they won’t have to reinvent the wheel.

The Social Media Survival Guide (on Amazon) is a resource for any small business owner, marketer, communications expert or PR professional who wants to get the most out of their social media efforts.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

2 Reactions
  1. Thank You for nice book review.

  2. Great Job!

    Thank You Ivana.

    “What do we do about content?”
    That is one of the top questions we get from Offline Local Business. You have some fine ideas.

    Keep up your Outstanding Social Media Work.

    Keith D Shrock,
    Fast Track 4 SM
    Certified Social Media