Worldwide, more than three billion people use social media. In the United States, 70% of the population has at least one social media profile, and more than 50 million small businesses maintain Facebook pages to interact with customers; 88% of businesses with more than 100 employees use Twitter as a marketing tool.
Maintaining a social media presence has become a “must” for most businesses today. Yet, with so many social media sites to choose from, knowing where to start can be daunting.
These three books can help you navigate this virtual jungle:
1. Lon Safko and David K. Brake’s The Social Media Bible nicely maps out the social media landscape. It classifies social media platforms and tools according to their purpose and function, ranging from social networking and photo sharing to audio, video, and livecasting. The book also discusses social media tools that businesses can use to facilitate internal communication and collaboration, such as company wikis, online meeting applications, and voicemail-to-text cellphone apps.
“The social media strategies you employ will depend greatly on how you evaluate and define your business.”
2. If you’re looking to nail down an effective social media strategy, Dave Evans’s hands-on manual, Social Media Marketing, provides a great resource. Among his many tips: Respect each site’s protocols and rules, watch the competition, and consider a broad range of tools, including photo, video, blogs, and podcasts. Note that social media marketing is a two-way street: To provide information and to receive feedback from customers.
“Your customers are already talking about you. The fact that you aren’t participating is your implicit endorsement of whatever it is that they are saying.”
3. If you are already maintaining a solid social media presence, Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick‘s The Art of Social Media will help you make the most of it. The book provides practical tips on how to make a good first impression on social media, and how to keep your followers interested and engaged. It explains how you can leverage social media to promote events, and to use Twitter Chats and Google Hangouts to bring people together from all over the world.
“Success favors the bold as well as the interesting on social media, so don’t hesitate to express your feelings and agenda.”