Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Executive's Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy - Book Review

Disclosure: The H&R Block Social Media Team's initiatives are sprinkled throughout the book and because of this, author, David B. Thomas sent me a copy.

Long Ass Title, Short Worthwhile Read
First off, authors David B. Thomas (@davidbthomas) and Mike Barlow (@mike7pilot) landed on the longest, most descriptive book title I've come across since grad school days - The Executive's Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy (pause for a breath, ok more title...) How Social Networks Are Radically Transforming Your Business.


Do not let that robust mouthful scare ya away. This book is a gem. I've read it twice through now (yep, unlike it's title, it's a quick read) and it's made my short recommend list for business leaders just kicking off or overhauling their social business programs.

Quick Overview
Thomas and Barlow provide the necessary but brief overview needed for executives to understand the business rationale for integrating social media into their companies initiatives. They chunked the book into three parts: The Grand Scheme of Things(why), Building a Structure for Success(how) and Putting Your Social Media Strategy to Work(well done). They weave diverse social business cases throughout each section which helps show the "why" and explains the "how" while delving into the "well done".

My favorite part of the book is in Chapter 8, "The Keys to Success in Social Media" Thomas and Barlow whittle it down to Five keys to success in social media:
1) Be real - "make a genuine effort to be valuable member of the online community"
2) Be relevant - "gear your efforts toward what your audience cares about, not what you care about."
3) Be practical - "social media is a set of tools and a philosophy f communications, not a strategy in itself"
4) Be patient - "establishing a presence in social media takes time"
5) Be active - "social media is about community, sharing, and immediacy."

They sound basic, simple and deceptively easy to accomplish. balancing all the components is delicate and complex. Thomas and Barlow help you develop your multiple-lever-5-social-media-keys ebb and flow process.

Here's the bad news...This book isn't a magic wand - once you finish it do not expect a "poof! moment" with a voila-here's-your-social-media-plan in tow. Sorry, ya bummed now? ;)

And the good news, it is the executive primer for you to begin operationalizing social media into your core enterprise initiatives. It is the reference source.

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