When I was asked to review 30 Days to Social Media Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, and Facebook by Gail Z. Martin (Career Press, $13.99),  I was expecting something very basic and even geeky, like: Day 1, create a Facebook account; Day 2, create a LinkedIn account; and so on.

But this is more than a book on social media. Martin doesn’t get into that until you’re more than a week into her program because, she says, to make social media work for you, you need to integrate it into your overall marketing plan. So she starts out with forcing you to think about and, if necessary, work on your marketing plan. Martin clearly understands business and marketing, and she knows how to integrate social media into an overall business plan.

Before you can develop and launch an effective social media plan, you need to make sure all your marketing materials project a consistent identity. Martin calls this finding your real story and true voice. She also creates realistic expectations about what you can expect from social media. She points out: “Despite the buzz that seems to be everywhere about social media, the truth is that social media is not single-handedly likely to turn your company around, make you a millionaire, or send your sales skyrocketing. Social media is a tool, in the same way public relations, events, radio ads, and direct mail are marketing tools.”

That’s why you need to recognize social media’s place in your sales and marketing plan. Martin writes: “Business owners often forget that the purchase cycle is driven by the customers’ need more than it is by sales and specials. … When a customer moves from shopper to buyer, the company that has made the most marketing touches is first in line to get his or her business. … Social media offers a conversational, low-pressure way to remain in the forefront of a prospect’s awareness with ‘touches’ on a subject where there’s interest but no trigger for an immediate purchase.”

Once you understand the big picture, Martin gets into the nitty-gritty of social media: the various sites, both well-known and obscure, and how to use them. Each chapter ends with exercises designed to reinforce the lessons and drive you to actually use what she’s explaining.

Regardless of your level of social media expertise, you can benefit from reading 30 Days to Social Media Success. It won’t turn you into a millionaire in a month, but it will deliver valuable information to keep you competitive in today’s challenging business environment.

Jacquelyn Lynn
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