Book Review: Social Media Success for Every Brand
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Social media is notoriously confusing. We are often left wondering how often to post, what to post about, and which social media platforms are right for us. Guides posted online are often outdated in a few years. While her book attempts to answer the same questions as those online guides, Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s Social Media Success for Every Brand mixes timely advice with evergreen principles to create an experience that might actually get you excited about social media.
The 80/20 Rule
Diaz-Ortiz begins with what she calls the SHARE model of social media success, which I found contrived. It works as a framing device, but not much more. Continuing on, she mentions the 80/20 rule that a good deal of online advice relies upon. Using the metaphor of a bank account, 80% of your social media activities should be deposits, meaning adding value to your follower’s lives. On the other hand, 20% should be some sort of ask of your followers, a withdrawal, like signing up for your mailing list or reading an article.
While I’ve heard this advice many times before, Social Media Success dives deep into the details of what constitutes a deposit or withdrawal and what sort of content can be original versus curated. Much like the rest of the book, Diaz-Ortiz offers great, real-world examples. I had a great list of content ideas from the first two chapters alone.
While Social Media Success is nominally a Storybrand book, it only loosely ties into the framework, and you don’t need any background with the methodology. However, much like Storybrand, Diaz-Ortiz uses several buzzwords and phrases of her own design that annoyed me after a while, especially on the audiobook. Why say that something “moves a customer up the engagement ladder” when she could say something more authentic like, “This increases people’s trust in your brand.”? I think that authors feel that they need to invent a framework of some kind to be legitimate. But honestly, it felt forced. However, she only mentions her engagement ladder once a chapter, so the phrase is bearable.
General Info vs. Platform-Specific Advice
The core of the book, Section One, contains great, evergreen advice that will be relevant on future social media platforms, and even on your blog. This section is filled with realistic principles and exciting, real-life stories of well-known brands using social media well (and sometimes poorly). Some examples include how to win over an influencer without paying a dime, how to use or even create hashtags, and whether to prioritize your existing followers or growing your audience.
Section Two is much less helpful to anyone who has read any social media guides online. It progresses from evergreen principles to advice for specific platforms. With a background using Twitter for a few years and having read the excellent Section One, I didn’t learn anything in these chapters. Readers who are unfamiliar with social media or just starting out on a new platform might benefit, but I certainly didn’t. While I listened to Section One twice, I skimmed Section Two. If I wasn’t reviewing the book, I would have stopped reading after the Facebook chapter.
Despite the failings of the latter half of the book, the information in Section One is well worth the price of admission. I will admit that while these principles seem timeless, there might be some revolution in social media that totally changes the game. So don’t @ me in five years if this book is outdated.
Does it help Smutlancers?
How does Social Media Success help Smutlancers in particular? Well, some of the advice won’t be helpful for adult brands, so use your best judgment. When in doubt, ask fellow Smutlancers (maybe in our Patreon-exclusive Slack community?), and take their industry experience over Diaz-Ortiz’s knowledge limited to the vanilla world.
Ultimately, I recommend this book for anyone who struggles to know how to post on social media, which I imagine is all of us at some point. The principles are great for veterans and newbies alike. Just expect to drop off after Section One if you’re familiar with platform-specific advice or this review is more than a few years old.
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