The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users [Book Review]


Let me start by stating that I am not the intended audience for this book.

However, if I were just starting out, this book would be absolutely essential to the early stages of my social media marketing journey.

Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick provide a pretty realistic overview of what the social media marketing landscape is like and how to successfully navigate it today.

The Art of Social Media covers the mundane aspects of social media marketing - such as making sure your personal avatar is easily identifiable and consistent across social networks - and builds up to more advanced topics such like incorporating social media into live events & conducting Google+ Hangouts on Air.

There were other, platform specific items - such as the content on Pinterest Marketing - that I found particularly useful.

For instance, Kawasaki recommends scouring the popular pins section for content ideas to share on other social media platforms, as well as starting “secret” boards and pre-populating them with great content well in advance of launching to the public.

That might seem like pretty straight forward and simple advice, but don’t underestimate it.

By taking the time to build in secret mode, you can pay more attention to creating a content rich board that makes viewers want to re-pin, like & share. Once you feel like the board is “complete”, turn secret mode off, and launch to eager pinners.

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users [Book Review]

Because Pinterest surfaces content based on activity, giving users plenty to look at within a board can really increase the chances of getting more interaction all around (nobody wants to look at a board with two things on it!)

But also, consider that Shopify’s 2014 Year in Review found that Pinterest was the #3 source of social media orders for Shopify merchants…

...and the #2 source of social media traffic the year before...

...the sections on Pinterest in particular are extremely relevant for ecommerce founders looking to make the most of a site that has become all but synonymous with “discovery commerce”.

Source: FastCo Design

Maybe it’s because I’m mostly inept when it comes to Pinterest, but I found the advice here useful, straight-forward & refreshing.

This was how I felt about the content on the other platforms & ecosystems I’m not as well versed in. I found myself bookmarking new tools, exploring the platforms a little more deeply, and thinking of the ways I could incorporate them into larger plans and campaigns.

This is a good sign, and I only imagine that feeling would have been amplified were I coming into social media marketing today, feeling overwhelmed and taunted by endless status update boxes, asking their smug little questions like “What’s happening?” & “What have you been up to?”

Michael Munevar, an ecommerce specialist, leaves a pretty thorough review you should check out in full. Here is an excerpt that sums up my experience with this book:

For new internet entrepreneurs, those last two lines are imperative, “For the most part, Guy’s advice is solid, and makes sense, although from my personal experience, I wouldn’t apply that to every social media situation that I find myself in.”

Newcomers, it’s important you realize there is enough here to give you a huge head-start, but that you must eventually adapt these processes for yourself, and dive into deeper learning more on your own.

Guy even says very clearly in the book,

“...nobody really knows how social media works— including Peg and me! No matter how smart you are, best practices always change, because the platforms change how their sites work. Therefore, everyone needs to keep experimenting.”

This is true of the framework Guy provides, but also from what you’ll eventually find working for yourself.

It’s easy to become intimidated, but you have to remember that saying “being good at social media” is just like saying “being good at telephone.” There are multiple communication platforms each with their own pro’s and cons, and Guy will help get you on the right path.

Nicki Marcus sums it up pretty well:

Now, like I said earlier in this review I am not the intended audience for this book.

Looking at this from the perspective as someone who has been in this industry for a number of years, the advice wasn’t earth-shattering, but it acted as a great reminder to poke my head out of the foxhole, reevaluate some of my existing strategies and perform a health-check on my own profiles & processes. That needs to count for something.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of tools I found myself bookmarking, and to be perfectly honest, I can say it was worth the $10.99 on Amazon just to have all of these tools consolidated into one place (and not one of the ignored folders sitting in my Google Docs account.) 

To me, this is the perfect companion piece to Jay Bayer’s “Youtility” & Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook”, as this provides you with the more technical & tactical framework for setting up your social media channels, while the other two books ignite your own creativity on how to deliver insane amounts of value over those channels.

Should You Buy It?

Were I at an earlier stage in my career, my mind would have been blown.

It's a fast and easy read that is packed with a lot of tactics that will bring more clarity to the world of social media marketing. Overall, I would recommend buying this book, especially if social media marketing seems like a tangled mess to you.

Guy & Peg point you in the right direction on where you should be spending your time, and the “Feeding the Content Monster” chapter in particular will help you to answer questions like:

  • “What should I post?” 
  • "When should I post?"
  • "How often should I post?"
  • "Where do I find things to post?" 

If you’re not a newcomer, I’d still recommend getting it as there are quite a few tools you might not be familiar with, and it’s a great primer on the platforms you may not be comfortable with yet.

Art Of Social Media Giveaway

About The AuthorAbout The Author

Tommy Walker is a Conversion Optimization enthusiast and Content Strategist at Shopify. Get more from Tommy on Twitter.