Gail Martin definitely knows how to market herself. Amazon review after Amazon review raves about her book, 30 Days to Social Media Success , because of the ease and applicability of information within. Perhaps, in 2010 this guide was sensible. But today, you may say it’s a bit outdated. Regardless of the nature of the text being outdated, Martin does an effective job gearing her book to a certain audience: small business owners who are very unfamiliar with the internet, so much so that they need a how-to guide for creating a Facebook account and even a guide to uploading a profile picture. Though many feel she was successful at teaching people to use social media, her ideas with implementing them into a business model includes many contradictions and information that will not work unless it is incorporated across business platforms outside of the internet. The book was too dumb to effectively accomplish anything or assist business wise.
Martin begins by sharing insights on her belief of success and how this book will assist in achieving success through social media. She displays her expertise by telling us all about herself and how smart she is and how much she knows because of how long she has been working with businesses and social media. Then, she delves into specifics with each type of social media platform and ensures that 30 minutes each day dedicated to each chapter will help improve their business through the use of social media. Then, after going through each type of media platform available online (in 2010…) we hear her advice as to why this will help and how to effectively market, use P.R. and reach consumers through the web. All of this results in SALES. As Martin says, success is defined by, “being in the right place at the right time to meet with people interested and able to purchase your products or services.”
Throughout her guide to using social media, we can associate a lot of her ideas for using social media in a business setting with certain social media theories. At one point, Martin explains a very important aspect of a business with a social media presence: having a “true voice” and “real story” to create an authentic feel for the company. Incorporating true stories about the business’ history on their social networking sites, allows customers to sense the authenticity and honesty in their business. Though this is a very important aspect that most small businesses incorporate, Martin never considers the fact that a business must coincide across all platforms. If they are not authentic within their store, or if the history of their company and the “real story” or “true voice” is not a large component of their current business model, incorporating it on social media gives false hope and ideas of what the business is about to customers. It can become deceiving. This can then be considered performance of the Authenticity taste preference according to Liu. The Real Voice and True Story may create a sense that the company is very authentic and honest yet, it may be a performance verses a reality. Will customers see through this?
Similarly, much of what Martin informs her reader is ineffectively targeting her target. Is Martin speaking to a business owner or employee or is she speaking to a regular person? Her main audience is people wishing to implement a social media strategy to help further their business. Though this can mean anything from a corporation to a small business, it is obvious much of her information is tailored to smaller businesses. However, the idea that she is targeting smaller businesses is more obvious because of her vagueness. Indirectly, whether her audience includes small business owners or larger businesses anticipating the use of social media, this book is truly just a guide, for anybody outside of a business setting or within a business setting to learn how to use social media somewhat effectively.
Similarly, because her target is not narrowed down she contradicts herself. Her advice with reach is that social media can effectively create buzz about a company. This is very true. If a company is using social media to reach their customers about a specific event then, according to Martin, people want to be “in the know,” so they share information with friends and the company then has the potential to reach many people. Then, in a later chapter, Martin contradicts herself by basically saying quality is not quantity. If a company wants reach, they can use social media, but indirectly Martin’s addresses the idea that consumers may not truly be participating through social media with the company therefore, it may be ineffective. Though this is what Martin means, she is very vague and hardly goes into detail. Therefore, it is clear what she means being someone in the know about social media, but those learning may find her to be confusing.
The most disappointing part of Drake’s book was her lack of enforcing the use and practice of social media daily. She includes well over fifteen platforms that she expects the reader to learn for one 30 minute segment over the full 30 day learning experience her book provides. Though this does allow the reader to explore his options, it does not allow him to accustom himself fully with each specific platform. In order to truly learn social media, you must take the time to play around on a site, explore and learn on your own. She never once mentions the idea that we need to participate in social media before we can effectively use it for business. If a business owner cannot navigate his own personal Facebook page, how will he successfully navigate his business’ page? Similarly, it is not effective for a business, especially a small business (since we are convinced that is who she is targeting to whether it was her original target) to realistically use all of the social media platforms she uses successfully. It is very unrealistic. The book also feels unrealistic because not once do we hear a personal story of Drake’s experience with social media. Instead we receive a brief and unrealistic portrayal of how to successfully incorporate social media into your business.