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4.0 out of 5 stars This Summer's PR & Social Media 50 Shades of Grey, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Brand Anarchy: Managing Corporate Reputation (Paperback)
For those well versed in social media - those who don't need introductions to the likes of Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, Olivier Blanchard, Guy Clapperton, Brian Solis, Rob Brown and so on, there may not be a lot new in the theory side book.

For the PR newbie (perhaps even ex-journalists crossing into PR) to the senior account director, there's plenty here. While the more senior social media practitioner may know the theory the authors present, the new interviews dotted about the book give it a freshness and exclusive content.

The UK slant from the authors works well as the book avoids for the most part talking about the standard Social Media case studies - Coke, Zappos and so on and that's very refreshing.

Similarly, the whole outlook of the book, talking about the importance of online conversations and how PRs and brands can be involved, is written from a very practical viewpoint and not the more Californian head-in-the-air attitude of many US books which are written as if everyone is already drinking the social media Kool Aid thinking it's the most important thing ever.

It's also a book not ashamed to take some potshots at some popular beliefs like pointing out why a social media strategy is not what your business needs and pointing out that the PR industry was really late to the digital engagement arena. There's certainly a few talking points in the book - no doubt deliberate to give the book reason for engagement in the digital arenas post-publication (and praise to the authors for making it so).

Appropriately for a book aimed at all communicators, Internal Comms also gets, in Scottish parlance, "a good kick of the ball" in the book and it devotes a good chunk of space talking, not only about the idea of staff being a firm's best brand ambassadors, but how to get them engaged and make the most of them, keeping them feeling rewarded, motivated and interested. Many social media books underplay the internal communications element so it's a delight to see this chapter.

Equally refreshing is the element of social future proofing contained within the book as it talks in very simple to understand steps how to take the transition from being a business doing social media (something it seems to espouse throughout) to being a genuine social business.

Overall, it's a must-read for most in the PR industry. As noted, experienced social media commentators may not get as much out of it, but for the majority of the PRs in the UK, this should be their main summer read. If they're embaressed to be seen reading work books on holiday hide it under a cover of 50 Shades or Grey or put it on your Kindle and pretend your reading the sex book instead.
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