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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Christopher Holloman produced a bestseller in The Social Media MBA and this led him to speak at a number of events around the world - which no doubt he hopes to repeat - and in the process he came across many good case studies. This book is the fruit of that experience. Does it deserve to be another bestseller?

I'm not convinced. It's a useful book and if it perfectly meets your needs - then, stating the obvious, it's what you need. But this is what it gives you.

There are 25 case studies, three of them focused on "set up", mainly creating a centre of excellence, two of them focused on strategy, although I think that's a generous word, and the rest focused on the deployment of social media practice in a variety of different "departments", such as PR, sales, customer service, product development, and innovation. The studies of these deployments are generally better. In each case there is an introductory executive summary and background followed by "The Case". Commonly there are "Lessons Learned", and if you gather these across the many case studies and do your own analysis they give you some food for thought.

They tell us about the people involved, indeed they and their CVs are showcased, as well as what they do. There is also some analysis of the situation of the company and a statement of the objectives. So if you're looking for ideas about what people have actually done, then this will give you many, although most of the case studies are targeted around specific forms of deployment.

On the other hand if you're looking for some deep thinking, a structure that will help you to navigate your way through this complexity, this is not the place to look. You should also bear in mind that case studies like this often take a favourable line. I am aware in more than one case of considerably other complexities and people involved in the success than those that appear in the case study.

Moreover one of the classic problems is the repeated use of "mid-level abstractions". These are nice words that seem to sum up something significant, but perhaps if they were food you would end up feeling hungry afterwards. Moreover, especially at the strategic level there are platitudes, encouraging words for a business case or strategy presentation, but the fundamental question is how would you actually do it? The case studies are strongest when they are focusing on tactical methods for getting internal buy in and external results.

Case studies were developed as a method of teaching and then they were used as part of group discussion with an academic leader. To get the full benefit, do the same kind of work for yourself.
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love social media and I picked this book as I thought it would touch on case studies that would show what social media strategies were implemented. Sadly this isn't the case....

Yes it does go into the problems of what companies such as Dell, Sony Mobile, Confused.com, livingsocial and many others, however it doesn't really go into any detail about what social media strategies they implemented. A lot of the cases don't even talk about which social media channel was used and I found I was reading strategies as apposed to social media strategies in practice.

The solutions were small in reading and it talked more about the problems than the results.

Also what I found disaapointing was when they actually did specify something about twitter, such as " This company created an app called Tweetsend" there was nothing saying what it was or what it did...

The language in this book is not engaging and I found it difficult to read due to it being jargon and business speaking.

Not aimed at small business owners, mainly high end businesses
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on 18 October 2013
Great product which offers clear case studies from a wide variety of sources. My favourite was the PWC case-study which used social media to gain leverage from the internal client base for business problems for British Airways. Social media is a lot more than just about Twitter and Facebook and is about encouraging collaboration in the broadest sense of the word. I highly recommend this book.
Dhruv
Snr Account Manager, Brandwatch
dhruv@brandwatch.com
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on 15 December 2013
This book was an interesting read and given where we are with social media, its no longer time for the 'one man band (self proclaimed) social media guru' who spends his life on Twitter and tells everyone that corporates 'just don't get it'. Well that 'guru' probably hasn't worked in a corporate for 15-20 years if ever. This by contrast is a selection of stories of what different corporates did: how they overcame obstacles, tools used, roll out strategy, training and lessons learned. If you are in a corporate and know what social media but are wondering how to organise it in the context of your organisation then this is the book for you.
A series of different applications across product, HR, sales, customer service give a rich background to anyone contemplating setting up a corporate social media strategy, particularly in a complex organisation with many stakeholders and often across different countries. MacMillan Cancer Trust, PWC and the Israeli Foreign Office were the most interesting cases, for different reasons. Some interesting insights like the fact that the digital natives aged 18-24 were often those who needed most training given that they use social media exclusively for personal reasons and without constraints.
The consistent format makes it easy to read and compare and is definitely a book I have annotated and will dip into again for time to time.
If I were to criticise it is that some of the examples are too young to judge the real success or ROI, and there is a whiff of corporate PR in some of the company descriptions and participants CVs, which I guess was the price of getting their cooperation.
So in summary, a refreshing change from the proselytising of the self proclaimed guru. We now all know what social media is. It's time to 'do it' and this book is a useful companion if you are trying to do it in a corporate.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 5 December 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a good source book for management who want to look at case studies of existing social media strategies. That's a good thing, as most books on social media consist of unproven theory (with handpicked and filtered examples that prove the point in hand, but often don't pass close examination) rather than concrete examples or end to end thought process of real world situations.

Also good is that there are British examples in the case studies, and also extreme examples (for example there is one of the Israel Foreign Office's social media presence in the Arab world, how many Social media `experts' could talk you through what to do there... any talk about metrics and SEO pretty much goes out the window here when considering the initial strategy!).

The only potential issue is that the word `MBA' in the title is not a book marketing term. The book is actually aimed at that level: managers and strategy rather than development or product development. Neither is the book one you can read end to end (you'd typically pick the case studies that most resemble your situation, read up on the strategies used, and then visit the online webpages themselves and take screenshots to create annotated storyboards for your own strategy team to consider).

I am a senior web application developer, so am perhaps a little outside the target audience, but I still found it useful from a design point of view (I have visited some of the web pages, then referred back to the overall strategy that created each web presence to see how the intent was turned into implementation).

So, for me, it was a bit harder going than just looking at a web development centric book, but I have come away with a much broader understanding, and I expect you will too i fyou are looking at this from the development end, especially the senior development end.

This is certainly a book that is long overdue in this area, and worth it when considered against all the Social media conferences and the stacks of competing books you could waste money on instead!

5 Stars.
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VINE VOICEon 20 December 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven't read the previous book, so I can't comment on that.

This is a selection of 'real life' scenarios of companies using their social media.

Quite revealing was how little some of them seemed to know before they started! I think anyone under the age of 35 won't have a problem with learning how to tweet or promote but if you're 40+ you might struggle with not only the terminology but also the fast pace of social media....

You can't just open a facebook/twitter account and hope for the best. The companies that did best in these examples planned what they were going to do and also crucially, had a clear aim and ambition for their results...

Good book if your company knows nothing about social media but I expect the previous book would need to be read first!
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Great time resources that reflect a well thought-out strategy through robustly detail global case-studies.
Holloman unpacks the conviction that social media is a lot more than just about Twitter and Facebook and is about encouraging collaboration in the broadest sense of the word.

Strategic, reference excellence. Really great stuff and lots of inspiration here .
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is good to see how other companies deal with their social media strategy.

This book leads you through various different types of strategy (sales, customer service, product development) and how various different companies dealt with the challenges they faced. For some companies it is sales that is most important and the book contains companies like Dell, Play.com and Allianz that will help give you ideas on how to transfer this to your business. The same goes for other sections, it is just a matter of finding a similar business strategy to what you want to do and then try and match it up in the book.

I've gotten some good ideas from this book, so I would say it has been quite useful. Not really one you will sit down and read from cover to cover, but more a look at the contents and then read the pertinent parts.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 5 January 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Christer Holloman wrote this follow up to The Social Media MBA to illustrate interesting applications of social media. It's not a book designed to convince people of the value of social media - most of us are have already arrived at that point - this is for people who want to move to the next level, people who want to take a more intelligent approach to their current social media engagement.

There are 25 case studies, and the structure Holloman has used to present them is based on the Harvard University style because this supposedly provokes thought, discussion, debate and learning.

If you are involved in your organisation's social media presence then this book should definitely be on your reading list.
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VINE VOICEon 14 January 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I expect books about social media to be vibrant and engaging, just like the subject matter itself. When case studies are presented, they should have lots of hard facts and statistics about how the projects were successful, the time-frames involved etc. Sadly, I found this book to be seriously lacking in detail and supporting evidence.

I started by reading the prologue, which is surprisingly riddled with typos. This gives the impression that little or no care was taken to check the content. Not a great start.

I read 7 of the Case Studies in the hope that they would offer up some useful tips, but the advice given seems to be aimed at a pretty basic level. If you already have some experience of social media marketing, it may feel like it is simply pointing out the obvious. It also felt slightly out-of-date, with the suggestion that some people are terrified of using social media in a professional way. I personally don't find this to be the case nowadays - most people know that social media is used in business and, whether or not they have experience of it, it's certainly not something to be afraid of.

It is also a shame that nearly all of the case studies are based around large companies, with 1,000 employees or more (or 100,000 in some cases)! The smallest company had 75 employees, so it would have been nice if an innovative start-up or two had been featured. Having said that, the author did cover a nice spectrum of industries.

All in all, I personally got little out of this book, but it might suit someone completely new to social media marketing as a general introduction and overview.
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