Book Reviews

Ever stop to think how much of business is really talking about what you’re doing, or what you’re going to do? Here are two new books that talk about talking: how to direct buzz (the good and the bad) about you, how to tap into social media, and how to communicate effectively.

Going Social

Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media
By Jeremy Goldman
Paperback, 294 pages, $19.95

If you know absolutely nothing about social media, nothing about how they work, nothing about their various manifestations (which go well beyond Facebook and Twitter), this is not the book for you. However, if you are already somewhat media savvy, and are pretty sure that being more so could help your small business, then yes, there are plenty of examples and tips about what to do, and maybe more to the point, what NOT to do (a Facebook “like” is a beginning, not an end) that can pilot you through the heavy seas of social media marketing.

The author’s contention is that full immersion in social media can help not just large companies like Ford Motor Co., but can help smaller businesses stay afloat in a communications ocean. Goldman says that fear of a negative reaction often keeps businesses from getting into the media “conversation,” but he maintains that being part of the talk is the best way to create brand awareness and loyalty.

The book is full of examples, called “Case in Point,” of companies doing social media things that make a difference. Detailed information about the various platforms (besides Facebook and Twitter, there are Pinterest, LinkedIn, You Tube, Yelp, Foursquare, Google+ and many others) should help you whether you merely want to dip a toe into the water or dive right in.

The Great Employee Handbook

The Great Employee Handbook: Making Work and Life Better
By Quint Studer
Paperback, 238 pages, $28
Fire Starter Publishing

If you’re an employee, you’ve probably wished at some point that you had a better boss. If you’re a boss, chances are you’ve wished for better employees. According to author Quint Studer, it’s the insights you gain from experience that make the difference. Unfortunately, that knowledge frequently comes at the end of a career, when it’s least needed. This book is an attempt to tell both employees and bosses up front what they need to know to do a better job.

While some of the solutions are simply common sense (being neat and on time, bringing a solution when you present a problem, communicating clearly), some are in fact the result of knowledge that comes from working your way through a problem: What to do when the boss is the problem, how to avoid last-minute requests, why confidentiality matters.

The Studer Group works mainly with health-care providers, and much of the content here is clearly aimed at them and at cubicle dwellers, but the tips on dealing with customers and communications are good for the sales workplace as well.