How SocialCorp will help businesses but not you.

SocialCorp: Social Media Goes CorporateOut of the books that I have read so far in 2009, each has had their own theme and application to business and online marketing. SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate by Joel Postman is nothing different. While you would like to figure this book has some application to everyday people, it’s main applicability extends to businesses. Not every business. After reading this book, while there are some tips and “how-to” methods that you can take away, this 160+ page book caters towards large businesses and corporations.

What I liked about SocialCorp is the numerous case studies that you can read about their success and problems that they overcame. You can learn about how companies like U-Haul missed out on some customer service opportunities by failing to realize the potential of social media. Or discover how Electronic Arts has discovered the potential for collaboration through the use of sites like Facebook and Myspace. More examples are also discussed throughout the book.

But let’s not kid ourselves. If you’re expecting this book to give you a huge revelation on how to enact social media into your marketing & communications strategy, the best you’ll probably get is an intermediate course. It would seem to me that if you’re looking for a more advanced and hardcore lesson on what you should do specifically with Digg, Twitter, Facebook, or even Second Life, then you should put down the book. SocialCorp should be put into the frame of mind that it’s for those corporations that are desiring more transparency and interaction with their consumers online. The stuff you’ll learn from this book will help form building blocks and help you advance your online conversation.

And just how “new” are you to social media? If you’re wondering if your company is social media-ready, then you might want to read Joel Postman’s book. He has a twenty-question quiz that will help assuage any fears and give you a good sense about if you’re truly doing what you should be doing. As the author says in his book, there are six key attributes that make social media a powerful took in corporate communications. Are you following these six?

  • Authenticity
  • Transparency
  • Immediacy
  • Participation
  • Connectedness
  • Accountability

These should not be a big surprise to anyone. If you want to learn more about what it means to a corporation, then you should read SocialCorp. But let’s put it this way, if you want to learn from corporations’ mistakes and have an impact within your company to make sure it puts its best foot forward, then you should read this book. But, make no mistake that this is just like a lot of other social media books out there, just tailored to a different audience.

Would I recommend this book to someone? I’m not sureI would. If you’ve read a bunch of other social media primers and insights, then I’d say skip this book. But then again, don’t forget that it’s for corporations and probably more suited for executives in larger companies like Exxon, Microsoft, Dell, Honda, Sears, Kelloggs, etc.

Bottom line: think about SocialCorp as a “How to use social media for dummies” for corporations. Let’s hope it helps change the way companies do business with the consumer.