The sample edition has a cute and amusing speech bubble announcing that it's "available at fine bookstores (and a few not so fine ones everywhere)". It's not entirely clear what message this is supposed to give but to me it clearly misses its mark by indicating that there are maybe one or two "fine" bookstores and the rest just aren't any good which would seem to be a slap in the face to those that work in bookstores. However poorly aimed, it can still be viewed as cute and amusing though somewhat forced humor.
Alas I do not have the full book to review. I rather suspect the author would rather not give me a full book to review as in the past I have reviewed his books as being either really great or really dismal. Most of them are pure advertising but that's the nature of free PDF e-books.
Chapter 23 is the only chapter included in the preview. The claim is rather grand - "Measuring the only really important thing - your return on investment". Well, that's a pretty accurate claim. In business, the only important thing is to measure your return on investment.
The problem with social media is how to measure it. Do you measure it in terms of customer goodwill which has no apparent financial value or do you measure it in terms of cold, hard cash. My personal feeling is that only cold hard cash is worthwhile with social media. Sure - somebody can post nasty things about your business online and a few people might be put off by it. No amount of damage control is going to stop somebody posting nasty stuff and using their First Amendment rights and nobody is going to be able stop people from reading it. Half of viewers are going to be put off by negatives. The other half are going to investigate further. Going further, some businesses might (laughably) pursue people posting online and will doubtless find out that it's hard to prove a connection beyond a reasonable doubt and will doubtless also find the perpetrator is either hard to trace or penniless.
I don't place any great faith in anything online. Email is something I pretty much gave up on a few years ago. Filling in web forms these days it's just a case of putting "this_email_does_not_work@please_phone_me.com" in place of an email address. Even with spam filters, inboxes rapidly fill with so much garbage that its well nigh impossible to filter out the genuine posts. Twitter probably has more genuine users than I give it credit for but certainly nowhere near as many as there are Twitter accounts hence all this "buy Twitter followers" garbage. Facebook reportedly has over a billion accounts. That's more than 1 for every 4 people on Planet Earth. Given that large swathes of the population have no interest in Facebook, it's presumptuous to say the least to assume that they're all real people. Quite a few when I actually had a Facebook account that I used were accounts for family pets and people's stuffed toy animals. My personal opinion is that social media is overhyped time-wasting dross that's more likely to get a minimum wage smelly computer geek a job playing with it while the company tries hard to justify actually employing a minimum wage smelly computer geek. Too much in business is "xyz is doing this and claiming it works so we must do this too" instead of blazing their own paths. Come on guys - you can blaze a successful path without the sodding internet.
The chapter talks about customer lifetime value, throwing out sample figures but without ever actually saying how customers are going to be attracted to your social media or to your website. I'm sure the vast majority of the stores I visit have websites and social media. I regard myself as a typical customer but I get into the store, buy my stuff and get out. I don't care what their online presence is. What I want is the goods and that's it. The only times I have used social media is with companies I deal with that don't have working phone numbers or working email such as my ISP. There, Twitter actually worked. Most of the time companies have social media but never monitor it which begs the question - why bother? Really, most companies are better off not joining the social media bandwagon.
The book then goes on to talk about using social media for customer retention - again - if you're actively going to do that and are willing to spend the money on an unwashed smelly minimum wage computer geek then fine. After this the book talks about generating leads from social media by using it to interest people and be an information source. Certainly - that's pretty much what this blog does though I'm not actively selling anything. The biggest problem here is that it's a massive time soak. You might need several minimum wage smelly computer geeks to be able to cope with all the potential leads out there. Will the return on investment be worthwhile? I'm going to bet on the side that it's not.
The next bit is straight from a sales manual - converting a lead into a customer. In other words, converting a prospect into a sale. This is a 1-2-3 process of finding out what the prospect's needs are, making recommendations based on their needs from the available products then closing the sale. This is not really something that it's very easy to do without human interaction. As I always say, I can sell a product if I can look a customer in the eye. If I can't - no chance in Hades of making a sale.
Then the author talks a bit about measuring the return on investment but doesn't mention specifics. Clearly the specifics will be everything that it costs in order to make a sale but measuring that is a very hazy process.
The chapter in the sample edition was 13 pages of which 3 were pure promotion and the 4th was an table of contents to the rest of the book. In general I felt that this was very lightweight reading. It was not overly informative and does not persuade me to purchase the book. I might read it casually if I was bored if I had a copy to hand but this is not a book that I feel has any particular value. Free, to me, is about what it's worth.