Welcome to the Fifth Estate: Creating a Communications Strategy, Moving Beyond the Spatula
Photo by Frankenstoen
As a fan of The Geoff Livingston Anti-Fan Page, I was lucky to receive a preview copy of Geoff’s new book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate. If you work with a business or non-profit, and need a solid resource on how social media can help your strategy, I highly recommend this book. Thanks, Geoff!
Bottom line up front: This book is for the many “who don’t get social media”, proving why we all should be aware of the bigger picture: the movement in media that social media tools support. This book is also for those who do “get social media”, by providing an understanding of strategy and measurement. The meat is in the back of the book: pay close attention to chapters 4, 6, and 7.
With least one case study in every chapter, and synopsis “snapshots” at the end of every chapter, this book can help sell a business or non-profit executive on the changes in media (the 5th Estate has emerged), and how to stay in the game and play to win.
Creating a basis of understanding, Geoff digs into the root of our work in business and non-profits: to provide a service or product for our constituents.
“People don’t care about organizations unless they better their lives… Become a positive force in your stakeholder’s world, with your content and you will succeed.”
This is an excellent point for reference, as it’s easy to get carried away in our work and lose perspective.
The Madonna versus Lady Gaga case study is an excellent example of the change in our culture, from the controlled one-way messages of yesterday, to the open two-way conversations of today. This case, which supports Lady Gaga’s strong connection with her fans, stayed with me for many days after I read chapter 3, and came alive when I recently viewed this Chrome commercial.
Strategy and measurement, many times, are the missing brains of good communication (marketing, etc.) programs. Companies and non-profits invest time and money into communications, and sometimes don’t think about where they want to go and how to figure out if they landed. Read Beth Kanter’s review of the book for a good summary of chapters 4 and 6, on strategy and measurement, respectively.
A note on strategy: Getting into social media without a strategy and focusing on the tools (e.g.,Facebook, Twitter), is like walking into the kitchen and thinking, “I want to make some food. I don’t know what time of day I will be serving it, how many people I am going to make it for, or their tastes, but I am going to use a spatula to make it.” Yes, that would be a strange thing to do, and by focusing on the tools, we have a greater chance of not succeeding. Think strategy, first.
A note on measurement: Don’t be scared of the numbers; they are your ally in achieving your goals. Not tracking your numbers, is like refusing to get on the scale when you are losing weight. How do we know if our hard work is making an impact without measurement?
Chapter 7, through many examples, shows us how to consistently engage a community. I have yet to find this information anywhere else, and it is an extremely important chapter as we need to learn new ways to stand apart from the crowd.
Please share your thoughts on this book and other social media books in the comments below. Looking forward to learning from you.