Suggested to us through one of my lectures, I took it upon myself to read The Social Media Manifesto by Jed Hallam. Despite a large reading list of suggested books, having researched a few, this one stuck out to me. The book was published in 2012, which makes it relevant in this quickly evolving industry.
It is clear by the title what the book is going to entail, and in the PR world it is clear today that social media is dominating and driving the biggest influence throughout audiences.
Jed Hallam is head of Social Strategy and Mindshare; one of the worlds leading media agencies. Hallam also helped set up one of the UK’s first social media consultancies; Wolfstar. The author’s specific and vast experience on the topics is one of the main reasons I chose to read The Social Media Manifesto, confident that it would be a valuable read from an expert in the field.
The book is only a 154 pages, which I think is a suitable length for the content of the book. The Social Media Manifesto supports the recent and existing outlook on the potential impact and opportunity that can be created through social media. The book is driven towards leaders of all business who would look to accomplish constant innovation, make competitive decisions and open boundless opportunity to the growth and progression of their company. Although the book is targeted towards people in current and higher positions within an organisation, I found the book relevant as an aspiring PR student, and would recommend it to anyone hoping to succeed in any industry.
Key themes of The Social Media Manifesto, which I considered to be most noteworthy:
Brand- “ we are only as good as our latest product. I do not believe in brand at all.” James Dyson (the creator of arguably one of the most successful brands of our times)
The digital media landscape has ensured that companies can no longer rely on the way their product is advertised. Hallam stresses the major position social media and online searches plays when a consumer is deciding on a product purchase. A brand is created to form a connection between itself and the consumer; its purpose is to create value and attraction. This connection can no longer be made directly through the company, it is created through the product and service reviews, giving power back to consumers.
On going conversation
The rise of social technology now means that businesses need to be having on going conversations with their consumers. Campaigns should no longer be built around one medium, but the core focus should be built around consumer’s conversation across all types of channels. Social media platforms are the base to create relationships and loyalties between consumer and brand, constant communication is key to avoid negative earned media by the public on social platforms, which now hold large influence within consumers.
Research- “ For your business to make money, you must put people first”.
Hallam identifies the possibilities of using social technologies to discover what products people want to buy, instead of creating a product and forcing it upon consumers. People use the web to voice opinions and share discussions on products, having more influence on consumer behaviour towards the products in discussion then the product supplier have. Companies can use this knowledge and platforms to take raw, valuable feedback from the influencing groups giving mass insight to the planning and developing of the products. Social media serves as a quick tool to easily scale tests, so that the company is constantly innovating to what their consumer wants.
The book is structured as a guide to social media and its impact. The Social Media Manifesto is pieced together is short guides and essays to understand clearly marked areas of interest, making it easy to avoid and skip to relevant points of interest, and avoid parts of little interest. The book constantly refers back to the same key points, heavily highlighting the importance of social media on businesses today.