If Gail Martin filmed a commercial for her book and aired it on television, it would most likely interest your parents and potentially make you laugh out loud. Her book, biography, and online presence are filled with hyperbole, repetition, and buzzwords used so often they have lost their meaning.
Correspondingly, Martin’s book – 30 Days to Social Media Marketing: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, and Facebook – may be useful for your parents – or their peers – while it would serve mostly in entertainment value for us millenials. 30 Days to Social Media Success is a hodgepodge of business advice, social media “tricks and rules” and self-aggrandizing. The main argument Gail Martin makes is that social media, as a mainstream aspect of daily life, is not only useful but essential for today’s businesses. Her key point regarding the centrality of social media is that it must be used strategically, with heavy planning and strict adherence to plans. Purposefully aiming toward introducing social media technologies to small business owners, she gives overviews of social networking sites and platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Squidoo (what is this????) and her analysis on how to best utilize each site to the highest of its potential.
30 Days to Social Media Success follows Nancy Baym’s new technology discourses of domestication and social shaping. She stresses the need to recognize social media as a now-natural part of business life and planning, but also emphasizes that in the same way that social media interactions can “reenergize” a business’s success, the business plan and non-mediated strategies can have similar effects on its online presence. In short, social media is now heavily integrated into everyday life, but social media and non-mediated life can heavily inter-influence each other.
Martin rightly advocates for the usage of planning and scheduling to correctly time-manage posts and updates, and target audiences, but her main failing is that she neglects to note that overusing social media to convey one repeated message could be just as – if not more – harmful as not messaging often enough.
In her biography on the back cover of her book, Martin describes herself as a “marketing expert… the owner of DreamSpinner Communications.” I will let the website in that hyperlink speak for itself for now. However, the danger is that her audience – “mom and pop” small business owners – are for the most part new to the social media world and may not be able to recognize her lack of authenticity. The extremely basic language she uses to describe the SNS’s she focuses on allow her book to be the most accessible to online newcomers. I found this particularly interesting because she does not focus attention on demographics; she emphasizes that businesses should know their audience to best target posts, but doesn’t talk about who is or isn’t using social media. She gives the audience – which presumably most consists of new-netizens or non-netizens – no clue as to whether or not their customers are actually online. In a world where more and more people online, it becomes painfully obvious when one does not have access to social media – due to education, resources, or age barrier – and Gail Martin fails to acknowledge this in her book.
Martin, who is first and foremostly a “best-selling” fiction-fantasy author, seems to have joined the social media realm in order to promote her book and herself. Her Twitter account, much like her book, is dominated by social media “resources”, buzzwords, and self-promotion. She seems to tweet often, but rarely anything substantive; at the time of this writing, I had not yet received a reply to a tweet three days prior, in which I had asked her if she had anything useful to add and/or tell us, since a group of students are reviewing her book. To make matters worse for herself, she has a Twitter auto-response, Direct Messaging every new follower.
This brings up another downfall of 30 Days to Social Media Success. Gail Martin fails to lead by example. While she offers valuable social media advice to business owners looking to increase their online presence, she does not succeed in following her own wisdom. Her Twitter feed is entirely tweets from her own account, tweeted @herself for some unknown reason. She has no apparent interactions with her followers at all.
In short, Gail Martin’s book will most influence non-netizen business owners looking to break into the online marketing world, who are unable to recognize that her advice is mostly invaluable and repetitive. The good news is that 30 Days to Social Media Success is pretty difficult to find in stores (I had to order it to be delivered to my local Barnes and Nobles) so she may not actually reach these innocent newcomers.