30 Days to Social Media Success by Gail Martin is a self-described “results guide” to achieving business success through social media. The book is divided into 30 chapters ranging from “I’m on Facebook. Now What?” to “Social Media and Branding.” The concept is very simple: read one chapter of this book everyday, and then spend 30 minutes per day on social media using the tips and tricks learned from 30 Days. Within those 30 chapters, the topics are unconsciously divided into three categories. Chapters 1-7 are very basic and general. Do you have a business plan, are your intentions genuine, who is your target audience, etc. Chapter 8 is where Martin introduces the “Social Media Marketing Plan.” She then describes the most common sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) in great detail. She lists exactly how you can use each site for your business, describes the anatomy of each site and finally how to customize it with applications. The last section focuses on how to make said newfound social networking sites work for you and your business via public relations, image branding or event planning. Each chapter ends with “Results Reminder,” “Rule of 30,” and “Exercises” which features encouraging tips and different exercises to familiarize you with the new social media sites. The last page of the book is a blank calendar so you can truly track those 30 days and your social media success.
In one chapter she talks about identity theft and how easy it is for other companies to use similar graphics and colors, which would confuse and potentially steal your customers. She says, “People want to deal with other people, and your photo assures readers that you are a real person” (116). Liu would argue that a true picture reflects more than just a real person, but is rather an authentic taste statement, which your online presence as a whole would reinforce. This is an idea Martin reinforces in other chapters. Chapter 6, “Finding Your Real Story and True Voice,” is devoted to finding and maintaining your True Voice throughout all your marketing efforts. She begins the chapter with a question:
Have you ever noticed how some companies seem to change who they are and how they sound with every different marketing campaign? Even worse, have you ever seen a company portray a totally different personality depending on whether you go to their Website, read a brochure, see them at a trade show, or hear one of their commercials? (45).
It is essential for businesses to maintain one voice throughout their marketing techniques, despite different platforms or different content creators. People don’t want to follow a spam Twitter account, or a fake Facebook friend because the intentions are insincere.
The one concept that Martin repeatedly brings up throughout the book would have to be boyd’s idea of searchability, one of the four social networking site properties. Martin encourages the use of hashtags on Twitter, because that makes your content easily searchable, even for people who do not follow you. In the “Blogging for Business” chapter, she states, “Use tags and keywords to make your posts more searchable” (87). Searchability goes hand in hand with persistence, another of boyd’s social networking site properties. By using hastags and keywords, the content is easy to find, even if you are searching weeks or months after it was published. And the messages or interactions (like in a forum) now have the ability to endure time.
Her authority as a so-called expert is also questionable. Martin is a self-proclaimed best-selling author, marketing expert and international speaker, who has written two other 30 Days to _________ Success books, yet she lacks authority in her writing. She makes a lot of statements and gives lots of tips, but has nothing to back these claims up with. Even a simple personal anecdote or insight from another industry professional would greatly augment her point. A quick trip to her website, which she includes in the biography on the back cover, reveals a poorly designed and outdated website. Seems Martin does not use her own tips! What’s even more laughable is the contact section. Instead of links to her Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts (the subject of this and several of her other books), Martin posts her telephone number—of all things—as the first way to contact her. Clearly, Martin has not been logging in her 30 minutes of social media per day which is her number 1 tip for achieving social media success. However, if you scroll down the page, you do find her various social media pages, but it is almost hidden on the contact page!
Overall, 30 Days is very simplistic. The target audience seems to be for older business owners who have no idea what social media is, but want to stay competitive and try new techniques to increase sales. In describing sites like Facebook and Twitter, she uses metaphors to help convey their purpose; “If Facebook is a networking event and LinkedIn is like a personal referral from you BlackBerry address book, then Twitter is the cocktail part of the social media scene” (75). Though she does have some good tips, Martin’s points often fall flat due to a lack of evidence. When used properly, social media can become a powerful marketing and promotion tool. As Martin puts it, “social media means business” (198).