Good Vs. Evil: Stratten's competing book covers side-by-side
OK, maybe a teensy bit gimmicky, but it comes off as a pretty cute idea, really. The front-facing Book of Business Awesome explains “how engaging your customers and employees can make your business thrive.” Flip the book over and upside-down, and you’re faced with awesome’s yang: The Book of Business UnAwesome: The Cost of Not Listening, Engaging, or Being Great at What You Do.
Much like the cartoon angel/devil duo from Warner Bros. cartoons, each side addresses the same subject (in this case, “the awesome,” as Stratten insists upon putting it), but from different perspectives.
As you may have noticed from previous reviews, I am a fan of any business writer who can bring a little humor and lightheartedness to their work. Stratten achieves this and then some. Unfortunately, he goes a little overboard with the parentheses, and seems to think that sarcasm is utterly undetectable in the written word (therefore requiring him to point it out every time he uses it).
Aside from these minor irritations, though, this is an entertaining and insightful book(s). One area in which Stratten especially excels is making points that are both unsaid and forehead-slappingly self-evident. These alone make this book a satisfying read; after all, the best tip is the one that makes sense before you begin to implement it. Some examples:
To increase your bottom line, improve your front line. Stratten rightly notes that the people who have the most influence over what your customers think of you are paid the least and often unappreciated. Pay more attention to your entry level staff.
Stop using your industry/company/boss as an excuse to be boring. We read so many business books about cool companies like Google or visionary CEOs like Steve Jobs, and Stratten notes that “feeling intimidated becomes our excuse not to be awesome.” Every person in every company in every industry should make an effort to stand out.
QR codes have a very specific purpose. Stratten points out one or two ways to use them, and then the 17,000 ways people are using them incorrectly (he even calls out real estate professionals specifically—watch out!).
Bad data isn’t just bad; it can actually hurt you. Sure, everyone’s heard the maxim that having just enough knowledge can be more dangerous than none. But in attempting to measure social media, we all seem eager to embrace just the scraps. Stratten gives concrete examples of how data can lead well-meaning strategists astray.
Stratten is well known for his social media expertise, and this book contains some straightforward tips befitting his status in that world. Even social media natives will learn where their unsubscribers come from, and may have to admit they’ve been throwing around the word “viral” like a hot potato without really understanding it. Stratten also provides this set with a handy guide for explaining to their bosses why social media isn’t just a timesuck.
On the unawesome side, Stratten says that social media spam is actually worse than the traditional stuff. In sum, I present—on behalf of all my frustrated Facebook friends, Tweeple, and LinkedIn connections—a list of things Scott Stratten wants you, as a social networker, to stop doing:
Using numbers of contacts/friends/followers as evidence of your awesomeness
Asking me to follow you, like your page, or vote for you in some silly contest
Worrying about the next hot thing. Instead, try harder to excel at the networks you’re already in.
Inviting me to play online games because you’ll get something out of it (I’m looking at you, Farmvillians)
Sending me tweets on Facebook, page updates on my Twitter feed, or pins on my LinkedIn account. You can’t be everywhere at once, and your social scale is showing.
Blanketing my inbox (she writes, as she clicks the “Unsubscribe” button)
Tagging me in pictures I’m not in, just to force me to read your update
Inviting everyone to your events, when only a fraction are interested/able to attend
Overusing the word awesome
OK, you got me; I snuck that last one in there. Just trying to contribute to “the awesome”!