Using social media to promote yourself seems to be becoming more and more important for web worker, but figuring out the best was to do can be difficult. Chris Guillebeau and Gwen Bell have brought together a guide that demystifies the process: “The Unconventional Guide to the Social Web.”
“The Unconventional Guide to the Social Web” is truly unconventional; it’s about as different from a typical social media guide as you can get. It combines written materials, video and audio recordings, and even email updates to provide as much information as possible. The resources go beyond just teaching you about social media, as well. The subtitle of the guide is “Using Social Media as a Force for Good.” As you read through the materials, it quickly becomes obvious that “good” has multiple meanings here. Many of the thirty different social media success stories provided focus on business successes, but more than a few also talk about the benefits beyond business, like fundraising for non-profits.
The foundation of the guide is Bell’s 35-page manual. Rather than a step-by-step instruction manual, Bell has put together a series of insights and directions towards what works in social media. She and Guillebeau are both quick to point out that there isn’t just one right way to promote yourself or your business through social media, instead focusing on the variety of options available. The manual, in particular, offers micro-actions you can take to discover the most useful techniques for you.
The depth of the information in each part of the guide is immense. I found myself taking notes through the audio recordings, as well as the video interview — and the manual practically requires you to revisit certain ideas on a regular basis. However, everything’s set up so that you can consume it in short sittings, by reading a bit here or listening to an interview there. The other components of the guide (note that not everything is included in every package; see below) include:
- “Social Media for Introverts,” which is an audio recording by Guillebeau, who has created a far-reaching blog despite being an introvert.
- Interviews with Danielle LaPorte (White Hot Truth) and Nelly Yusupova (WebGrrls).
- Whiffie’s, a video feature on Whiffie’s, a small business that gets more than 60 percent of its customers from Twitter.
- Preview of “The Secret to Writing a Successful and Outstanding Blog” — Liz Strauss’s e-book on advanced blogging.
- Email updates.
More content is also coming, including an interview on advanced social networking and blogging. It’s the on-going updates that particularly get me excited. Social media is always changing and growing, so an educational resource that can’t grow with it isn’t particularly useful.
Guillebeau and Bell created “The Unconventional Guide to the Social Web” based on the assumption that most of the readers using it would have some business or other, although it doesn’t have to be a web-based business. However, because so much of what they discuss is focused on personal connections — a key component of authentic social networking — it can work just as well for individuals more interested in building up a social media presence to help them find a job or excel in the job they already have.
Pricing for the guide varies from $39 (for the guide itself, plus a couple of audio files and free updates) up to $79 (everything, including a 30-minute “personal jumpstart” session). Overall, “The Unconventional Guide to the Social Web” is a solid resource for anyone looking to promote themselves or their business through social media. However, it does offer a somewhat basic look at some aspects of social media. As the authors add more content, I’ll be looking for more advanced information.
Have you read the “The Unconventional Guide to the Social Web”? Share your thoughts on it in the comments.