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Summary:

No matter what you do, social media is probably impacting your industry — especially if you do most of your work online. Even though we can all agree on the importance of social media, figuring out how to use it is not so obvious.

Social media is here to stay. No matter what you do, it’s probably impacting your industry — especially if you do most of your work online. But even though we can all agree on the importance of social media, figuring out how to use it is not so obvious. If you’re in marketing, your questions might revolve around how to create a social media marketing plan that will work no matter what platform is popular next year. If you’re a manager, figuring out how to make the most of social media to improve internal communications in your team may be more important. If you may run your own business, it may come down to how to make the most of social media without keeping your attention on Twitter every moment of the day.

Chris Brogan’s new book, “Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online,” offers bite-sized chunks that will allow you to make the most of social media, whether you fit into one of the categories above or you have a different set of problems. Each section is short — the book is 337 pages, divided into 87 different sections — but that structure elevates it from a how-to manual to a great reference book.

Sitting down and reading straight through “Social Media 101″ probably isn’t the best way to approach the book. Instead, since each section offers tips that you can take action on immediately, it may be best to dive into the sections you need right now and then get to work on implementing some social media strategy. Once you’ve got that section down, get into the next one.

The information covered in the book isn’t basic “here’s how to sign up for Twitter” stuff, though. Brogan has managed to condense discussions on topics like creating a community with a blog into something that you can act on. There’s a lot of big picture packed into this little book. That alone is enough to set “Social Media 101″ apart from the majority of social media books that have been coming out lately. It doesn’t hurt that Brogan actually takes the steps he discusses in the book — you can see how he’s implemented them on his own blog. He also points out plenty of people who are doing it right throughout the book, which allows you to take a look at case studies in action, not just the parts that Brogan wants to emphasize in his book. You can get a good overall picture of social media by reading the book, but if you look up who Brogan references, you can create your own master class in social media.

It is worth noting that “Social Media 101″ is geared to be an introductory-level resource. If you already spend your entire day plugged into social media, you may already be familiar with much of Brogan’s advice. Even though I’m active on social networking sites and in social media in general, though, I did find some interesting tidbits in the book. Brogan breaks out some tips for specific career paths, like real estate agents, that gave me some ideas on how other people are using social media, reinforcing the idea that it’s not just the platform that makes social media important.

I think that “Social Media 101″ may turn out to be a particularly useful resource when I’m working with someone who needs to get up to speed on social media — and fast. While I did receive a review copy, it’s a book that I would have picked up anyhow, just to have a copy to loan out to people who ask me social media questions. It’s worth taking a look at even if you’re at a more advanced level, though.

Have you read “Social Media 101?” Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Social Media in the Enterprise

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  5. I can’t speak for this book, but his other book (“Trust Agents”) was terrible. It lacked insight, value or even originality. I respect a lot of the success Brogan has managed to finagle, but I can’t imagine he did it with the wisdom he shared in his book. The basic thesis of his book was: take advantage of people, but be sure to make them think they’re getting some impression of value, too.
    Poor form and not very useful.

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