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Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World Hardcover – May 21, 2012
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"I've known Michael Hyatt for more than a decade, and during that time I've seen him master just about every social media platform that's hit the scene. He's used blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and more to expand his personal platform from a successful book publisher to a leading national brand of his own. Trust me, this guy knows what he's talking about—so pay attention!"
—Dave Ramsey, host of The Dave Ramsey Show and New York Times best-selling author
—Donald Miller, best-selling author of Blue Like Jazz
—Chris Brogan, President, Human Business Works, and New York Times best-selling author
About the Author
Michael Hyatt was CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers for six years and now serves as its chairman. He is a professional blogger, author, and speaker whose blog is consistently ranked in the top three for Productivity, Leadership, Publishing, and Social Media Marketing. Hyatt and his wife, Gail, live outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
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1. Prior to the launch of Platform, he mentioned much of the content was reworked material from old blog posts (which I assumed I had read previously).
2. Since I teach others how to start their own blog, I am already up to my eyeballs in information of this sort.
Therefore, I thought I would hold off and wait until I could get a copy at the library.
Incidentally, I bought the book the day it launched, swayed by all the 5-star reviews, enticed by the freebies he offered during launch week and intrigued by his launch process, which I wanted to watch first-hand (you just never know when that information will come in handy).
I have read the book in full.
Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:
-- Overall, his tone is very encouraging and inspiring. I've read other how-to books in which the author seems arrogant and condescending, leaving me feeling discouraged and inept by the end. That was not the case here. By the end, I was rearin' to go!
-- He makes a strong case for learning the ins and outs of social media as a way to grow your business, even if you don't have a lot of computer background, or if you feel technically challenged. I am also self taught so I wholeheartedly agree. As he says, the best way to learn, is to dive in and go for it.
-- He talks about the importance of having a blog (or website) which acts as your home base online. I wholeheartedly agree with this point as well. However, like so many others, he doesn't go into great detail about exactly *how* to start a blog other than to offer tips such as "I recommend a WordPress.org blog." On the other hand, he goes into great detail about starting a Twitter account and he devotes several chapters to using Twitter effectively (see below).
-- When looking at his numbers, it's worthwhile to note, even though Hyatt started his blogging and social media journey like many of us (with little background knowledge), he has had significant advantages which I think have helped his online presence grow so well. He is graced with connections to well-known and very influential people (great for interviews, endorsements, etc). It also doesn't hurt to be the Chairman (formerly the CEO) of one of the largest publishing companies in the U.S. To be sure, this is well deserved, and his experience is vast. Clearly, he has worked very hard for many years to build a huge network of excellent contacts. He definitely makes no guarantees if you use his tips, you will reproduce his results, but I do think it is helpful to look at those results with his background in mind. I appreciated seeing his hard numbers (great transparency), but even though my numbers don't come close to his (and I've been at this for years too), I need to look for upward trends, not specific numerical benchmarks, which would indicate growth.
-- It is true, much of the book content is reworked posts you can find for free on his blog. I found myself thinking many times, "Oh yeah, I remember reading this..." If you're not already familiar with his blog and don't feel like poking around there to see what he has written in the past, it's probably worth having all the info packaged nicely.
-- He offers a lot of tips for Twitter but doesn't talk about Facebook, Google+ or any other social media platform (except to mention he's not a huge fan of Facebook). Clearly this is because he has had the most success on Twitter, which is understandable. But to those reading, it's important to know who your audience is before assuming Twitter is the place to be. His target audience might be on Twitter, but if your target audience hangs out on Facebook or Pinterest more than Twitter, you should be on Facebook and Pinterest, not Twitter.
-- True to Michael Hyatt style, the book is packed with helpful, actionable tips that will help anyone who wants to become active and effective in social media.
Beginners may get overwhelmed. There is certainly a lot of excellent information, but if you try to take it all in at once, you'll want to run for the hills! Tackle it in small chunks and implement his tips as you have the time. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. It really does take a long time to get established and start seeing results.
I can't remember if he said it explicitly in the book, but I would also add, ideally you will dive into social media *before* you have something specific to say or sell, not *when* you have something to say or sell. Hyatt's right, it's all about relationships these days, so the sooner you can get those relationships started, the better. Then, when you do have something to say or sell, you can tap into what you've already established.
Overall, it's a great reference that I'm sure I'll be returning to again and again.
Hyatt's depth of knowledge, his practical tips, and examples that resulted in his own success make his message compelling. Yet, he never talks down to the reader. I had never heard of Michael Hyatt until I got his book. I was just looking for a way to believe that social media was worth my while, and a way to get some "science" for how to use it. Hyatt's book provides all of that, and more.
For those critics who note that Hyatt lifted some of his blogs to create the book, I'd say: Right! As experience authors, we ALL snitch stuff from our stash! But the original blog is amplified, updated, polished, and organized into context for the book. I might add that I've read some parts of the book more than once; not because the content is hard to understand, but because it takes much practice to fully implement what he's suggesting.
I can't remember how long ago I bought this book, but I keep going back to it. Honestly, I went from thinking that social media was just a bunch of dribble to believing that social media is the key to getting your message out there if you have anything--anything at all--to say or sell.
I handle all of my books very, very gently. But I've just plain over-used this book. And, I am beginning to want one copy at home, and one at the office!
Building from the foundation of offering a product that contains value, and expanding your vision of how far your product or message can take you, Hyatt creates confidence in the reader through his breakdown of every step of the process. Platform reads like a how-to manual that could be followed by the least-likely-to-be-social-media-savvy of us all. No matter what your level of social media knowledge, there is something to learn in every section of this book which can be read by individual chapter as it applies to your situation or from cover to cover to get the big picture. Every aspect of this book has a measure of timelessness because it is not just a book about social media marketing, it is a book about creating a place where anyone’s voice can be heard and where others can connect to that voice and join the conversation. It is participating in the ultimate form of electronic communication made available through the venues of social media where anyone can influence a shift in the belief system of any given product or cause.
Hyatt has given us the handbook to nearly eradicate the necessity for traditional marketing strategies that once were the only known path to business success. Through gathering a “tribe” of followers with like ideas and goals, the author guides the reader to on how to maintain that connection with them, creating conversations that will gather more to the tribe and increasing the influence that they have obtained through their social media presence. By building a company brand, the reader engages with his tribe and creates recognition across all forms of social media. Using websites, blogs, Facebook, and twitter, the reader learns to strategically post content that will garner more followers and create more buzz about their brand.
Platform is an invaluable tool for anyone with a message to promote – from a new business to a new ministry, herein lies the blueprint to successful marketing utilizing social media. I would highly recommend this book to read and reread if you are in pursuit of being heard in today’s noisy world.