Evidently there’s a new book about social media management. It is billed as providing “Everything you need to know to get social media working for your business.” That’s one heck of a promise. I learned about the book this week on Twitter. The interesting thing is that none of the authors appear to be engaged in social media on any significant level. I was tipped off to this point when tweets began to mention the fact that people on Twitter were not familiar with the authors. That was enough to send me on a quick mission to check out the book and its authors.
The book, The Social Media Management Handbook, was written by three executives at Accenture. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the firm, Accenture is a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. The authors are Robert Wollan, Nick Smith and Catherine Zhou. In the context of social media engagement, here are their vital stats:
- Robert Wollan (@RobertWollan) – Has generated 25 tweets, following 35 people on Twitter, and has 107 follower. Began Tweeting in July 2010. He has 20 connections on Linkedin. Here’s his bio from Accenture: Robert Wollan is managing director of Accenture’s Customer Relationship Management practice and co-author of The Social Media Management Handbook. With over twenty years of experience, Robert leads a global team of professionals skilled in customer-centric marketing, sales, service, and customer operations, and drives major growth areas including advanced segmentation, digital transformation, social CRM, multichannel customer contact, and enterprise service delivery across the nineteen industries Accenture serves globally.
- Nick Smith (@NickxSmith) – Has generated 16 tweets, following 39 people on Twitter, and has 86 followers. Began tweeting August 20, 2010. Here’s his bio from Accenture: Nick Smith, group managing director of Accenture Marketing Sciences, has more than 20 years experience in advertising, marketing and customer relationship management, with a track record for creating value through development of effective sales and marketing initiatives. Within those disciplines, Smith has focused on customer service differentiation, sales and marketing strategy, development of customer-focused systems and data implementation, advertising and direct marketing, and organizational change. Smith previously was the Director of Marketing and Strategy for British Gas; Head of Group Marketing for Alliance and Leicester, a U.K. bank; and Managing Director at Sekonda watches. Smith also was selected to chair the U.K. Marketing Society in 2005, and has been a member of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers Council since 2001.
- Catherine Zhou (@CatherineZhou) – Has generated 154 tweets, following 63 people, and has 107 followers. She has 309 connections on LinkedIn. She also has a blog (http://greenenergyforeveryone.blogspot.com/). The last post was written in July 2010. Here’s her bio: Catherine Zhou is Managing Director of Customer Analytics in the Accenture Customer Relationship Management service line. She has over fifteen years of experience in multichannel customer experience strategy and execution, segmentation and implementation, digital media analytics, marketing and business intelligence, and customer targeting capabilities. She serves clients in multiple industries including communications, high tech, retail, financial services, and energy.
Is engagement in social media a prerequisite to writing a book on social media that is to be taken seriously? Of the three authors, Catherine Zhou certainly seems to be the most involved in social media. But none of them appears to be a social media rock star. Their stats are not even pedestrian. That is just an observation, not condemnation.
Before I go on, let me say that I am going to read their book and give it a fair review. I already ordered it from Amazon. It may be a great book. But given my experience with social media over the last 4 or 5 years, I have a hard time believing these people truly understand social media without being fully immersed in it. (They don’t even appear to be voyeurs. Combined they are only following about 150 people on Twitter.) When I dove in to the world of social media, I didn’t have a clue. Admittedly, I was late to experiment with Twitter, primarily because I just didn’t get it. It took my full immersion before I could see the light. The same is true of my experience with blogging and LinkedIn. I am stunned at the number of people I meet who have no idea what can be done with LinkedIn – the powerful communications tool it has become.
So, what do you think? Do the social media profiles of the authors delegitamize their book? Can this be an authoritative work? Or is it enough that they appear to be really smart, accomplished professionals from Accenture? By all means, I welcome the authors to chime in as well. Join the conversation. That’s how we do it in the world of social media. What I find fascinating is that no one at Accenture told these authors to ramp up their social media engagement prior to the publication of their book. This thing wasn’t published overnight. I guess I’m just old school, but I believe in the power of doing solid ethnographic research. Heck, they might have stumbled upon a few additional insights. And what could it hurt, after all?
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer