Brian Solis’ presentation in Minneapolis is just two weeks away (July 27), and I hope that you’re planning to attend. We’re excited and honored that he’s making the trip to speak to our community.

This post however, isn’t about that event. It’s about Brian’s book, Engage!

Engage is a great book. I read every last stinkin word in it … I underlined stuff (with a straight edge!), made notes in the margins, emailed passages to clients and tweeted my favorite quotes.

Problem is, I am totally not normal.

I am a reader. Hard core. I don’t watch TV. I don’t play video games. I have no hobbies or social life.

(Wow … that sounds really pathetic, doesn’t it?)

All I do is read … books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, backs of cereal boxes, you name it.

What’s more, I also read business books. (I run a business book club – thanks to all who’ve dropped by – and I know that this is an even more rare breed of people.)

So, when I see people tweeting that they’re anxious to tackle Brian’s book before or after the event, I get a little nervous.

You see, Brian’s book is really good, but it’s also really … well, epic. (At our book salon, some people said there were sections that “made their brains want to explode.”)

It’s summer in Minnesota, and I’m worried that even you serious readers out there might not be in the mood to have your brain exploding. Your brain probably wants more to lie in the sunshine with a gin and tonic.

Never fear though, I figured out a way that you can get your “Engage” fix and that gin and tonic too …

The “Engage” Cliff Notes.

Let me start by saying this:  I really think you should read Brain’s book in its entirety.

You should try to drink eight glasses of water a day, floss and “live your best life,” too.

The reality is that many of you won’t.

However, I’m willing to bet that you’ll read parts of this book, and some is better than none. If your time and attention is limited, hopefully these Cliff Notes can help you determine which parts those should be.

So, (with many, many, apologies to Brian) pick your profile and let’s get started …

1. “I’m clueless about social media, but I want to find out how to get started.”

  • I’d suggest you start at the beginning of the book with Part I: The New Reality of Marketing and ConfusedCustomer Service.

  • In Part II: Forever Students of New Media, read the Social Media 101 section and all the 201’s (201, 202, 203).
  • You may be in over your head with some of the 301 information and totally floundering in the 401’s and the “MBA” sections, so I’d suggest you instead skip ahead and read Part III: Brand Representative Versus the Brand You and Part IV: We are the Champions.
  • You might just want to stop after Chapter 19 and revisit the book later after you’ve had some time to go use what you’ve learned in the social space and get more comfortable with the tools/technology/tactics.

2. “I use social media, and kinda know what I’m doing, but I still have a lot to learn.”

  • Start at the beginning of the book with Part I: The New Reality of Marketing and LearningCustomer Service.

  • In Part II: Forever Students of New Media, read the Social Media 101 section, as well as all the Social Media 201’s (201, 202, 203) and Social Media 301’s (301, 302, 303.) If that information isn’t freaking you out, go ahead and tackle the Social Media 401’s (401, 402, 403). Your brain will likely be hurting after you’re done, so if you decide not to read the MBA information right now, that’s totally okay. I’m sure Brian will still love you.
  • Read all of Part III: Brand Representative Versus the Brand You and Part IV: We are the Champions.
  • If you’re up to it, tackle Part V: The Social Architect: Developing a Blueprint for New Marketing and maybe stop after Chapter 22 and revisit the book later after you’ve had a chance to process and apply what you’ve learned.

3. “Social media is part of my job at my company/agency/consultancy and people are looking to me to show them how it’s done. I need to make sure I know my stuff.”

  • You should really read this whole book, you know that right?SM

  • Obviously, read Part I: The New Reality of Marketing and Customer Service.
  • Then, since you’re working with these tools on a daily basis, you may want to skip ahead to Part III: Brand Representative Versus the Brand You, Part IV: We are the Champions and Part V: The Social Architect: Developing a Blueprint for New Marketing. There is good information in these sections and you don’t want to be fried from reading all the New Media University stuff when you tackle it.

  • You should read Part VI: A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action: Rising Above the Noise, but I’ll admit that the Social CRM/VRM info can be a little overwhelming. You may want to just skim Chapters 23 and 24 for now. Chapter 25 though (Measuring Investment Returns) is an essential read, though. Do not skip this.
  • After you’ve had a chance to digest what you’ve learned, don’t forget to revisit the book later and read the New Media University section. I guarantee you there will be some tools and tactics in there that you haven’t used or thought of yet.

4. “As a business person, I get that we need to get on board with social media, but I just want to know what I’ll be hiring people to do and to how to fit this into our operations.”

  • Start with Part I: The New Reality of Marketing and Customer Service. Business
  • If you’re not going to be doing any of this, just managing it, you might want to just jump to all the business stuff in the back of the book and revisit all of the details about what social media is and why it works at a later time. This, (for obvious reasons) is not the best way to read the book, but it might be the most realistic way to tackle it for your situation.
  • If you are particularly strapped for time and just want to get down to business, you should definitely read Chapter 17 on establishing policies, Chapter 22 on building teams, and all of Part VI: A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action: Rising Above the Noise.
  • For a more informed approach though, instead of reading chapters out of context, start at Part III: Brand Representative Versus the Brand You and read from there until the end of the book.
  • It would be good for you to know that stuff in Part II: Forever Students of New Media, so don’t forget to revisit the book down the road and review when you’ve had some time to process or before you start sending our RFP’s for people to help you with your social media plans.

5. “I got this under control, already. I’m a social media rock star/guru.”

One of my favorite quotes from Brian Solis is that he considers himself to be “forever a student of social media.”Guru

… and he is one smart dude.

Point here is we all have stuff to learn.

If you consider yourself to be a guru, then I guess my recommendations for you are …

  • Read the book.
  • Then, go write one of your own.

Who knows? Maybe if you play your cards right, someday you’ll get your very own Cliff Notes too.

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Comments
  1. Best book review EVER! Super useful. This is the kind of review we all should be doing but aren’t. And I love the photos to appeal to both sides of my beleaguered brain first thing in the morning.

    • Many thanks. I must say, I felt a bit dorky taking those pictures, but I figured that they’d make the whole thing easier to peruse.

  2. Bless your heart! I’m reading so many biz books lately myself, that I’m keeping the 3M post it note division humming! This will help me cheat a bit until I can hunker down. Love the post, love the pics. “Nice voice”…

  3. “I’m anxious to tackle Brian’s book” after I see him on July 27th! (And now I’ll know how to spot Jennifer Kane in the crowd!) This post is GREAT!

  4. An excellent summary of Brian Solis’ book. You’ve clearly segmented the market. It’s a great way to determine how to utilize Solis’ great resource. Thank yoU!

    • Thank YOU for reading it. Glad the segmentation made sense to you. I was just kind of shooting in the dark on that.

  5. I attended your Boot Camp last summer- it was terrific! If you recommend this book, I know it’s going to be great!
    Thanks for the Cliff notes.

    • That’s great to hear! I hope you enjoy the book and find the Cliff Notes helpful. Thanks for checking out the post.

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