4.0 out of 5 stars A few critiques, but overall, a solid book May 24, 2012
By Amy Andrews
While I’ve been a fan and follower of Michael Hyatt’s blog for a long time, I did not receive a free copy of Platform. I confess, as much as I like his blog, I wasn’t going to buy the book for two reasons:
1. Prior to the launch of Platform, he mentioned that 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 firsthand (you just never know when that information will come in handy, you know). 😉
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, I do think it’s worthwhile to note that even though Hyatt started his blogging and social media journey like many of us (with little background knowledge), he has had significant advantages that 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 that 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 that you can find for free on his blog. I found myself thinking many times, “Oh yeah, I remember reading this…” Because I bought the book for $13 and because I got all the freebies along with it, I would gladly pay the same for it again. However, had I bought the book at full price ($24) and didn’t get the freebies, I think I would have been disappointed. 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 definitely worth having all that great info packaged so 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, I do think 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 absolutely jam-packed with helpful, actionable tips that will help anyone who wants to become active and effective in social media.
I think the challenge for the beginner will be to not 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 that 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.