Review Notes: How to not SUCK at Social Media

Before saying anything negative about Malcolm McCutcheon’s How to NOT Suck at Social Media, I will say I blame my disappointment on my high and misconstrued expectations.


The book looks to target 34-55 year olds looking to either start their own business or to re-vamp their already established business by implementing these new social media platforms and strategies.  I assume the book is skewed older because of the way it’s written – the simplicity is written for someone who appears to not have been exposed to these platforms enough to have an innate understanding of their functions and processes.  Since younger Millennials have practically grown up with these platforms, and older Millennials were experiencing them in their beta/pre-mature phases, a general overarching understanding is established.

The book’s purpose is to help those those who do not have a very strong understanding to get a brief overview of the scope and the different ways they can use social to improve their businesses outreach strategy via social media platforms.  It is safe to say this book does not look to target normal individuals; it is specifically written as a tool for businesses.

His four main points:

  1. To not suck
  2. To engage with your current and prospective customers
  3. To build your “tribe.”
  4. To network, damnit!

After elaborating on these he separates and begins to list the different social platforms businesses should be familiar with, and the different strategies and methods to approach each.  He makes an emphasis that these are all different, do not have the same purpose, and do not cater to the same individuals.  But before going into this brief analysis he explains and gives background on each of the SNS’s – this is a big reason why I felt it was meant for an older skewing target.

List of SNS:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Yelp

He does offer some advice that is constructive, such as:

  • “Take off your marketing hat.  Put on your networking hat.”
  • “Never use the hard-sell.”
  • “It is good to let your readers and customers see a little bit about the person behind the keyboard.”

But, once again, all of this seems so obvious and trivial.  It’s common sense to us.  What also leaves me hesitant is the fact that his companies social media accounts do not appear to be ‘successes.’  The low numbers for the company might merely reflect in the nature of the business – as in the company might look to help other companies with digital strategy, but doesn’t necessarily have a strong following from the general public since its B-to-B.  But if this is the case it should be clarified, as he makes it seem like these links are proof of the success he promises for his readers.  Then again my definition of ‘success’ could completely differ from his – another reason I know I am not the right target demo.

In relation to past topics we’ve discussed in class – he takes a very SCOT (Social Construction of Technology) approach as the entire book centers around taking these technologies and using them to ones own advantage.  In class we also spent a lot of time talking about theories that center around personal interactions online and how individuals look to social media to brand themselves.  It is interesting to take those ideas and implement them to McCutcheon’s strategy, which is from a business perspective and mindset.  Some ideas that can be discussed in relation:

  • Giddens ideas on ‘reflexivity’ and how social media allows for changeability – so like how people can change their brands – so can companies.
  • Slaters ideas on ‘disembedding’ and how online can be irrelevant to the physical world and exist in its own space.  This disembedding allows for more potential interaction and reach.
  • Along with this the idea of ‘media multiplexity’ and having the potential to have the already established strong ties (loyal company followers) to retain, as well as the weak ties to appeal to and reach.


  1. […] Sites” as strong, weak, and latent ties. These concepts were also discussed by michellepark and cpZoler. Strong ties are defined as close relationships with trust and intimacy and correlate with bonding […]

  2. […] she expressed the idea that the book seems to be skewed at an older audience, especially since “younger Millennials have practically grown up with these platforms, and older Millennials wer… This is further fueled by the fact that the book has actually received five star ratings on both […]

  3. […] Boyd‘s “social grooming” was discussed in Tara‘s, Michelle‘s, and Christine‘s notes. Social grooming is exactly what it sounds like – maintaining relationships […]

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