Review: Mollie Makes Social Media

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We’ve reviewed the Mollie Makes Blogging book/magazine (bookazine?) previously, so were excited to see a follow-up Mollie Makes Social Media on the shelves. It was an obvious next step from the Blogging issue because as we all know, there’s just so much to cover on blogging and social media! This one was a lot easier to find in WH Smith – possibly because the sales of the previous issue showed the publishers that this is a popular topic. (We also found a few copies of the Blogging issue on the shelf, a year after it was published! Useful if you want a physical copy)

So, what can you expect from the Social Media issue? As you might expect from Mollie Makes, it’s very focused towards people who craft for fun, and who might want to expand into selling their products.  It focuses on the four main platforms, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, with a brief overview of sites like Snapchat, LinkedIn, FourSquare and Google+ – odd choices to cover, as they’re probably not the most relevant sites for crafters and bloggers alike.

If you think it’s strange that YouTube isn’t covered in this issue, then the editors letter gives you a good hint about what’s next – “YouTube deserves a special of its own!”. There’s a brief page of reasons why running a blog is a good idea before the issue delves into the four main services which felt a bit like an afterthought for those people who haven’t bought the previous issue (the page oddly doesn’t even mention that issue!). There’s also a section about why you need to promote yourself, whether you’re selling a product or not, which has some really useful tips and a few exercises to try yourself.

There are case studies scattered throughout the magazine, but the one that’s probably the most interesting is how Mollie Makes used social media and blogs to get the word out about their first editions. It might not be so relevant for the small businesses holders reading it, but it does show the use of building an audience at the start of a business. The other case studies are probably more relevant as they’re about small businesses, so the details of what others have done are probably easier to put into practice.

What was very noticeable from reading through the issue in one go was the different voices used in each section. For example, the Facebook section was so in depth on what the different parts of FB are, even someone who has never even seen the familiar blue and white site would be able to get to grips with it. In stark comparison, the Pinterest section felt like you needed to already be an active user to really understand it because it wasn’t as broken down. Of course, to create a publication of this size you would need many writers, but it was a little frustrating that you couldn’t expect the same detail in each section.

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In the Facebook section, there are some suggestions about different types of posts you can do on Facebook – like cute images, tutorials, and “being lovely”. Useful if you’re not sure about what sort of thing to post today! There’s also pieces on running competitions (directing the reader to look at the FB rules regarding competitions instead of breaking down whether you can use likes, etc) and how to find out who is looking at your page and interacting with it.

In the Pinterest section, there’s an interview with Zoe Pearson, who is the community marketing manager for Pinterest UK and details about Pinterest Analytics which was a basic introduction, but still very useful. The Pinterest section, despite being the largest, didn’t really feel like it gave that much information to users.

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The Twitter section had a basic introduction section very similar to the Facebook one, which is a really good way to get to know Twitter. There are some really useful tips in this section like how to build your following list, and how Twitter can benefit you outside of the site. There was a page about Vine randomly dropped into this section – because Twitter owns the site – which could have been developed into a bigger section about why Vine might be a useful network to use. The section about using sites like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Buffer to manage multiple accounts and tracking hashtags may be useful, but since these sites can cover various platforms, it could have been a bigger section rather than chucked into the Twitter bit.

The Instagram introduction is a bit like the basics for Twitter and Facebook sections but not quite as detailed. There’s a few pages about “getting known” where you can find some tips on how to gain followers on Instagram  – besides the obvious (“tell people you have an Instagram account”), we liked the suggestions such as joining an Instameet/Instawalk – they seem like a really fun way to get to know your city really well! There’s a bit about holding a competition on Instagram which seemed a little random at first, but considering the audience of Mollie Makes, this does fit really well.

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Advertising on the various platforms is discussed in the different sections, but it’s more about “hey, you can buy ads” rather than “hey, these sort of ads are really useful because X, these are more cost effective if you’re looking to build a following”. If you’re looking for which is the best value for money, then that’s going to be something you would need to test out for yourself as it’s going to be dependent on your products.

At the end of each section, there are rules of each platform, which is a nice roundup for easy reference. Oddly, the Facebook and Pinterest sections were the larger parts of the issue, covering 25 pages, but Twitter only managed 22 pages, and Instagram just 15 pages. Perhaps it’s because people are more likely to already know Twitter and Instagram, or maybe there just wasn’t as much to say?

Overall, Mollie Makes Social Media is another useful issue covering a wide range of items, but again, is much more useful for the newbie blogger, rather than people who have already started using the platforms. The best way to learn on many of these systems is to just jump in and start using them, but if you feel intimidated by setting them up, then this issue is like having your hand held along the way! It cost £7.99 from WH Smith, or you can buy it on the Mollie Makes app for the same price.

Hayley Constantine

Hayley has been blogging since before most people knew what a blog was! She started Bonjour, Blogger! in May 2013 as a way to share her knowledge and experiences - if you ever have a question, get in touch!

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