Engage! (Solis, 2010)

Engage!: The complete guide for brands and business to build, cultivate, and measure success on the new web (Solis, 2010)

Engage! by Brian Solis

I assigned several books for a graduate seminar in Digital Strategic Communication, taught at Queens University of Charlotte in the Knight School of Communication’s master’s program. The favorite, by far, was Brian Solis’ Engage!

In our course debrief this week, students raved about the book. For them, it continues to serve as a guide for successful strategic communication practice on the web. One student commented, “I loaned my copy to a colleague last week and I’ve already asked for it back.”

In an age of so-called “social media consultants,” Solis launches himself as a practitioner of and thought leader in social media. His book offers strategic communicators the opportunity to define, understand, practice, and measure web-based promotion and branding. Moreover, it encourages communications staffers who face negative perceptions or concerned hesitation in applying social media technologies to business practice.

The book has both accessibility and depth, which is a hard standard to achieve. Thus, it succeeds as a guide for navigating the social media marketplace.

I also want to thank Brian Solis for being an approachable colleague on Twitter. Twitter opens the focus of businesses, but it can also expand the walls of a classroom. Some of my students conversed with Solis on Twitter. He gave support and encouragement to these learners and experimenters by practicing the open, conversational style he espouses.

  • Overall Response: The most applicable guide to social media around. If you only read one book on social media, this is the book.

About Digital Media Book Club: In the growing field of strategic communication, social media rockstars, academics, and digital thinkers are investing time and energy to share their learning with others. In my Digital Strategic Communication class, students in the Master of Arts in Organizational and Strategic Communication program at Queens University of Charlotte are sifting through a variety of texts to discover the embedded wisdom. These are their thoughts and reactions.


  1. Mac-

    I could not agree more with your summary of our experience with Engage! There is so much great information in this book and at the end of the day so much of it can be applied to real life work situations. Applying it to my work in corporate communications is what made it so powerful for me. If you want to understand social media, and more importantly how to use social media to your benefit, this is the book for you!

    It is also cool that Brian is VERY active on Twitter and responds to comments, questions and conversations with his audience.

    #Engage @briansolis Its all about SMO! #comm 648 http://yfrog.com/73kz1dj
    9:30 AM Nov 6th via Twitter for iPhone

  2. I’d like to reference some of my favorite parts of “Engage!” but I’ve loaned my copy and haven’t gotten it back! So, pretty much from memory, here goes…

    The first section of the book is the “virtual firehose of information” we’ve come to define as “social media.” Solis offers a simple, pragmatic definition of the term: “Social media is any tool or service that uses the Internet to facilitate conversations.” He goes on to call social media a “compassionate platform” as well as a “call for humanizing personas and audiences and the stories that link them together.” This is inclusiveness and collaboration at its best. To me, Solis is saying, “We’re all new at this thing called social media, so let’s jump in together. Help each other. Learn from each other.”

    The second section of the book is the “how-to” section. Here, Solis offers applicable tools with which to build organizational infrastructure. I hadn’t even finished the book when I recommended it to a client who’d been struggling with “old marketing” concepts while simultaneously recognizing the paradigmatic shift in current marketing, pr, and advertising practices. She’s now implementing Solis’s strategies for her small business.

    The final section of the book is the ROI (Return on Investment) section. It offers analytical tools, outcome measurements, and even offers outlines to create an organizational social media policy and a social media marketing plan. I personally used the social media marketing plan and found it very helpful.

    Thanks, Brian Solis, for writing such a practical, hands-on guide to social media practices, and for removing the “scare factor” for those of us who are, er, generationally challenged. And thanks to you, Mac, for choosing such a great book for the course and for sharing all you know with us.

  3. I cannot say enough about Brian Solis’ book, Engage! Somehow, it provides enough ground-level information to be understandable to a social media novice (like myself) – yet builds to a comprehensive, detailed and expertise-building work. It easily enables those with brand new or limited knowledge, as well as those with expertise in social media to achieve a new level of learning.

    The guidelines for writing a social media plan were wonderfully constructed, and a great example of application-based learning. Scholars and business professionals of all social media skill levels will find value in this book.

  4. This book will become a reference book for all of us who are students or practioners of social media. Not only is it a great source of the current social media, it contains practical advise on creating social media plans that can be adapted to any environment. It’s a book that can really guide all levels of the business and academic community. Thanks, Brian.

  5. Interesting post about Brian Solis’ Engage book. When I read “It encourages communications staffers who face negative perceptions…” I wondered if it might be helpful for CMS who is facing this issue. I can’t wait to read the book. Thanks.

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