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The Social Media Marketing Book 87

brothke writes "The fact that President Barack Obama has over 7 million Facebook fans, and First Lady Michelle Obama over 650,000 fans, are confirmation that social media has come of age. That is a far cry from former President Bush's comment in 2006 that he used the Google. While it is relatively easy for the President to get millions of followers, the challenge for businesses of all sizes is how to use social media to get fans and followers, and use them to drive business." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
The Social Media Marketing Book
author Dan Zarrella
pages 224
publisher O'Reilly Media
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-0596806606
summary Excellent introduction to social networks and the marketing opportunities on the social web
Many spam messages recently have such enticing subjects as 'Make Money on Twitter' or 'Be a Facebook Money Machine'. While those are clearly scam emails, the truth is that social media is a tidal wave. The challenge for everyone, how to get in front of that wave.

At about half the size of a regular book at 224 pages, The Social Media Marketing Book is lean to begin with. Given that about half of its pages are screen prints, one would think that such a book is a sparse approach to the topic. But the book is indeed a highly-tactical guide of significant value to any individual or organization looking to get into social media.

Many are looking to get into social media for either themselves or their business, but are clueless on how to do that. For those, the book provides an easy to understand and implement guide to using the major social networks. This includes information on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn.

The book does a good job of showing the difference between different social media sites, such as pure networking (LinkedIn, Facebook), media sharing (YouTube, Flickr), blogs, microblogging, and bookmarking (Reddit, Delicious, Digg) and more.

While others would take three times the books length to make their point, Dan Zarrella is able to do that succinctly and to the point. His real-world experience in the social web is evident throughout the book. It is clear the author is one who is enmeshed in the topic in which he is writing. A lot of books show the promise of what social networks can do, but do not show how to get it done; this book does and shows what it can, and can't do.

The book(TM)s organization places an emphasis on practical use and readability. For the social media newbie, the first two chapters provide a superb synopsis of the history, protocols, and content strategies around social media. The introduction to social media provides the reader with an overview of the use, history, definition, and description of the various types of social media. Each chapter is full of actionable items that the reader can put to immediate use. The book is zero theory and complete actionability around social media.

Zarrella has also done significant research on what makes for a successful social media presence. In chapter 3 on Twitter and microblogging, he writes of the importance of an effective Twitter bio. In the chapter, he also looks at the relationship the content of a user's bio has on the number of followers a user has. He also writes about the relationship between follower number and gender and family roles. For those looking to make the most of Twitter, his paper The Science of ReTweets is a great resource.

Another benefit of The Science of ReTweets and this book is that Zarrella has not a single high-level suggestion that is impossible to put into practice. All of his advice is based on solutions that work. Zarrella's analytical marketing approach is based on science, statistics, experimentation and real data. Quite a novel concept in the world of marketing.

Throughout the book, there is good advice and it tells you what works and does not work. The book is easy to read and it makes significant use of screenshots, which are meant to give the reader a specific visual explanation of the steps they need to take.

In the section on Facebook, Zarrella makes an observation that is crucial to ones success for a business use of Facebook. He notes that for businesses, the best social media marketing is always going to be done by your fans, not by you. He notes that nearly every company engaged in social media marketing should have a Facebook page, as it can often serve as a central place for the integration of others parts of a campaign.

In chapter 8, on the topic of forums, he reiterates the importance of fans, writing that a business should not underestimate the power of networks of niche forums to drive impressive numbers of visitors to your site. Once again, the best promotion comes not from the business, but from its fans.

One of the mistakes far too many companies have made, and which the book strongly advises against, is the use of forum marketing services. These organizations promise a lot but rarely deliver results. They use myriad bogus accounts to create a false buzz on behalf of the business they are trying to promote. Such an approach only serves to wreck the reputation of the business due to the zero value they post from bogus accounts.

While getting into the social web is important, chapter 10 is the books most important chapter, on the topic of strategy, tactics and practice. A mistake many make is in thinking a social web presence alone is enough, which is far from the truth. The chapter details all of the intricacies of strategy, tactics and practice to make it work. The chapter notes that strategy and tactics are inseparable, and that any successful social network presence will require both.

In an interview, Zarrella observed that the biggest challenge in social media is learning how to incorporate social media into their daily work and life. With Twitter for instance, there are many good marketers who don't Tweet that much, or do for a little while and then stop. It's a marathon, not a sprint and the savvy businesses are going to have the best results when they can learn to integrate social media with what they are already doing.

Overall, The Social Media Marketing Book is an extremely valuable resource on understanding and applying social media for both the individuals, and business. The book is a great introduction that can help you to get started. Once done, you can move onto the next level. Hopefully, Zarrella is working on that book now.

Ben Rothke is the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know .

You can purchase The Social Media Marketing Book from Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.


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The Social Media Marketing Book

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  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:29PM (#30861856) Journal

    The fact that President Barack Obama has over 7 million Facebook fans, and First Lady Michelle Obama over 650,000 fans, are confirmation that social media has come of age

    How does the number of fans Barack Obama has confirm that social media has come of age?

    • How does the number of fans Barack Obama has confirm that social media has come of age?

      It has become politically important enough for Barry Obama to have a Facebook page, and market that page to get 7 million fans. The fact that it caused an adjustment to a business process of politics, means it has penetrated society enough to take it seriously from a budgeting perspective. To start with that, the authors would have you buy their book.

      • by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:08PM (#30862250) Journal

        I may be overreacting just a little bit on this, but:

        Is it really the responsibility of the President to be reacting to social media site fans for the decision making process? I mean, the President has a very defined and strict role to carry out and execute the laws placed by us upon our government. (Executive branch...) This means making sure Congress doesn't pass a law granting them uncontrolled power over everything as well as making sure Government is doing what it should. The President's not tasked with creating policy and running the country like a king. The President has a very small, but important role and somehow over the years the Presidential seat has become more of a "strong mayor" position. The grab for power/influence is frightening, to say the least.

        Giving the President a direct link to the social media is probably the worst thing we could be doing. Social media can change it's mind two or three times a day based on what news channels report upon and it quite literally has no bearing on running the country. It's sole purpose is catering to the loudest squeak and getting re-elected so you can continue to entrench your role as the "leader" of the free world. The President is NOT a leader. It's a position of self control, not a position for expansion of control.

        • it's not like facebook has just given the presidency or the executive some sort of massive increase in power

          the presidency has always wielded a certain amount of populist appeal, and it has always been tweaked by presidents since the dawn of this country

          social media does not change this game, nor adjust any sort of power dynamics in washington dc

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eln ( 21727 )
          The Presidency has evolved significantly from the days of the Constitutional Convention, and has been doing so pretty much continuously since Washington. What you're describing is a very outdated view of the Presidency, and does not reflect at all what people expect out of the President these days. People expect the President to guide policymaking (not make policy, but guide the Congress as to what they should be focusing on), as well as act in a leadership role in any number of different areas. Like it
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sleepy ( 4551 )

          Wait... the President should be walled off from the public, safe within his bubble of Washington advisors... and if too many of the unwashed masses make contact with him, he will gain dictatorial powers??

          I get that you're trying to say that the public should not be able to micro-manage it's government. Totally understandable.
          But given the abuse of the fillibuster in Congress, it takes a disaster (natural or man-made) to get the Government to do anything.

          Also, remember, the LAST President could not even USE

          • It's not about dictating power. If you read it as that, you read too much. All I'm saying is that we are placing the President in a position to absorb all the good and bad of an administration when we should really be focusing our efforts on the Congress and keeping information flowing from there. It's almost as if we want the President to be CEO of the US... for only 4-8 years. We know how that'll work out.

            I think people look to the wrong person for answers. They should be contacting their District Re

          • by tjstork ( 137384 )

            But given the abuse of the fillibuster in Congress, it takes a disaster (natural or man-made) to get the Government to do anything.

            Oh come. It's only an abuse of the filibuster process when your political party is the one in power. When the Dems were in the minority, they totally abused the filibuster process to block everything they could, and Republican noises about getting rid of the filibuster were met with hails of protest.

            Also, remember, the LAST President could not even USE a computer never mind so

      • Obama's seven million fans are most likely people who would not normally vote. So if he reaches out to them in the 2012 election, if even 20% of them make the effort to cast a vote then it could make the difference.

        Thus, every other presidential candidate will have to do the same, just to even the playing field. It won't be enough to be a serious person with serious ideas, a candidate must be able to appeal to the American Idol audience as well as the usual voter blocs.
        • Fortunately too, both Mr. and Mrs. Obama regard each of their respective fans as a close personal friend, and actually take the time to craft considered individual replies to any message or query, even helping with their homework on occasion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by skine ( 1524819 )

      I think they meant to say that "[...]social media has come of age [as a marketing tool]."

    • by CaseM ( 746707 )

      Came here to make this very point.

      Also, younger generation more in tune with technology than older generation. Film at 11.

    • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:35PM (#30861918)
      It doesn't. It just means that at least 7 million people need to get a life.
    • It confirms that a LOT of people are using facebook. We knew that social media had come of age before, because we knew lots of people were using facebook before.

      The fact that Barack Obama has 7 Million fans doesn't change any of the previous facts, it just reinforces that people are using facebook, thus confirming that social media has come of age.

    • The fact that President Barack Obama has over 7 million Facebook fans, and First Lady Michelle Obama over 650,000 fans, are confirmation that social media has come of age

      How does the number of fans Barack Obama has confirm that social media has come of age?

      Because he's black. YEAH I SAID IT!


    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Ha! My complaint as well.

      All it means is that the author has managed to link his favorite subjects together. Obama, Facebook, big numbers, it must mean something....

  • by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) < minus poet> on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:33PM (#30861892) Homepage Journal

    By the time the books start coming out about $_technology, said technology has already jumped the shark.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:39PM (#30861958)

    Social media is nothing more than the commoditization of attention. It has done for attention very much what China has done for physical products; made them plentiful, cheap, and extremely shitty.

    Okay, so Obama has millions of Facebook follows. But he has such a small slice of their attention that it's virtually irrelevant. If he sends out a message that's transmitted to those millions of users, it will still be nothing but a sentence or two within their Facebook message list. They'll glance over it, and soon forget about it.

    It's much the same for Twitter. The messages are so short and plentiful that they have virtually no value, and thus only grab a very, very small portion of the reader's attention.

    While the Web was one great for having all sorts of in-depth articles about a huge range of topics, the whole Web 2.0 and social media movements have been about getting rid of the quality and value, and replacing it with meaningless quantity.

  • A book called Socialnomics [] had some impressive marketing [] last summer. I wonder how it compares to the book above.
  • If so I might have some great stock tips to sell 'ya. Than again I have been here long enough to know /. is closer to anti-social media.
    • I have been here long enough to know /. is closer to anti-social media.

      Badoom psh!

      In all seriousness though, its actually not. You just expressed your opinion, did you not? I'd say /. is very much considered social media. You could market some stock tips to me all ya like. I mean we all see the Editors marketting Apple with their Slashvertisements.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by atamido ( 1020905 )

        I think that social media would be considered media where the object is to express social conventions. Slashdot exists to discuss technical news items, and while social aspects can sometimes arise, that is not the focus.

        • I think its more along the lines of what started as a News Site merged into a semi social site. I have a Journal, I have a friends list. Inversely, Youtube existed as a place to show your conventional social skills through videos that you post - and it eventually merged into the All-in-one site that it is today.

          Truth of the matter is - Social Media networking sites are just advanced Forums, which are just another form of IRC, so where you draw the line is entirely up to debate.

  • One of the heavy hitters that drove the implementation of the net made the comment that social networks and commercial Internet activity made possible the use of the net by researchers and academics at next to little cost. Web 2 and social networking drove me off the net for over three years. It also motivated me to unplug myself from commercial TV. I've never been to Facebook and have only dropped in on Youtube once or twice, but by way of my mp3 player and smart phone backed up by my netbook I've lecture
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      great, while you're cutting off your nose to spite your face, we'll be busy hooking up with people via those social networking sites and having sex with other people.

      • hooking up with people via those social networking sites and having sex with other people.

        I'd tell you but one, it's private, two, I like to keep it private, and, three, given the nature of your post you're not likely to believe me anyway.

        • Well, I am, if you can prove that you're just not some antisocial jerk who thinks that Web2.0 is a mistake because it involves interaction with other people.

          I know privacy is a huge concern with Web2.0, but, let's face it, complete privacy is a joke, period. Unless you're a hermit.

    • I don't know who that heavy hitter was, unless you're referring to Douglas Adams (which would be weird, because he was never wrong about his facts), but whoever it was didn't have much of an idea of the nature and course of the internets, from ASCII pr0n at DARPA, through usenet pr0n, through pr0n-serving irc bots, through broken Real Media pr0n, all the way to the Ajax pr0n you're looking at in the window next to this one, you naughty boy.

      Early on in the internet years, when there was no real commercial in
      • I don't know who that heavy hitter was, unless you're referring to Douglas Adams (which would be weird, because he was never wrong about his facts), but whoever it was didn't have much of an idea of the nature and course of the internets,

        It may have been Ted Nelson but either way I'm recalling it from a precursory reading ~5 years ago, and, I'm pretty sure it was someone more on the tech end of things. It certainly wasn't Douglas Adams from whom I took the line "thanks for all the fish." I'll see if my subconscious dredges it up and respond more accurately if possible.

    • Wow, interesting story. Hey, wait a minute! If you abhor Web 2.0 so much, what are you doing on slashdot?!!

      • Wow, interesting story.

        Wow, thanks. I was upgrading a box and just stopped long enough to fire off a quick post, and, apparently you were wowed by it. I'm on /. for little other reason than burn off excess mental activity in between working on projects, but now I've the added incentive of knowing I wow people like you. You're most welcome.

  • Oh yeah I love

    CHAPTER #3 HOW-TO protect your unconstitutional pay pal account

  • is what it should be called.

    • Hell Slayer or Slipknot can do that easily on MYSPACE eh?

      Sometimes it needs to be spammed. If you know what I mean.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:50PM (#30862070) Journal
    I was at Barnes & Nobles yesterday, and I noticed there was a whole shelf of books like this. There was even one book about Viral Marketing placed prominently in the middle of the store. This has just happened in the last few months, I'm not sure what happened to cause this blossoming. To be honest, I wouldn't have guessed that 'marketing executive' would be more than a niche audience, not something worthy of so many books. I can't imagine that with everyone trying to do viral marketing, it will be such a useful technique. More like one more advertising medium no one will trust.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      To be honest, I wouldn't have guessed that 'marketing executive' would be more than a niche audience, not something worthy of so many books.

      Cruise the job listings in your area. What do you see more listings for: engineers and IT folks, or marketing execs?

      That, and I once heard it said that there are hundreds of patent applications filed for new, better mouse traps (literally, mouse traps) every year. National Public Radio asked a guy from D-Con, or one of the other big pest control companies, whether he planned to license any of these patents. He said no. He said the reason people keep inventing new mouse traps is not because there's a market

    • That because anyone can be in marketing. Seriously. It is, by far, the easiest discipline in business school. Because of that, anyone and everyone can join the marketing program and get a degree. You see, if you join finance, management info systems, logistics, or some other "hard" business discipline, then you actually have to work and learn something. Marketing, by nature, is a "softer" discipline and therefore, caters to a lower common denominator.

      Why do you think there are so many goddamn mark
      • by kchrist ( 938224 )

        Close. What you mean to say is, "That's because everyone is in marketing".

        As usual, Kathy Sierra said it best []:

        If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on... congratulations. You're in marketing.

        I'm in marketing because I need to sell my consulting services to pay my bills. I'm also in marketing because I need t

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:54PM (#30862120)

    Seriously, I joined Linkedin for the whole of 5 minutes before seeing it was nothing but "use social media to enhance your business" spam...

    • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:08PM (#30862266) Homepage Journal

      7 years ago, when I joined it, it wasn't.

      sconeu's law of social media:
      Whatever it is, it will devolve into "enhance your business" spam

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      I seriously never understood what LinkedIn is for. It's supposed to be something to do with "business networking" -- OK, I get that. But how?

      You sign up. A bunch of people from your old jobs start to find you and ask to "connect on LinkedIn." Now you're connected. Then what? Nothing much happens. Then if you're in my line of work, a bunch of PR people ask to "connect on LinkedIn." You think about ignoring them. Then you decide, what the hell, maybe they have some good info. So you add them. And ... nothing

      • "It's not the size of the network, it's how you... handle it."

        Seriously, I use LinkedIn and it's helped me make a few contacts I otherwise wouldn't, and get back in touch with some old coworkers I had lost touch with. Every now and again, I help someone out with a problem, or get help with a problem. It reinforces that contact so should I lose my job my name is still fresher in the minds of some of my contacts here and there.

        But I work on a less-popular language, so my network is a valuable tool to me. I

      • by eln ( 21727 )
        It's so you can spam them all asking for work after you get fired for spending too much time on Slashdot. So really, Slashdot and LinkedIn are kind of like sister sites.
      • I mean, honestly... if they're legitimate business contacts I just call them on the phone or shoot them an e-mail.

        Right, and how do you recall their contact info? Sure, you can maintain it yourself, but that means you'll need to remain in touch with them. If they change their contact info, however, and don't really care to update you (or miss you by accident), you're out of luck. A "business networking" site, however, essentially requires that everyone have current contact info. More importantly, updating it does not cause a huge cascade of notifications to everyone you are in contact with. There are many people I

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PCM2 ( 4486 )

          I guess for me the real question is are these people really my "contacts"? Typically the people most eager to use social networking are marketing types (see TFA), so great -- now the old VP of Marketing at my old company that I haven't worked for in four years is my contact on LinkedIn. How is that really going to help me, ever?

          You seem to use LinkedIn as an online, shared Rolodex. OK, I guess that's a legit usage -- but it's not particularly "social." And as long as I can't count on every single person I'v

          • And as far as being up-to-date, what about people like me, who sign up for a LinkedIn profile, can't figure out what it's for, drift away, and stop bothering to keep their contact info updated? I don't see how LinkedIn is any more reliable than my own address book, in that sense.

            Good point, but I suggest that it's FAR more likely for your list of contacts to maintain their information on LinkedIn rather that you being able to maintain your own list of everyone. More importantly, you'll have far more contacts on LinkedIn because it's easy to add people and you don't have to continuously contact them to update information. LinkedIn is essentially noninvasive for updates.

            Regarding groups, they do facilitate discussions. It's always been that way as far as I remember. It's very sim

      • Well. LinkedIn worked for me, but I used it in the old intended way of connecting to people who you actually know and trust. I've had a couple of friends/former colleagues who recommended me to other people on LinkedIn for jobs.

        In the old days I used to answer questions on LinkedIn Answers quite a bit and got at least one job that way, though someone who saw one of my answers, and asked me to look into something for them.

        These days Answers has devolved into questions like 'How can SEO enhance your business

  • Social marketing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by igadget78 ( 1698420 )
    I might be in the minority here, but who actually uses facebook to take a look at someones business? definately not me.

    I mean my 90 year old Grandma has a facebook account to keep in touch with the family and I'm sure to also build up her Mafia Wars account, but seriously, every time someone sends me a "Hey, join this group or support this company" invitation through there, I just ignore it.

    In all honestly, I would love to figure out how to make money by putting a game up there for people to play, but
    • > but that has nothing to do with actually promoting a company like your local plumber or some big box store.

      If I discover that some of my Facebook contacts have had a good experience with some specific plumber, it's likely I'll call him instead of searching for a random one when the need arises, don't you?

  • WALLACE: You said earlier there are some things [George W. Bush] could fairly be criticized for. Are you willing to tell me any of those?

    G.H.W. BUSH: No, I don't need to go into that. You can go back to your -- what do you call it? -- your Google and you figure out all that.

    (From here [])

  • Please don't taint this site with marketing articles. This is news for nerds I thought?
  • Goes to show that the art of monetizing digital information still has a way to go. Would you pay $13.59 to access a web site with the same info? $5.00 even?

    *Nope, not available on Kindle either.
  • Theres also 7 million pieces of bacteria on a piece of dog poop. hmm coincedence? I wonder.
  • Why is it that every comment for this review talks not to the review or the book? Has anyone read the book? Do they differ with the reviewer? Has anyone gone to Zarrella’s web site? All the banter is about extraneous topics. Focus people, focus!

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.