Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

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 amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Social Media Marketing Book

Comments Filter:
  • 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?

  • by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <ememalb@GINSBERGgmail.com 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 skine ( 1524819 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:34PM (#30861900)

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

  • 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.

  • Social marketing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by igadget78 ( 1698420 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:58PM (#30862166)
    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 that has nothing to do with actually promoting a company like your local plumber or some big box store.
  • 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

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:41PM (#30862612) Homepage

    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 much happens.

    I mean, honestly... if they're legitimate business contacts I just call them on the phone or shoot them an e-mail.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:47PM (#30862656)
    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 or not, people expect the President to be a leader.

    That being said, the expansion of the powers and responsibilities of the executive has been going on since the beginning, and whether or not the President is on Facebook has little to no impact on that. Social networking will not appreciably affect the power of the Presidency, as the President already has the power to command the nation's attention whenever he feels like it. Therefore, he already is, by default, the "loudest squeak" if he chooses to be so.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:21PM (#30862998) Homepage

    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've ever worked with to keep an active profile on LinkedIn, then I can't rely on it as a go-to source for contact info. 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.

    I guess another thing that bugged me about LinkedIn is that it never really seemed to have any tools that facilitated social interaction. If I remember right, you could join "groups," but they didn't host any discussions or anything like that. Groups just seemed like a way to tag your profile with your "interests" -- which honestly doesn't do much for me. I would expect a "social media" forum to provide some sort of opportunities for casual interaction -- something to reinforce the business relationships. But as far as I can tell, the only activity available on LinkedIn is signing up more people as contacts. It's the equivalent of a MySpace page for grown-up people with marketing jobs: "ZOMG look at how many friends I've got LOLZ!!!11" And asking people you used to work with to write up little blurbs about how great you are at your job? Bleeeccchh.

    Then there were the contact requests themselves, and LinkedIn's weird inbox format. It seemed like no matter how many times you read a message, it would never go away. There's no way to delete messages, you can only "archive" them. If I get spammed with a ton of contact requests from people I've never heard of, I don't want to "archive" those messages, I want them to freakin' go away.

    So basically, in my mind, my LinkedIn profile is just this big desk with all this crap getting dumped on it all the time, and I'm expected to go through and clean it up constantly (but they won't give me a waste basket). I don't need the extra work!

  • by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:39PM (#30863144) Homepage

    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 a computer never mind social media, and "the Decider" did have and use dictatorial powers to strip other Americans of their Constitutional rights, without trial. I wouldn't so quickly connect the two things.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN