Author: Jason Falls & Erik Deckers
Publisher: Que, 2011
Aimed at: Those who haven't yet embraced social media
Pros: Plain-speaking style
Cons: Nothing startlingly new or different
Reviewed by: Lucy Black
A line in the introduction sums up the rationale for this book:
Social Media is going to become like the ocean: You never want to turn your back on it.
This is a book aimed at those elements of the business community who haven't yet embraced social media - whether out of fear or from the conviction, misguided according to Jason Falls and Erik Deckers, that it isn't relevant to them.
The arguments presented in this book are far from new but they are delivered is a refreshingly jargon free and plain speaking way with plenty of anecdotal evidence.
If as a computer professional you are already convinced of the merits of social media marketing and find it so obvious that its difficult to explain the benefits to those die-hards who refuse to move into the connected world then this is a book that is worthy of recommendation.
The book has three parts. The first makes the case for social media marketing. It opens with a list of reasons why companies are afraid of social media, the idea being that if you agree with any of them then you should read on. Then comes a bit of history - Social Media and the Hype Cycle - complete with a diagram taken from a Gartner report. Ironically this comes across as being the sort of bullshit that this book is trying to avoid. Don't give up on it here it soon returns to being pragmatic, although you also become aware that it's going to be repetitive. The second half of Chapter 1 goes through seven things social media marketing can do for your business, with the promise that Part 2 of the book will "dive deeply" into each of them. Meanwhile it outlines the seven areas:
Enhance branding and awareness
Protect brand reputation
Enhance public relations
Enhance customer service
Facilitate research and development
Device leads and sales
Chapter 2 deals in more detail with the excuse "Our customers aren't using social media" with a slew of statistics together with examples of how social media has changed the consumer experience and the perils of ignoring it and the following chapter reinforces this message in the context of what the competition is doing.
The final chapter in the first part provides some well-rehearsed advice: social media marketing is about communication, it isn't "rocket surgery" and requires preparation, planning and measuring and concludes with five "mind-set shifts" and the caveat that not all you customers are going to be on social media. Its overall conclusion is one that recurs often in the social media marketing literature - listen as well as talk, participate in conversations and build relationships.
Part II is the "best practices" section. It's here that the book delivers on its promise of detailed techniques for increasing sales, profits, market share, and efficiency and specific solutions for brand-building, customer service, R&D, and reputation management.
Finally Part III is a section to "solidify your confidence and help overcome those lingering hesitations".. Chapter 12 looks at creating social media policies for your employees and your audience; Chapter 13 helps you decide who should own responsibility for social media marketing in your business; Chapter 14 considers goals, strategies and whether you should seek external help to achieve them. Finally Chapter 15 is on "Being Social" and argues that there is a distinction between marketing through social media and being a social business. It has five "kickstarters" for being a social business with the guiding perspective that the customer is king.
Who should read this mix of statistics, real-world case studies, and "straight-talking" advice? The clue is perhaps on page 29 which states as a heading:
Today's Consumer is Different. You’re sill the same old Dinosaur.
Given that most of us have already embraced the ideas of social media marketing, you might think there isn't a big market for this book. However, its Amazon page is full of enthusiastic reviews from the newly-converted. So if you have to present the case for social media marketing to someone who is still resisting the winds of change, pick up a copy to arm yourself with.