Author: Tamar Weinberg
The subtitle of this book is "Marketing on the Social Web" and throughout the book this concept is referred to as "Social media marketing" which according to author Tamar Weinberg is a 'way of life and means of survival in today's Internet lifestyle'. She defines it as,
Aimed at: All users of social media channels
Pros: Informative about a wide range of channels
Cons: Often difficult to see how these fit into a marketing campaign
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
A process that empowers individuals to promote their websites, products or services through online social channels and at the end of Chapter One maintains that is about listening to and sharing great content with the collective - so we have a variety of definitions only some of which seem to be directly related to marketing.
In discussing social media optimization at the start of Chapter One she refers to the authority of Rohit Bhargava, whom I have to admit I hadn't heard of but he has a sizeable presence in PR and advertising according to Google. Several goals are outlined in this chapter including bringing traffic to a website, link building, making consumers brand aware, driving conversions and closing deal and triggering conversations. It is pointed out that using social media is cheap compared to traditional advertising but that measuring its success is problematic.
So that readers can relate to what the author is talking about, she mentions the three social news sites she considers the most influential - 1: Digg; 2: reddit; 3: mix; lists her top social bookmarking sites as Delicious and StumbleUpon and top social networks in the order 1:Facebook, 2: MySpace and 3: LinkedIn
In asking "Are you ready for social marketing" Weinberg points out that you have to be prepared to dedicate time and energy to it and also you must be willing to give up control of the message – a topic that is explored in the next chapter which is about listening and responding to customers with many potted case histories as examples.
Chapter 3 looks at the tools available to monitor conversations including Twitter which until now has been oddly absent. Here we also get introduced to the idea of "power account holders" those who have devoted so much time and energy to using social website that they do little else other than post messages and comments. Among the "10 Commandments" listed are to adopt an avatar and consistent account names so that you are both prominent and recognizable.
In Chapter 4, Participation is marketing, we are introduced to the Cluetrain Manifesto (1999) and the idea that markets converse with one another. Again there are plenty of case studies and there is a discussion of reputation management. While this chapter does seem relevant to marketing the following two on blogging and microblogging, in particular using Twitter, don't seem to central to the original, i.e. marketing, plot although they are interesting and useful in he context of using social media. Chapter 7 argues that social networks are powerful for message broadcasting and brand awareness which seems to be more on-topic but I was surprised to find that Wikipedia was the subject of Chapter 8 with advice on how to get around fact it is not intended for marketing – and personally I find such attempts to circumvent the rules rather reprehensible. The search site Mahalo also get attention here.
Chapters 9 and 10 deal with social bookmarking sites (StumbleUpon and Delicious) and social news sites Digg and reddit respectively with a lengthy explanation of tagging. If you are contemplating a foray into either of these jungles read these chapters carefully. Although they don't emphasize enough just how dangerous and hostile these particular minefields can be for the unwary new user, they do signal some of the pitfalls that await. For example you are recommended never to post links directly to content you want to draw attention to and there's an explanation what is going to be deemed "spamming" or "gaming" which includes the advice never to post from the an IP address associated with whatever you are hoping to promote. It also indicates just how much time and effort is going to be required to build a reputation in order to influence people to be interested in any specific message that you may be hoping to communicate. The appendix on social media etiquette is a useful inclusion worthy of your attention before you take the plunge. Chapter 11 is devoted to photo sharing and videos, including the potential reach of YouTube and podcasting. This re-iterates an idea introduced earlier – the power of humor to attract an audience.
Chapter 12 attempts to pull the advice in the preceding chapters together and to return to the topic of marketing. Among its messages are that you need to consider social media a long term commitment and suggests the strategy of finding an existing aficionado of these media to take on the challenge. After listing six strategies for viral marketing – starting with lists, a quiz and interactive games it goes on to recommend 'old school' tactics including traditional, 'offline' networking. There may be new community rules but at the end of the day, as Tamar Weinberg, reiterates repeatedly it is relationships that are all-important.