Friends with benefits

Author: Darren Barefoot & Julie Szabo
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-1593271992
Aimed at: New users of social media marketing
Rating: 4.5
Pros: Well explained advice
Cons: Nothing unique or revolutionary
Reviewed by: Sue Gee

This book's title is likely to attract a lot of interest so it's important to pay attention to its subtitle, A Social Media Marketing Handbook. Its authors Darren Barefoot & Julie Szabo appear have an impressive record in the area of social media marketing and theirs is a very readable handbook that contains straightforward advice that is both well reasoned and reasonable.

As with other titles in this genre, The New Community Rules and SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate there's a lot of anecdotal evidence from case studies and third party opinion. Where this book differs from some of the other titles is in being more realistic about the risks and pitfalls of social marketing and in containing a high proportion of practical information.

Chapter 1 summarises the rise of social media and lists five aspects the authors view as fundamental - democracy, community, collaboration, scope (the sheer size of the Internet) and the need for authenticity or honesty. It goes on to look at how social media marketing can fit with your marketing goals and introduces some caveats.

The next two chapters discuss blogging - both doing it yourself and using existing bloggers to carry yout message. Chapter 4 is on Netiquette - a very useful inclusion and Chapter 5, which is very anecdotal, is about the content of your pitch and recommends that it be entertaining, timely and short.

Chapter 6 gives realistic advice on measuring success and is followed by a chapter on the risks of social media which discusses what happens when campaigns are not a success and another on damage control when things go badly wrong.

The next four chapters are on using My Space, Facebook, YouTube and other video sharing sites and Twitter and the final one is on social news and social bookmarking sites plus Wikipedia and Flickr.

Highly recommended to anyone new to the idea of social media marketing and has some useful tips for those already using it.

Last Updated ( Monday, 25 January 2010 )