I was recently sent a copy of Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook, for review by the O’Reilly Media team in the US.
Written by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo of Capulet Communications in the States, the book is intended to be an introductory walk through the wild west of the social media landscape, providing insight and practical help on how best to start getting your company involved in online discussions.
And, it does exactly that, following a clearly structured process which takes you chapter by chapter through the various elements of using social media as a marketing channel.
Throughout each phase of the guidance, Darren and Julie offer case studies of good and bad practice to help illustrate the wyas in which people have tried, failed and succeeded to successfully engage consumers and communities online.
There are useful indexes of tools to use and places to visit to help you in your quest to master online marketing. Darren and Julie also tackle M&E (measurement and evaluation) to show you how you can attempt to prove whether any activity you’ve undertaken was successful or not, something that many people forget to mention.
One of the most interesting passages was the section on influencer engagement – I’m always eager to put other’s point of view against my own – and I really liked the approach to criticism from one of these key individuals of a product that Darren and Julie take:
So what happens if an online influencer pans your product? Share your point of view. Silence says you’re not monitoring the Web closely enough to know what’s going on, and more importantly, that you don’t care enough to do a Google search on your company name. It also says that you’re not part of the community and that you’re not willing to engage in the online conversation.
This honest point of view is something that marketers new to social media, scared of the impact of negativity online about their company, should defiitely keep in mind.
This book, in conclusion, is an excellent introdcution to social media. It provides useful information, practical help, and examples of what to do as certain scenarios are played out in an easy to floow, friendly manner. If you’re looking for a good guide of all this stuff that’s happening online, this could be a useful book to have on your shelf.
I’m a little late putting together this write up, but I hope you find it useful, and if you want to buy the book itself, you can do so right here on Amazon.