Book Review: Social Media Marketing

I just finished reading the book – Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter, & Other Social Media by Liana “Li” Evans. It’s a good book especially for those who are new to the social media space. It’s an easy read with good examples. If you’ve been assigned the job of developing a social media strategy or are getting proposals from people in the space, you should read the book.

From her conclusion, let me pull a few things:

Important points to remember:

  • Not all companies are the same
  • You need to understand your audience
  • Cookie cutter solutions don’t exist
  • Don’t be afraid of the negative; embrace it as an opportunity
  • Measure what you’re doing

Her process is essentially:

  • Understand your market
  • Research where your audience is
  • Define your goals
  • Decide who owns what
  • Create your strategy
  • Implement and measure
  • Tweak, retweak, and stop if it’s not working

“Understanding that your audience and customers might not be where the media thinks they are (Twitter and Facebook, for example) is an important concept to grasp if you want to be successful.”

Reading her book definitely influenced my post from the other day on the 7 Myths of Social Media. Here are some other items from my review of my notes:

  • Types of social media
    • Social news sites
    • Social networking
    • Social bookmarking
    • Social sharing
    • Social events
    • Blogs
    • Microblogging
    • Wikis
    • Forums and message boards
  • Her 3rd chapter provides a good starting point of different metrics to think about.
  • She suggests several buzz-monitoring services:
  • She mentions Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff multiple times.
  • She gives an example about how Royal Caribbean managed an online situation.
  • If you’re giving away something, make sure it’s unique and special. Don’t just give the members of a community something they could get at any other place.
  • She talks about blogs as a “double-edged sword” where they can do whatever they want. I find it an interesting perspective since her PR company reached out to me and sent me the book to review. Did they do their background to see my prior book reviews? Did they know their pitch would appeal to me and they wouldn’t end up on the Bad Pitch Blog?

One question that I didn’t get answered was “What do you do with your content as your audience shifts from one technology to another?” I think this will be an issue as things move from (for example) MySpace to Facebook. What do you do with the old content? How do you keep things relevant without having to manage 20 different locations? (She suggests looking at Pete Cashmore’s Mashable site.)

  • She reinforces a key point several times which is that all your employees need to realize how their actions online affect the social media strategy that your company has.
  • Several times she reinforces the point that you can’t control the discussion.
  • She made an interesting observation that the Share This type applications that let you choose from multiple sharing services are actually a problem since they overwhelm people. (I guess this is like the concept of limiting choice as a way to help people decide.)

I wonder what it would be like if plans and PBMs were to share proposed plan designs with consumers via social media and engage them in dialogue. Would it change what was used?

She suggests Mike Grehan site – www.searchenginewatch.com – for information on search engines.

So, there is lots more in the book. I’d suggest you check it out.

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