I spend a fair bit of time talking to clients, potential clients and small business folks about social media marketing. Generally, their #1 question is "How do I get up to speed on (waves hands around in desperation at the whole Interweb cloud) all this?" I used to refer them to a few blogs and maybe a couple of dead-tree books – but there has never been a solid overview of the social media marketing space.
I just finished reading Getting to First Base: a Social Media Marketing Playbook, an e-book by Darren Barefoot (a One Degree contributor) and Julie Szabo of Vancouver’s Capulet Communications. Hands-down, it is the best overview of the social media marketing space that I’ve read … and I’ve downloaded my share of reports, whitepapers and other stuff.
In the interest of disclosure … a) I was given a complimentary copy to read and b) I am mentioned in the e-book. But neither of those things changes the fact that this is the book I wish I had written.
The SMMP is a really easy read … it’s 100 pages of breezy copy, lots of examples, pretty pictures, interviews and hyperlinks to resources that are kept up to date on the web. Julie and Darren also have a blog for the book that they update with commentary, new case studies, etc.
I really like the "how-to" aspect of the book. For marketers trying to understand the space, it’s often a case of being overwhelmed by the technology let alone the change in approach to marketing. For example, in the chapter entitled "Match Making: Finding the Right Bloggers and Communities" they start by discussing a number of tools you can use to determine the popularity and authority of bloggers. Right off the bat, they make it straightforward and simple:
There’s not a lot of magic to it. Comparing blogs is as simple as entering a
search query like ‘<subject> blog’ and paging through the results. For exam-
ple, search for ‘knitting blog’ and you’ll find: Knit Sisters: Watch out, We’ve got
sharp sticks; Yarn Harlot; and Xtreme-Knitting Blog!.
To get an idea of the authority a site wields, type this into Google:
The results will tell you how many other sites are linking to this blog. Simply
put, the more links, the more authoritative the blog. In this case, Google
shows 70 sites linking to www.knitsisters.com.
Let’s compare that with Yarn Harlot. Even though Yarn Harlot doesn’t get the
top search spot on Google, 4,370 other sites link to it. Obviously, Yarn Harlot
is more popular, and so, is more authoritative than the Knit Sisters blog.
See, it’s easy.
This is the no-nonsense tone that permeates the whole book. I’ve been doing this whole social media marketing thing for a while and after I read it, I felt empowered – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, I think SMMP could help.
Julie and Darren have made it easy to evaluate the book before you buy. There are four sample chapters on their website:
- NEW: Blogger Relations Campaigns That We Like (PDF):
Mini case studies and examples of blogger outreach campaigns which we
admire, as well as some creative tactics we’ve applied for our clients.
- How to Make Your Website Social Media Ready (PDF): Before you start a social media marketing campaign, make sure your website is prepared for a Web 2.0 world.
- Memes, and How to Make Them (PDF):
What do you do if your product is mediocre? How can you get your
marketing messages and ideas to go viral? How are virally-transmitted
- Facebook Apps (PDF):
What makes a great, sticky Facebook application? What is the marketing
value of a Facebook app–does it drive much traffic to your website?
The e-book itself is only $29; there is a corporate site license available for $250.
So check out those sample chapters! It’s an informative, entertaining read. You’ll feel much smarter at the end of it.