Social media is becoming a must-use tool for marketing businesses of all types and sizes. Next month, well-known social media marketing consultants Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo will be publishing their comprehensive guide to social media marketing, “Friends with Benefits.” The title, while sounding gimmicky, is actually a very apt one that summarizes neatly the world that awaits in social media for companies who use the medium properly.
The guidance offered in “Friends with Benefits” is clearly tailored towards large businesses. There are repeated references to structures such as your company’s legal department, “marketing VP”, company intranet, IT department, and communications department. Bootstrapping small business owners (who are most likely to need a “self-help” book like this) may feel a little left out of the practical aspects of the advice offered here, although most of the general concepts apply to all companies, no matter what the business size.
“Friends with Benefits” tries to be a Social Media 101 class. It starts out with discussing what the potential benefits are of using social media in marketing (and how to measure those benefits), and then moves into the practical aspects of how to use the most common social media marketing channels. The practical instructional advice starts at the most elementary levels by assuming that readers don’t even know what the service being discussed is or does. For those familiar with social media, large sections of the book will seem unnecessary. But the book would make a good resource to pass on to a client or executive you are working with who needs to learn the value and basic practicalities of social media marketing.
Information is sometimes offered out of logical order, so I do recommend reading the entire book before implementing any of the strategies in it. On the other hand, one of the better features about the book is the organization of the latter half of it, where each chapter takes on a different social media platforms in detail.
One of the best things about the book is one of those particular chapters. Although I’ve understood in theory for some time the dominance of YouTube and its potential value in marketing, it has felt to me in many ways like YouTube marketing success was an art or even just luck. The YouTube chapter in “Friends with Benefits” gave me a real practical grounding in the process to use to be successful in that channel. After reading it, I felt like I understood what YouTube could do for my business, and what I needed to do to derive that benefit from it. It also instilled in me that video is the future of both the web and SEO in a way that cannot be ignored. Many people are more comfortable with the essentially text-based channels of the web such Facebook and Twitter than they are with the videos of YouTube, so I think this chapter will prove invaluable to many people.
- Excellent YouTube chapter
- Excellent discussion of using targeted Facebook advertising
- Very practical basic instructions for those who need them
- Good real-world examples make lessons translatable to actual use
- Nice emphasis on blogger outreach
- Poorly organized
- MySpace chapter doesn’t emphasize enough that site is only relevant to certain demographics
- Extremely corporate in emphasis — often won’t directly apply to small businesses
- Too limited in practical advice for many who use social media already
What question would you want answered in a book about social media marketing?