Blog Post

Inbound Marketing: A Social Media Primer

Stay on Top of Emerging Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

While we may not all agree on the “rules” when it comes to marketing, we can all agree that marketing has changed considerably in recent years, largely due to social media. “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs” by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah is a primer for those looking to learn how to make the most of social media to pull in customers.

A broad book, its contents revolve around how to get prospects to find you through blogs, search engines and social media. Halligan and Shah also discuss converting customers and how to apply that to your business and web site.

The short first chapter explains what has changed in marketing, and how online technologies effected the change. The first part of the book provides little value with its brief coverage of your web site as a marketing hub and creating a remarkable strategy. Really, these first chapters set the tone for the rest of the book in that its contents are wide and shallow.

The bulk of the book rightfully focuses on “Getting Found,” with 100 pages devoted to the topic out of the book’s roughly 200. Despite that much coverage, it’s still elementary stuff. The section on converting customers only lasts for three chapters, and it needs more material than the five chapters of “Make Better Decisions.”

The “Make Better Decisions” section included a whole chapter devoted to picking a PR agency and another on how to hire the right people for your marketing team. The advice given on how to find marketers who are digital citizens, however, is outdated. For example, the suggestion to hire people based on their web reach recommends looking at how many followers they have in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Most of us know that raw follower numbers have little value, with so many low quality users who know how to rack up the numbers.

The authors are also behind the Website Grader and Twitter Grader web sites, which they mention so frequently that at times it reads like a promotion. This book really is just a primer: You won’t glean anything new if you know the basics of search engine optimization, such as the difference between organic and paid listings, and you already know how to use social media tools and connect those tools with your business and web site.¬†“Inbound Marketing” does a good job for those who don’t have a clue about how to use social media for business and want to understand the bigger picture.

Have you read “Inbound Marketing?” Please share what you think in the comments.

21 Responses to “Inbound Marketing: A Social Media Primer”

  1. Like stated this book is a great starting point for those that are not familiar with inbound marketing. While there are many people who have been familiar with this type of marketing the majority of people would find this book very beneficial. I don’t think it was intended to be an encyclopedia of inbound marketing, it’s a great foundation to build upon for any small business owner or internet marketer. I have passed the book on to friends to read since I feel it’s a must for anyone remotely involved in the industry.

  2. I enjoyed the book because it was easy to read, and I did pick up a couple new things along the way. I have followed Hubspot for awhile now, love their blog content, and really believe they get how to operate a business in the new media world. It’s all about remarkable and consistent content creation to get found in Google. Inbound marketing is the name of the game now.

    If you are looking for an introductory social media type of book then you should read this one.

  3. Thanks for reviewing “Inbound Marketing”.

    Though I’m disappointed you didn’t like it more, your review is honest and candid — much appreciated.

    The book was designed to be a primer — we wanted to reach the thousands of people that are not yet comfortable with search, social media and blogging. Though some of this may be “basic” to us, I assure you it’s not basic to millions of people who are just getting started. (It’s one of the reasons I think the book is doing well on the sales front — 120+ days in the Amazon top 100 business books list).

    In any case, thanks for taking the time.

    Dharmesh Shah
    Co-author, “Inbound Marketing”

    • Dharmesh, thanks for reading my review and respecting the feedback. This is what I tell people: It’s four stars (out of five) for those needing a primer and it’s three stars for those not needing a primer.

      A majority of people I know already have the knowledge your book presents — but I know there are many folks who need the help your book can provide. In fact, I’m recommending such a colleague to check it out. If he does, I’ll follow up with his feedback as he’s the perfect audience.