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Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business!

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    Social Media Marketing - Broken Down and Easily Digested

    As someone just beginning to explore the world of social media marketing, I found this book incredibly helpful. From the structure to the tone to the real life anecdotes, this book has been a great introduction to this new medium and will serve to be a great resource moving forward.

    I felt the structure of the book flowed nicely, leading marketers through the logical process of engaging in social media. Gillin begins with the research and information gathering stage-learning to understand what and who is out there. He then discusses the importance of finding your audience and determining your topic, content and voice to be able to continuously engage that audience. He rounds out the conversation by explaining the nuances of measuring the impact of a social media campaign and reflecting on the changes marketers have faced and will continue to face.

    The conversational tone of the entire book not only made it an easy read, but it also proved a major point that Gillin was making throughout the book-when using social media, it is all about finding and speaking with your own voice. He was able to speak to beginners without skimping on the details-an excellent exercise for those involved in social media conversations.

    Though the structure was logical and the tone was appealing, the most helpful and relevant aspect of the book for me was the collection of anecdotes sprinkled throughout. Gillan consistently provided real life examples of the platforms, ideas and caveats about which he wrote. The combination of success and horror stories help to define the boundaries of how and where to run a social media campaign.

    While there is quite a bit that can be taken away from this book, the learnings that most resonated with me were:
    -You need to be able to lose control. Get rid of the sales pitch and make it a conversation. I work at an advertising agency, where we are used to creating a perfected campaign with the carefully chosen copy and imagery. When it comes to social media, you do not have the luxury of being able to control all of these elements.
    -The definition of "viral" is relative. Going "viral" means different things to different companies and you don't necessarily need a million views for a campaign to be deemed a success-you just need to hit your target audience.
    -It is important for everyone in an organization to be involved in (or at least aware of) a social media campaign in one form or another. Traditional advertising is created and then sent out. Social media is something that needs to be continuously updated and maintained by the organization itself.

    In all, this is a great book to read if you do not have any experience in social media marketing. It is certainly a resource that I will reference as I continue to explore the world of social media.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    You call that Secrets?

    Secrets of Social Media Marketing

    It will get you exciting about social media, if you're not already. But don't expect a lot of secrets from this book. Paul Gillin has written a general overview with very little insight. It seems every book now tells you secrets, but they're really just excerpts or take-aways. An example of a secret is "The best technology is not usually the best choice." Hardly a secret.

    Gillin's "The New Influencers" was much better. I think Gillin does succeed when he stumbles upon an idea and then thinks about it. However he does a lot of reporting: Digg does this; Delicious does this; etc. All of this reporting is a good introduction, but it's far from a secret.

    In Chapter 2 (Making Choices), he writes about making choices and how you're better to get in and make mistakes now because this whole social media scene is chaos now, but what better way to figure it out. Lead with business objectives, he says. This is good. Chapter 3 is about listening and learning too.

    Then Gillin throws out some advice and gives examples of his advice in action in Chapter 4 and 5. I think he means "relationships matter" use them. Get to know others and use the voice of people in your organization to help carry your message. This is good advice.

    The best chapter is chapter 6. Gillin hits on the heart of why social media is so exciting and popular: The individual is the center of their community. He adds, "People use social networking to connect with people not brands. They resist or resent when marketers intrude on conversations." I wish he focused the book on being more insightful like this chapter.

    Later Gillin goes on to show examples of on-line conversations by giving an example of how Nikon had great success using Flickr for their Stunning Gallery campaign. It worked because both the consumer and the company both gained value with a shared love of photography. I really enjoyed his chapter (Niche Innovators) on special interest or vertical categories of social media. Clearly we should be thinking about our business objective. Smaller communities mean tighter conversations.

    In "Measuring results", the book tries to get a grasp of where to start measuring your work. He's not so strong here and often ends up quoting others at length, like Katie Paine from her book called, "Measuring Public Relations." She called for clear definitions of objectives, criteria and benchmarking. It's just good common sense. Gillian is convinced that you have to model what success will look like.

    If Gillin is right that the only two sins of new media world is fear and inaction, his inspiration but not his lack of deep insight should be enough to get you acting. As he says, "Keep it simple, make it personal and give people a reason to pass it on."

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    Succinct, humorous and timely...

    Too often, those of us on technology marketing teams fall into the trap of spending far too much time focusing on our own social media tools, technologies and strategies - and not enough time on the bigger picture of the dramatic implications of the social media advances happening all around us. I've found Paul Gillin's "Secret's of Social Media Marketing" to be a much-needed 'heads up', a step-by-step common sense blueprint for anyone who's moving, at whatever speed, into this vast, powerful communication phenomenon. Paul's style is relaxed and conversational as he draws the reader in, page after page, with often humorous anecdotes of the successes and failures of companies as they implement social marketing strategies - all ending with a what to do - and more importantly what not to do - moral to the story. Not only are the social media giants like FaceBook, YouTube and Digg are a part of his conversation but equal billing is given to the niche players like StumbleUpon, Reddit and Squidoo.
    My advice? Grab a copy, and one for a colleague. You might even be surprised by a mention of a project that you're involved in - as I was!

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