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The Social Media Marketing Book

Book written by Dan Zarrella,
November 2009, O’Reilly Media
eBook $15.99, Paperback $19.99

“An extremely valuable resource on understanding and applying social media for both the individuals, and business. The book is a great introduction that can help you to get started.”

– Ben Rothke, Slashdot.org

The SMM BookBusiness owners and organizations have long used advertising to promote themselves and their products. But advertising in the newspapers, magazines, radio, and television isn’t working like it used to.

As a result, advertisers are shifting away from traditional media. How social media is changing from “one-way, static broadcast technologies” to more direct, personal, and interactive messages forms the basis for The Social Media Marketing Book, by Dan Zarella. Blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter, and a host of other social networking sites are becoming the face of advertising in the 21st century.

There are many reasons for the changeover. Reaching out and meeting people on their own turf, so to speak, can be done cheaply (by both large and small companies), quickly, and on a time-sensitive schedule.  Advertisers have found that using social media can generate a lot of interest, and it can even reach a wider group as it is redistributed by the customers it reaches.

Interestingly, “the roots of online social networking can be traced to the 1980s bulletin board systems (BBSs). These systems allowed users to log in—through very slow connections—to share software and data as well as send private messages and post to public message boards.” The BBSs were mainly local entities because of the cost of long distance calls.

At the end of the 1980s, desktop programs by CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL came on the scene. The number of users began to grow and the programs were able to do more than Bulletin Boards. Users could connect to the Internet, browse websites, share files, post personal profiles and chat online.

In the mid-1990s, Classmates.com and Match.com—web-based applications—were created for specific groups of users. By 2002, “the modern era of social networks began”;  first with Friendster, then with MySpace.

“Currently, Facebook is the dominant social networking site, and it has the most features useful to the social media marketer.” Although it began with university students as members, its “fastest growing segment has been users older than 35, and recent data suggests that the 35-54 age group has become bigger than the 18-24 age group.…a fun but easily navigable place where they can reconnect with old friends.”

For anyone new to social media and those wishing to use social media for their own businesses and products, the book lists a history and protocol for over half a dozen categories of social media. Media categories include blogging, microblogging, social networking, media sharing, social news and bookmarking, ratings and reviews, forums, and virtual worlds.

Fascinating facts about their use, personal anecdotes from the author, and solid techniques for getting the most from online media are related with common sense and humor.

The book goes beyond being a primer for business marketing, however.

It will be of interest to the users of social media, as well, with background descriptions about favorite, (or soon to be favorite!),  gathering places on the web, and screenshots of user pages.

What’s more, if you’ve been hesitant about jumping in on, say Twitter, Zarella walks you through the jargon and answers the questions you are most likely to ask about it as a beginner.

Whether you need to learn about social media for marketing purposes, or for your personal understanding, The Social Media Marketing Book is a knowledgeable resource and an interesting read.

(Disclaimer: O’Reilly provided this review book at no cost to me.)

Linda Gonse

Freelance graphic designer, editor/webmaster Orange County IBM PC Users' Group in Southern California. Love to garden, read, play Words with Friends on iPhone, and create silk floral arrangements.

One Customer Review of “The Social Media Marketing Book”

Review by Wilson, September 18, 2010

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As a small business owner, this book has given me a lot of useful knowledge that I can implement without hiring a consultant.