Thursday, September 04, 2008

Marketing to the Social Web

While flying to and from China (and Thailand) I finally got the chance to read "Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build your Business" by Larry Weber. I came across the book, when Mike Proulx, Vice President of Social Media at Digital Influence Group brought in free copies of his boss' book for my entire Marketing and New Social Media Class at Bentley last May. My friend, Keith Mantia, wrote this summary of the book.

In general I was completely impressed by the book. But then I don't think I am Weber's target market for the book. The book seemed to be aimed at "old school" marketers who were trying to figure out what exactly what social media marketing is and how they can use it to be a more sucessful business. Gives general terms and how to get started pointers. Where I feel I am more of a "new school" marketer, being a recent college graduate and all and already use social media marketing on a daily basis. Before I even knew this is what I want to do with my life career wise. Pretty basic, common sense social media marketing. So my advice, if you are involved in the marketing world and have no idea what social media marketing is, get this book. It will help clue you in. If you already know what social media marketing is and have already "joined in" with the conversations happening, skip this book. Although this might be a good idea for your boss to read to help them realize when it comes to social media marketing "you're no longer in control anymore," and help them get over it.

There was a couple of things I found benefitial. One was the "A Case in Point" section, which talked about e-newsletters. Since my mom working at a wellness center she writes their monthly e-newsletters, so it was helpful to have some good tips to give her. Including:
  1. Encourage visitors to your homepage to click the "Read the Latest Newsletter" or the "Read Our Tip of the Week" button.
  2. Include a Tip of the Week page.
  3. Archieve everything and provide an "Archives" link with the current newsletter.
  4. If you have a testimonial or two about your newsletter, include it near your current newsletter, too.
  5. Add a link to a Privacy Policy page so visitors can quickly and easily check your policy.
  6. Add your signup form, a short newsletter description, and a link to the current newsletter on other subpages.
Since I run the wellness clinics blog which is currently lacking in reader engagement Weber's book had some general questions to ask readers to start an engagement, which I found helpful too.

One thing I found interesting was Weber's reasoning for why social networks are so successful is because "many people recognize a human need for such connections and are trying to find them as best they can." Such connections that have been lost through television, two-career families, suburban sprawl, and generational changes in values. I kind of agree with him. Anybody else have any thoughts on this?

The only thing I think Weber really got right (and I wish he would have expanded on this more) is: "To influence these communities, I believe, companies should do something for the social good...Even better, be sure that you and others in your organization get personally involved by volunteering your time and talents to whatever it is that will make you and your community prouder, stronger, healthier, happier."

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