Book Review: The New Community Rules, Marketing On The Social Web
There’s debate about whether anyone can be deemed a social media expert because the field is relatively new, and continues to evolve so rapidly, that it’s too soon for anyone to claim that label.
Well, if you go by what’s currently happening in the social media sphere, Tamar Weinberg is an expert.
Steeped in social media
Weinberg proudly proclaims that she’s “a member of just about every social network that has a name.” Along with being a prolific blogger, she’s the Director of Community for Mashable and is an independent social media consultant.
She’s steeped in social media.
This comes through loud and clear in The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, where she proffers observations that could only come from someone who understands the real intricacies of scores of social media outlets.
Wienberg’s expertise is trenchant. When discussing the topic of return on investment for social media (an oft-cited sticky widget) she reinforces and elaborates upon a comment by Social Media Explorer Jason Falls about how “The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”
She covers how to properly engage in social media — the ol’ it’s a dialogue not a monologue — then digs deeper with knowledge and tips that provide true keys to success.
Throughout the book she drills home crucial aspects of effective social media practice, such as recommendations and the numerable ways these may occur, along with the unspoken rule that you need to discuss issues not only of your own interest, but also those of the community at-large. “Altruism rules above all,” she wisely writes.
Weinberg consistently explains how various elements relate to search engine optimization; the outcome of which can play a big role in the visibility of your web site and provide a powerful tool for reputation management, if you know how to work it right.
Delving under the radar
With Twitter she advises not to dive in head first and instead begin by listening to conversations going on about your particular industry, to include seeing what your competitors are up to. She tells how Twitter is great for tapping into prospects and influencers and calls out tools to search for topics, trends and people.
Her attention to the assorted platforms includes outlining specific advantages; the “why should I care” proposition. With Twitter, she says, “One of the biggest benefits of using the service is the ability to get people to answer questions quickly.” She shows how it can be like an instantaneous focus group, not to mention an invaluable customer service tool.
More added value of this text comes in Weinberg’s coverage of topics that are somewhat under the radar. She delves deep into the bookmarking services StumbleUpon and delicious. She calls attention to Mahalo, a not so well known site that’s good to get a handle on because its results can achieve high rank on search engine results pages.
Her discussion of how social news sites operate — digg, mixx, reddit, Slashdot, sphinn, Tip’d, Yahoo! Buzz, and others — is a true revelation. Here’s an area gaining in adoption that can make a significant difference in attention to your brand. However, it’s tricky business: There’s a boatload of do’s and don’ts that can make the difference between wasting your time or having a big hit.
Injecting case studies to illuminate certain points, Weinberg covers a tremendous amount of ground. So much so that you might want to devour the material in bites.
Weinberg stresses that “social media marketing is a comprehensive effort,” and the same goes for this book.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of The New Community Rules? Have you also read it? What’s your take on the book? Comments welcome.