Reviewed by Special K, ETMG Writer and Blogger
In the last few years, social media has changed the nature of influence. Companies like Ford and Pepsi have shifted significant portions of their marketing budgets from traditional advertising toward social media, with strong results. Erik Qualman coins the term, “socialnomics” to describe this change in influence, and his book, Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, takes on the huge job of describing this socioeconomic shift and its consequences.
Marketers looking for an overview of opportunities in the social media world will find this book provides a wealth of guidance. However, if you’re searching for specific “how-to” advice, this is probably not the book for you.
Qualman’s expertise shines when reporting statistics and trends in social media and lessons geared toward business practices (chapters 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 ) whereas the chapters predicting how social media will change the ways individuals understand and present themselves (chapters 2, 3, and 6) seem overly optimistic to this only slightly jaded reviewer.
Word of Mouth Has Become World of Mouth
The most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. Social media takes this form to a new level. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world (behind China and India). Facebook is just one of many platforms to make up the social graph – a global digital mapping of relationships and interactions. Qualman states that, for marketers, the social graph is “the world’s largest focus group on steroids.”
Social media provides companies with a powerful tool for exponentially increasing reach quickly while allowing the original integrity of one’s messaging to remain intact. Qualman maintains that companies who ignore social media will not survive. This seems extreme, but the important point remains: companies who ignore this resource miss a big source of potential revenue.
You Can Learn A Lot From a Few Case Studies
Qualman is at his best when analyzing case studies and “lessons learned.” His examples range across industries as diverse as music, job recruitment, advertising, journalism, television, sports, and travel. Here are a few lessons he shares along the way:
– Social media is a great place to create conversations with your existing and potential customers.
– Remember to “fish where the fishes are.” Resist the temptation to try to lure prospective customers to a gated web site.
– Get comfortable meeting your audience where they’re comfortable.
– Instead of pushing information, focus on listening, interacting, and responding to your customers. If you do, sales will occur more organically.
Should you read it? That depends on what kind of information you’re looking for. This is NOT a tactical handbook for marketers who want specifics and hands-on advice. However, it does provide a thorough overview of the ways in which social media is changing the marketing playing field. If you’re in search of the latter, it’s worth your time.
Social Media Spending 2012: Forrester & a VC Weigh In
Social Media, ROI, and Measuring Business Value
Top Five Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation