Book Review – Socialnomics by Erik Qualman

Reviewed by Special K, ETMG Writer and Blogger

Socialnomics by Eric Qualman a useful reference for social marketing

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.

Further Reading:

Socialnomics Website

Social Media Spending 2012: Forrester & a VC Weigh In

Social Media, ROI, and Measuring Business Value

Top Five Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation

3 thoughts on “Book Review – Socialnomics by Erik Qualman

  1. I totally agree with Karin’s review and just want to add that my biggest take away from this book was that it is not whether or not we, as a company, decide to use social media as a marketing tool, but how well we use social media as a marketing tool. Basically, according to Qualman, everyone will be doing it.

  2. Janice Avellar says:

    The author does a great job of documenting specific internet and social media examples of success and failure. Successes such as Microsoft’s Bing cashback program- giving cash back to customers who use Bing and actually click-through to make purchases. Failures such as newspapers sticking to 100 year business models because “they’ve always made money this way” or the AP not wanting Google to feature their content in search results. Is everything moving so fast that companies are often incapable of making sound business decisions? Or maybe people think the internet is a passing fad? With the internet mainstream now for almost 20 years, and Facebook approaching 10 years since inception, passing fad they are not.

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