There is so much practical advice in Tamar Weinberg’s new book that I found myself immediately putting her concepts into practice as I read it. “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web ” provides an overview of the different types of online social media that are available. It provides practical guidance on how to best use them to achieve your specific goals. The book should be valuable to product managers, bloggers, consultants, or anyone that is interested in a cheaper alternative to traditional marketing.
I was delighted to see a marketing / technology book that starts with setting goals and creating a plan because setting goals and objectives are the key to choosing the right technologies and strategies for social media marketing. Is your goal to increase traffic to your website? Do you need to increase brand awareness? Are you focused on improving search engine rankings or reputation management? Social Media Marketing is also good for increasing sales or for establishing thought leadership. Each of these objectives will drive a different mix of social media technology and messaging.
Tamar introduces social media marketing by establishing its relevance through some pretty impressive numbers. Globally, the market for social media is measured in hundreds of millions of users. She references a recent 2008 study showing that 346 million users read blogs, 307 million users visit friends’ social network profile pages, and 303 million users share video clips. Social media marketing is a systematic approach to marketing to this audience.
The book takes scenarios based on different objectives such as “you have a product and want to get the word out”, then provides an overview of the different types of social media available, then lists out specific rules for how to use them to achieve your goals. The technology overviews provide examples of the market leaders, promising new companies, as well as, free alternatives. Each example includes screenshots and practical “how-to” analysis.
The technology groups include blogs, micro-blogging, social networks, social bookmarking, social news, photography, video, and podcasting. Each of these provide different sets of tools that allow to you communicate, influence, and learn from your constituents. For example, she recommends a tool that allows you to check your name availability  across multiple social media outlets. I was pleased to see that my ID was registered on 19 of the 120 social media outlets listed. Looking deeper, it also reinforced Tamar’s point that managing your social media presence requires a consistent investment in time. I had not visited some of the sites in the last 3 or 4 years, although the sites have continued to become increasingly relevant and powerful.
“The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web” makes good on its promise of providing clear advice on how social web technologies work. If you are interested in learning the art of conversation marketing as it is evolving today, I cannot think of a better resource. It combines a good technology overview with best practices for using them. It strikes a very good balance between a high level overview to help you get up to speed with in depth recommended guidance that you can adopt to reach your marketing objectives.