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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Book Review: Social Media Ready by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo

imageDarren Barefoot and Julie Szabo of Capulet Communications recently released an ebook on social media marketing, Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook.

First, Darren and Julie are my friends. We shared office space at one time. We’ve brainstormed projects together. I went to visit them in Malta. I’m quoted in their ebook (pages 74 & 75). So if we’re talking about Getting to First Base, I’m their wingman.

Wingman: A wingman is the guy or girl you bring along to the bar when you’re single. This person’s job is to help bring over potential dates. The wingman may provide comparison shopping. For example, the wingman can act more stupid than you, thereby impressing the potential date. Or better yet, the wingman can sing your virtues. This allows for bragging opportunities that are not self-prompted. There’s a whole art to being a good wingman. A delicate balance. Just like in flight operations, the wingman positions himself/herself outside and behind (off the wing) of the leader. The wingman is your best support. Here I go.

The Introduction: Who are Darren and Julie?
Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo run Capulet Communications, which is a great web marketing and social media relations company. They are usually located in Vancouver, BC, but, more recently, have been living in Malta.

Both come from strong writing backgrounds and this strength plays out nicely in their ebook, Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook. It’s 100 pages of information and entertainment.

Matchmaker: Who is Getting to First Base for?
Basically anyone who is newly experimenting with social media marketing will benefit from reading this book. If you’re wondering whether you should start a Facebook group for your company, if you’re thinking about blogger outreach campaigns, if you want to make viral YouTube videos—this book is a great primer. Even if you’re a social media diehard, there are lots of interesting quips in the book from social media gurus who aren’t typically in the limelight. Every social media marketing book quotes Seth Godin. That’s great for Seth, but there must be other social media savvy folks out there?

Absolutely, there are.

Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook presents a balanced mix of wisdom from social media marketers who run the fame gamut. One of my favourite quotes is from Dave Olsen, Community Evangelist at Raincity, who responded “no idea” to the question “what’s the reach of your social media projects?”

No idea.

Why is that great wisdom? It’s great because Dave goes on to illustrate the importance of qualitative metrics vs. quantitative metrics. People who don’t get social media or online marketing just want to see the numbers. “How many hits did we get?” This is so misguided for many reasons. But without getting side tracked, let’s get back to Dave.

Dave continues with “what matters to me is that people from diverse culture and locations genuinely enjoy what I produce and respond with postcards, emails, dinners and gifts, or best yet, tell how important my ‘stuff’ is to them.”

What Darren and Julie illustrate in Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook is that the “stuff” has to be important enough that people are interested in talking about it. This is the key to social media marketing: first, having a good product or service; second, having something interesting and valuable to say about it; third, telling that story in ways that make it easy for people who like that story to say so and pass it on.

Even as someone who makes my living teaching people about social media marketing, Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook was a good read. In some cases the examples illustrated points that I’ve been making in presentations—it’s always good to have a variety of examples. In other cases, there are glossaries or quotes or links that I can suggest people look at—I like it when I can point to good sources of information. Most important, the book helps readers understand the tone and approach required for successful social media marketing campaigns.

So if you’re new to social media, if you want a baseline understanding of where and how to start, get the Social Media Ready ebook Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo. It $29 of goodness. 

(I want to make a joke about a steal of a deal and stealing a base, but I think it will come out wrong. Please insert your own joke. Then laugh here.)