From the moment I heard Ric Dragon was working on a book, I got excited. Ric is one of those disgusting people who seems to be smart about everything. He’s a musician, he’s a marketer, he’s a speaker, he’s a writer, he’s knowledgeable about architecture. Frankly, it’s just gross. But I knew that he’d be able to braid his talents and interests into a book that would stand out, and Social Marketology (not an affiliate link) does not disappoint.
In the context of books I’ve read, I’d say Social Marketology nestles nicely between The Now Revolution (Jay Baer and Amber Naslund) and Return on Influence by Mark Schaefer. In fact, it kind of works out well that I just recently finished Mark’s book because it gave me a more deep understanding/context for when Ric talks about things like influencer campaigns.Where The Now Revolution talks about culture shifts in a big picture kind of way, Ric digs down deep into ways to change not only your culture but your online community’s culture as well. He does so by referencing a lot of history to support his point. You might find it hard to believe that theories from the 1920s could work to help make social media more graspable, but Ric finds a way.
If you and/or your company are thinking, “We need to do this social media stuff,” I highly recommend you use this book as a handbook. As the subtitle says, the book is really about the social media process, and Ric guides you from segmenting your audience, coming up with ideas, and overcoming gaffes.
The only chapter I really took issue with was the measurement chapter. It’s not to say the chapter is bad – it’s certainly NOT. In fact, Ric offers a lot of perspectives on measuring social media marketing efforts and he talks about some facets of social media that are not as easy to measure. For example, how successful have you been in getting “influencers” to talk positively about your brand? What I was looking for was more meat about how to start measuring the pecuniary value of social media, which is possible in many cases. Quotes (now famous soundbytes) from Scott Stratten and Gary Vaynerchuk (what is the ROI of your mother) I think lead the thinking in this chapter a bit astray from where I was hoping it would go.
Both Ric and Mark make the point that the role of the influencer online is important, to the point where companies might do well to really hone efforts to target such people. Dave Kerpen made mention of this in Likable Media, too. I still am struggling with this issue, and for a couple of reasons. First, I still have a hard time thinking that an influencer not entrenched in your industry can do anything to truly help your company. For example, let’s say I run a flower boutique and I get some attention in a blog post written by a big social media name. Unless that big name has a lot of followers and readers who might be interested in my products, how is that REALLY going to do me a lot of good? Awareness and attention and buzz are all nice things, but if it doesn’t help my company grow or make a profit, is it ultimately of great benefit? Ric does focus on finding the influencers in your industry, which is a bit different, but that’s a nuance some may miss.
Additionally, I would add that social media is a real game of percentages. I have a fair number of followers on Twitter. I’d say probably a third are spam accounts or dead accounts. Those that aren’t may not see many of my tweets, and of people who see my tweets, even fewer will actually act on them. I have yet to see a specific study that indicates what a “good” conversion rate is for a social media effort – in email marketing, a 20% open rate is considered the industry standard. If 20% of people click on a link an influencer sends out and even fewer of those people buy or do whatever you want them to do, again, I have to ask where the benefit is.
Perhaps I come at these issues from too much of a monetary standpoint. Ric brings up the point that a lot of social media practitioners encourage people to think in new ways, meaning to build relationships instead of pocket books. That makes sense, I suppose, but the transition from businesses running on money to businesses running on relationships is going to be a rough one, and it has only just begun. Reporting is still built around profits and losses, jobs are still cut or increased based on money, and decisions are still predominantly driven by cost. So long as all of that is true, I will have a hard time not trying to emphasize the financial aspects of social media marketing, obstacles and all.
Well, enough from me – as you can see, this is another thought-provoking book. It offers information in a way I have not seen anywhere else, and it offers ideas I have not seen anywhere else. Especially if you are finding the world of social media intimidating, this book will prove very useful.
Give it a read and then let me know what you think!
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