UPDATE: According to a tweet from Jouko Ahvenainen, this is the first review of the book.
I was fortunate enough to be sent an advance review copy of an excellent new book from Futuretext titled “Social Media Marketing”. The subheading reads “How data analytics helps to monetize the user base in telecoms, social networks, media and advertising in a converged ecosystem”.
The book is authored by Ajit Jaokar, Brian Jacobs, Alan Moore and Jouko Ahvenainen who all have a deep knowledge of this area. Alan and Jouko are both involved with Xtract as a board member and co-founder respectively, and Ajit is well known for his book Mobile Web 2.0.
Alan co-authored the book Communities Dominate Brands with Tomi Ahonen, and I had the pleasure of meeting Tomi recently in London (and sharing a stage). His current “Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media” is currently out (and I am about half way through this great tome).
Just the list of Authors should tell you that this is a great book – with great insights. It is not a long read – at around 170 pages including case studies but it does deliver on the promise of explaining how social media marketing can be used by brands and agencies for full effect.
One of my predictions for 2009 is that mobile social networking will come into its own. Mobile advertising will also evolve and the use of social media marketing alongside mobile advertising will prove a good match.
One of the concepts discussed in the book is that of “digital footprints” – split into two categories:
- Passive digital footprint – data collected about an action with no client interaction
- Active digital footprint – data collected about an action with client interaction
Passive footprints are based on behavior patterns and the transition to active footprints is based on trust (part of the three P’s of mobile advertising). It got me thinking about my own digital footprint compared to others when I was trying to look up an old friend from my days in Adelaide back home.
What I found that there was nothing from a straight Google search, and they were not even on Facebook! Their digital footprint is therefore very small – and perhaps this is by design. Those of us that have a large (and increasing) digital footprint as a result of all the social networks we are on such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Linkedin etc should realise that there is inherent value in this footprint to an advertiser.
In return the advertiser should recognise this value, and provide an appropriate reward if (and only if) we choose to allow the advertiser access to this – in a passive or active way.
One of the issues for many of us coming from “traditional” areas of mobile/telecoms or advertising is that the whole social media phenomenon can be hard to understand. One of the things the book does well is to explain social media – both what it is, what it does as well as the terminology used. This is important to be able to understand the concepts introduced in the book.
Because social media is new, it means that many traditional agencies and brands will need to come to terms with this new area of marketing, and adjust (expand) their marketing mix to include social. This should be done NOW – and not put off until later in 2009 – by then the social wave will be in full swing.
The book breaks down social media marketing into different areas:
- Social network perspective
- Media perspective
- Telecoms perspective
- Data standpoint
- Social media marketing metrics
This is important because I suspect that apart from those deeply involved in this space, many readers will come from each of these disciplines, and be reaching out to try and understand social media marketing – fast! If this is you then this book will definitely help.
Having myself come initially from a telecoms perspective, I had a slight chuckle at the chapter on Social media marketing – a Telecoms perspective. The opening line is
Owning the customer vs knowing the customer
This is very telling, as “owning” the customer is a very accurate description of how mobile operators see their “relationship” with their customers. On the other hand, they are paranoid about becoming a “bit pipe” as over the top (OTT) players such as Google innovate at a much faster rate, and provide us with useful information without needing to be “owned” by anyone.
Mobile operators (and marketers generally) who invest time to know their customer will find that their relationship will be much stronger – without the need to “own” them – but being so useful (like Google is) that they keep coming back for more.
The book also discusses the concepts of relationship and trust in social networks and how these are important.
The book closes with a good discussion of social media marketing metrics. One of these is the concept of an Alpha user. Just as we have “Alpha males“, in social media we have alphas for products, churn and acquisition. The book outlines that by discovering who these alphas are and how they interact and influence their network, it is possible to approach these alphas using social media to help with the marketing of a product or service (all with permission of course!).
A simple review like this cannot do justice to such a detailed view of a new and complex subject, so I suggest if I have whet your appetite, then you should keep an eye out on the Futuretext website for a release date for this book.
Quoting from the back cover (no reviewers quotes there yet – feel free to use some of mine guys!)
This book can help you to:
a) understand the world of Social media from the perspective of the Web (social media), mobile/telecoms and traditional media
b) understand the significance of data within social networks
c) Work with social media metrics like Alpha users, cost-per-relevant-audience and others
d) Learn from case studies from enterprises who have successfully used the social media marketing approach
e) Learn how to deploy social media marketing campaigns
If you work in social media, mobile/telecoms or traditional media and you want to understand more about social media marketing, then this book is a must read. It will be available from Futuretext in early 2009.