Friends Witn Benefits

Book Review: Friends With Benefits by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

Despite the whimsical and provocative title, Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo have produced a serious and useful handbook for Social Media Marketing. Written in clear “layman’s terms,” the authors take us through the “what is and why social networking” questions and then on to which ones, how they work and which markets each one might best address.

In addition to explaining how the reader might go about getting social network ready, the authors go about explaining some very interesting points about “netiquette.” I’ve been around the web for a long time and this particular section was of interest to me. It confirmed many of my own hard earned beliefs and went onto point out a few new ways in which I might change what I do so that I avoid unintentionally put off others. Since the point of Social Network is to provide value to others, it makes no sense to offend.

There is a significant amount of information on “damage control.” One of the most important things to remember is that whether or not we are active on the web, the web can be very active on us! The authors point out that unless you are watching what’s being said about your company or you as an individual, you may be blindsided by customer issues (rightly or wrongly accusing your company) that are being blogged about in a very public manner. So guidelines are given for how to monitor the web not only for news about you, but to measure success for any marketing campaigns you might run.

Each of several of the major social networking sites has a chapter of its own to explain how it got started, who is using it and how it works. Blogs and how to find them, My Space, Facebook, YouTube and other video sharing sites, and of course Twitter are all covered. In addition, the authors cover the “Power of Crowds” and why Social Media Marketing is what we need to be doing if we want to reach the maximum numbers of people. They cover the social news phenomenon (the serious Bloggers and their relationship to the fourth estate), Flickr and why we should care about their existence.

In short, this is the book many of the business folks I’ve met have been waiting for. It will ease them into understanding why Social Network Marketing is critical to many businesses going forward and helps them understand a medium about which many of them are still quite ignorant. Ignorance is fine, it can be fixed – and this book will quickly get you on the right path.

Click here to see the book on Amazon.