Facebook Fame: The Facebook Marketing Bible For The Small Business by Laura Roeder – Book Review

Facebook marketing is an important part of many companies’ marketing plans. So I eagerly read this new book on Facebook Fame. What a disappointment! Fables and few facts on Facebook Fame, sigh.

By Jason McDonald
Senior SEO Instructor – JM Internet Group
Posted: October 28, 2011

Facebook Fame: The Facebook Marketing Bible For The Small Business – Review of Laura Roeder’s New Book (Two Stars / Not Recommended)

Facebook Fables and Foibles

Review of Laura Roeders, Facebook Fame: The Facebook Marketing Bible for Small BusinessThere are a lot of “F’s” in Facebook Fame, beginning but not finishing with the two F’s in the title, and finally finalizing with how I would rate the book: an “F.” Frankly, the book is a short, facile Kindle read, so my first expectation wasn’t that high. As someone who teaches social media marketing (click on my profile to reach out to me), I read everything I can get my hands on, trying to keep current with social media marketing.

Forget all that, let’s talk about this fatally flawed book, Facebook Fame.

First, the book starts with many good Facebook setup issues, but then falls short when it comes to actual ideas about how to promote your page on Facebook. Roeder does seem to understand the technical differences among the Facebook like feature, like button, like box, and comments plug in, for instance, but she doesn’t give us many, new innovative ideas about how to foment fan flocking to our Facebook page!

Instead, she insists that Facebook is better as a medium to interact with EXISTING customers rather than to pull in NEW customers. OK, fine, her point is well taken; but still, many companies want to use Facebook to foment their fan base, and this book provides little information on that account.

Facebook Fame leave us fatally frustrated, I fret.

Finally, she finishes Facebook Fame with rather fearless fables of companies from her courses and classes in Facebook. They may be very good, but it is frustrating, frankly, to purchase a book from Amazon only to read in the final chapter many “fables” that are one-sided accounts of students of hers, who have had allegedly found fame on Facebook. That may be true, but I’d rather foist myself over to a free website than frestle with a paid book to hear a sales pitch on classes, fine or otherwise.

Fatefully, Facebook Fame is flawed, and not at all first on my list of recommended books. Any of the Facebook for Dummies series will be a better buy. Alternatively, some online guides such as those available from Mashable will also serve as a better basic beginning to Facebook, all of which get a grade of “B” rather than “F.”

Fearlessly, your friend – Jason McDonald

Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business by Jim Cockrum – Book Review

Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off is, not surprisingly, a book of lists. It’s an idea book – a good, quick, basic Kindle read with some great and some not-so-great ideas about how to market your book for free, largely online. Here is my review.

By Jason McDonald
Senior SEO Instructor – JM Internet Group
Posted: October 14, 2011

Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business (Two Stars / Not Recommended)

A Stream of Consciousness Not a How To List of Free Marketing Ideas

Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off is, not surprisingly, a book of lists. It’s an idea book – a good, quick, basic Kindle read with some great and some not-so-great ideas about how to market your book for free, largely online.

Some Great Free Marketing Ideas

Review of Jim Cockrum, Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-CostCockrum gives us some great ideas, and clearly knows his stuff (except SEO, more on that later). With 25 five star reviews, I can see he has followers. But… But the book could really have been fact-checked and edited, drastically.

First, let’s be positive. What are some of the great ideas in the book? One great one – make it easy, very easy for customers to try – for free – before buying, and afterwards to easily get their money back if not satisfied. Too often, we go for the money first when we should go for the relationship. And we don’t want a lot of negative reviews, so allowing unhappy campers to back out – is good policy in this age of never-ending reviews on the Internet.

Second, email lists. Cockrum is a master of email, and this is one of the few books that reminds us of just how important a good email list is. We are all a-Twitter, a-Facebook, and Cockrum reminds us the the direct one-on-one aspects of email are massively important. The fact that he understands that straight text email outperforms HTML email; and that customizing each message is critical – those confirmed to me that he does know what he is talking about. His email tips are the best in the book.

Another great idea – draw your customer. Literally. Draw a picture of who your customer(s) are and create a sales funnel. He understands the basic funnels of marketing, and encourages us to do the same.

So the book has some great ideas, and it’s cheap. So buy it if you are very new and need to get your marketing juices flowing. But nothing is revolutionary in these ideas; so I would not recommend this book if you are at all advanced in your marketing plan.

Some Problems on SEO / Search Engine Optimization

Worse than that, on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the book is flat out wrong. I teach SEO, and do lots of SEO consulting – so this is a subject I can speak to, directly. Cockrum says, “Google, as a company, is collectively far smarter than anyone who is trying to manipulate their system.” Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t rules of the game, and that we can’t understand those rules and impact which pages get to the top of Google. (Google – Social Media Classes, Social Media Classes Houston, Social Media Classes Austin, Social Media Classes Dallas – and you’ll see what I mean – jm-seo.org is on page 1 for all). Cockrum implies that a) Google is so mysterious no one can dominate SEO, and b) that the algorithms change so rapidly that it’s not worth it.

On Search Engine Optimization, he is just flat wrong. It’s an important game, and one you can win. One recommendation – just Google the Google SEO Guide and read Google’s official SEO guide. It’s a starting point with more accurate information than Cockrum’s book.

But, ignoring the SEO errors, the book is a good basic read if you are just beginning your Internet marketing journey. If not, this book isn’t really worth buying.

No Bullshit Social Media by Jason Falls and Eric Deckers – Book Review

Jason Falls and Eric Deckers have written a brash new book on Social Media Marketing. First and foremost, their message is to be afraid, be very afraid of Social Media Marketing. If you don’t know how to do it, you’re already behind. And if you are a big company, worry that your customers may be ‘going viral’ right now with videos and posts that can cause you real people. The book is a good read, if a bit overdramatic, and has some useful information on reviews and ROI for SMM. Here’s my review.

By Jason McDonald
Senior SEO Instructor – JM Internet Group
Posted: October 1, 2011

No Bullshit Social Media, a Recommended Book (Four Stars)

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

No Bullshit Social Media, ReviewNo Bullshit? Really! No Bullshit Social Media at least has a catchy title. It certainly got my attention and hope that this would be one of the better books on Social Media Marketing. I teach Social Media Marketing in San Francisco and online (just Google ‘Jason McDonald’ or click on my profile to find me), and so I am always on the look out for new insights into the emerging world of SMM.

Bottom line: four stars

  • I recommend the book as a good, fresh intro to Social Media Marketing.
  • The book’s strength: a detailed, high level overview to WHY Social Media matters.
  • The book’s weakness: lack of how-to-, step-by-step detail.

No Bullshit Social Media is 90% a conceptual book, and only 10% a practical how-to guide. The discussions of ROI / Metrics, review marketing, and how to organize your social media team in a larger company are all quite good. If you have an established product, more than ten employees, and are looking for a good airplane read on social media, this is a good book for you. If you are a start up, a single employee company, or are looking for a detailed practical manual on Social Media Marketing, you are better served by Social Media for Dummies.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid of Social Media

Not surprisingly, given its brash title, the book’s tone is no nonsense. One major theme in the book is: Be afraid, be very afraid! Be afraid, first of all, that the Social Media Revolution is here, and be afraid that you – Mr. or Ms. Marketing – do not understand it. Your company will be doomed as will you – so you had better start paying attention! Do I agree with this statement? Absolutely. Do I agree with the tone: not at all.

Should you be afraid of Social Media? If you are a large company like Nestle or United Airlines, there is certainly reason to fear the viral attack campaign of your Facebook page, or the viral video “United Breaks Guitars.” For most businesses, however, the worst that happens is a) the unhappy customer review on Yelp or Google Places, or b) a complete lack of interest by your customers in your products.

Very few of us will experience a viral video assault like “United Breaks Guitars,” but many of us will experience the “b” option – difficulty getting our customers to truly be excited about our brand, our products, and our news. Fear is the wrong metaphor, in my view.

Attitude is everything I believe, so despite what No Bullshit says, I encourage you to be open minded about Social Media rather than fearful. Expect some direct insights from your customers, good or bad, but see this revolution for what it is: an amazing, fun marketing opportunity to get to know your customers regardless of the limits of time or space. Experiment. Be innovative. For many small businesses, Social Media will start and end with Google Places and Yelp. That’s OK. It all depends on what YOU make what works for YOUR BUSINESS.

My take, therefore, is 1) don’t be afraid you will be left behind, there is still plenty of time to get started in Social Media Marketing. But certainly take the plunge now and start educating yourself and your company, and 2) don’t worry too much about the high-visibility attacks such as those against Nestle or United Airlines. Unless you are a major brand, those viral social media messages are very rare indeed, and 3) look for focused opportunities rather than trying to do everything at once. Nigerian proverb: man who goes after two mice, catches none. So, focus, focus, focus on just the best social media opportunities, unique to your business.

Social Media Opportunities – Reviews and Review-based SMM

For many businesses the strongest Social Media Opportunity is in the review space. Fortunately this is the best part of the book – its discussion of reviews and eWOM (electronic word-of mouth). Nowadays, many customers may base their decision to engage with you on reviews posted about your company or products on sites such as ePinions.com, Amazon.com, Yelp.com, and other platforms. Small businesses like roofing companies or attorneys, in particular, are being reviewed heavily on Yelp and Google Places.

  • Do reviews matter to your business?
  • If so, what is your strategy to encourage them?
  • If so, what is your strategy to monitor and respond to them – good, bad, and ugly?

With respect to reviews, the authors make the obvious but necessary point that people often do NOT believe advertising but they WILL believe the reviews of total strangers. Looking for a new Bar-be-que restaurant in Dallas? Turn to Yelp or Google Places, read reviews, go to restaurant. Ready to buy a new book on Amazon? Read the reviews, like the reviewer, buy the book. Review marketing is big, and getting bigger. Reviews matter. Do you lack a review strategy? Then be afraid, be very afraid.

Here, however, is where the book falls down. We are given no easy Web index of sites that have reviews, tools or tips to encourage reviews – so we know that reviews are important, but we aren’t really taught how to cultivate them, at either the conceptual or practical level. Like so many books in this sector, the book reads too much like a novel and not enough like a workbook. As someone who teaches Social Media Marketing, I know from my students that what they want are practical, step-by-step directions on issues like how to encourage reviews. In this regard, No Bullshit Social Media disappoints. It even lacks an appendix of great websites, or power tools for Social Media – items that in this Internet age should certainly be part of any book on the topic.

Conclusion

There’s theory and then there’s practice. A truly excellent Social Media Marketing book would have booth – a discussion of why reviews matter, and also a step-by-step guide to how to encourage reviews. No Bullshit Social Media is more theory than practice, but it’s still a good book. Buying it, reading it, and most of all – beginning to embrace Social Media – is a start. That’s no bullshit.