The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff

The Facebook Era by clara ShihIntermediate and expert social media and social network enthusiasts REJOICE!

Not since “Groundswell” has there been such a thorough compilation of history, information and actual strategic advice on how to leverage the power of social media for your business.

The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, and Sell More Stuff” is the latest book I received, authored by Clara Shih. And it is amazing.

I know, I sound excited about this book. Let me tell you why. Often authors or publishers send me books. It’s not uncommon for books to show up on my doorstep a couple times a week.  I take the books that come and put them on a rather large pile in my office. I read them and then write reviews of the ones that I think you guys will appreciate the most.

Ivana's pile of books

Ivana's pile of books

As you know, I’ve reviewed several social media books that I’ve recommended for the beginner previously here. But all those beginner level books left me wondering about the rest of us.

What about those of us who have embraced social media and just wanted a little more meat … a little more history …  a little more guidance about how to leverage these powerful tools in our business? Well, this week I’ve chosen “The Facebook Era” to answer that question.

The first thing I did was check out the back of the book for a little something about the author. At this point, I wasn’t sure if the book was for beginners or intermediates. Here’s what I found.

Clara Shih, the author, actually created Faceconnector, the first business application on Facebook. Clara is founder and CEO of Hearsay Labs, which helps brands convert their Twitter and Facebook presence into actionable engagement opportunities and measurable sales. She was also the product line director of App Exchange, the Salesforce.com marketplace and she knows her stuff. As if that wasn’t enough credibility, she’s also worked in strategy and business operations at Google and as a software developer at Microsoft. On the book jacket she invites you to follow her on Twitter and read her blog at The Facebookera.com.

table-contents-facebook-eraOK. So now I’m getting excited. I head straight for the table of contents to see exactly what kind of stuff is in there. HOLY COW – this isn’t a business book, it’s almost like a text book! The table of contents takes up three pages and it’s got little teeny writing! Now I know I am going to get good substantive  information.

The book comes in three parts:

Part I: A Brief History of Social Media.

Normally I wouldn’t be all that interested in this section, but when you consider the life experience of the author, how can you not want to read this part? Personally, I love to know and understand how things are made. I mean, I can get completely engrossed in a show about how they make Oreo cookies – so I ate this section up.

Part II: Transforming the Way We Do Business.

I wasn’t initially as excited about this section, but that was before I started reading it. There are chapters about transforming the Sales Cycle where Clara helps you to understand in more detail about how you can use social media as a sort of CRM (Customer Relationships Management) system. Then the rest of the section gets into the nitty gritty details about such things as hypertargeting; the ability of Facebook to literally drill down into demographic segments like you never dreamed was possible. I could go on, but I have another section to tell you about.

Part III: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Using Facebook for Business.

And FINALLY, the section we’ve all been waiting for how to actually use Facebook for business. I know, there are exactly 972,000 articles out there (as of this writing) with the exact phrase match of “How to use Facebook for Business.” But this is written by the woman who practically invented it. Shouldn’t we just read that section and be done with it? She tells you exactly how to engage customers, get your message across, build and manage relationships as well as corporate governance and strategy.

Just the other day I was involved in a tweet chat where people started asking for resources on how to develop a social media strategy for their business. I didn’t want to spill the beans then – but I will tell you the answer now. Pick up your copy of “The Facebook Era” and get a higher education on how to use Facebook for business.

* * * * *

Ivana Taylor About the Author: Ivana Taylor is CEO of Third Force, a strategic firm that helps small businesses get and keep their ideal customer.  She’s the co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers” and proprietor of DIYMarketers, a site for in-house marketers.  Her blog is Strategy Stew.

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Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

8 Reactions

  1. Thanks for pointing out this book, Ivana … very useful. I noticed some good stuff on Clara’s blog, too.

  2. Ivana,

    As you could read in my post, Notes On Books And Notebooks, I have plenty to books to read at the moment. I think I bought (end of May) The Facebook Era after I had read something about it on your blog. I don’t know why I have finished it yet, but at the time when I started to read it, it took some time to get into the book. Lately I have read a couple of pages now and then during my bus rides back and forth to the city. I am now at the third part of the book, Your Step-By-Step Guide to Using Facebook for Business.

    Chapter 8. Engage Your Customers. Page 145.
    Chapter 9. Get Your Message Across. Page 163.
    Chapter 10. Build and Manage Your Relationships. Page 181.
    Chapter 11. Corporate Governance and Strategy. Page 195.
    Chapter 12. The Future of Social Business. Page 203.
    Appendix A. Snapshots of Top Social Networking Sites, March 2009. Page 213.

    It is interesting to see that you get extra stuff with the purchase of the book. $25 worth ad credit at Facebook (first 10,000 readers), register the book at InformIT.com and get bonus material and a coupon for your next purchase, and the free online edition (for 45 days) by Safari Books Online subscription service.

    I liked that Clara Shih used several personal examples from Faceconnector and other sources. You will find plenty of instructive illustrations and screen captures through the book.

  3. Thank you for such a comprehensive review of my book and for everyone’s comments!

    I look forward to hearing about your thoughts and experiences with Facebook.
    Best,
    @clarashih

  4. something is telling me I need to read this book! Between twitter, facebook, blgs, myspace, this can get confusing if u dont have your facts straight!

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