Not long ago at the huge BlogWorld Expo, I met Warren Whitlock in person for the first time. Warren is someone I’ve known through social media channels for years, but had never met IRL (“in real life”). I was delighted when he gave me an autographed copy of the new book “Profitable Social Media: Business Results Without Playing Games:” that he wrote along with co-authors Lee Pound and Edward Philipp.
Rather than doing a traditional style of book review, I thought I’d tell you 10 things about the book:
- The three authors are experienced in online marketing, social media, and publishing. Warren Whitlock (@WarrenWhitlock on Twitter) is an online author, speaker, publisher and social media marketing strategist. Lee Pound is a former newspaper editor who helps business owners publish books that showcase them as the recognized expert in their field. Edward Philipp (@EdLovesSumo on Twitter) is the co-founder of TeleSeminarNation.
- The book consists of advice and insights from over 50 social media strategists and Web marketers. Those who are active in social media will recognize the book’s interviewees – people such as Jim Kukral, Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Liz Strauss, Michael Port, Bob Burg, Brian Clark, Denise Wakeman, Scott Allen, Mari Smith, and Rebel Brown.
- The book starts out by describing Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle” and applying it to social media. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle “says that you cannot know both the location of an object and its momentum at the time to any degree of precision.” Applied to social media marketing, it means that “you can’t know who your message is reaching at any given time. All you can know for sure is that somebody is seeing it and that most of the time that somebody cares nothing about what you have to say” and “you must attract people who want to see” your messages. The way to do this is to create small communities and establish relationships using social media.
- The book then notes the old marketing axiom that you must “touch” your audience at least 7 times before they will buy. According to the book: “Those seven touches are not marketing messages. They are rapport building messages. Social media is one way to create many of those seven touches in a very easy and non-threatening way.”
- The book is organized into chapters that speak to the kinds of needs that small business owners, entrepreneurs and online marketers have. Chapters include: Getting Known and Getting Found. Branding Yourself with Social Media. Protecting Your Reputation in the Internet Age. Building Your Business With Social Media. Speaking and Writing on Social Media. Profitable Social Media for Non-Profits. Moving People Into Your Sales Process.
- Despite all the emphasis on sales and profitability, the book makes the point that social media is about marketing, not sales. It’s about building relationships as a precursor to selling. It is not for selling directly.
- Quoting Internet marketer Paul Colligan, your objective is to get people from social media sites to your websites or on your email list. He says social media doesn’t replace other marketing — for instance, direct email had an opt-in conversion rate five times that of social media, in his testing. But he uses Twitter, Facebook and other social media to get people to opt in to his email list. Then he makes offers through the email list – rather than directly on social media sites.
- What I liked best about this book is that it connects the dots between social media and sales, in the following sense. Use social media as a first step or one of several phases in your marketing plan. I’m sure you’ve heard experts say ad nauseum to use social media to develop relationships — and wondered what the point of all those relationships is. Profitable Social Media always comes back to the endgame: higher sales. But it also points out that you need to think of your marketing and selling process as having multiple purposes and phases. Your ROI won’t come directly from putting out a sales offer on Twitter. Instead, use social media like Twitter to develop interested followers. Once they are interested enough, you entice them to visit your website or sign up for your email list, or remind them to visit your brick and mortar store. Once they’ve done that, you may be positioned to sell – but don’t try shortcuts.
- One aspect of the book that I’d urge the authors to revise in future printings is the quality of the images. The images are mostly headshots of the interviewees or screenshots. It looks like the images were grabbed from the Web and aren’t high enough resolution for print. This doesn’t detract from the overall advice in the book, just from the experience of reading the book.
- Overall, if you like to read advice from well-known social media marketers and Internet business people, you will enjoy Profitable Social Media. You get advice from 50+ experts rolled into one convenient package.