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Chris Bond: The Monthly Book Report

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I read Socialnomics this month because my financial planner recommended it, and he’s a really clever digital marketer in an industry regulated at such an absurd level that it’s illegal in 38 states to even say his name aloud. (It’s Steve Davis – so there, Kentucky!) Erik Qualman’s book exists for anyone trying to figure out social media marketing and branding, and if Planner Steve can successfully apply its principles then sure as all heckfire you and I can as well, right? What I particularly like about the book is that it focuses the reader on what is really important, helping shape a meaningful web strategy. Does it gnaw at you that you’ve never been on Google+, never mind that it’s nowhere to be found in your marketing plan? Well, don’t sweat it, because the author says it’s only a thing because Google wants to distract Facebook just enough so the latter has less time to focus on building its social search capabilities. As my boy Jerry McGuire says, “We live in a cynical, cynical world.”

Qualman writes, “Socialnomics is the value created and shared via social media and its efficient influence on outcomes.” He goes on to say, “More simply put, it’s word of mouth on digital steroids.” The message here is that ever increasingly, purchasing decisions are being made based on recommendations from one’s social circle(s). Apparently, nine out of ten of us trust peer recommendations while only one in seven trust advertisements. You say, tell me something I don’t know, book nerd. Fine. Did you know that Bazaarvoice, a ratings system provider, has concluded that when we view two products side-by-side on the web, we’re more likely to purchase the one with a 4.5 star rating than the one with a perfect 5.0? Sounds silly, but we find more credibility in the imperfect product and are comforted when reading a negative review, the issue about which doesn’t concern us personally. Southwest Airlines wants a certain percentage of comments to be complaints that passengers only get peanuts because, you know, those among us who wouldn’t dream of purchasing a movie theatre hot dog also don’t want a crappy rubber chicken dinner on our flight anyway. 

The author says that to truly benefit from social media, we must be completely transparent, listen carefully to what our customers and clients are saying, and understand that we’ll fail if we don’t clearly define our niche position in the crowded marketplace. Qualman says that there are more than 200 million blogs and counting, so we can’t afford to look and feel like everything – perhaps anything – else out there. And he cautions against playing it too safe, believing “if there isn’t 5 to 10 percent negative noise around your brand, then your brand is either irrelevant or not being aggressive enough in the space.” Even when we falter, we can be “flawsome,” defined as owning up to mistakes and correcting them. There are dozens more worthy ideas in Socialnomics, too much to get to here. Overwhelmed? You might do as Qualman says and don’t try to be everywhere. Pick a spot, move quickly, with a purpose. 

Good reading!

Chris Bond

Originally posted by Chris Bond on March 27, 2015 at 8:26am

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