The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 26 April 2011


(2011), "The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 25 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web

Article Type: Suggested reading From: Development and Learning in Organizations, Volume 25, Issue 3

Tamar Weinberg,O’Reilly Media, Sebastopol, CA, 2009, 346 pp.

Whether you are already sold on the importance of social media marketing and want to get right into the tricks of the trade or you want to see how a social media marketing expert presents the importance of social media to potential skeptics, The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web offers the best of both worlds. Tamar Weinberg’s book provides a great roadmap that readers can use to advance their knowledge of social media marketing tools, social media management practices, social media services, and social media behavioral norms. This broad spectrum of social media marketing topics in The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web provides the reader with a well-rounded reading experience. The book is organized in a logical and clear manner and contains resources that even an experienced blogger will likely find helpful. Let us take a look at how this book is organized.

It starts with a funny Foreword that illustrates the importance of social media marketing and the mentality it takes to be successful at interacting with people online. Chapter 1 provides information about how much media people are consuming online, and it highlights the idea that while many companies recognize the importance of search engine optimization, not all firms have recognized the importance of social media optimization (social media marketing). Chapters 2 and 3 discuss some of the managerial, planning, and big-picture aspects of social media marketing. Chapter 4 identifies why it is important for a company to participate in the conversations that are occurring online. Chapters 5-11 review the new ways in which people are communicating online by covering blogging, microblogging, social networks, online information sources, social bookmarking, social news, podcasting, social video, and social images. Chapter 12 ties all of the previous chapters together and offers some final recommendations. The following paragraphs will revisit these chapters in more detail to highlight some of the social media marketing issues and tips presented in this book.

Social media marketing provides a company with the ability to communicate new products and promotions to potential customers, to boost web traffic to a company’s main website, and to build relationships with consumers. In order for a company to attain these benefits of social media, that firm has to dedicate resources to social media and to relinquish the control over marketing messages (talking at people versus talking with people). While online interactions and conversations are not directly quantifiable in terms of ROI, people are definitely spending more and more time online chatting with friends, forwarding their favorite links, consuming online media, and searching for products online.

After a company has decided to participate in an online community it must be transparent, and it needs to listen to the conversation. In order to begin to listen to the conversation, the authors recommend the use of some free tools like Google Alerts and Twitter Search and the use of paid tools like Trakur and Radian 6. The book also recommends monitoring online conversations occurring on video sites, photo-sharing sites, blogs, and forums. Because it can be difficult for a company to be a newcomer to an online community, it discusses the importance of understanding the community’s demographics, likes, and dislikes, as well as contributing regularly and actively participating in the community by helping people, giving, and respecting the established members. Engaging online communities helps establish a company’s identity and manage its reputation.

Having covered social media marketing from a managerial, philosophical, and big-picture perspective, The New Community Rules starts to cover many of the details associated with online communication. The book explains that having a website is key to establishing an identity online, and then it reviews content management or blogging platforms such as WordPress and MovableType. A blog allows a company to communicate in new ways like through pingbacks and trackbacks. The importance of listening to other blogs that are on the same topic as your is stressed, as is providing your blog’s audience with good content. This chapter on blogging concludes by identifying some of the blog directory services such as Technorati and MyBlogLog that can be used to promote a blog. Another important way for a company to establish on online identity and to drive traffic to a website is microblogging.

An entire chapter is dedicated to microblogging on Twitter. In this chapter there is a compilation of Twitter resources that is very helpful. The chapter reviews Twitter clients such as TweetDeck, URL shorteners such as, Twitter trend services such as Twitturly, Twitter personal statistics services such as TweetStats, searching for people to follow services such as Twellow, friend maintenance services such as Friend or Follow, Twitter search tools such as TweetScan, and Twitter mobile applications such as Twitterfon. Twitter can also be thought of as a social network, and so social networks are covered in the following chapter.

The main social networking sites used in the USA – Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn – are reviewed, as are other social networks that are popular in other parts of the world. The difference between Facebook groups, profiles, and pages is discussed, and Facebook applications are covered. The popularity of MySpace is said to be waning, but MySpace is identified as one of the best tools for music marketing. LinkedIn is the professional social network. Important social networks in other parts of the world include Orkut (Brazil), Bebo (UK, Australia, and New Zealand), and hi5 (Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa). Social networks are where lots of word-of-mouth is happening online, but social networks are not always the first place people go when they want to get information.

The popularity of user-generated information resources such as Wikipedia, Mahalo, and Yahoo! Answers is increasing. A company can monitor changes to these information resources by subscribing to RSS feeds that are updated whenever changes are made to topics on these sites. People are also getting answers to their questions online in new ways through services such as WikiAnswers, Ask Metafilter, Answerbag, Askville, Twitter Answers, LinkedIn Answers, and Aardvark. When people find a great piece of information or a link they like online they can bookmark these links in new ways. Social bookmarking sites such as Delicious and StumbleUpon aggregate bookmarking data and allow users to discover links that others have been bookmarked. Diigo, Twine, and Mister Wong are also identified as important saving and bookmarking services within their own niche. While bookmarking services are used for sites that contain useful information, social news sites focus more on aggregating links that are new and important to people. Social news services allow users to discover news stories and to add comments to these news stories. Popular social news sites include Digg and Reddit. Shoutwire, Propeller, Fark, Yahoo! Buzz, and SocialMedian are also identified as important social news sites. A lot of the content that people bookmark and vote on as newsworthy is not just text-based. Multimedia content such as audio, video, and images are popular online.

Audio, video, and image multimedia content are being shared in new ways online. Flickr is the most popular way to share images such as graphic designs and photographs. YouTube is the most popular way to share videos. Sites like Tubemogul allow users to upload a video once and to distribute it to other video sharing sites like Viddler, Vimeo, and Podcasts can be distributed for free on iTunes. Multimedia content allows a company to create rich content that people enjoy listening to, looking at, and watching. Furthermore, it is important for a company to recognize that there are a lot of data that can be gathered for free about how users are consuming this multimedia content.

After six chapters packed with details about internet marketing tools, Weinberg takes a step back and reviews some big-picture issues important to social media marketing. ROI can be estimated by examining your website’s reach (how far is your message traveling?), frequency and traffic (how often are people visiting your site?), influence (how deep are online conversations related to your business?), conversions and transactions (are people making purchases on your website?), and sustainability (how long do users keep following your website?). Once you have established an identity online, the book recommends meeting people offline. In this final chapter there is also a good section about fostering creativity in order to help create a marketing message go viral.

The New Community Rules goes beyond simply discussing the importance of social media marketing and provides specific details, reviews, and recommendations about blogging software, social networking applications, social media monitoring services, social bookmarking services, social news services, multimedia publishing services, and more. The book also describes the behavioral norms that exist on blogs, social networks, and discussion forums in order to provide the reader with guidelines about how to use the new internet marketing tools. This combination of both the technical and the behavioral elements associated with social media marketing make this book a great resource for a wide audience of readers interested in learning more about social media marketing.

Reviewed by David Mark Horowitz, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA, USA.

This review was originally published in Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 19 No. 6, 2010.