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Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook Paperback – December 2, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (December 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271992
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo have run social media marketing campaigns for national retailers like Best Buy, Future Shop and Brother International. They've been quoted as experts on social media on the CBC and BBC, and in Wired magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other magazines, TV, and radio programs. Founders of Northern Voice, Canada's social media conference, they regularly speak around North America on social media, marketing, and emerging technology. Darren has 10,000 daily readers at DarrenBarefoot.com.


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Customer Reviews

You know, "get 4 gazillion Facebook followers!" and all that sort of thing.
Anthony Lawrence
If you are wanting help navigating the waters of social media marketing, "Friends With Benefits" is a great resource and handbook to help you along.
Alain B. Burrese
The book is fairly easy to read but it does cover a lot of territory, from blogging to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
John Chancellor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Abraham on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I started my social media mar­ket­ing firm three years ago I had an advan­tage. By autumn, 2006, I had passed through New Media Strate­gies as Tech­nol­ogy Strate­gist and Edelman's elite Pub­lic Affairs Online Advo­cacy team. Even so, my busi­ness part­ner, Mark Har­ri­son, and I made a lot of mis­takes, walked through mine fields, and even­tu­ally started tak­ing more hills than we lost. I started Abra­ham Har­ri­son almost exactly three years ago and I would have really appre­ci­ated Friends with Ben­e­fits: A Social Media Mar­ket­ing Hand­book by Dar­ren Bare­foot and Julie Szabo. Actu­ally, I am kind of bummed that I didn't write this book myself because I cer­tainly could have and should have -- but I didn't. (Via Mar­ket­ing Con­ver­sa­tion)

Friends with Ben­e­fits spoke to me because I have "lonely nerd" deep inside of me and this book goes all the way back into the yes­ter­years of 80s com­put­ing when I, too, was surf­ing the proto-Inter­net via a 1200-baud modem. Like the book asserts in chap­ter one, we lonely nerds weren't lonely, "the early BBSs were actu­ally very social" and so were we. Fast-forward from the early 80s -- when I was doing dial-up and geek­ing out in Hon­olulu Bul­letin Board Sys­tems -- twenty years and "social media" is invented. No, re-invented.

Dar­ren Bare­foot and Julie Szabo get it and they lay it all out into this book and basi­cally wrote the book on start­ing and build­ing Abra­ham Har­ri­son -- or a firm or agency like it -- from scratch. And not just start­ing an agency but inte­grat­ing social media mar­ket­ing into your adver­tis­ing or PR agency or even adding smart social media capac­ity into your big, medium or even small busi­ness. I am impressed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Lawrence VINE VOICE on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I know that I should do more social media marketing for my own business. I do some, but I don't really do all that I could.

The reason is that I have a distaste for spammy marketing. You know, "get 4 gazillion Facebook followers!" and all that sort of thing. The sleazy Internet marketers have really turned me off.

On the other hand, I am reminded of a young women who does Tweets for a few local businesses here. She announces restaurant specials, provides links of interest for the people who follow her husbands computer repair business, and just does amusing reminders every now and then. I follow her tweets because I want to know about the things she posts. It's not annoying - she's doing it the right way, and that's exactly the sort of thing that this book suggests.

There's nothing spammy here, nothing that makes me uncomfortable (and I'm more than a little squeamish on this subject). Anyone with a business, whether it's Big Business or just you working out of your living room, can benefit from the advice in this book. No sleaze, just practical advice about how to market well using social media.

This would be a great introduction for anyone who can't imagine why Twitter, Facebook et al. could be good for business, but it will also be useful for fine tuning the efforts of those who are already using the Web to enhance their marketing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave Kinnear on January 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Despite the whimsical and provocative title, Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo have produced a serious and useful handbook for Social Media Marketing. Written in clear "layman's terms," the authors take us through the "what is and why social networking" questions and then on to which ones, how they work and which markets each one might best address.

In addition to explaining how the reader might go about getting social network ready, the authors go about explaining some very interesting points about "netiquette." I've been around the web for a long time and this particular section was of interest to me. It confirmed many of my own hard earned beliefs and went onto point out a few new ways in which I might change what I do so that I avoid unintentionally put off others. Since the point of Social Network is to provide value to others, it makes no sense to offend.

There is a significant amount of information on "damage control." One of the most important things to remember is that whether or not we are active on the web, the web can be very active on us! The authors point out that unless you are watching what's being said about your company or you as an individual, you may be blindsided by customer issues (rightly or wrongly accusing your company) that are being blogged about in a very public manner. So guidelines are given for how to monitor the web not only for news about you, but to measure success for any marketing campaigns you might run.

Each of several of the major social networking sites has a chapter of its own to explain how it got started, who is using it and how it works. Blogs and how to find them, My Space, Facebook, YouTube and other video sharing sites, and of course Twitter are all covered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Loren Woirhaye VINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The way I see it, there's a lot of excessive optimism in the
material out there on Social Media. There's a lot of
cheerleading about the free advertising and the engagement
with customers, but not enough acknowledgement of the
enormous investment of skilled man-hours many social media
tactics require to bear fruit.

Social Media boosters may be aware that real marketers want
to know what the ROI will be, and to please us they have
some convenient, practiced answers. The truth is you cannot
realistically outsource your company's social media branding
to people earning $2 an hour who don't have a reason to care
if your company looks stupid. If you go for the bottom-rung,
quantity-over-quality approach to social media you'll get a
messy result. The other alternative, as in most advertising,
is to put the right MONEY into social media. Since
intelligent employees who "get it" must be paid, and since
social media is a time-consuming type of marketing, you
won't be getting free advertising the way you're hoping.

This book is excellent. My expectations were low, because
much of what I read on social media marketing hypes the free
advertising and avoids addressing the labor-intensity of it.
This book is a breath of fresh air because it addresses real
problems that can and will occur in social media marketing
and how to deal with them.

Now that I've had my rant, I'll just recommend the book with
a 5 star (a rating I'm getting stingier and stingier with).
That means it's really useful stuff.
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