Customer Reviews: Social Pollination: Escape the Hype of Social Media and Join the Companies Winning At It
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on December 31, 2009
If you own a small business (or large one, for that matter) you've heard the buzz about social media. You've been told and told again you NEED to get on it, but you have no idea where to start. Monica Obrien's social pollination is where every business should start. It should be on the desk of every business owner looking to dive into social media, or thinking about hiring someone to do it for them. The book comes armed with relevant case studies, insight from leading experts, and most importantly, step by step guides for beginners (and experts). After reading the book, the reader will answer four important questions:

1) What is social media and how can it be leveraged as a business tool?
2) Is social media right for me? What business objectives can it help MY business achieve?
3) What are the specifics tactics and steps I need to take to accomplish those objectives in a cost-effective, timely manner?
4) How can I track and measure my progress and ROI.

There are many social media books that do a phenomenal job explaining how social media is changing the business world. However most of them stop there, and the reader is left thinking "ok, well, now what?" Monica picks up where those books leave off, by providing actionable tactics and tips business owners can implement immediately after reading.

The book does not tout social media as a cure all solution, like many experts and books seem to do. Instead she encourages readers to think of social media as a business TOOL. The author helps the reader understand the types of goals and objectives they might hope to accomplish, before deciding if social media is worth it for them.

From there, she provides a thorough overview of best practices and specific strategies. It a comprehensive guide book that a marketing team can use to get started right away. At the very least, it can be used to combat any outside social media hires who are charging without adding any real value.

All in all, this is a must read for business owners, marketing professionals, or students looking to understand the next monumental shift in marketing/advertising.
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on January 6, 2010
This book uses basic language to break down a fairly complex idea: effectively scaling your business communications using social media.

The book outlines not just what it means to `scale' business relationships and brand trust, but talks specifically about the forms this takes - a link, a comment or a casual online conversation. As straightforward as this methodology may sound, `scale' is increasingly one of those words that everyone thinks they understand, but few can actually action. Social Pollination successfully bares a set of guidelines that teach a business or brand to apply scale in the world of social media.

I was once told that a social network is like a dinner table. As a brand you can't just go and sit at someone else's table and begin selling. You have to establish relevance. Engage. Find your friends. Find the people who want to talk to you and talk about you to others. Author Monica O'Brien seems to grasp this concept with her emphasis on learning the ettiquette for each medium and taking the time to listen to conversations that are happening within communities.

Social Pollination clearly breaks down different social media channels and the benefits of each, the principles of social media and the best way to design your approach based on this list.

O'Brien sets out a standard set of business goals but concedes that the priority of each will change from company to company. She then tailors a social media strategy to suit these ends. Note that the book assumes that if your business goals do not match those mapped out in its pages, then social media is not for you. It will be interesting to watch and see whether this rings true or if gaps emerge in which case I smell a follow up book!

All in all an important read for brands laboring under the misapprehension that social media and its users are easily understood, docile or even unnecessary.
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on January 7, 2010
Everyone is trying to jump on the social media marketing bandwagon, but there are very few people who have shown - time and again - that they know how to do it right. Monica O'Brien is one of those people. She has always intuitively understood how to create buzz and enthusiasm for a message by strategically leveraging online communities, and in Social Pollination she generously shares her secrets of success. Most importantly, Social Pollination encourages social media-happy organizations to put a method to the madness, for engagement must map to business goals and results must be measurable in order to gain long-term traction. I highly recommend Social Pollination - and Monica - to anyone who's looking for a little extra guidance in navigating this confusing and exciting terrain.
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on January 15, 2010
Social Pollination is a resource guide. It's purpose is to help organization and individuals who are struggling to figure out how social media fits the goals of their organizations. I want buy 15 copies and send it to local governments and non-profits that I know aren't using social media and should be. This book is a great primer for those who aren't currently blogging, tweeting, and facebooking. Even they will be able to read this book and understand the importance of social media (and how to get started).

Each chapter opens and closes like a lesson plan, establishing clear learning goals for the reader. Social Pollination is chock full of concrete tips and resources to help small organizations, entrepreneurs and bloggers navigate social media. This book does much, much more that teach the reader how to sell more widgets using social media. O'Brien shares in-depth tips and strategies to meet a variety of social media goals.

Social Pollination includes short clips called Buzz Tips- actionable items that the reader can immediately put into effect. O'Brien calls on other social media heavy-weights like Tim Feriss and Seth Godin to contribute short sections, and each gives short vingettes that drive home O'Brien's points. The book is littered (in a good way) with quotes from other familiar social media voices, as well as resources where the reader can research for more information.

O'Brien takes the reader through the entire social media strategy process, starting with explaining why social media is important and how it can be a powerful tool in growing a business or career and taking the reader through goal-setting, choosing appropriate social media tools, platform building, content generation, SEO, public relations, and social media ROI measurement.

This book is a great go-to resource someone just getting started in social media, as well as, someone who wants to take their message to the next level. While reading, I could not stop myself from taking notes, so that I can immediately start to implement some of O'Brien's advice.

O'Brien does a good job of distilling a ton of information in short digestible chapters, giving the reader much to think about (and something to do), while pointing the reader to other great places to learn more information.
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on February 15, 2010
Social Pollination by Monica O'Brien is an easy to read book that can help small businesses effectively utilize social media. This 224 page book focuses on small businesses, but O'Brien's book can also be applied to your own personal brand.

A few of the chapters that really stood out to me as a reader were "The Psychology of Online Sharing," "Optimizing your Content" and "Social Media Tracking and ROI." "The Psychology of Online Sharing" explains why people share online content as well as why people don't share online content. People don't often think about the psychology behind sharing, but it is definitely a point social media users should understand.

"Optimizing your Content" and "Social Media Tracking and ROI" are chapters that provide tips and tools on how to understand and evaluate search engine optimization and quantitatively measure your brand's social media impact. Both are tools social media users need to understand to take their social media ability to the next week.

Case study and "buzz tips" throughout the book apply O'Brien's lessons to real-world companies to make the tools discussed even more easily understandable for the readers. O'Brien commonly uses a summary and learn more section at the end of almost every chapter so the reader can easily pursue more information on the topic discussed. She makes it very easy for you, the reader, to understand social media and I'm happy to recommend this book to others.
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on December 31, 2009
While the main audience for Social Pollination certainly is entrepreneurs and small business owners (especially those who tend be less web-savvy), it provides great gems of advice and excellent resources that even the most tried and true social media experts will appreciate. Bloggers, too, especially those just starting, will also glean important advice that they can use in building their own brands. (I wish I had this book a couple years ago when I started blogging!)

Author Monica O'Brien not only provides the basics of social media (what is a blog and what should I write, what's Twitter, what's my brand), she delves much deeper with amazing insight, resources, examples, and case studies. Throughout the book, her writing is clear and leaves the reader with a understanding without feeling overwhelmed.

This book rightly lets you know that social media is just part of the equation of a successful small business, but one that can make or break you depending on your strategy. Social Pollination gives you the strategy for your success.
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on January 10, 2010
Monica leverages her background and experience of working in startups and small companies by recommending "step-by-step instructions for creating and executing a social media strategy." The advice is practical and presents easy to understand steps, tips and resources that will help align to your business goals.

Throughout Social Pollination the use of storytelling, case studies and examples aid in proving social media's point and helps to provide analogous examples for companies to relate and compare.

There's no sugar coating in Monica's advice. She understands and outlines what works and doesn't, while she also leaves room to discuss the transient nature of social media.

Social Pollination provides the practical framework along the (often bumpy) ride of learning and using social media tools, practices and recommendations for small businesses. I recommend this book to those who are unfamiliar or relatively new to social media and want to take the leap - with Social Pollution as their guide.
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on January 15, 2010
I have been following the author's blog for awhile, and it has significantly helped me optimized my campaigns for clients. This book is WAY more than that. It has all the information a company needs to know to really "do it right" - something that most companies don't really do.

In a world of everyone calling themselves social media experts, and thousands of "advice" coming out of blogs a day, it is easy to get lost in everything. Social Pollination is one of the best books to make sure you have a holistic understanding of how to execute your campaigns and come out ahead.

I'm already looking forward to her next book, since the social media world moves at such great speed.
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on July 17, 2010
Monica writes in an engaging style which pulls you in from the first page. Her expert knowledge in the field is approachable and she makes Social Marketing feel very doable. She outlines simple and effective steps that small businesses can take making the book easy to use.

All in all highly recommended! A must-have book if you are starting a Social Media campaign or trying to take one to the next level!

- Margee Moore
[...] | Author of the iPhone book app, Sleeping with the Laundry
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on December 25, 2009
Social Pollination is a brand management guide that leverages social media and search engines. It is also a print that holds great promises but fails to deliver. O'Brien publishes great blog posts, and I respect her expertise when it comes to personal brand management. However, for a book that's written for "entrepreneurs, wannabe entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, sales/marketing/PR types at any size company" (quoted from her blog post "Behind the scenes of Social Pollination, my new book"), I find the scope perhaps getting a little outside O'Brien's field. For example, she asked the audience to "consider how to manage your company's brand" on Wolfram Alpha -- Wolfram Alpha is designed to be a computational engine, not a keyword search engine like Google. Should there be any surprise that Wolfram Alpha "[doesn't] have much to say when I search for most small brands"?

If you are new to personal branding strategies, this is what Social Pollination can do for you: (1) The Build Your Platform chapter walks you through how to use 12 tools/strategies to raise public recognition of your brand. (2) The Choose Your Social Media Channels chapter gives a comprehensive overview of 12 types of social media, and it gives demographic information of the biggest names in each of the 12 types. You have to then figure out, on your own, how to choose your tools and whether or not you have used your tools well. There aren't many case studies, success or failure, provided for you to learn from.

If you want to read this book, please keep in mind the big picture of what O'Brien tries to offer and forgive the many grammatical and spelling errors in this book. In O'Brien's own words, "It took me 3 years to learn, practice, and digest the material for this book, and about a month to write down everything I learned and edit it." After all, it *is* a tall order to hurriedly summarize three years of one's knowledge in a mere month. Making mistakes is only human.
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