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The Social Media Strategist: Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out [Hardcover]

Christopher Barger
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 20, 2011

Build a powerful social media strategy to increase buzz—and the bottom line

“Whether you’re Fortune 500 or a small business owner, if you’re looking for success in this field, you owe it to yourself to read this book.”
—George G. Smith Jr., Social Strategist, PepsiCo

“After working with hundreds of organizations in their efforts to adopt social technologies, I can safely say The Social Media Strategist is the best guide available. Christopher Barger elevates the social media conversation with an experienced pragmatic insider’s discussion about real adoption. This book should be on every corporate and agency practitioner’s shelf.”
—Geoff Livingston, author of Welcome to the Fifth Estate and Now Is Gone

“This book is an absolute must-read for anyone seeking to better understand how to plug social media into their business from both a strategic and an operational standpoint, and should be required reading for communications and business management students around the world.”
—Olivier A. Blanchard, author of Social Media ROI

The Social Media Strategist is refreshing because it has substance amidst a sea of social media superficiality. It will help you think strategically and realistically so you can act efficiently and creatively. If you’re serious about business and committed about leveraging social media, you need to read this book.”
—Esteban Contreras, Social Media Marketing Manager, Samsung USA

“Christopher offers a refreshing point of view as a seasoned practitioner and leader in the earliest days of the social media evolution. He describes the challenges of large-scale internal change and the rewards of integrating social media business planning, and he shares real-world examples of successful campaigns.”
—Shauna Causey, Head of Social Media, Nordstrom

About the Book:

In today’s fast-paced professional climate, large companies are learning that launching a website and taking a wait-and-see approach to engaging customers is not enough. Competition is fierce, and those who master the social media space are the ones who come out on top. There is greater urgency than ever before to establish a vibrant social media program—and it all starts with a key strategist who can best organize and leverage all of the organization’s resources to cut through the bureaucracy and get real-time results.

This is where The Social Media Strategist comes in. Before tackling specific social media programs, you first have to get your own organization—and everyone in it—on board with making social media a business strategy priority.

Christopher Barger, the award-winning former social media director at General Motors and IBM’s former “blogger-in-chief,” describes all the challenges particular to getting a comprehensive social media program off the ground in a large firm. The Social Media Strategist teaches you how to:

  • Manage internal office politics, from your legal team to the policy makers to the human resource department
  • Present new ideas to lawyers and executives in a compelling, convincing way
  • Teach your employees the guidelines and protocols they’ll need to represent your company
  • Turn your organization into a true media outlet, publishing content that is generated by in-house employees and is truly engaging to an outside audience

“Telling a company from the outside what it should do is one thing,” writes Barger. “Actually making it happen from the inside is quite another.” Here, he takes the bold step of starting where all successful endeavors begin: by planning well, by putting all the moving parts in the right place, by constructing a solid foundation.

Consult The Social Media Strategist and build the best-suited social media infrastructure for your company. Then, and only then, can you begin to raise your profile, connect with customers, and increase your profits using the most powerful new business tool.


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Barger is senior vice president of global programs at Voce Connect, a division of Porter Novelli, which assists clients around the world in developing social media programs and strategies. He spent four years as director of global social media at General Motors, and he served as IBM’s “blogger-in-chief,” playing a crucial role in developing IBM’s online presence.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071768254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071768252
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is refreshing to find a book about social media strategy that has compelling, timely and useful content AND is a joy to read. Christopher Barger calls upon his corporate communications and social media development experiences at General Motors and IBM to offer an excellent resource for organizations of all sizes, filled with real-life examples, anecdotes and lessons-learned.

What truly impressed me about The Social Media Strategist was the focus on developing an effective and successful social media strategy. This may sound like a colossal no-brainer (I can hear you saying, "Yes, but that's the name of the book!") - trust me when I say that I've read far too many books, posts and articles that SAY they'll help you develop a strategy, but don't. The author provides concrete advice, actionable ideas and insights that make sense from both a business perspective and a social media perspective. All too often you get one or the other - rarely do you get both in one place.

Christopher Barger learned by doing, and he shares his hard-won knowledge in an eminently readable book. I'd say it belongs on the shelf of every organization that values excellence in social media, but you'll reach for it so often that it might be easier to keep it on your desk. Simply stated, if you want to develop a successful social media strategy or if you want to enhance an existing strategy, do yourself a favor and read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading from the trenches January 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I stand by my praise quote: "This book is a MUST READ for anyone implementing social media for a large organization--you'll learn the true, valuable lessons from someone who's been there and learned the craft the hard way."

We need more books like this. So many businesses are doing the work of social media management - and, if they are doing it successfully, humanizing themselves in the process - and we want to read more insights from people who are actually living and breathing it, not those who are just playing with it and presenting the same old ideas everywhere they go to audiences who don't know any better. THIS is the kind of book you should be reading - with lessons from the trenches, not just from the podium. (Though if Christopher is speaking somewhere - go, and relish the opportunity to ask him questions as someone who's truly immersed in the real work of social media.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for teaching undergrad students! January 14, 2015
Format:Hardcover
This is a great book if you're teaching a college class!

I teach an undergraduate social media marketing course and needed a professional book. With recent tuition hikes, etc... there is a push for faculty to require professional books like this one rather than pricey textbooks - $25 vs. $100. Publishing reps sent me over 30 books to review and consider. I spent an entire Saturday skimming through each one.

Here's why I picked this book:

1) Chris Barger actually worked as a social media professional. It wasn't all theory and buzzwords. He actually did the work, wrote the text, dealt with internal politics and personally handled a really nasty online crisis. He spoke about each element of a social media plan then shared his personal experiences. Students got it because he connected the concept with actual events.

2) The book is written like a conversation. He drops a few curse words and points out his mistakes. Wow! Again, students connected with it because he sounded like a human being and not a boring, clinical textbook. If you follow him on Twitter, he sounds the same. Truly genuine which students picked up on right way. So many students told me that this was the first book that they ever really read cover to cover in college. Considering my course is a 4000-level for seniors, that's saying something.

3) The information was timely and timeless. Because the content focused on strategy and not the "how to use" social media platforms, the book is just as relevant today and it was when it was published. I teach strategic concepts with a book and "how to" via class assignments. A good business approach never ages.

I've required this book for five classes and it's been a hit each time. When students actually rave about the book on the final course survey, you know it's a winner!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good March 21, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really just started getting into the meat and potatoes of The Social Media Strategist but what I've read so far is pretty good. Still driving through parts of the book which I am familiar with (having already been involved in social media strategy design), there are always tid bits here and there which I have found useful.

Despite the fact that I already provide Social Media Strategy Design assistance to businesses and individuals, this book is still a trusty resource to have on the shelf...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Info June 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much, being relatively new to my position as a Social Media Strategist. However, I would have liked to see a bit more on strategy - specifically strategic plan examples. Overall though, great information.
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Format:Hardcover
Christopher Barger's new book bridges two of the biggest gaps in the proliferating social media category: strategy and how to manage an effective social program in a large organization.

"Demands and expectations of big companies -- and even laws governing their behavior -- are different from those for individuals or small shops," Barger notes in the introduction to "The Social Media Strategist: Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out."

This is welcome insight for anyone working for corporations, institutions and other large organizations. Far too many popular social media tomes miss this basic distinction: "If you haven't been inside a company or organization -- if you don't know corporate culture and bureaucracy, or have no experience navigating internal minefields -- then you don't know how to make social media work inside a company."

Barger is just the person to tackle this subject from the insider's perspective, having led early social media efforts at IBM and built the social program from the ground up at General Motors -- two of the largest organizations going.

"The Social Media Strategist" provides a blueprint for communications and marketing professionals spearheading social programs in large organizations. It's also for PR and marketing firms with large corporate clients.

The book walks you, chapter by chapter, through the seven elements required in an effective organizational social media program, including:

1) The executive champion -- the leader who secures adoption of the vision, backs the program with budget and headcount, and stops the spread of parallel programs.
2) Organizational "ownership" of social media -- and how to bring HR, Customer Service, IT, PR and Marketing to the table to collaborate.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Social Media Strategist: A book that can help build, evolve, or...
I won't lie. I started "Social Media Strategist" in early October and only finished it recently. It is not because the book is uninteresting, but that my schedule makes it... Read more
Published on November 13, 2012 by christinelarade
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Social Media Strategist
This is an excellent book, based on practical experience that emphasizes the need to combine use of social media with actual contact with customers, critics, potential partners,... Read more
Published on October 5, 2012 by linwells
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Book For Corporate Social Media Folks
Can I whine for a sec? I have a hard time reading social media books, because usually I know 85%+ of what's in them. Read more
Published on February 21, 2012 by Brian B. Carter
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's Your Ace?
You'll be asking yourself this question after reading The Social Media Strategist by Christopher Barger. Read more
Published on February 4, 2012 by Mark Krupinski
5.0 out of 5 stars The Social Medai Strategist - A MUST READ
Christopher Barger's book, "Social Media Strategist" is incredibly valuable and worthwhile, right from the start. Read more
Published on January 30, 2012 by PDMUtah
4.0 out of 5 stars The Social Media Strategist - A Review
Social media is just beginning to reach it's "teen" years, being just about 10 years old, and many companies and organizations are still struggling with many big questions, such as... Read more
Published on January 30, 2012 by Craig E. Yaris
4.0 out of 5 stars A great way to get yourself and your organization up to speed in the...
The social media are not even a decade old, as Christopher Barger points out in his book, The Social Media Strategist: Build a
Successful Program from the Inside Out... Read more
Published on January 30, 2012 by Pat Rocchi
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish this book was around when I started in the space.
Customer Video Review
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Published on January 29, 2012 by Jeffespo
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More About the Author

I'm Christopher Barger, Senior Vice President of Global Programs at Voce Communications (a Porter Novelli company). That's a mouthful of a title, isn't it? I'm the author of The Social Media Strategist (2012, McGraw-Hill). I've been with Voce since April 2011, coming here after nearly seven years of leading social media programs at Fortune 50 companies, and nearly a decade and a half of building corporate communications strategies.

Until last year, I was director of global social media at General Motors, building the company's social media program and leading its presence across multiple social networks. I was lucky enough to win PR News' "Social Media Leader of the Year" award in 2010. I also used to managed social media initiatives and corporate communications for IBM and was Big Blue's first "Blogger-in-Chief." I'm also a contributor to Forbes' CMO Network through my blog, "The Social Media Report." So as you might guess, I write about social media, especially from the business perspective. I see social media as a business practice integrated with larger communications ad marketing strategies, not as a standalone effort and not just for the sake of "the conversation."

When I'm not working, you can usually find me at the ice arena near my home near Detroit watching my son play hockey; we're both avid Detroit Red Wings fans (as is my wife). I'm pretty much a sports nut -- love my hometown Detroit teams and the Boston Red Sox as well. I also pride myself on being a master of useless pop culture trivia. Look for me on Twitter - I'd love to talk with you!

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The Social Media Strategist:  Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out
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waiting for this book......
I wonder why the Social Media Strategist does not display as a Kindle option.
Dec 22, 2011 by Amazon Customer |  See all 3 posts
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