Customer Reviews: The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success
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VINE VOICEon November 5, 2009
This book is a good way to get familiar with online social tools. The author covers ways to use email, social networking tools and publishing tools. He has good information about establishing some goals and determining a strategy for meeting the goals. He also has a lot of useful references if you want to get more familiar with a particular topic.

I only gave it three stars for the following reasons:
- Too much coverage of the history of the internet, email, and web pages. If I was interested in that, I'd get a book on the history of the internet, email, and web pages.
- Misinformation on some tools, and missing information about other tools. For instance, the author mentions Joomla, a content management system that can be used to create websites and blogs. He mentions it in a way that may mislead people as to its uses when he states that it can pair with any number of applications. It might work with other applications, but that may require coding skills or money to pay someone to make them work together. He also ignores the multitude of other open source content management systems that are out there.
- A serious amount of repetition in sections one and two. A lot of what is stated in the second section is already in the first, so it added a few hundred pages without saying a whole lot.

This is a good book. It's less complete than the title suggests.
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on August 12, 2009
Ask a hundred people what "social media" is, and you may get a hundred different definitions. Frankly, social media doesn't just connect people--it baffles them, too. The authors of "The Social Media Bible," however, have made a considerable attempt at creating a resource that helps readers gain an overall understanding of the social media "ecosystem" (to put it in the authors' terms) and how the social media phenomenon relates to business.

First, I think it's in order to discuss what this tome covers. Part I, Background Basics and Tactics, comprises the first 23 chapters. This section of the book defines social media, explains the different types of social media, and helps you understand why it's important. You get coverage here of everything from social networks to microblogging to virtual worlds. If you've read other books about social media, you may already be familiar with some of this content. If you're brand new to social media, you'll find it especially helpful.

Part II, Tools, comprises chapters 24-38 and revisits the different categories of social media, focusing on current popular tools. The authors discuss each tool, focusing on who should use them and why; you'll even find some more technical information in these chapters. Although I appreciated the broad look at all the different types of the social media, I felt that the sections could have gone into more detail. However, you could easily write an entire book on each type of social media presented, so the authors clearly had to limit coverage of each type of social media resource.

Part III, Strategy, includes the final chapters of 39-43 and offers some excellent advice on how to apply everything learned in the book. I appreciated the bits of advice spread throughout as well as the cohesive strategies presented. I especially found the chapter "The Four Pillars of Social Media Strategy" helpful, which discusses how a social media strategy should have goals of communication, collaboration, education, and entertainment.

Although some of the principles in this book will endure, much of the descriptions for current social media tools will quickly go out of date (as some already have). However, the authors clearly recognized this and intended it to be a timely book. If you're new to the concept of social media and seeking how to apply social media to your business, the "Social Media Bible" is a great resource. If you're already familiar with using social media, you may find yourself skipping some of the basic information in the book. Overall, I believe there is wisdom for everyone to find in this useful guide--the kind of wisdom that will help you to give new life to your company's online marketing efforts in the social media world.
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on April 30, 2009
Great book! Loved it! It's huge and heavy and not particularly pricey. I found it to be well organized and well written. And it was certainly packed to the gills with content. There are 43 chapters split into three different sections: (1) Background basics & tactics, (2) Tools, & (3) Strategy. The chapters in the first part provide an introduction and framework regarding the book. The numerous chapters in the second part cover 100+ social media tools. And the last five or six chapters in the third part can help you do an audit of the social media marketing your company does (or doesn't do).

The book is comprehensive. I haven't seen a book that covers so much and in such depth on the topic of social media marketing (or Internet Marketing). There were a ton of "Expert Insights" sprinkled throughout the text that really made the book shine. And each chapter ended with three summaries: (1) Commandments, (2) Conclusion, & (3) Readings & Resources. Each were well done. In particular the Readings & Resources for each chapter were better than most books have at the end of an entire book. 6 stars!

PS. To see the chapter titles and how the book is specifically organized I encourage you to peek at the Search Inside feature Amazon offers for this book. With 43 chapters there are a lot of chapter titles to read.
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on December 27, 2012
This book is a required text for one of my courses. If you are not at all tech savvy or have never used a computer before, this text might be useful, but for my 400 level course this ranks as an inappropriate text because it attempts to provide a very broad overview of the most basic starting information for a wide array of social media. That's not really the author's fault of course, and it's not actually the reason for my 1 star rating. I rated the book as 1 star for the author's poor utilization of his own suggestions for his book companion site. This is actually considered a Wiley higher ed text book, and my interactions with the text's constant references to the author companion site generated numerous contacts with Wiley Technical Support attempting to unravel the problems with the content (both online and print) for this text. At the end of the day, the only thing Wiley support could tell me was this: "we will try to contact the author to try to resolve discrepancies between the book and the author companion site".

The text has a fair amount of "churn" where content is covered, and then covered, and then covered yet again OR where readers are directed to a companion site to review content that can't be accessed.

For example, chapter 9 covers podcasts, and then chapter 10 again hashes out podcasts with the chapter heading "Got Audio?" The same thing was done for Vlogs and "Got Video?".

The in-chapter international vignettes often had no relationship to the chapter they were in. Rather than including an international vignette in each chapter, I think it would have been far more useful to consolidate the vignettes into chapters where the content had some relevance.

The chapter on SIMS probably had far more relevance to the text than the chapter on MMOs. The chapter on MMOs could have effectively been eliminated from the text since the author freely concedes that the only real income-generating activity associated with most MMORPGs is considered against the terms of service of most games. It should come as no surprise that Blizzard declined to participate in The Social Media Bible, sadly for me, I can't read their response because it's detailed at the author companion site (which I will get to soon enough; the suggestion to read Blizzard's response is on p. 381 of the book). After spending much of the MMO chapter detailing the ins and outs of Wow & EverQuest (including author explanations of tank, CC, etc.) for the games where a relevant discussion could have been created regarding in game ads, the author simply glossed over this topic with a couple of paragraphs at the end of the chapter!

In numerous places in the text, the author repeatedly refers to free resources on his book companion website, along with QR codes (ostensibly only readable by mobile devices). The QR codes are ineffectual because the author's companion site is not compatible with mobile devices. The conspicuous placement of the QR codes leads readers to believe that mobile devices should work with the text. After several failed attempts at this, I contacted Wiley support only to be told that no, the author's companion site was not compatible with mobile devices and is meant to be used either with a desktop or laptop computer. When I indicated that QR codes implied mobile device compatibility and provided numerous page numbers with QR codes on them, Wiley support told me they would contact the author. (In fairness, the QR codes navigate to the companion site; however, they do not go to the resource referred to in the text. They go to a login page that users will not be able to login with a mobile device because it's not compatible.)

For example, on page 212 the book says, "A great resource for creating and distributing podcasts is Podcasting for Dummies by Tee Morris, Evo Terra, Adn Dawn Miceli (see Figure 9.1). Go to [...] to download the Podcasting for Dummies primer e-book. It's free!"

When you attempt to do this, you can never navigate to the intended resource. This happens over and over again (typically I was actually routed to a completely different book, after multiple redirects), which is frustrating. I usually don't spend much time worrying about companion materials, but when they are repeatedly suggested in a text, I tend to at least give it a diligent try--for my effort I received nothing.

The primary purpose of the author's site is not to enable access to free companion materials, but to sell his other books and services. While I certainly understand the motivation, QR codes that lead to a login portal and NOT the item they are indicating in the text that they are supposed to lead you to (as well as the fact that I was told by Wiley technical support that the resources were not compatible with mobile devices) or suggestions to access materials that are inaccessible will make it near impossible to utilize these resources either for study or course assignments. For those who happen to stumble into this book who are not in a course, I suppose this will be even more confusing because suggestions to navigate to the author companion site are on nearly every page of the book (with every other page, or sometimes 2 page gaps for variation).

In many places in the book, the author discusses the importance of having a site that routes folks to engaging or useful content for the end user, to encourage further interaction and perhaps generate revenue. In the chapter on building a site, Safko notes that getting people to stay at a site to click through is the primary goal, so ensuring usability, etc. is a high priority. However, the repeatedly mentioned author companion site does none of these things. Login leads you to the wrong book. Clicking on the free resources links forces you to subscribe to e-mails that don't contain the referenced free resources. In some cases, links are simply dead, or the path to try to navigate to resources is so convoluted it becomes impossible to complete the task suggested in the book. The QR codes, as mentioned previously, are not compatible with mobile device

In short, I began to wonder why in the world these suggestions about how to succeed with social media were not being utilized at the author's companion site. While the testimonies are front and center at the companion site, and at least according to the author's speaking schedule, his speaking engagements are sold out, I found it interesting that as of today Safko has a mere 254 likes on Facebook. I live in a modest sized town, and we have food carts and individual pets with more likes.
Mind you, Safko has actually done some amazing development work on his own creating some of the earliest operating systems to help the physically challenged navigate computers and control their environment (such as early voice recognition software, technology to turn lights on and off via voice, etc.). The man is clearly not an idiot. I think this was part of what I found so maddening, knowing that Safko is actually very smart and has been involved in tech a long time, but had intentionally created churn within his text and his site (which the text constantly advises we visit) in such a manner that he wasn't actually going to sell anything effectively.

In any case, if you really need guidance with social media and have never used a computer before, I don't recommend this book--the constant references to the companion site will prove to be too taxing for a tech novice. For those with some tech savvy, I still don't recommend this book--the constant references to the companion site that does not live up to the author's recommendations about how to do social media marketing "right" will eventually become so glaringly inconsistent that you will wonder if anything Safko says should be taken to heart.
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on September 11, 2009
For those of you that would like to know more about Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Meebo, Plurk, Digg, Vimeo, PodBean, BlogTalkRadio, Second Life, etc.), The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko and David K. Brake is the book to buy.

I purchased it last week and have devoured it from cover to cover. The information is comprehensive, timely, and practical.

It provides the historical background of social media as well as how to use social media as a strategy in your marketing plan. It describes what each social media tool is, how it can be used, what other applications work with it, who uses it, and even gives suggestions on who SHOULD use it. I've read just about every other book on social media and none of them are as complete as this one.

As well as being an essential resource for everyone involved in marketing, PR, and business, this could well be used as a textbook for college classes in social media.

To keep the information timely, the authors have included a link and log-in information for purchasers to access up-to-date information.
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on January 30, 2011
There are a few things this book is not:
It is not a "Bible" of social media in spite of its size.
The "Tools" section as mentioned by others has no "How to do it or get it done."
And most embarrassing: The book was just published last year but sites with detailed information about how "My Space" is the leading social media site with 185M members. Facebook achieved over 500M members in 2010.
This book gives a global view of social media but don't depend on the facts in the book.
In order to get up and running with social media applications I would suggest Catherine Parkers: 301 Ways to Use Social Media To Boost Your Marketing.
Best Regards,
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on June 1, 2009
This book is amazing. The explosion of different types of media and all the jargon that goes with it can be overwhelming. The social media bible is perfect for someone that wants one stop shopping for everything there is to know on the subject. The Social Media Bible is a great starting.... end .... or middle .... or wherever you may be in understanding this subject. Kudos to the authors and great job!!
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on April 7, 2010
Reviewer: Social Media Marketing Student_Harvard Extension School
Description: This is a practical book and is well referenced with additional readings and resources for the user to explore. The book is arranged into three parts, from the basics and tactics through to the strategy. A chapter each on Social Media SWOT Analysis and Your Implementation Plan are appropriately included.
Purpose: To be a comprehensive guide on the tactics, tools, and applications that make up the world of social media. The book is designed to guide the reader on the history and present use of various social media marketing tools to increase brand value and engage an audience with new forms of communication, collaboration, education and entertainment. Additionally, it takes it a step further and shows how to incorporate social media into one's overall business strategy to improve internal operations and monetize relationships with customers and prospects.
Audience: This book is written for the student, business owner, marketer or Internet user simply interested in what social media is and how it can be exploited to increase company and brand value. For the savvy social media user or consultant- it could be a reference tool to have on hand to give your teams a place to start and lead them to the right places online to do the real learning.
Features: The book covers all of the current significant areas on the topic of social media or Web 2.0. It features real and relative examples that help the user relate the to the Social Media phenomenon enabled by modern technology.
It also includes Expert Insights, which is a conversation provided by a renowned expert in a particular field of social media marketing.
Assessment: This is good book for the beginner in social media. After reading the book I realized that it's not really a "how to" book or a "hands on" guide, but rather a collection of thoughtful interviews and history by the founders on some of the tools that everyone is using today. But no matter how comprehensive, the adage remains true, you can't learn social media through a book.
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on April 3, 2014
I started off by renting this book from the public library and FELL IN LOVE! I had to have my own copy to mark up and dog ear. As a marketing major I have multiple books to get the valuable social media techniques and practices that are all included in this book, but to have it all in one book - YES! If you don't have this book in your library you are missing out! Get a copy this is a great reference source.
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on September 14, 2012
I ordered this for a college class but will totally keep this at my desk as we venture into more use of social media at work as well as my personal life. There were some things on SM that I wasn't quite clear on, but this book breaks it down without being condescending. Great buy!
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