Most of the businesses I consult are either start-ups or small companies looking to shift their marketing from an old push approach to a newer pull strategy. Part of that transition is embracing web-based marketing. The problem is that a lot of the tactics of push don’t cross over very well to pull. I occasionally recommend books that I think will help clients perceive how the times and the audience have changed, but the nuances can be difficult to understand.
In a recent post titled Mandatory reading for entrepreneurs (and new marketers), I recommended that executives looking to better understand social media engagement read The Fine Art of Small Talk:
Much of the new direction in marketing is focused on relationship management. Now, more than ever, the keys to success are authenticity, empathy, and experience. When you’re blogging or publishing, the idea is to be interesting. When you’re engaging with customers and prospects via social media, the idea is to be interested. This book has some suggestions that should be taken with a grain of salt, but the overall advice is solid. Striking up or joining a conversation online is not so different from mingling at a party. Some people are better at it than others. You need to be good at it if you plan to succeed in the new world of marketing.
In that post, I recommended several books because all of them touched on disparate pieces of the web marketing puzzle. They’re all worth taking the time to read, but I’ve come across another book that more succinctly examines and explains the way new marketers should be using these strategies for long-term growth. It’s called The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue.
This is one of the easier to understand books on web marketing, online branding, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media integration—topics that can seem abstract and confusing to the uninitiated.
The book glosses over some of the more technical aspects of web design, tracking, and advertising, but the major themes are spot on. The author discusses both strategy (macro) and tactics (micro) that have the most positive impact with today’s audience. And perhaps most importantly, the author tries to manage the expectations of those just starting out. This is something I try to drill into my clients’ minds over and over again.
The Zen of Social Media Marketing is one of the best beginner-oriented social media/SEO books that I’ve come across in the past five or so years, and there have been a lot of books written on the topic in that time. If you’re relatively new to the game, or would just like a deeper and broader understanding of the methods involved in building a meaningful online brand, then I highly recommend it.