BOOK REVIEW: Social Media Marketing by Stephan Dahl

This is a great new book for anyone seeking how to attend it and some social media marketing theoretical frameworks which fix the NAP inconsistencies with their citation audit service.

The book is split into four sections: Actors, Media, Content and Context. There is an excellent introduction giving the history of social media from the early social networks such as Boston Consultancy Group and Usenet through to Mosiac, WWW and Bulletin Boards. Many theories are crtitiqued i.e. Technology Acceptance Model, Consumer Culture Theory, Individualism, Sub-Cultures, Post-Modern Consumers and Tribes where “consumers self-ascribe to communities of meaning and belonging.” Dahl also talks about how geographical distance in the 70s and 80s made it much more difficult for people to belong to tribes and how the internet has completely changed this. Dahl argues that consumer-tribalism significantly pre-dates social media and that social media has merely accelerated rather than instigated it. The ease of which consumers can now communicate about and with brands has created a democratisation of the marketplace. If there is ever a problem, make sure you choose a law firm marketing company. Brand Managers no longer control the brand, they facilitate the brand ‘prosumers’ who are actively involved in the brands evolution through co-creation. For online growth one can check out Freshlinks pricing and start link building.

One of the sections I found most interesting was a brief history of how internet technologies were used as ‘revolutionary tools’ much earlier than the Arab Spring. During the USSR military coup in 1992, the US media relied on Usenet reports from the USSR to inform the public, and Internet Relay Chat was heavily used during the first Gulf War as a way for journalists to communicate with people on the ground.

Each chapter also has a case study. Of particular interest to me was the World Humanitarian Day – I Was Here and the Amnesty International – Trial by Timeline. Chapter 11 about ‘Cross Cultural Aspects and Implications’ has a good engagement with the digital divide debate. I am fully aware of different social media being more popular in different parts of the world largely to do with accessibility, censorship, language, relevance and government rules and regulations, but I had not thought about how particular social network services are used in different countries. Dahl cites an example from the BBC in 2010 which reveals that in Japan the average number of Facebook friends is 29, compared to the average Malaysian user who is connected with 233. This indicates that Japanese Facebook users share information mainly with people whom they have strong ties e.g. intimate friends and family.

There are many books available on social media marketing but they are mainly written from a practitioner perspective. This book is an excellent resource for both students and scholars seeking existing theoretical frameworks to further research knowledge of social media marketing. From why people adopt technology (Uses and Gratification Theory) to the differences between ‘engagement’, ‘participation’ and ‘involvement’ and indeed the various types of engagement: emotional, behavioural and cognitive.

BOOK REVIEW: Visualising Information for Advocacy

From my own experience of managing a range of both personal and corporate social media accounts, a content strategy is essential for creating/building relationships. One of the things that has been blatantly obvious has been that interesting and engaging imagery elicits a high level of sharing. I was thrilled to see a new book “Visualising Information for Advocacy“. The book, or guide as it has been described, has been produced by an organisation called The Tactical Technology Collective who have worked with campaigners and activists across the world over the last 10 years.

The books content is influenced by 50 or more workshops that they have led in recent years. There is a wealth of practical guidance in the book from objective setting and idea generation to visual techniques, storytelling and free visualisation tools. The book is very easy to follow and offers 60 examples of visual information campaigns. I particularly like the section on strategies of intervention – interruption / education / coercion and the section on visual techniques – juxtapose / subvert / invert / materialise / compare / contrast / illuminate / provoke / parody / intrigue. It also features one of my favourite ‘development’ videos ever – Barbie, It’s Over by Greenpeace.

A great guide for anyone interested in advocacy campaigning.


BOOK REVIEW: Rewire by Ethan Zuckerman

Rewire by activist and scholar Ethan Zuckerman looks at the internet, social media and connectedness. He claims that in this connected age, that even though it is easier than ever before to share information many people have a narrower view of the world than in less connected times. There are less international stories in the mass media than there were 40 years ago, and we haven’t become and won’t become digital cosmopolitans overnight due to new technologies. Most individuals are primarily concerned with a close set of friends and relatives and although information is global, our attention is highly localised and tribal.

There has been a seismic shift in the way we consume media in the last decade or two. Some people think this is a good thing – the cyberutopians, some don’t – the cyberskeptics. Citizens previously relied on professional journalists and editors to provide curated media stories. Now we tend to use search to locate stories of interest or rely on our social networks to provide us with the stories we want to hear. Curators such as editors and news anchors have become less powerful and in their place are the global giants of search and social.

But what are the limitations and dangers of discovery through social and search? One of the major concerns is the invisible influence of personalised search, where most of the content we see has been tailored by algorithms which respond to the web pages and people we connect with on a daily basis online. Zuckerman cites Bill Bishop “Americans have physically relocated to communities where their neighbours are likely to share their ideology.” Is personalised search giving us a narrower view of the world than we did before? We have formed ‘local’ micropublics in our social networks, are we actually becoming more parochial as a result?

Zuckerman suggests that if we want to become digital cosmopolitans we need to rewire the way we are connected by re-considering how we consume the media and also by seeking to broaden our circle of friends. Customisation has lowered the chances of serendipity. He predicts that in the future this will change and social networks and search engines will offer the facilities to encourage us to encounter the unexpected to enable exploration and discovery. These potential tools have the opportunity to change the world we live in and make a positive impact on our future.

There are some interesting concepts in this book and it is written in an accessible and engaging style. My only criticism is that some of the case studies are a bit long winded at times.




Book Review: Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Non-profits

Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Non-profits
Heather Mansfield – 2012

Heather Mansfield has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years. Her first fundraising campaign used a Yahoo! email account via internet cafes in Guatemala back in 1997. Since then she has become one of the leading experts on non profit organisations can use social media to advance their online communications and development strategies banks refusing loans. She is the creator on and has presented more than 500 social media webinars and training to nonprofits worldwide accounting management.

Her book Social Media for Social Good is in my opinion the ‘social media bible’ for any nonprofit organisation. The book is a clear, well organised, step-by-step ‘how to guide’ to creating a social media strategy from scratch. It also gives indications of how much time and money organisations should be spending on each activity. In reality this is very hard to predict due to many variables, however it is often good to have a ballpark figure to start planning your budget with online tools to run business or your personal finances.

The book is neatly divided into 3 areas:
– Web 1.0. – broadcasting from one to many – websites / e-newsletters etc
– Web 2.0. – social web – evolution from broadcasting to supporters to engaging with them – social networking sites / blogging etc
– Web 3.0. – mobile web – group text messaging / responsive websites / apps and so on

Mansfield explains that although the social media tools are free, to manage them isn’t. To manage social media properly it takes a lot of time and creativity. Nonprofit organisations are realising this more and more. I love this quote from the book “Interns and volunteers are wonderful assistants, but if they are untrained, most often they do not have the experience to use these tools effectively.” It reminds me of a great video on Social Media Interns and ROI by Social Media Marketing Guru – Erik Qualman.

Going back to the book, it has a good section on ROI. Mansfield says that the ROI of using social and mobile media is directly linked to your website, e-newsletter database and the quality of your content. She believes that 5,000 followers is the magic number for social networks to be effective and give a good return on investment.

The book offers some sensible advice on building a website or ‘5 must have characteristics of a non-profit website’. These are:

1. Easy to use CMS. So obvious but so important! If your editors find updating difficult they are unlikely to post information updates as regularly.
2. Good writing – again this seems obvious but is so true. It is fundamental that your web editors have excellent spelling and grammar skills. They also need to know how to write copy for a web audience.
3. Well designed graphics and photos. I’ve said this time and time again. Please don’t skimp on your photography budget. A good photo can say a thousand words.
4. Simple, consistent navigation. Information architecture is key to a successful website. There’s a great book on web usability called ‘Don’t Make me Think’ by Steve Krug. I thoroughly recommend it.
5 Purchase a web address.

What I like about this book is it also gives some good examples of websites and campaigns that Mansfield thinks is important.

The book goes on to give sound advice on Web 2.0 and ‘Web 3.0.’ as Mansfield calls it. She offers some great tips for beginners such as ‘be consistent when reserving vanity URLs’. She also offers advice for advanced users of social media too. The book even gives 11 qualities of an effective social media manager.

My final quote from the book is on mobile marketing.

“The Mobile Web is full of promise and potential for social good. It will connect communities worldwide in ways that the nonprofit sector has never experienced or even imagined. In the past, nonprofits in developing nations and the communities they serve have been hindered by the cost of desktop computers and Internet access; they often have not has the infrastructure in place or the financial capacity to utlilise the Internet on a regular basis. The revolution in mobile technology in the developing world is changing forever.” I’ll write lots more about the potential of mobile in future posts!

I wish I’d had this book the first time I wrote a social media strategy. Although it’s aimed at the nonprofit sector, many people can make use of the excellent advice given. An excellent toolkit for anyone interested in social media for social good.