August 2, 2009

The Facebook Era is for business

http://hci.stanford.edu/cs547/abstracts/08-09/facebook-era.jpgChris AbrahamLast week, I brought The Facebook Era book by Clara Shih to the gym. The publisher had sent me the book eons ago but it wasn’t until last week that I finally had some time to read it.  I finished it up in just a couple hours of reading on machines at the gym.

It is a useful book, to be sure. It is practical and holds your hand and addresses your concerns, as long as you’re a business owner who is considering getting into Social Media as a business tool. If you’re a fan of Salesforce.com, you’ll appreciate the smarts here since Ms. Shih is a Salesforce alum and the forward is by Marc R.  Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.

The book does promote Salesforce.com a little shamelessly but it doesn’t hurt the neutrality of the text: you’ll get good advice on how to leverage Social Networks, Social Media, Online Community, and Web 2.0 to manage, promote, offer service on behalf of you, your brand, or your company.

What I really liked was Part I, A Brief History of Social Media, which is a brilliant primer for people who didn’t actually live through the precursors and foreshadowing of Facebook and Twitter; however, for me, it showed me that Clara Shih understands the continuum of technology, computing, community, platform, and how they evolved over time.

Other topics you might really love to explore, though they’re less practical and a little more philosophical, but in a good way, and explore ways to use Social Media to develop strategies for your business for Social Sales, Social Network Marketing, Social Innovation, and Social Recruiting.  What’s great about this part, Part II, is that these teachings are pretty platform agnostic, giving you skills in tools not limited to just Facebook, the primary focus of this book.  What this means is that this book will even be useful to you when Facebook dies and something else rises up in its place.

At the end of the day, most folks who buy the book will skip to Part III: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Using Facebook for Business.  Fair enough. It is pretty comprehensive and walks you through more than philosophy, it gets you onto Facebook and marketing, selling, recruiting, prospecting, branding, relating, engaging, and participating if you take some time and follow the steps.

Is this book good?  Well, it is if you spend a little time opening your mind and reading through Part I and Part II — and do it away from a computer.  If you get into context, read the case studies, explore some of the examples and best practices, Part III will make more sense and you will do a better job and be more effective.

Did the book bore me?  Nope, I liked it, and that makes me happy because I am not being paid to read these things, it is just flattering to receive free review copies — it makes me feel like I am important and influential!

 

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Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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  • jdlasica

    Chris, I was introduced to Clara a few weeks ago and chatted with her by phone. The book sounds valuable, and I'm intrigued by the new company she's launching that will deploy a social media platform in an enterprise environment.