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Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business
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Praise for Marketing to the Social Web

"Weber understands that the world is going digital and that competitive advantage will accrue to those who understand the transformation. CEOs should heed this transformation and learn from Weber's insights how to navigate this new landscape to fully maximize their business opportunities."
-Mark Fuller, Chairman, Monitor Group

"Consumers are using technology to grab power from companies, the media, and the government. Marketing to the Social Web succinctly outlines how institutions can survive and win in this chaotic new world, and lays out the revised rules of engagement-ignore them at your peril."
-George F. Colony, CEO, Forrester Research, Inc.

"Larry has brought pragmatic and useful recommendations to help brand builders manage the complexity of social interaction in a digital age. I was pleased to read a book that actually suggests how to do something with social networks, instead of just ponder them."
-David Kenny, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Digitas Inc.

"Where's the allure of social 2.0? Brands can talk . . . customers talk louder! Digital influence has arrived."
-Jeff Taylor, CEO, Eons and Founder of

"Larry Weber provides a simple and effective roadmap of the new customer information highway. Marketing to the Social Web is a valuable tool that will give everyone the confidence and know-how to compete in this fast-growing marketplace of ideas."
-Steve Harris, Vice President, Global Communications, General Motors Corporation

"As all lines and boundaries are washed away by the Web, Weber describes how to become part of the sea versus the sand."
-Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman, One Laptop per Child

Customer Reviews:

  • A good book
    There are many books out there about social marketing. I think is is like the rest. You won't really get anything new out of it, but just another opinion on a way to look at it.

    I think though this one is one of the better ones that exist out there....more info
  • Social Media Marketing
    I read this book as an additional learning resource to a social media marketing course that I'm currently taking. Overall, I find this book very insightful, interesting, and educational. In fact, I feel this book is quite addicting - I've read it twice now.

    What's the big deal about the social web (ie: e-communities, social networks, blogs, etc.)? Traditional marketing media like TV, newspapers, and radio should be enough, right? Weber reveals a recent trend where Americans (and the people of other nations) are doing their best to avoid advertisements. This is making it very difficult for companies to generate sales by marketing their products & services through traditional media. For example, people are now watching television using TiVo and DVR technology to skip commercials. They are surfing the web using software programs that block pop-up, banner, and flash ads. They listen to digital music devices like MP3 players to avoid radio commercials. They are reading web-based news while avoiding advertisements. They avoid telemarketers through the National Do Not Call Registry.

    Why should a company participate within the social web? Does this digital interaction really have the payoff of pulling people through to try things or buy things? Weber thinks so and he proves it through sharing many examples of how well-known companies have done it. He reveals various benefits that companies who are participating within the social web are yielding. Boosting sales revenue from specific goods and services, improving marketing return on investment, building market share, building brand awareness, improving customer satisfaction, attracting new customers, and improving customer retention are just some of these measurable benefits.

    I found Marketing to the Social Web to be very easy to read. Weber does an excellent job introducing social media and its elements in both theory and application. This book is divided into three parts: 1) introduction to the social web; 2) how-to steps to building your own customer community on the social web; 3) advanced implementation strategies. Overall, I think Weber did a great job demonstrating credibility of his material by quoting multibillion dollar company CEO's and executive marketers' success stories as supporting evidence.

    In addition to the successful company social web implementation case studies in the book, I also enjoyed reading Weber's examples of company failed attempts in the social web. Weber analyzes what went wrong in each of these examples and recommends how to avoid making these same mistakes. In one example, he talks about the former Ford automotive site: Apparently this site failed because Ford would not allow any person's comments of even the slightest negative or constructive tone to be published on their site. Another topic I enjoyed reading is how companies can measure the influence and effectiveness of their social media campaigns. For example, Weber reveals a new key marketing metric called engagement which measures the customer buying process. This is helpful for many companies including a BMW MiniCooper marketing manager who said that he sees a correlation between Mini's online activity and their showroom traffic.

    I highly recommend that marketing professionals read this book before attempting to implement a social media campaign.
    ...more info
  • Wisdom for Results
    This work is hard-hitting and market smart.

    We have already been using social media as part of our customer outreach at the company I founded and run. Larry Weber's work proved to be the first credible source of solid information that took our understanding further than what experience with various sites will teach anyone. His savvy ideas help sort opportunities from activities. That is particularly important because of how much time this type of communication can consume without having any measurable impact.

    Larry has plenty of good advice for business people who want to invest time with a purpose -- to help a client or to drive results. That's why this work is a must-have, and I have recommended it to colleagues and staff with enthusiasm.
    ...more info
  • Social media explained for traditional marketers
    I believe the person that might benefit the most from this book is someone from a traditional ad/marketing agency that has some experience with social media (they know what a blog, Facebook, and user generated content is), but needs additional exposure and ideas about ways to apply.

    I might have been the wrong audience.

    For me, there were some interesting case studies and it does a good job of connecting ideas, but I didn't feel like I got much out of it. I think I would describe it to someone as:

    Introduction to Social Web Marketing: A Traditional Marketer's Primer

    Overall, it just didn't grab me, but there are a lot of people that seem to love the book, so take it with a grain of salt.

    -Marc Crudele
    Atlanta, GA...more info
  • Marketing guide for online communities
    At first glance, this is yet another cover of a familiar tune: Get online because it is the next big thing! Hurry, hurry! However, within a few pages author Larry Weber introduces the one thing missing from most of these refrains: hard data. He provides statistics that document precisely how the marketing landscape is changing, then goes on to analyze what this information means for business. Almost as refreshing, Weber is careful to point out where information does not exist, often calling for new metrics or a software tool that will give statistical substance to the visceral understanding of Web-savvy marketers. Weber reviews case studies that demonstrate approaches that have worked, as well as some glorious and instructive failures. He builds on these to develop a set of principles and tactics readers can use to develop a realistic strategy for online marketing. getAbstract recommends his book to established businesses that wish to get into online marketing and to all would-be Internet entrepreneurs....more info
  • Great read for people working with Web 2.0
    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in marketing and web 2.0 as a whole. Weber offers some great urls to visit and great examples to help support his ideas. ...more info
  • Great tool for marketers
    I spend a great deal of time presenting social media concepts to marketing and agency professionals. This is a great book to help marketers build a solid understanding of key concepts and be prepared to make informed decisions. Marketing to the Social Web is an important tool for the arsenal....more info
  • General information for "dinosaurs" still not sold on Web 2.0...
    Executive Summary:
    The book would be more appropriately entitled: "An introduction to Web 2.0" There is very little marketing advice, and the information in this book might have been cutting edge in 2002-3 but in 2008, it would only appeal to beginners, or non-tech oriented people. If you don't know what a "Blog" is, then this book is for you. If you do know what a blog is, I would go elsewhere.

    Full Review:
    I have read about a dozen books on marketing/advertising/community building on the web. Perhaps I didn't realize the scope of this book. First, if you are reading a review for what this book is about, you are probably more technologically advanced than anything this book has to offer...(IE: The "Social Web" as he puts it, Or Web 2.0, can affect hearts and minds. For example, you are reading this review before purchasing this book for some insight.)

    To me it seemed as if the book was written for very large company's marketers who are 60+ years of age and are not familiar with the internet, or at best don't think there has been any evolution of the internet in the past 14+ years since it has gone commercial. I don't mean to be rude, but this book really seemed like something that would have had an impact and would have been interesting in about 2001. The fact that this book was written and released in the last year honestly amazed me, as I was certain that it was just re-released based on the material.

    To be slightly more specific, the book concentrates heavily on not trying to hurt the ego's of marketers who have not been keeping up with the Internet by saying "Some of your old marketing knowledge is still useful." a bit too often. While true, it just seemed a bit overboard. Another quick example of the target market is that the book took about 4-5 pages in describing what a blog is. This is all well and good for an "Intro" book, but it is indicitive of the audience this book was meant for. I found this book too generic to be useful. It lacked specifics, strong case examples, adequate statistics, etc. If you are 60+ years of age and really aren't aware of what social communities are, or message boards, or online reviews of products (Oh the irony), I would recommend this book. Also, if you don't believe that having an online voice is relevant in today's global market, and are looking for a strong case to show you why it is, I would recommend this book. If you have ever participated on a message board, read a blog, posted/read an online review, etc...this book won't tell you anything that you don't already know.

    However, if you are looking for effective ways to market to the "Social Web" AKA Web 2.0 by the rest of the world, go elsewhere. This book is too generic to be useful IMHO. I gave this book two stars instead of one because it was well written, and unlike EVERY other marketing book I have ever read, it didn't remind you to go to the author's website every other page (In fact, I don't even remember him naming his website in the book, which is to be applauded, as you can tell this info was legitimately designed to help the reader, not just another marketing tool by the author as many marketing books are). Also if you do want a BEGINNERS' book to what Web 2.0 is, this would be tough to beat. The author puts everything in non-techie terms, and is very thorough at explaining some of the core/basic concepts of Web 2.0.

    The people who could best be helped with a book like this are intelligent people who don't keep up with technology, but know the basics. I found this more as an introduction to what Web 2.0 was than a "How to" book which is what I believed the book to be about based on the title.
    If you are looking for valuable "How to market to the Social Web" info, this book will GREATLY disappoint you.
    ...more info
  • A must read for beginners and traditional marketers alike!!
    This is the first book on social media that I had the opportunity to read and I must tell you it was an absolute pleasure. I read each and every word with relish.
    The author (Larry Weber) has a great way of putting his thoughts across and it shows that he has done a lot of research both inside the marketing community and outside it. A book replete with relevant examples, it has a basic message: Just do it! It explains how to work with social media networks rather than just ponder over. It changed my mindset that one can learn social media just by going through a textbook. The saying `Learning by doing' was never more apt for a subject.
    It explains that social media is only a tool to help you reach new customers, communicate with customers, and build a good relationship with customers. If you don't have a clear picture about customers, social media won't help you. Weber points out that communication through social media is very different from that of traditional marketing. It's a different communication style. Customers are demanding to be more engaged with the companies that affect their lives and they want to be asked and be involved.
    Weber puts in a lot of real industry examples to explain the various advantages and pitfalls of doing marketing through Web2.0. For example he explained why the CEO of Whole Foods was wrong in using an alias and not his real name to post notes on an online message board related to the company performance. This touched off quite a controversy which led to the CEO reverting to his original names while making online comments. It shows transparency is critical if you want customers and stakeholders to trust you and engage in a dialogue with you.
    This book is divided into three parts: 1) Introduction to the social web; 2) Ways to build your own customer community on the social web (explains in 7 lucid steps); 3) How to best implement strategies. In fact due to the huge popularity of the book Weber had to come up with a second edition within a year and half.
    I highly recommend this book for beginners and marketing professionals alike, which should greatly benefit from the treasures concealed in this book.
    ...more info
  • Marketing to the Social Web a good book not great
    Marketing to the Social Web, by Larry Weber.

    I decided to read this book because I wanted to get a better understanding of marketing on the social web. All together I found this book interesting and informative. This book was a quick read with a lot of information packed in.
    Larry Weber has an ability to make his concepts and points easy to understand. In this book I learned about social networks, reputation aggregation, blogs, e-communities and other interesting topics related to social media. Weber paints a clear picture of the how social media has changed over the years and how its continuingly changing. He also does a good job of showing how businesses should utilize forms of social media.

    Something that stood out to me about this book is its ability to actually give you recommendations on how to do things. Most books of this type only give you definitions of concepts and descriptions theory's on marketing for the web this book goes deeper. Another section in this book that really stood out to me was Weber's analysis on the use of or the lack there of metrics in social media world. He does a great job of pushing this concept of better ways to track social media statistics. Some of the other key concepts that I like were consumers can use technology to avoid seeing television commercials. On the social Web, consumers have control over brand meanings. He also describes how you can use the Internet to build positive associations and influence rather than profit.

    Weber also shows us the differences between media today and traditional media he tells you how to engage your customers in conversation about your brand, how to target consumers via the web, how to implement social media strategies and more. This book includes various case study samples that show the successful campaigns as well as the failures. The advice for marketers is direct and on point and shows how an integrated approach works best in terms of social media web marketing.

    The author cuts to the chase in the book and does not fill it with unnecessary jargon. I would recommend this book for beginners and for those who know what they want to do but are not achieving the results they desire....more info
    Marketing to the Social Web is the best book on using social media for marketing and customer relations which I have read to date. For every business person who sells services and manages client relations, this is a crucial work to use for launching into the web and laying the groundwork for success in an increasingly online business environment!...more info
  • Great specific knowledge about a nascent industry
    "Marketing to the Social Web" by Larry Weber is a brief, though comprehensive look at the new applications of marketing on today's internet. The book was written in 2007, which is important as anything over two or three years old feels dated (especially in the realm of social networking, which has only really taken off over the past 4 years or so).

    It feels like the most coherent and professional thing I read so far, as relates to such a nascent field. He takes you through all the steps of developing a marketing campaign for the web, and utilizes a few case studies to emphasize the considerations that specific companies would face (as well as how he would choose to go about solving them).

    It is these case studies in particular that give you a really great sense of how smart this guy is, and his ability to apply laser-focus to the issues big companies face when trying to take advantage of the immense capability of the internet in general (and social media in particular).

    He references successes in advertising on the web, such as the Gillette campaign designed to counter the popularity of the scruffy, unshaven look on guys (see one of the viral videos they posted on the site, which is now, unfortunately, down) as well as failures such as (which has also since been taken down.)

    The Ford site, the company proclaimed that it was genuinely looking for customer input to take a bold new direction in the way they do things, and became, in practice, a series of ads with little user input (comments of even the slightest negative or constructive tone were deleted and ignored, and only positives left on the site...leading to its demise.)

    Among the most patently obvious (though often ignored) pieces of advice for corporations is this:

    As technology and markets evolve, you can't simply create a site and leave it unchanged. If you don't regularly improve the community's benefits on terms that make sense to the members, your site could fade away. Remember Friendster

    I was a bit surprised at how tricky it is to find insightful books about marketing on social media (or, actually, anything at all)...but Weber's book has been full of insight. Check it out on Amazon here...or wait for the second edition, slated to come out next month. He also has a website related to the book. Do you have any suggestions on other insightful books to read? Leave me a comment!...more info