Editor’s Note: below is a review of the Social Enterprise Book Club book for November, The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Webby Mari Smith. We’re excited to be hosting Mari for an open conference call on December 14th at 6 pm ET to discuss his book. To RSVP and for information on joining our free conference call, please email aaron(at)startsomegood.com
By Jasmine Nielsen
As a twenty something university student, I have been using social media tools like Facebook for years. However, it has not been until recently that I began to truly appreciate and understand the power of social media tools to connect with people and build networks in a professional sense. Perhaps like me you are comfortable with the technology of social media tools but not certain how to bridge the gap from personal use to using social media tools to market your business, your NGO, or to simply connect with individuals whose work you admire. Fortunately for people like us, the eager newbies who aren’t quite sure where to begin, there are many excellent sources of advice cropping up on blogs, podcasts and even in books, to guide our ventures into social marketing. One such source is Mari Smith’s new book, The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build A Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web, which I had the pleasure of reading last week.
Smith’s book is clear and pithy, something that those of us with ever increasing to do lists can certainly appreciate. She lays out exactly what will be covered in each chapter and concludes each section with a brief summary, which is helpful when you want to refresh yourself on what you read. Moreover, Smith takes the time to explain each term and tool she describes (no technical jargon to confuse us here!) and provides external resources throughout the book in case you want to follow up on a particular topic or tool. The beauty of this approach is that it turns her book into more than a simple inventory of social marketing tools and anecdotes, The New Relationship Marketing is a practical primer on social marketing, full of step by step guides to assist you in actually doing what Smith is talking about.
However, while Smith’s social marketing praxis is very useful, what I find to be most valuable is her approach, which focuses on people, conversation, and, of course, relationship building. What underlies Smith’s method is an ethic of caring. She defines new relationship marketing as essentially being about “genuinely caring about all other human beings on the planet and building solid, win-win relationships” (p.xxv). It might sound a bit cheesy, but it is not. As Smith points out in her book, the growing popularity and use of social media by consumers has translated in a need for business (and that includes not for profit businesses) to be increasingly transparent. As we become more interconnected through communication technologies, and the feedback loop on all we do shortens, we are held to new standards of credibility.