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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

Foushy Good Read: Power Friending by Amber Mac (pt 1)

Disclaimer: Amber provided me with an advanced copy of her book. She is also a good friend of mine. You can watch us discussing the latest technology news on CommandN.

I finally got the chance to finish writing up this review for Amber‘s new book, Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business. I plowed through Power Friending on a flight from Lisbon to Whistler. It was a fast and easy read. I particularly liked the huge number of case studies and examples that she uses to demonstrate how real companies are tackling the new importance of digital media within their organizations. What really struck me was how fast things move online. I felt like I’d heard about some of these examples years ago, and then I realized that it was only a few months.

The Book (via Amazon):

Amber Mac wants to be your friend.

She may be a tech-savvy webpreneur, the popular host of TV shows and video podcasts, and an in-demand consultant and speaker, but if you ask Amber Mac about her strategy for success, she’ll tell you she’s just trying to be a good friend.

When it comes to social media-whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or the latest video blog-the tools evolve quickly, the rules change rapidly, and the technology feels more and more complex. But making social media work for your company doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In this compact yet thorough guide, Mac shows you how to effectively harness the online world to grow your business.

The secret: think of your audience as your friends and then treat them that way. The Power Friending approach is all about developing real relationships based on mutual respect and support. While you may never meet some of your online friends face-to-face, they still expect you to follow the established norms of friendship: be authentic, reach out, listen. And don’t lie to your friends. These same rules apply when building a strong brand online.

Whether you’re a blogger, a small company, a well-known global enterprise, or an aspiring queen of the Internet, Mac shows how to make the most of social networking tools, including:
-Targeting the right networks
-Feeding and seeding a community
-Authentically engaging with customers and fans
-Managing your online friendships on a daily basis and on a budget

This isn’t a book of abstract theories or complicated strategies. Mac writes from personal experience: she built a huge fan base through social networking. She also draws on real-life and up-to-date examples to give you the information you really need in order to establish and maintain credibility and meaningful relationships online.

My Thoughts:

Audience: Social Media 101

This book is not geared to the employees that maintain your company’s social media presence, but the people who manage them. So, if you are the head of Communications (or Marketing) and your mandate now includes digital media, this book will help explain the basic principles to help you better evaluate what your team is doing. It’s a little too practical for CEOs and too simplistic for community managers, unless they have absolutely zero social media experience. It covers the basics including the various elements of a twitter page and how to customize your Facebook settings.

It’s jam-packed with case studies and examples of how businesses have successfully used social media to connect with consumers. Amber provides down to earth advice including:

  • How to be authentic
  • What to do if you mess up
  • How to built trust
  • How to measure your campaign’s success

The one part that everyone should read is the chapter on shooting video. Amber provides practical advice on getting better quality videos. With the rise of video content online, this part is a must read particularly if you are planning to shoot the content in-house.

Cool Ideas:

I found Amber’s predictions for the future to be a really interesting read. Here’s a small sample:

1) Real-Time Web

Amber says the days of focus groups are over, organizations will instead focus on getting real-time reviews by consumers who are using the product in the moment. I know I already do this via my travel blog, where I tweet/tumble/facebook my impressions of a flight as they come in real time.

2) Social Shopping

As our tendency to share more and more of our personal lives, it’s only natural to want to share what we’re buying. Amber says that sites like Blippy are changing the face of private purchasing. Now we can easily see what are finds are buying and this will increase the influence our social network will have on our personal purchasing habits.

3) QR Codes

While North America is lagging in the QR Code market, the technology is finally starting to slowly make its way over. Amber recognizes the incredible opportunity for brands and organizations to be able to share a wealth of information with their consumers with just a click of the button. Personally, I can’t wait to see this trend become standard in consumer packaged goods. I find food labels so convoluted these days that I would welcome an easier way to understand what it is that I’m eating! (Although sometimes I’m probably better off not knowing.)

Stay Tuned!

In Part 2, Amber answers some of my questions about Power Friending!

Comments: 1

  • Tom Bin-Wang

    June 28, 2010

    I am way too happy to see your reply to my post, though I even don’t know how you traced back to our class blog. I love your new blog interface. It looks wonderful! To level with you, I may lose some points because my blog posts (of your posts) are not up-to-date as required. I explained to my professor that you are so busy advocating social media recently, and I sincerely understand why you couldn’t update your blog very frequently.
    But we have a wonderful journey through your new book Yes We Did, which is a required reading for our social media class, and we really found it “is a book that all new communications grads should read…a book about involving communities, big and small and how to make each one feel vital”. We created a wiki book review and the final draft is also on our class blog. You are more than welcome to give any advice ( /2010/06/06/yes-we-did-an-inside-look-at-how-social-media-built-the-obama-brand/).
    We invited some guest speakers (Skype sometimes) during our summer class, and we all think it would be our great honour if we could have you next time. What a fascinating idea! Sadly, I won’t have this change even if this dream comes true. I am an exchange student in Canada this year and I will be back to China in one week. But I am sure I’ll still visit your blog and learn as much as I can. Keep up your good work! Thanks a million!

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