Archives for November 2011

Book Review: Social Media Judo

Social Media Judo coverWhen I was offered the opportunity to review a book entitled “Social Media Judo” by Chris Aarons, Geoff Nelson, Nick White and Dan Zehr, I jumped at the chance. I was informed that the book was written by Ivy Worldwide, an award-winning agency for effectiveness, and revealed the secrets to revenue-driving social media campaigns.

Any effective social marketer knows that this is more than just collecting friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. There’s a real art and style that goes into effectively marketing on the internet, and cutting through the clutter of videos, social networks, blogs and more that clamor for the attention of a prospective consumer.

The book promised to give a deep insight into how top worldwide brands (such as HP, Lenovo, Microsoft) are having success with social media and how they are using it to drive sales and revenue. As a martial artist and a student of social marketing myself, I loved the idea of blending the philosophy and mindset of martial arts with the mechanics of word-of-mouth marketing to generate real results.

The style of martial arts that I study is a Korean form called Tang Soo Do (most closely related to Tae Kwon Do, and the same style that Chuck Norris studied prior to founding Chun Kuk Do). In it, there are 7 tenets that we highly value: Integrity, Concentration, Perseverance, Respect & Obedience, Self-Control, Humility, and Indomitable Spirit. As I waited for my copy of the book to arrive, I thought perhaps these were some of the topics that would be touched upon.

Instead, Social Media Judo focused on four, just-as-important pillars to judo and the philosophy of social marketing.

  1. Minimum effort and maximum efficiency – Tapping into the network of key influencers already in place to use their existing momentum to help spread your message.
  2. Mutual benefit – Crafting programs that generate a strong return for the company by also provide an equally beneficial outcome for the influences and partners with whom you work.
  3. Etiquette – Creating personal relationships with online content producers and influencers, rather than merely trying to exploit them when you need them.
  4. Physical education – Building a bridge between philosophy and practice. The judo mindset challenges the ways you think about and interact with your key influences, both on- and offline.

The book demonstrates, through real-world examples, how important it is to master the philosophy as well as the mechanics of these techniques. As the authors point out, “You can’t merely mimic the moves of a judo expert and expect to become a great fighter.”

As you read through the book, it also covers the importance of falling, and the view of it that students must learn to adopt in order to adapt. By learning about how to fall properly, companies can overcome their fear of failing with social media, and derive lessons from the experience that enable them to see the upside that’s possible, even in the risk of the downside. When these risks are mitigated through traditional marketing efforts and effective planning, the potential that exists is huge for any company! You’ll also learn the basics of marketing, along with strategies to maintain the balance between “going with the flow” and keeping your message intact.

Each of the examples that are given, and the analysis that goes into why they worked or didn’t work, is invaluable. By studying them, marketers can begin to develop their own plans to increase sales, cut marketing costs, and boost engagement, all while paying for themselves with real revenue!

If I had any real criticism of the book to offer, it’s that it neglects social networks beyond blogging. But the thought there is that it gives your key influences a larger platform that can ultimately be promoted using other social networks. So, they become a means to an end, instead of the destination themselves.

Overall, the book is well-written and useful! There’s something in it for both novice marketers and more experienced individuals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you get something more out of it on subsequent readings. It’s definitely a book I’m happy to add to my Social Marketing bookshelf!

Book Review: What Color Is Your Parachute?

Parachute Cover

As a child back in the early ‘70s, I can still remember my father coming home with a book one day whose title jumped out at me. It was a title that seemed silly and compelling all at the same time. “What Color Is Your Parachute?” I’d never been interested in one of my Dad’s books before. But this one caught my attention… Did the color of parachutes mean something? Was there some great mystery that would be revealed as the final pages of this book were read? I have to admit, I didn’t find out the answer to that question until much later…

I recently had the opportunity to review the 40th anniversary edition of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles, and decided to follow up on that missed opportunity from decades ago. And am I glad that I did!

Dick Bolles has revised and updated his book almost every year since it was first released, ensuring that it remains current and relevant to today’s job seeker. But this book is also a book for truth seekers, which is why my Dad had first picked it up. He was employed, and wasn’t looking for a new job. But he recognized that his young life hadn’t gone exactly as he’d hoped thus far, and he wanted to figure out the reasons why.

As Dick Bolles walks you through the things you need to know as part of a modern-day job search, he also provides exercises that help you to know yourself more, and in so doing, to find that job that is ideally suited to you. He covers how to find hope, deal with depression, and survival skills you need in today’s world, how to deal with handicaps (real or imagined), how to find job vacancies, whether or not resumes are still relevant, how to network using social media and in real life, tips for interviewing and salary negotiation, what you need to know before you start your own business, why being inventive is key to survival, and how to choose a new career. Exercises help you to look closely at the skills that you enjoy using the most, finding your mission in life and coming to know yourself better, and then figure out how to transfer those skills into a career. But it doesn’t stop there, because then you need to teach someone else how to do the same.

One of many statements that jumped out at me was that the key to hope is that, in every situation, we have to have at least two alternatives. So long as two alternatives exist, there’s always a reason to hope. The greatest thing about that is that hope gives you wings, persistence and energy to face whatever challenge you may find before you.

After reading this book, I can understand why my father turned to it when he was trying to figure his own life out. We all go through periods of doubt where we wonder why our lives didn’t turn out the way we’d planned on, and how to get back on track to living a fulfilling, meaningful life. While Dick’s book is specifically geared towards the job seeker, the same principles can be used by the entrepreneur, the student working on college entrance applications, the retiree, and anyone else interested in discovering a more satisfying life.