Category Archives: Book Reviews

Reviews of books read by The Chief Rabbit aka Lara Solomon.

Mental Monday: The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott

Good afternoon, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Mental Monday is back this time I am reviewing The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.

This is book has 21 chapters in three parts starting with how the web has changed the rules of marketing and PR, moving onto web based communications to reach buyer and the third part is action plans to harness the web.

The book explains the different areas of marketing and pr including blogging, video, news releases, web sites, website content and writing marketing plans.  It includes lots of examples of how the different ideas have been used in businesses.  The action plan part of the book is all about implementation, for example how to start a blog, what to write etc.  The implementation is at a basic level, so for people wanting detail you will need to go elsewhere.  This is one of those books which you pick up refer to a chapter or two, put it back down and then pick up again next time you need it.  There is a lot of information in it, it is suitable for complete newbies, and for people who know what they are doing there are lots of examples to get your creative juices flowing.

Below are some bits that I enjoyed which are direct quotes from the book…

  • The new rules of finding a job require you to share your knowledge and expertise with a world that is looking for what you have to offer
  • It is critical to respond quickly to situations as they unfold on the web.  Reacting quickly and honestly in the same forums where the discussions are taking place is essential
  • Marketers must take active participation in the communities that matter for their markets.  But you can’t just stand on the virtual sidelines and post only when you have something for sale or a comment about your products and services.
  • Social media sites are places that people congregate to discuss things that are important to them
  • Thanks to the power of search engines, my blog is also the most vital and effective way for people to find me.  Every word of every post is indexed by Google….
  • The good news is that blogging most certainly generates returns for anyone who creates an interesting blog and posts regularly to it
  • Should you believe everything you read on blogs?  Hell no! That’s akin to believing everything you hear on the street or in a bar.  Thinking of the web as a city, rather than a newspaper, and bloggers as individual citizen voices provides implications for all net-citizens.
  • “you can’t reheat a souffle” John Frazier from Quinn & Co talking about the Tourism Queensland Best job in the world campaign
  • For content that is best delivered via audio or for buyers who prefer to listen to content, podcasting is obviously essential.
  • The challenge for marketers is to harness the amazing power of viral
  • The more I research websites – and I’ve checked out thousands over the past several years – the more I realize that the best ones unite many important factors in a way that is difficult to describe.  They just feel right – as if the creator of the sites cares a great deal and wants her passion to shine through.
  • You must now think like a publisher.  You should develop an editorial plan to reach your buyers with focused content in the media that they prefer
  • Clearly and simply articulate what you want people to believe
  • An effective web marketing plan requires an understanding of the ways your buyers speak and the real words and phrases they use.  This is important not only for building a positive online relationship with buyers, but also for planning effective search engine marketing strategies
  • web content sells any product or service and advocates any philosophy or image
  • An effective web marketing and pr strategy that delivers compelling content to buyers gets them to take action

If you are just trying to get your head around what can be achieved in marketing online this is a good place to start, it lays out what you need to know in an easy to understand format.  There are lots of examples and ideas to get you going, but David does NOT tell you what to do, if that’s what you are looking for this isn’t the book.  As this Rabbit knows marketing and PR in this internet day and age is not a cookie cutter one size fits all businesses/results.  Instead companies must first workout what they want to achieve, who their buyers are and then engage them.  What works is a matter of creativity, timing and appeal to the audience.  This book will get you started down that road, but for those of you who are not creative, use this to find out more, and then hire someone to get creative for you!

Have you read this book?  Tell me what you think in the comments below or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page.

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Filed under Book Reviews, social media

Mental Monday: Linked Working by Frank Agin and Lewis Howes

Good Morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Monday was so mental that it has slipped into Tuesday, so sorry about that readers.  Today I am reviewing Linked Working by Frank Agin and Lewis Howes

This book is all about using LinkedIn effectively to produce results.  Each chapter covers a different aspect of LinkedIn, it relates it to networking in real life and then gives an example of someone on LinkedIn who has had success with it.  Below are some of my favourite bits from the book (these are all direct quotes):

  • When you send an invitation you should always try to make it personal, or at least add some value to the message…. A personal touch always increased your chances of being accepted
  • You never know which connections will come in handy in the future.  This is why it is important to never pass judgement while on LinkedIn
  • Everyone is a networking opportunity for you (and you are an opportunity for everyone). This is a powerful networking concept. As powerful as it is, however, there are limitations to it. The primary limitation is that you have no control over where this networking strategy leads. That is, you can never tell when you will come across a networking opportunity and when you do, you have little control as to what might be.  You eliminate much of this limitation when you take it upon yourself to reconnect with people.
  • This is the Golden Rule of Networking: Give first … get second.
  • Eventually what you inject into your network – opportunities, information, support, energy and additional contacts – comes back to you.
  • Here are several ideas for expressing true altruism on LinkedIn:
    1. Offer Help When It Is Least Expected
    2. Forward Important Introductions
    3. Make Introductions
    4. Provide Useful Feedback
    5. Make New-Comers Feel Welcome
    6. Make Recommendations
    7. Express Gratitude
    8. Ask A Question
    9. Start A Group
    10. Reach Out To Help Others
  • The things you need to do in the real world of networking to get involved includes joining local groups, attending city meetings, doing community service, becoming an officer in the groups you join, and so on. The beautiful part about LinkedIn is it allows you to do those same activities in a virtual setting.
  • Another way to become actively involved on LinkedIn is the Answers section. This section gives you the ability to ask and answer questions pertaining to any topic in any industry. People actively read these answers on a daily basis, and numerous business deals have come from individuals providing compelling information.
  • Here are some suggestions for expanding your network into a variety of “cliques”:
    1. Group Diversification
    2. People Watch
    3. Group Introductions
    4. Offer Group Assistance
  • To set yourself on the path of consistent action, start by establishing certain goals you want to achieve through your networking efforts. How many new people do you want to meet in a given period? How often do you want to connect with those you already know? How much and what type of value do you want to give to those you know?  Once you have established goals, plan out the required activities for meeting your goals.
  • Your mission on LinkedIn is to follow the ABB’s of networking: Always Be Building your network. Whether you are trying to find a job, create new opportunities, close more deals, make more money or become a globally recognized industry leader, the success factor for every networker is to Always Be Building your network of connections and opportunities.

Obviously there is a lot of info in this book, whether you are new to LinkedIn or have been using it for years I am sure you will find something useful.  It is written in an easy to understand and read style, with only 100 pages it is a quick read.  It doesn’t go into details in terms of click here, do this, do that, but is more about the overall objectives and ways you can use LinkedIn.

If you have read this book and have any comments please let me know below or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page. Or if you have any suggestions for what to read next.  I am still reading the New Rules of Marketing and PR, but I am finding it heavy going, hence why it didn’t get reviewed this week – next week I promise!

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Filed under Book Reviews, linkedin, social media

Mental Monday: If you don’t have big breasts put ribbons on your pigtails by Barbara Corcoran

Good Morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

It’s Mental Monday again, today’s book is “If you don’t have big breasts, put ribbons on your pigtails & other lessons I learned from my mom” by Barbara Corcoran with Bruce Littlefield.  This book is not just for women, so guys don’t switch off yet.

This book is written by a New York Real Estate Queen in 2004, so yes it is a few years old, but it was just given to me recently, so it shot to the top of the reading pile.  You may wonder what this has to do with social media or with your business, but believe me there are a lot of great ideas in here that you can use.  The book is a super easy read, with each chapter covering a slightly different topic, but it is full of ideas from Barbara’s experiences.  The idea behind the title is that you have to make the best of what you’ve got, not worry about what you don’t have –  however it may be a little fluffy for some people.  Here are my favourites (all direct quotes):

  • Perception creates reality: What you decide to put out there is what others will believe.  With social media you can give the perception of being a massive company while operating from your spare room, it’s all about what you say and how you say it.  Yes, be honest and transparent, but you don’t need to say you are writing from your bed!
  • Good salesmanship is nothing more than maximising the positive and minimizing the negative.  Although your competition might offer something you can’t match, that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you identify and play up what you’ve got:  Look at why someone should become a liker of your page, or why they should follow you on Twitter, instead of why they shouldn’t.  What have you got to offer readers/viewers?  How can you differentiate your business?  Is it the personal service?  The quick turnaround time? Your knowledge?  What are you doing differently?  If you value it others will.
  • Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there: This of course is true, but you first need to do your homework.  But this is all about passion, be passionate about your product/service/business and others will get infected with that passion and excited.
  • Good systems make plans happen: Make sure you know how new leads are coming to you so you can measure the effectiveness of your social networking.  Before you start a campaign plan it, so that you make the most of all the opportunities it is going to present.
  • It’s your game, make up your own rules: So true, who says that  you can’t be called The Chief Rabbit and wear rabbit ears in your online videos?  You decide what is going to work for you, you don’t need to be the same as everyone else, often it is that quirky thing that makes you stand out
  • If you want to be a better Cheerleader, you better know the cheers:  Whatever business you are in, you need to understand what is required in that industry, so if you are trying to pitch for business you are ready with the answers to what they want to know.  In social media this is the same, if you are trying to position your cafe as the best for homemade food on Facebook but have no pics of the food you are missing out.
  • fretting about what the other guy thinks often stops you from trying in the first place: Don’t worry that Starbucks UK has 342k likers on Facebook, instead worry about what you are doing to attract people to your page to interact with your business
  • I find that every big success happens after I think I’ve exhausted 100% of my options.  For me, success only happened after I gave another 10%: Don’t give up, there are always options, ask friends in a different industry what they are doing to get so many followers on Twitter, search on the net for articles to give you inspiration, ask Social Rabbit or ask your followers what interests you?  If it interests them it will probably interest others.
  • When there are 10 buyers and 3 puppies, every dog is the pick of the litter:  The more people who want what you have and the fewer you have the higher demand will be for your business/product/service.  Entice people with offers to follow you/like your page by making it the place to be… run offers for likers only, or entice new followers in with free ebooks but only to the first x number or today only, or before the end of the month.

Yes this book, was rather fluffy and generic, but it also had some good reminders about what you should be doing, which often I find we forget in the day to day rush to post, comment, like pages and tweet.

Next week I will be reviewing a harder hitting book – The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott, which will probably have so many ideas that I better start the blog now!

If there is a book you’d like The Chief Rabbit to read (to see if it’s worth a read) let me know in the comments or on our Facebook Page.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Small business, social media

Mental Monday: The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

Good Evening, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today is mental Monday, when this Rabbit reviews a book, today’s is The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich.

The story starts in October 2003 and ends in May 2008 with a where are they now in 2009.  It follows Mark Zuckerberg’s progress of building what was initially called “The Facebook” through Harvard and into the business world.  My key take outs from this book were:

  • Mark is a VERY VERY focused guy who will get whatever he wants eventually – regardless of who he has to step on to get it
  • Mark had a very clear vision and nothing stopped him from achieving that vision
  • You need to be passionate about what you are doing to achieve your goals
  • Don’t care what other people think of you, eg Mark attended a meeting with potential investors in his pajamas
  • If you can play the game you can win, eg the pajamas meeting was to make the investors feel that they could control him in business, because obviously he had no idea

Obviously it is hard to know when reading this book how much is fact and how much the author embellished.  I wonder if Mark actually contributed to the book, it seems very very unlikely.  It is far more likely that his first business partner Eduardo Saverin contributed, there is a lot of info in the book about how Mark basically took advantage of him in the early days and was then “persuaded” to devalue Eduardo’s shares to nothing.

Regardless of this, the book is all about power, people who want power, people who want to be seen, to be recognised and use their IT skills to stand out where normally they would be labeled “geeks”.  Mark is portrayed as someone who is so focused he will stop at nothing to keep his beloved “Facebook” growing, and yet when people who work with him have fulfilled their usefulness they seem to “disappear”, not in the killing them off sense, but that they are no longer part of Facebook.  The reasons seem to be that they are a liability, or have exhausted their usefulness.

This is a very easy read, and even it is not 100% true, it is a very interesting story that makes you want to find out what happened to the players in the end, although of course we all know that Facebook survived.

The main points that I got were that the vision and focus above all else will help you to achieve your goals no matter how big.  This is because you don’t worry about what others think, you don’t worry about upsetting people, you just worry about “your baby” working, growing and succeeding.  Plus if you put in a lot of hard work you will succeed, there are many times in the book when the Facebook team are coding for 4 days straight with no sleep, that is how passionate and driven they are to achieving the results.

So this weeks book, was perhaps rather frivolous, versa others that have been reviewed, but as in Crush It! it is all about the hard work and dedication that get results.  If you’ve read it tell me what you think in the comments below or on the Social Rabbit Facebook page.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Facebook case studies, Facebook fan pages, facebook page

Mental Monday:Tribes by Seth Godin

Good Evening, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today being Mental Monday it’s time to review a book related to social media, today my choice is Tribes by Seth Godin.  Now I should let you know that I am a HUGE Seth Godin fan, and regularly read his blogs, but a close friend of mine had read this book and said it was nothing new, so I was a bit reluctant to read it.  But readers I committed to you to read a book a week, so here I am.  I know you may think, but this isn’t on social media, well you’d be WRONG.  Why?  Tribes is all about leadership, Seth defines it as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea”.  This reader is what social networking is ALL about.

Your Facebook page is all about an idea, you are the leader, on Twitter you tweet out ideas and thoughts as the leader and you have followers – see what I mean?

So for me this book is one that instead of talking about Facebook etc, gets right down the grass-roots and talks about leadership, what it is and what it takes.  If you want to create a community then you are a leader, this book is one that stands out for me in terms of defining what a leader should be doing, and how ANYONE can be a leader it just takes faith.  My favourite bits from the book are (these are all direct quotes):

  • Leadership is about creating change that you believe in
  • Marketing is the act of telling stories about the things we make – stories that sell and stories that spread
  • Leaders make a ruckus
  • Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate
  • It only takes two things to turn a group of people into a tribe: 1) a shared interest, 2) a way to communicate
  • Leadership is a choice.  It’s the choice not to do nothing.
  • Showing up isn’t sufficient
  • Through your actions as a leader you attract a tribe that wants to follow you
  • Great leaders don’t try to please everyone
  • The lesson is that one person with a persistent vision can make change happen, whether climbing rocks or delivering services
  • Changing things – pushing the envelope and creating a future that doesn’t exist yet (at the same time you’re criticised by everyone else) – requires bravery
  • Tribes are the most effective media channels ever, but they’re not for sale or for rent.  Tribes don’t do what you want; they do what they want
  • The challenge for the leader is to help your tribe sing, whatever form that song takes
  • Caring is the key emotion at the centre of the tribe
  • Part of leadership (a big part of it, actually) is the ability to stick with the dream for a long time
  • There’s a small price for being too early, but a huge penalty for being too late

But beware… “you can’t have a tribe without a leader – and you can’t be a leader without a tribe”.

Seth also talks about creating a Micromovement (this is one thing that you as the leader believe in) and gives 5 things to do and 6 key principles:

Things to do:

  1. Publish a manifesto
  2. Make it easy for followers to connect with you
  3. Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another
  4. Realise that money is not the point of the movement
  5. Track your progress

Key Principles

  1. Transparency is really your only option
  2. Your movement needs to be bigger than you
  3. Movements that grow, thrive
  4. Movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push the other direction
  5. Exclude outsiders
  6. Tearing others down is never helpful to a movement as building your followers up

So everyone out there with a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel etc you are all being a leader and creating a following/tribe.  Have you noticed how the same points are raised again and again in regards to social media, eg the transparency, the caring and that it takes time?  In the rush to get x number of followers we often forget this.  So if you want to learn more check out Tribes, and consider your leadership of your tribe….

Got comments?  Please tell me below or on the Facebook Page.  F.Y.I. Just to confirm I was NOT paid to write this, it is a completely honest opinion.

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Mental Monday: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Good Morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today I’m reviewing the book Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk, the full title is actually “Why now is the time to Crush it! cash in on your passion”.  This book is a very easy read, I think I read it in about 1.5hours, maybe less.  Gary is the creator of Wine Library TV a video blog on wine, and using blogs he grew his family liquor business from $4M to $50M in 8 years, not bad hey?

Gary is ALL about doing something you love, being passionate about it, and using that passion on the internet.  He is also BIG on hard work, as in really hard work, he talks in his book how when he first started his video blogs he would make the blog and then spend 8-9 hours A DAY commenting on other blogs, researching, tweeting and generally getting out there and “meeting the neighbours”.  This I have to say is one of the main reasons I love his work.  The fact that he does work.  The way he writes in his book is exactly the same as the way he talks (I saw him in April in Sydney).  When I was at the conference in Sydney a lot of people kept asking him but how long do you spend on social media a day, how long do I need to spend, and similar questions.  He kept coming back to one point – I love it and therefore it doesn’t feel like work.  This is what I love about him, as this Rabbit feels exactly the same, EXACTLY, if you enjoy it does it matter how long you spend doing it?

So in true form here are a few of my favourite bits from the book – they are all direct quotes,

  • I know you were hoping for some links and resources, but if I’m going to teach you how to fish properly, I can’t bait the hook for you.
  • Your blog will be your main home, your central location with a no-exceptions open-door policy where anyone can find you.  It also serves as storage for all the content you will create, essentially building an archive where people can see how you and your business have evolved and expanded.
  • The real beauty of Twitter and Facebook (and all the other social networking sites) is that they offer a massive opportunity for every entrepreneur and business to keep constant tabs on what their customers are thinking about them.
  • If you are a video blogger you must have  TubeMogul account.  It’s a website that allows you to upload your video once, then distributes it to countless video-sharing sites for free.
  • If you want to dominate the social media game, all of your effort has to come from the heart
  • assuming you’re doing this right, you’ll be bleeding out of your eyeballs at your computer [on hard work and time spent]
  • No one makes a million dollars with minimal effort unless they win the lottery.
  • If you contact me within a year of starting your business to complain that you haven’t made the money you thought you would, you’re not listening.  I said that you could make a ton of money being happy; I didn’t say you could do it overnight.
  • But creating your content is the easy part.  Of course your product should be as good as it can be, but it should also be the least time-consuming element of your whole endeavor.
  • Care.

 I think that from the extracts above you get the idea behind Gary and his book.  It is a quick easy read that you will want to come back to every time you need that kick up the bum to get you moving.

Until next week enjoy, have fun and get busy on your social networks.  If you have a book you’d like me to review please post it in the comments or on the Social Rabbit Facebook Page.

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Mental Monday: Socialnomics by Erik Qualman

Good Afternoon, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Today I am starting a new post slot called Mental Monday’s, the idea being that each week I will review a book/whitepaper related to social media.  My reasons for this are that I want to read more and just am not holding myself accountable, so I thought my readers could hold me accountable instead.  I welcome suggestions on which books you would like reviewed.  I would like to point out that I don’t get given the books to review, nor do I own a book store & I will always say what I think!

Today’s book is Socialnomics: how social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman.  You might recognise this name, he is the guy who bought us the YouTube video called the Social Media Revolution – a must watch for everyone if you haven’t seen it.

So back to the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it is a very easy read with lots of case studies to bring it to life, it is very open and honest, and tells it exactly how it is.  It contains eight chapters on different social media topic such as word of mouth, social media = preventative behaviour, Obama’s success with social media, winners & losers in 140 character world and more.  At the end of each chapter Erik has a 1 page list of key point that you can take away.  Below I have listed my favourite key points (please note that these are all direct quotes):

  • Spending time on social media makes you more productive.  Social media is the mechanism that allows users to avoid “information indigestion”.
  • Business models need to shift.  Simply digitizing old business models doesn’t work; businesses need to fully transform to properly address the impact and demands of social media
  • Not all great marketing ideas need to originate in the marketing department.
  • What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube.
  • Social media enables frustrated customers to instantly post their unbridled frustrations
  • Effective companies and people relish critical feedback via social media.
  • Social media allows individuals to take real-time inventories of their lives and helps answer the age old question “what am I doing with my life?”
  • Reality TV has been replaced by reality social media
  • Consumers want to take ownership of your brand and brag about your product; let them!
  • Socialommerce is a referral program on steroids [refering to social media ecommerce]
  • The old adage that you can only have two of these – cheap, quick or quality – doesn’t hold true within social media.  It is possible to have all three
  • Consumers are looking to peers for recommendations on products, services, health issues, and more via social media.  Only companies that produce great products and services will be part of these conversations; mediocrity will quickly be eliminated.
  • The transparency and speed of information exchanged within social media mitigates casual schizophrenic behaviour.  Having a “work” personality and having a “party” personality will soon become extinct.  People and companies will need to have one essence and be true to that essence.
  • No person or company is perfect, so you are best to admit your faults and the public will respect you for it.
  • It’s better to live a social media life making mistake than living a social media life doing nothing.
  • Don’t build your “Field of Nightmares” [refering to the Field of Dreams quote build it and they will come] by building or replicating a social network for your company.  If you build it they will most likely not come.  You are better connecting to the best in class social media tools that exist.  You aren’t a social media company so don’t attempt to parade as one.
  • The younger generation’s interpersonal communication skills are starting to suffer as a result of overdependence on nonverbal and non-face-to-face interactions

Just from these snippets of information you can see that he talks about where social media is and where he thinks it is going.  This book made me think about what I am doing, and how I can do it better, the case studies are great for new ideas and can be applied to any business.

I would recommend this book, not only for newbies to social media but also those who have been around the tracks a few times, it will make you think about what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Was this useful?  Tell me yes or no in the comments, do you want me to keep doing reviews?

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Filed under Book Reviews, social media