While it took Radio 38 long years, Television 13 years, and Internet 4 years to reach 50 million users, it took Social Media star Facebook just 9 months! Yes, that’s how fast Social Media has grown. With the rise of websites and apps like Twitter, YouTube, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, the impact of Social Media on business and marketing is very significant.
While the academic community will admit to its impact, perhaps because of its ever changing nature, they find it difficult to offer a detailed perspective of Social Media Marketing in a B-school curriculum in India. A recent book titled ‘Social Media Marketing’ authored by two management academics from well known US Universities, offers the necessary academic frameworks, industry insights and supporting material to arm MBA educators. The book is published by SAGE, a leading global publisher of well researched academic books and high impact journals.
Authored by Prof Tracy L. Tuten and Prof Michael R. Solomon, the second edition of Social Media Marketing is divided into three broad parts. The first part offers the ‘Foundations of Social Media Marketing’. The second part elaborates on ‘The Four Zones of Social Media’, where the authors identify ‘Social Community’, ‘Social Publishing’, ‘Social Entertainment’ and ‘Social Commerce’ as the four ‘Zones’. The final third part is all about ‘Social Media Data Management and Measurement’. This part offers tools for understanding the Social Media Metrics, and how to get consumer insights. Towards the end, book also has two cases on Social Media Marketing dilemma and challenges.
One of the highlights of the book is author’s classification of ‘Four Zones’ of social media that marketers can use to achieve their strategic objectives. This classification gives a structure for analysis and study of these interdependent yet distinct social media domains.
The first one is Community. Social communities are essentially “channels of social media that focus upon relationships and the common activities people participate in with others who share the same interest or identification.” Author gives example of Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin in this section.
Second zone is Publishing. Social Publishing sites help in the dissemination of content to an audience. The channels of social publishing include blogs, microsharing sites, media sharing sites, and social bookmarking and news site. Author gives example of Blogger (for Blogs), YouTube, Picasa, SlideShare etc for this zone.
Third zone is Entertainment. The zone of social entertainment encompasses channels and vehicles that offer opportunities for play and enjoyment. These include social games and gaming sites, socially enabled console games, alternate reality games (ARGs), and entertainment communities. Second Life, MySpace and Zynga are some examples.
The Fourth and final zone is Commerce. This includes use of social media to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services. Social commerce influences stages of the consumer decision-making process. Channels include reviews and ratings, deal sites and deal aggregators, social shopping markets, and other ways where social media can influence commerce. Groupon and TripAdvisor.com are good examples of this use.
Talking about the evolution of the book, authors note, “A few years back, the first edition of Social Media Marketing was one of the first textbooks to cover this subject. It showed how social media fits into and complements the marketer’s toolbox. The book melds essential theory with practical application as it covers core skills such as strategic planning for social media applications… This second edition contains new examples, industry developments and academic research to help students remain current in their marketing studies…”
Endorsing the book, Robert V. Kozinets, Professor of Marketing, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada said, “Hands down, this is the single best textbook about social media marketing out there… If you teach or study social media marketing or digital marketing, then you need this book!’”
The book has a support site for educators that offers a range of teaching and learning resources. For every chapter, instructors can access PowerPoint slides, Instructor manual,
Test bank of multiple choice questions. Students can access a list of author-selected YouTube videos for every chapter, and other tools to enhance their understanding and employability.
Prof Tracy L. Tuten is a Professor of Marketing at East Carolina University where she teaches social media marketing and advertising. Her publications have appeared in such journals as Journal of Marketing Communications, Psychology & Marketing, and Journal of Business Research. Prof Michael R. Solomon is Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Consumer Research in the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
To sum up, Social Media Marketing is a useful book for B-schools to teach the ever evolving area of Social Media Marketing. While the book is easy to read with practical applications, it is grounded in theory, which educators.