September 24, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Book Review: “The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media”

Book Review: “The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media”

Paul Gillin’s book, “The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media,” came as something of a surprise to me. Rather than focusing on just a few aspects of how influence is changing in the digital world, the book is a comprehensive discussion. It covers a wide spectrum of social media, including podcasting, vlogging and viral video. Books this broad are usually targeted at those just getting into the space, and are a bit of a yawn for others. But – surprise – Gillin was engaging, particularly in his profiles of some of these new influencers. For example, he spends a chapter on Peter Rojas, founder of popular tech news sites [Gizmodo](http://gizmodo.com) and [Engadget](http://engadget.com). With the inclusion of more in-depth discussion like this one, the book can appeal to the “beginners” in social media with an “intermediate” twist.
Gillin helps marketers understand how social media spawns and expands ideas, and how companies interested in the space can establish themselves. He offers descriptions of RSS and advice on tracking, monitoring and measuring your efforts.
Where’s the twist? In his descriptions of the personal journeys of these new influencers, you might begin to reevaluate your own skills; you take a different perspective on your company’s products and services in light of social media, its potential and how it has changed the lives of others. This twist makes the book more than just a primer on social media and worth the thoughtful consideration of those daily bloggers wondering how their product may change.
Don’t get me wrong: Gillin doesn’t lay out the top 10 things you need to do to become a new influencer, but his writing made me reflect on new ways to package information and new ways to approach current influencers. Those different things are one part someone’s past experience and two parts individual creativity.
I love pointing out little items in a book that might go unnoticed. On page 170, in the bottom paragraph, Gillin gives advice on gaining insight a blogger’s perception of a company by looking at the blogger’s tags. Gillin writes, “For example, if you are marketing fruit juice for its taste but a lot of people are tagging it with health or nutrition descriptions, that’s a positioning opportunity. … Tags can also give early warning of a problem. If people are tagging your home page with terms like ‘polluter’ or ‘sexist’ then you’ve got issues.”
Another valuable attribute of the book is that Gillin, while an advocate of social media, is not wearing rose-colored glasses. He writes on page 83: “If you think your corporate blog is going to make your customers love you, the media go easy on you and your investors buy your stock, you’re wrong.” Thank you, Paul.
“The New Influencers” provides excellent resources and advice useful for anyone attempting to educate an organization about social media. I recommend it to “newbies” as well as those with more experience–it is always good to take in a fresh perspective, and I think that’s what Gillin is offering here.
“The New Influencers” is [available](http://www.amazon.com/New-Influencers-Marketers-Guide-Social/dp/1884956653/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199730625&sr=8-1) on Amazon.
*Albert Maruggi is the president of [Provident Partners](http://providentpartners.net), a PR and social media consultancy. He is also the host of the [Marketing Edge podcast](http://providentpartners.net/blog), and a senior fellow of the Society for New Communications Research. To win Albert’s copy of “The New Influencers” including his personal notations, enter the drawing by emailing him at marketingedge@providentpartners.net.*

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