Ric Dragon’s Social Marketology hits on all cylinders for an MBA-level course in social media marketing. The book is well rooted in theoretical concepts and fits the curriculum topics and learning outcomes expected for social media marketing.
The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:
- Ric Dragon speaks as both an academic and practitioner in his overview of social media strategy. In a very creative way, he blends the marketing behavioral goals of today’s enterprise with the changing social landscape. But rather than a recipe or series of tactical guidelines, he uses numerous metaphors and historical society pattern discoveries as a foundation for what social media really does to our organizational setup, goal setting, audience building and community engagement. In so doing, it connects well with traditional marketing professors while rolling out a sequence of topics consistent with a marketing planning process.
- Every chapter includes highly useful diagrams, close-out points and case examples that lend themselves well to critical thinking exercises. And by introducing each topic as thought provoking concepts related more to changing behaviors and organization mentalities, students have grounds for debate and conceptually deriving their own strategies. This is a refreshing change from the myriad of books that preach magical tactics and secrets to viral content success.
- Several decision making frameworks and checklists like the social pyramid for platform selection, strategy alignment, finding your brand voice, ideation, social triggers and measuring your progress are introduced for practice and plan building. This builds a confidence in the reader to get started especially on process optimization.
- The book is highly current and covers in detail such topics as influence marketing, brand ambassadorship, storytelling and hyper-targeting.
- The book is organized consistent with an MBA-level introduction to social media strategy. Starting with a rationale and interpretation of social media’s logical progression from traditional marketing, fundamentals of organization building are then laid out in line with a more powerful social consumer. Sessions are then devoted to the peculiarities of strategy development, branding and segmentation based on the changing social landscape. After the organizational and strategy foundation is established, later chapters go into tactics for thinking like your social consumer as well as growing communities, engaging them and improving the marketing process. This organization first, culture second and buyer journey tactics third seems to work better than the reverse as MBAs are accustomed to addressing management issues early on.
What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as the number one book is the following:
- This book is meant for the serious student. As I got close to the finish, I find myself reaching for my graduation cap and saying “I could do it.” It is packed with useful information and decision aids extending across every aspect of social business development. But it is tough to be fun in the process.
- Although many long-awaited frameworks are provided to get companies going, a number one book would be expected to offer a fresh new perspective in the process. Books like Youtility, Visual Storytelling and Audience take a stab at an evolving mindset.
Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book
Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics.
So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.