Friends with Benefits – Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo

A Social Media Marketing Handbook

I hate to think what the nice christian librarian thought about me borrowing this book, and to be honest I kind of hid the cover when I was reading it in public, but that aside it was actually quite a good read. Not my favorite out of the Social Medial Marketing books I’ve read (this could be in part because a lot of it is duplicating info I’ve already come across) but it certainly has some good ideas. And some contradictory notions that are good, in that it makes me think hard about which advice I follow instead of blindly following. A lot of the book was geared towards businesses, like companies rather than creative industries, so I kinda skim read a lot of it.

I did appreciate the thoughts on blogging, in particular thinking about if you should have a blog at all (generally, yes) and what its focus should be, and how to use it.

There were also hints on how to attract people to your blog, such as

  • Write a ‘top ten’ list, or any list. Top 31 films in 2010 would work, too.
  • Share stories about technology innovation. Easy in our business.
  • Teach something. This also covers video blogs, how to… stuff.
  • Be political.
  • Be controversial.
  • And post anything cute and cuddly. Which is very big online, apparently, but I just can not bring myself to do it. Ever.

It also suggests you become active on other people’s blogs, Boing Boing, Digg, etc, but don’t go around plastering advertising for your blog. I know I never follow those kinds of links, on principle really.

One point I found interesting is that it doesn’t matter how professional your youtube clips are. I generally strive to have them polished and high quality, but most people don’t seem to, and that’s become the norm. And keep it to around 2 minutes, which is hard for me, but I know I get bored with a lot of stuff after about this length of time. Except some of the TED stuff. That’s great.

Oh, and I knew this but I need reminding so it doesn’t get me down, only about 1% of people on an online community create content, that is to ‘like’ or comment on videos. The rest are lurkers who visit without interacting. Sometimes it feels like you’re writing into a void, but hey, maybe 99 people have passed through and you just haven’t had the 1 person who will comment yet. Or maybe you just need to rethink what you’re blogging about… 🙂

So, over all, Friends With Benefits is worth a look for filmmakers, but maybe borrow it from the library rather than purchasing it.


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