Friends with Benefits – A Social Media Handbook

Written by: Lynn in Social Media

Social Media seems to be the topic that everyone is talking about and many businesses are moving toward as another outlet for marketing.

Social Media Marketing, as defined by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo, authors of Friends with Benefits – A Social Media Handbook is: “using social media channels to promote your company and its products  (Barefoot and Szabo, 13).” Examples of a few social media tools include blogs and numerous social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Friends with Benefits – A Social Media Handbook is exactly what the title defines.  From the beginning, the authors explain the basic principles behind social media and then elaborate on how you should utilize each social media channel to its fullest potential. Other books that I’ve read on marketing come across as a sales pitch making me forget that I am looking for tips, tricks and any information that I can gather rather than feeling like I just got off the phone with a telemarketer. Darren and Julie’s writing elegantly explain the basics of many social media channels without losing the reader with all techno-jargon. They are able to give the reader an abundance of information without being overwhelmed.  Each chapter also includes links that direct you to useful websites or book suggestions that will only further your knowledge with everything associated with social media from RSS feeds to measuring analytics.

Even though being part of the generation that “grew” up using social networks like Facebook and Twitter, there was still so much that I was unaware of before reading this book.  Darren and Julie define and emphasize the importance of online visibility that can be achieved when using social media beyond the basic ‘social’ aspect and ‘networking’ abilities of these tools to promote and market your company. The information that they provide is not necessarily a tailored marketing plan that you can follow, but instead they give you all the information you need to get your foot into social media and feel confident about your actions online by using examples of successful marketing campaigns.

Whether you are just starting your social media adventure or if you are in the middle of a marketing campaign, this book can give you great tips, “do’s and don’ts” for specific tools and extra resources for the many social media channels that are at your fingertips.


social media channels


Barefoot, Darren and Julie Szabo.  Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook.  San Francisco, CA: No Starch Press, 2010.

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