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The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith (Book Review of the Week-ish)

“No man is an island” — John Donne

Conventional wisdom suggests that networking remains core to business success, even in our highly connected culture. After all, a Facebook account without any friends is just kind of sad, isn’t it? And a Twitter account with no followers isn’t much of a tweet… er, treat. LinkedIn without any links… well, you get the idea.

Thankfully, Mari Smith’s wonderful new book “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web” illustrates how you can effectively build and nurture your network with an honest, authentic approach too often lacking in modern marketing.

Smith puts more emphasis on “relationships” than “marketing” or the “social web.” Not that she minimizes the importance of the tools or tactics. Not at all, in fact. But, what Smith does do is put the focus first on building the right relationships with the right people in the right way. This focus on how you deepen, enhance and extend your relationships in ways that benefit you and your friends, fans, and followers makes the tools and tactics far more effective than the far more common other way around.

The first half of the book looks at the basics of relationship marketing while the second covers the details how to grow your personal brand. Smith illustrates each of these with personal anecdotes and experiences that demonstrate what works—or doesn’t—in practice. I particularly liked Smith’s detailing the “11 Common Fears” of social media marketing. Rather than dismissing these fears out of hand, Smith looks at where these fears pose valid risks and how you can address those risks in your relationship marketing efforts. That alone may be worth the price of the book.

Additionally, I loved Smith’s tools such as “relationship circles” and “Hollywood Squares” lists for keeping track of your relationship building goals. Ms. Smith knows her topic well and offers practical advice for growing your network, your brand and your business in a clear and conscientious way.

In our “always on,” hyper-connected world, building effective, authentic relationships with people in business and life may matter more than ever. And doing so in a way that’s considerate of the people you connect with will separate you from the pack of smarmy snake oil salesmen so common in the “social guru” game. Pick up a copy of “The New Relationship Marketing”
for yourself and learn how to build not just follower counts, but real relationships, real networks and, ultimately, real business using the social web.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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