There are a lot of books about social media on the market today and coming soon to a bookstore or Kindle near you. But if you’re looking for a book with unmatched tone that cuts through the abstract, fluffy BS and gives you practical insights into applying and measuring social media strategies at your business, look no further than the aptly titled No Bullshit Social Media (affiliate link).

The Elevator Pitch

Those familiar with authors Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer and Erik Deckers of Professional Blog Service know that they are ‘no bullshit’ kind of guys. There’s nobody more ideally suited to write a refreshing and eye-opening book that makes an assertive yet pragmatic business case for social media’s role in business today. No Bullshit Social Media asks us to look beyond the “hippies and tree huggers” (social media purists) with their “Kumbaya talk about joining the conversation.” Rather we need to start treating ‘social media’ more like ‘social media marketing.’

The BIG (No Bullshit) Ideas

The central thesis of the book is meant to expand and alter one of the biggest issues dogging social media practitioners today — ROI. Executives and business owners want to know what their investment in social media got them and most of us managing social efforts want to show that but often both parties end up dissatisfied. Falls and Deckers assert that it’s because we have the ROI conversation wrong. Rather than struggle with a traditional measure of return or a “tree hugger alternative” like “return on engagement,” No Bullshit Social Media puts the brakes on and asks us to look at our business goals for being active in social media in the first place. To help us zero in on the right objective, Falls and Deckers outline the seven things that social media can do for your business.

Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer

1. Enhance Branding and Awareness – Tackling an abstract concept like branding head on, the book calls ‘BS’ on the free pass we’ve given traditional media ROI through the years when it comes to branding. In short, today your customers trust peer reviews more than your marketing copy. You have to be a part of this water cooler conversation in order to …

2. Protect Brand Reputation – Do you want to be a Domino’s or a Chi-Chi’s? A No Bullshit marketer will know the answer after reading this.

3. Enhance Public Relations – From the news of Bin Laden’s death to the first glimpses of the miracle on the Hudson, social media has become a leading news driver. This section provides a great primer for brands on how they can leverage PR 2.0.

4. Build Community — This is one of the best chapters in the book as it drives home the importance of building ‘community.’ Ultimately, we’re really building ‘customers’ but that word often distracts us by focusing on the sales process rather than honestly meeting the needs of our customers and community.

5. Enhance Customer Service – Social media has become the new digital front line for our customer service work thus making the case for some “No BS CS.” The authors even provide a construct for measuring social media’s impact on your call center costs.

Erik Deckers, Professional Blog Service

6. Facilitate Research and Development – Social media allows businesses large and small (who perhaps couldn’t afford traditional R & D) to close feedback loops and drive innovation. Not to mention that, as the authors note, collaborating with customers breeds more customers.

7. Drive Leads and Sales – Despite the fact that social media marketing is more about relationships than receipts, you can actually drive bottom-line results like Miss Shirley’s restaurant with their unique Foursquare campaign. (Side note: The case studies in this book were refreshing and new. Examples ranged from small local businesses in Falls’ hometown to international brands; from big box retailers to a scissors manufacturer.)

After driving home that it’s not as much about ROI as what you get out of social, Falls and Deckers deliver a surprisingly powerful chapter on ROI itself. It had to be done this way. You have to unlearn the hyper-active emphasis on traditional ROI in order to understand the other business benefits of social media. Then, and only then, can you circle back for an insightful discussion on the true ROI of social media.

The book provides other critical lessons for building a more social business such as the role of social media policies (how adding two words to your existing policies can often be enough) and organizational design issues that help address who should ‘own’ social media.

In the end, No Bullshit pragmatically reminds us that it’s not a matter of being on social media but rather of being social and re-engineering your organization with a series of kickstarts to help you foster a collaborative and social business where everyone’s a marketer.

So, Should You Read It?

It’s hard not to love No Bullshit Social Media’s tone the best. It reads like Jason and Erik talk, which is refreshing and keeps the pace clipping along.

The central theme of No Bullshit is that social media has to be aligned with measurable business goals otherwise it’s a hobby. To leverage it as the marketing channel it has the potential to be, you need to plan it like you would any other channel. You need a business goal, a strategy, tactics for execution, and relevant performance indicators to measure. This sounds like an oversimplification but it’s so easy for us to get caught up in the “social media Kumbaya” that we often end up missing the forrest for all the trees. Luckily, Falls and Deckers are standing at the tree line yelling — and occasionally swearing — for us to get this right.

If you want to get serious about social media marketing and especially if you need to sell it to the C-suite, then you need to pick up a copy of No Bullshit Social Media.


  • Win a FREE copy of No Bullshit Social Media autographed by Jason Falls. Enter for your chance to win by leaving a comment below. I’ll draw a winner next Monday, October 3rd, with the new weekly post. But if you can’t wait and are jonesing to get started you can …
  • Read the first chapter for FREE here.