Go Dummies Go! I love Dummies! Dummies books rule!
I always look forward to the latest installment of the such-and-such for dummies books, so I eagerly awaited my Amazon.com pre-order of Jan Zimmerman's and Doug Sahlin's Social Media Marketing (all-in-one) for Dummies. Even better it proclaimed it was eight books in one. The book is fantastic, even if it does suffer from the usual forest-vs-trees issue. It is much more a "trees" book with lots of details on each social media venue, but still a great book.
By "trees" I mean it gives you the details of each social media marketing venue: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc. For each, the authors do a nice job of overviewing the venue, and explaining the basic steps of how to create an account, what you can do with it, etc. It's a great survey of the entire Social Media Universe. Importantly, it is a critical, skeptical, ROI point of view vs. many of the simple cheerleading or laundry list books on Social Media out there. I really liked that.
By "forest," however, I mean the big picture / strategy of Social Media. The book DOES have information on building a Social Media Marketing plan and DOES have some useful case studies, but there is often just too much text and too many details. I teach Social Media Marketing (online and in San Francisco), and I have experienced that my students are just overwhelmed with the details. Less is often more, as they say, and this book could have used a re-write on the chapters on making a social media marketing plan. Missing in particular is a clear explanation of which social media venue fits which business need best.
That said, if you combine this detailed book, with some "higher level" marketing strategy... And, for example, you pre-think WHY you want to Twitter (Facebook, Youtube, MySpace, LinkedIn), and WHY your potential customers might care to listen / converse with you... You will have a dynamite combination. Don't be afraid to realize that perhaps you don't NEED Twitter - that Youtube is a BETTER fit for your company.
This book has earned its place on my reference shelf, for myself and my students in Social Media Marketing. For more on me, just click on my profile or Google Jason McDonald plus Social Media. I love comments and feedback, and I try to read as many new SEO, Social Media, AdWords books as I can.