These days everyone is a social media expert. They are armed with a Facebook fan page, a few months on Twitter, and a working knowledge of how to push content to all social media outlets at once. With this vast background, they position themselves to help business owners leverage social media. The result is a lot of bad advice and a number of business owners who doubt the effectiveness of social media as a tool.

The truth? Social media works.  It works when it is done thoughtfully and with a strategy.  It works when it is guided by professionals  willing to admit this is a relatively new field, and we are all learning. How do we learn? We watch others and talk with others who have been doing this longer. We share stories and best practices, and we read. We read well written books by smart authors; books like “No Bullshit Social Media” by my friends Jason Falls and Erik Deckers.

In person, they are an unlikely pair. Jason is brash, direct and outspoken. He seems to enjoy stirring up a little controversy in his wake. Erik is reserved, soft-spoken, with a subtle, biting wit. In print, they are a killer combination. The book is an extraordinarily well written easy read, filled with practical tips and specific examples and no bullshit or hype.

And to make it fun, the book contains just enough of the authors’ humor and sarcasm to make it feel as if I am sitting across a table chatting over coffee as I turn each page.  Some of my favorite case study/examples from the book are:

Cisco Product Launch: Using social media they reached 90 times (yes, that is correct, 90 times) as many people as they typically did with a product launch. The best part of this example was the fact the results were achieved at a significantly lower cost. The Lesson: Go where your customers are.

Toni and The Cars: Toni Deckers doesn’t have high influence according to Klout, but she does in the real world.  She influenced the purchase of four cars in just a few months. The Lesson: People have influence both on and off line. Don’t ignore either.

Want more examples? You will have to buy a copy of the book. You can’t borrow mine, because I will be referring to it again and again.  You can buy your own copy here.