TopRank Marketing Editor

Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook

TopRank Marketing Editor     Online Marketing, Social Media

Getting to First Base
[Note from Lee: Is that chicken wearing a garter belt?]

Beginning with a blog post on creative blogger pitches, Darren and Julie caught TopRank’s attention with Lee Odden’s name showcased on a flirty pink envelope. Watching Lee dig through the mail looking for his pink envelope only intrigued me more, and I knew I had to read this guide to social media – not only for review purposes, but to enjoy the romantic innuendos and maybe even pick up on a few dating tips for future reference. 🙂

Immediately, the tongue-in-cheek section titles such as “A Social Media Love-In”, “Size Matters” and “I Totally Digg You” grab your attention in this social media guide offered by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo. This humor mixed in with an exciting field like social media made for an enjoyable read as I learned how to initiate the first date and get to first base; well, in the social media world anyway.

Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook – equipped with tips, ideas, warnings and case studies – is an ebook offering information on beginning a social media marketing campaign, making sure sites are social media-ready and avoiding social media pitfalls. The fun and light “dating” language is an effective metaphor for explaining what social media is and how it works.

Highlighting online publicity stunts such as the Subservient Chicken helps new readers understand the potential viral-ness of such a campaign, and how watching a man dressed as a chicken dance in a living room helped promote Burger King chicken sandwiches. Maybe we all wanted to see that chicken suit man as a fried sandwich? As the internet is the fastest way to send huge amounts of information these days, it makes sense to penetrate the online world through memes and other viral link-bait campaigns to grow your brand awareness and online exposure.

Playing online “Simon Says” and learning about the top bloggers and Facebook users by actually emulating their actions in the social media community can help you with your social media successes. An excerpt from Getting to First Base describes this immersion in social media:

“If a woman you’re into likes mountain biking, get yourself on a bike and race down a few treacherous trails with her. Now you’ve got something in common. Plus, she’ll teach you how to ‘bunny hop’ and ‘track stand’, which may kick off one of those romantic movie montages we all secretly love.”

Make friends with the bloggers and social media gurus you plan on contacting. Link to them through your blog or website, subscribe to their blog feed and become their friend on Facebook to show you are an ally. These influential bloggers will be more familiar with you and more open to your ideas later when you do contact them.

Participating with social communities compliments the section, “Pillow Talk: Learning to Listen” very well. As stated in the book, the “golden rule in any courtship is to be a good listener.” You need to be up-to-date on the conversations already happening in the industry and be able to participate in the dialog that happens between influential participants. Understanding current topics, finding out who the “popular kids” are and knowing how their preferred medium interacts with others are three things to keep in mind when cultivating social media relationships.

A particularly useful portion of Getting to First Base is the “Recommended Reading” section at the end. There, you’ll find advanced courses in social media marketing, how to market to a younger age group not highlighted in the book and where to go for more information on the social media marketing topic.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 5 years, you know that more and more people are spending less time watching television and spending more time online – or both. The main point of “Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook” is the importance of increasing your online presence by taking your time and building up your reputation as a giving, sharing company that can be trusted and respected in the social media community.

Not unlike the preppy kid wooing the hot girl from band class, you need to cultivate the relationship, cherish the relationship and respect the relationship. Then, you will score a home run.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (4 votes, average: 2.75 out of 5)


  1. Thanks for the great write-up! I really appreciate how much thought you put into the review.

    I should mention that we’re happy to give free copies to bloggers, podcasters and other social media creators if they want to review the ebook on their own site.

  2. This is some great advice. I’ve been working on increasing traffic through this sort of activities and a lot of this makes perfect sense. I may have to take Darren up on his offer to review the eBook. I might even learn something useful in the process.

  3. Good review. Funny thing is, I just recently saw a video on YouTube titled “A Message for Lee Odden” that caught my attention. It must have been part of Darren and Julie’s strategy to “hook up” with Lee for a first date 🙂

    I’d love to review the ebook and read their take on “first base”.

  4. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for filling us in on this ebook.

    I’ve recently taken over the marketing of a spanish-language social networking site, and I am struggling to find great resources like these targeted to Hispanic Audiences.

    Hey Darren, have you considered translating your book? I have been thinking about organizing a series of workshops at the local new media colleges to teach social networking basics, and a piece like this could be a great resource.

  5. Luisa: Interesting suggestion. We haven’t considered that, but that’s not a bad idea. I’ll look into the costs involved.


  1. Getting to first base with Social Media Marketing | No nonsense Internet Tips says:

    […] I read from time to time is TopRankBlog and they published an article a few days ago of a review of Getting to First Base with Social Media Marketing which seemed interesting. Well the author of the book commented offering bloggers a review copy of […]