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Sometimes it’s the fear of failure that stops you doing something you really want to do; the self-doubt rears its ugly head and you stall before you’ve even started. I wasn’t sure if I could ever write a book, but now I’m working on my ninth and it’s all down to the belief of one man — my hubby, Paul. I hope this book spurs you on to conquer what might seem like a minefield of digital overload, but really isn’t when you understand just a little bit more.

To your success!


Marketing is a ‘state of mind’ that must exist in any organisation — public service or private sector — if that organisation is to identify and serve the needs of its various stakeholder groups, in any truly meaningful or effective way.

It is a common paradigm that marketing is a commercial tool designed simply to sell as many products or services as possible. One not uncommon definition is that ‘marketing is the art of arresting the human intelligence for long enough to extract money from it’. It’s not that. That’s mugging.


As I’ve often talked about, a business or organisation — public, private, profit or not-for-profit — is a ‘marketing organism’ that requires a marketing state of mind in everything that it does to meet its customers’ needs.


And that means that marketing is about so much more than advertising or promotion. It’s about understanding the needs and wants of existing and potential customers, and then making meaningful connections and developing relationships with each of those groups, time after time after time.

Marketing is the entire business of doing business looked at from the stakeholders’ point of view (all stakeholders, including staff, customers, shareholders, suppliers, communities, etc.). In this environment, marketers should bring a dynamic, powerful and effective approach to the development and implementation of marketing and/or communication strategies.

So how do we do this? Once upon a time it was by advertising, PR and promotions. Today, the digital and online world has generated social media. Social media is not a new ‘what’ in marketing; it’s a new ‘how’. The core concept of marketing has not changed and will never change. Social media simply created a new environment in which relationships can be established and effective marketing communications can take place. Most of these social media platforms even have their own built-in data analytics tools, which enables companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns.

Social media is now at the core of effective marketing. Most marketing activity is a costly waste of money but if social media is fully understood and effectively implemented, it works.

There are an increasing number of social media channels and it is vital that marketers understand each one of them, how they are structured, who their participants are, what they are used for and how to penetrate those markets without seriously rattling their cages — a real risk with social media.

One of the best and most impressive social media brains that I know is marketer and author Linda Coles. And she has written this book in a powerful and effective way that will help all marketers understand the concept and the practice of social media. Highly valuable.

She also brings humour, warmth and a big brain to the book which increases its value enormously.

The single biggest thing that social media has brought to the world of marketing and marketing communications is people. We now recognise and understand more than ever that people do business with people. Companies are no more than legal entities.

And in this environment, Linda is a star, connecting and communicating with people in a constantly impressive manner.

Read the book. Carefully consider what Linda has to say. Integrate it into your business’s activities. Do those things and your business will become even more successful than it already has been.

Brian H. Meredith

CEO of The Marketing Bureau, New Zealand

Former Director of Saatch & Saatchi, UK, and Acting Chief
Executive of the company’s $50 million Manchester Agency

About the author

Hello! I’m Linda Coles, an international speaker and author.

I run a small company called Blue Banana and mainly work from my home office in New Zealand. Paul is the love of my life, Stella and Monkey are my two cats, and Daisy and Britney are my goats. In my spare time I write thrillers and I run — a writer needs to keep moving.

My background is mainly in retail management working for some of the UK’s biggest retailers, but life in the slower lane beckoned and so Paul and I moved to pastures green south of Auckland. The slower life never really happened, and I continue to work with some really great brands, helping them to build relationships with their customers online.

I speak a great deal and write about building relationships — an important part of being successful in business. I wrote the books Learn Marketing with Social Media in 7 Days in 2011, Start with Hello in 2013 and Marketing with Social Media in 2015. I also write regularly as a LinkedIn Influencer, along with Richard Branson, Barack Obama and Arianna Huffington — which sounds very grand — and I am very honoured to have been asked.

I hated English lessons at school, and never became interested in writing until about eight years ago, when I started blogging and working with social media. I wrote my first book to share my knowledge with thousands of others in order to make it simpler for them to understand. Had I known at my very first job at Age 13, delivering milk early on weekend mornings, that I would become a writer, I would have paid more attention at school. Now, I write content for others, so they can pretend they are writing to their client bases, when really it’s me.

The team at Wiley is affectionately known in my house as ‘Team Wiley’: people who are simply a pleasure to work with and who stretch my mind like an elastic band — sometimes to popping point! The whole editing process is my favourite part: our final chance to make the book as good as it possibly can be … otherwise there is no point in writing it.

Connect with me on:


Writing a book is great fun and hard work so I would like to give thanks to all of those people who contributed their stories and opinions to this book.

I am continually inspired by the writings of other LinkedIn Influencers who give informative content as well as make people think about how they can do a great job with the tools at hand. Once you realise how simple something is, the fear goes — and I know that if you are feeling as if social media is another language, you will be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy.


It’s not what you know,
It’s not who you know,
It’s who knows you …


Social media might have some scary connotations for you, but it really need not be like that. If you act online as you do in the flesh, and don’t try to be something you are not, it’s really very easy and you’ll find success!

Who should read this book?

Using social media in business is something that all brands, both big and small, should be adding into their marketing mix to make sure they are communicating in the same places where their prospects and customers hang out. You may think that social media does not concern you, but you are wrong. If your customers expect you to use certain sites and you don’t have a presence there, they may just look elsewhere — namely at your competition.

In this book, we will be working through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as looking at email marketing, podcasting and making your website work.

One of the most common questions I am asked is, ‘How long is this going to take me?’ My answer to that is simple: when you have your pages all up and running, you have a plan and you have read this book, you need to spend about 30 minutes per day when you first start out. That’s just 30 minutes per day on marketing your business and communicating with your prospects and clients.

What will I learn?

By the end of the book not only will you have a greater understanding of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and the other social media platforms, but you will know more about getting your website to work for you, how to behave online and how to promote your efforts. You will also have created a simple social media plan and a content plan to keep you on track. You will find heaps of easy-to-understand how-to’s in this book, as well as stories about how other companies, both large and small, are using social media and getting results.

Once you have read the book and completed the activities, you will be well on your way to creating your very own successful social media presence.

Enjoy the read! Then make it happen.

Opening story

On a very wet and rainy Friday morning in June — one of those torrential downpour types of days — the traffic on the motorway was at a standstill: we were going nowhere. I had been on the motorway for nearly two hours on what should have been a 60-minute journey, and it was obvious I was going to be late for my appointment.

I made a call to my first appointment and postponed it for another day, then got off the motorway. As I now had a little time to spare before my next appointment, I grabbed a coffee and picked up Business Today magazine from the bookshop. On the front cover was then–country manager for Microsoft New Zealand, Kevin Ackhurst, and I knew I had to act. I had had an idea a couple of weeks previously, but had not done anything about it; now, there he was looking at me from the magazine rack. It was an omen, surely.

I wondered if he was on LinkedIn so I could contact him that way.

Of course he was — most businesspeople are. And to my delight, I discovered he was in one of the groups I was in, which meant I could send him a message directly without knowing his email address. I wrote a quick note to him with my idea, and sent it off.

To my surprise, he responded within a couple of hours to say he liked my idea and was passing my details on to the team and they would be in touch.

True to their word, they did get in touch to organise a meeting. Woohoo! I’m talking to Microsoft!

Do you think if I had simply picked up the telephone, fought my way past the gatekeeper, introduced myself and hopefully managed to explain my idea to such a senior person, I would have gotten that far?

I don’t think so.

By using LinkedIn to my advantage, I cleared any obstacles right out of the way and went straight to the person I needed. I made it easy for him to find out more about me simply by clicking on my name, and from there he was able to decide if I was worth seeing or not.

This is a simple use of a great business-networking site that has the ability to connect businesspeople with other businesspeople all across the world.