O’Reilly’s new book by Tamar Weinberg, The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, is an enthusiast’s dream. If you’ve already crossed the bridge to marketing on the social web, or are still thinking about it, there are many gems waiting for you to discover.

As Tamar writes:
“There are online conversations about your company, product, or service going on right now, and they will happen regardless of your participation. It is your responsibility as a marketer to find out what people are saying and how they perceive you.  By becoming involved, you can facilitate that conversation, sway your audience, and engage community participants in a dialogue that will be beneficial to both them and the entity that you represent. Such an engagement can translate into tremendous successes for your marketing message, from reputation management to increased brand awareness, and then some. What are you waiting for?”

If you’re brand new to Social Media, The New Community Rules will provide you with a comprehensive lexicon of Social Media. Quickly, you’ll become familiarized with the essentials: blogs, microblogging, social networks, and social bookmarking. But where some books stop short, is the very place where Tamar continues.

For example, she doesn’t only tell the reader about the advantages of Twitter, she writes about the effective uses for business, along with a well-researched long list of twitter-related tools: twitter clients, url shorteners, twitter trends, statistics, how to search for people and maintain friendships.

Just when you think you know all you need to about the de facto Social Media programs and networks out there, Tamar offers many other great alternatives for you to consider. For example, we’ve been using delicious for some time now, and felt like it provided all the resources we wanted and needed from a social bookmarking program.  I had never read much about Diigo’s social bookmarking network before but Tamar’s description of Diigo intrigued me. So I did when any good enthusiast would do, put down the book, picked up the laptop, and entered the url for Diigo. Within in a matter of minutes, I could see for myself what all the fuss was about. I opened an account, imported our bookmarks from delicious and are now using a program we might not have discovered had it not been for Tamar’s comprehensive list of recommendations.

Social Media is a lot about the written word, but any book which doesn’t focus on video, photography and podcasting would be selling the reader short. Tamar does a great job discussing Flickr and the other programs she considers to be “photo-sharing contenders” e.g. Smugmug, Pbase, Photobucket, Picasa, Zoomr. There’s also great information about YouTube and how it can be used as a tool for product marketing.

The book contains screenshots, offers tips, chapter summaries, and endnotes with the urls of all the resources mentioned.  While searching through Apple’s App Store yesterday, I even discovered an app for the book, so mobile-savvy readers can easily take it with them on the road (just not while you’re driving, please.)

I read a lot of books about Social Media. I’m not a book reviewer by trade*, I’m a Blogger, and Social Media enthusiast−who just happens to like reading and recommending the good finds I come across. If you’re going to read only one book about Social Media Marketing, or willing to put yourself out on a limb to suggest one for your marketing team, I can say in all confidence, choose The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web.  Once you do, let me know (and of course, tell Tamar) what you think!  And, if you’ve already read the book, we’d love to know what you found most helpful.

(Disclaimer: O’Reilly Publishers sent me a copy of the book to read.  Please note: I only write blog posts about books and reports which I find particularly useful, interesting and can recommend in all honesty, to our readers.)