Once upon a time, I was so convinced that I was way to smart for books with words like “Idiots” or “For Dummies” in the title. I rebelled against their concept because I thought “well, I may not be an astrophysicist, but I can surely teach myself just about anything without having it broken down into the simplest terms possible for me, I’m Super-Smart girl, after all!” Then I had Jacob. Where I once had the patience to read twenty books on a single subject until I completely mastered it, I now had barely enough patience to read the brightly-colored graphs in USA Today. Where I once used to absorb information like a sponge as part of my lifelong quest to be the next Ken Jennings (gazillion-time Jeopardy champion), I now forget the names of very basic stuff, like soy sauce. As Jacob gets older, I’m starting to gain some of my brain cells back, but I still don’t have the time to read 20 books on a single subject, so I did something I never thought I’d do, I started turning to the Idiots and Dummies series. Do you want to know what I realized? I was totally a snob! These books are awesome! Stripping information down to just the stuff I need to know makes life so much easier.

I’m trying to master the whole social media marketing thing. I’m okay with the basics of Facebook and Twitter (well, sort of with Twitter, I’m still trying to embrace it more fully) as a casual user, but not so much when it comes to marketing myself and my site. So when the chance arose to compare the Idiots series to the Dummies series in a head-to-head competition, I asked for the Social Media Marketing books for each of them. I was expecting to read the same information twice and write about the difference between the two, but what I actually found was that they are completely different books with a whole different set of focuses.

Contestant Number One: The Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media Marketing

The Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media Marketing is perfect for beginners. It breaks down all the different types of social networking, from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter, and explains exactly why they’re beneficial and walks the reader through setting up each account. Once your account is up and running, the Idiots Guide offers tips on how to make your profile more attractive and how to use the account for marketing. Only after making sure you understand how each network works does the book go into all the other applications you can use with Twitter, Facebook, and other networks. It is extremely

organized and easy to follow. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about social media, not just those who plan to use it for marketing.

Contestant Number Two: Social Media Marketing for Dummies

Social Media Marketing for Dummies  seemed a little more advanced than the Idiot’s Guide. While it does go through setting up the accounts, it seems geared towards those who already have a fairly decent understanding of marketing campaigns. It also goes deeper into marketing techniques, offering advice on setting up incentive campaigns and leveraging your influence and connections. Like the Idiot’s Guide, it covers all the different apps for Twitter and other social networking sites. I would recommend this either as a follow-up to the Idiot’s Guide, or for those who are already working in marketing.

And the Winner Is…

Personally, I found the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Media Marketing a little easier to follow, but I definitely liked the further education I received from Social Media Marketing for Dummies. Both books were very useful, and I think it really depends on your level of experience. Those who already know what they’re doing when it comes to social networking may find the Idiot’s Guide too basic, but those who are lost on the whole thing may be overwhelmed by the Dummies book. Despite the fact that they’re from completely different series, I do think the two books complement each other and would both be a good addition to your marketing library.

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Note- I received both books mentioned in this post for free to help with my comparison. My opinions are my own.