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14 Must-Read Social Media Marketing Books

Distinguishing between wants and needs isn’t easy, but one thing you can always count on is that they’ll change. And as the wants and needs of your customers evolve, so too must your social marketing strategy.

In order to be successful online you have to be flexible, and sometimes that means experimenting with new tactics or trying out different technology. Fortunately you don’t have to do this alone.

One of the best things about the social media community is everyone’s willingness to share insights and help others. A great way for you to learn about adaptive strategies is through the real-life experiences of other marketers.

While there are plenty of blogs, websites and popular Twitter accounts to follow to get the newest insights, sometimes social media marketing books stand the test of time. Several social media marketers get great information from books that were written before Instagram or Snapchat. However, there are new books out there that look into every social media nuance.

To make sure you know which books to look for, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up some of the best social media marketing books to help improve your strategy.

1. “Likeable Social Media” by Dave Kerpen

According to a survey conducted by research firm Clutch, almost half (47%) of small businesses aren’t actively using social media. When you consider the selling power of sites like Facebook and Twitter, that stat might seem surprising. But for some small businesses, social media adoption is still very overwhelming.

In his book “Likeable Social Media,” Dave Kerpen makes the impossible seem much more possible. Using clear how-to instructions, he provides you with all of the information and tools necessary to engage customers in a digital world. His advice is practical, concise and helps you leverage the human side of your business.

About the Author: Dave Kerpen is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker. He’s also the founder and CEO of Likeable Local, a social media software company serving thousands of small businesses, and chairman and co-founder of Likeable Media, an award-winning social media and word-of-mouth marketing agency.

2. “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Currently more than 500 million Tweets are composed each day on Twitter and 80 million photos are shared daily on Instagram. To add to it, more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month. To say consumers are overloaded by information would be an understatement.

One of the easiest ways businesses can cut through the noise and deliver their message is through storytelling. But how do you effectively share your story when there are so many social platforms to cover? That’s what Gary Vaynerchuk’s book aims to help you solve.

In “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” Vaynerchuk highlights how stories change on each platform and walks you through how to adapt your story accordingly.

About the Author: Gary Vaynerchuk is a bestselling author and entrepreneur. His digital consulting agency, VaynerMedia, works with Fortune 500 companies to develop digital and social media strategies and content. Businesslike selected him as one of the top 20 people every entrepreneur should follow.

3. “Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers” by Jeffrey Rohrs

Without an audience, there’s not much use for a social media strategy. In today’s marketing age, your audience matters more than ever. Every business needs one to survive. It’s how you discover and forge loyal relationships with customers. But in many cases, businesses treat their audiences like afterthoughts rather than assets.

Jeffrey Rohrs sets out to change this dynamic by challenging companies to focus their paid, owned and earned media to grow the size, engagement and value of their audiences long-term. Through research data and case studies, this book details how you can gain a competitive advantage and master proprietary audience development.

About the Author: Jeffrey Rohrs is the chief marketing officer at Yext, a global digital location management leader.

4. “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi

One of the fastest ways to turn off an audience is to serve them irrelevant content. Producing content is easy, but you must be sure that you’re producing the best content, targeting the right audience and delivering everything in the more effective format.

Joe Pulizzi’s “Epic Content Marketing” is a must-read if you’re a content marketer. This book walks you through the process of creating a content marketing strategy. Learn how to draw in customers by creating content they actually want to engage with.

And the book isn’t just a how-to guide. It also features in-depth case studies of how national brands like John Deere, LEGO and Coca-Cola use content to drive sales.

About the Author: Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing World—the largest international content marketing event—and Chief Content Officer magazine. He’s spoken at more than 200 locations and writes one of the most popular content marketing blogs in the world.

5. “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley

As a content marketer, it’s easy to become complacent. Social media is about brevity. Today’s content revolves around character limits, six-second videos and disappearing ads. But just because you need to be concise doesn’t mean you can get lazy. Everything from headlines to call-to-action phrases to your grammar matter.

Writing is absolutely critical and in today’s time-challenged world, you need to devote more attention to crafting the perfect message. In “Everybody Writes,” Ann Handley teaches you how to write better, or how to hate writing less. Her grammar rules are tailored to businesses and won’t overwhelm you. She also offers insight and guidance into content creation, production and publishing with actionable how-to advice.

About the Author: Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training and education company, and is a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. She has been cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 female bloggers.

6. “The Art of Social Media” by Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick

When faced with any task, sometimes figuring out where to start can be the trickiest part. While experimentation is encouraged in social media, you don’t want it to be the foundation for your strategy. You should employ tried and true methods and make tweaks from there. You need a baseline before you can know what’s working and what’s not.

That’s where “The Art of Social Media” can help. Authors Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick team up to offer you a bottom-up strategy for creating a foundation, building your assets, attracting followers and integrating social media and blogging. It’s a great resource for beginners as well as seasoned professionals looking to improve.

About the Authors: Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online design service, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. He previously served as the chief evangelist of Apple and special advisor to the CEO of the Motorola business unit of Google.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist and has spearheaded campaigns for Motorola, Google, Audi, Canva and Virgin.

7. “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype” by Jay Baer

Beyond sales, a social media marketer must keep an eye on Tweets, shares, Likes, Pins, regrams, revines, clicks, unlikes and much more. With so many measurable metrics, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. Success isn’t getting 1,000 Retweets of a funny picture you posted. Instead, great social media is about providing value to your customers.

Jay Baer’s “Youtility” seeks to transform the relationship between companies and customers. Your priority isn’t to sell a product, but rather help someone discover how your product solves their problem. By focusing on helping, you’ll develop stronger relationships with more loyal customers than if you focus solely on selling.

About the Author: Jay Baer is a marketing keynote speaker, consultant and digital marketing pioneer. He’s worked with more than 700 brands since 1994, including 30 of the Fortune 500. He also runs the popular Convince & Convert blog and is the host of the weekly Social Pros podcast.

8. “The Power of Visual Storytelling” by Ekaterina Walter & Jessica Gioglio

It was recently determined that people lose concentration after only eight seconds, leaving marketers with a very small window for impact. As a result, images were adopted as a way to work around our diminishing attention spans.

Today 63% of social media is made up of images. In fact, Web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without. “The Power of Visual Storytelling” teaches you how to grow your business by leveraging photos, videos, infographics and other rich media. Practicing what they preach, the authors have filled the book with beautiful full-color images and insightful examples from leading companies.

About the Authors: Ekaterina Walter is a co-founder and chief marketing officer at Branderati and a former global social media leader at Intel.

Jessica Gioglio is the social media manager for Dunkin’ Donuts.

9. “Social Media Explained” by Mark W. Schaefer

Today you’re faced with a lot of options when it comes to launching your social media presence. Twitter or Facebook? Vine or Snapchat? Instagram or Pinterest? How about all of them? It’s difficult to determine which platform is best for your business if you don’t know a thing about them or their strengths.

Mark Schaefer ditches the marketing jargon in “Social Media Explained” and guides you through the most fundamental strategies for some of today’s biggest social platforms. He presents you with a very practical approach to each social network and answers some of the biggest questions business have. This is definitely a must-read if you’re just beginning your social media journey.

About the Author: Mark Schaefer is a globally recognized blogger, speaker and business consultant who blogs at {grow}, one of the world’s top marketing blogs. He teaches graduate marketing classes at Rutgers University and is the author of three best-selling books.

10. “Optimize” by Lee Odden

You’ve selected which social platforms you want to use and your content strategy has been developed. Or maybe you’ve been established on social media for a while, but it’s not going as planned. What’s next? Optimization.

Remember, it’s not enough to just be producing content. You want to produce content that drives action. Lee Odden’s “Optimize” provides you with the tools necessary to attract, engage and convert customers with your content. The strategies mentioned in the book have been proven to increase online performance across marketing, public relations and customer service.

About the Author: Lee Odden is a digital marketer, author and CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and online PR agency. He has been consulting for over 16 years for some of the world’s largest brands, including LinkedIn, Dell and General Mills.

Sprout Social Staff Picks

Here at Sprout Social, we are constantly trying to keep a pulse on the marketing industry. With our talented and well-experienced staff, we reached out internally to see what books are on their shelves.

11. “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Recommended by: Sprout’s Digital Advertising Specialist Aaron Moreno.

“Marketing is about connecting with people, which requires an understanding of how to deal with people,” said Moreno. “This is the bible of human relations. Whether it’s responding to an angry customer on social media or going to a job interview, this book is packed with powerful lessons that can be applied to any human interaction.”

About the Author: Dale Carnegie was an American author and lecturer who famously created popular courses in self-improvement, corporate training and public speaking.

12. “No Bullshit Social Media” by Jason Falls & Erik Deckers

Recommended by: Sprout’s Social Media Manager Darryl Villacorta.

“This book is literally on every one of my social media friends’ ‘must-read’ list,” said Villacorta. “There’s certainly no BS or fluff in this book–that’s for sure.”

About the Authors: Jason Falls is an author, strategist and one of the most popular keynote speakers for the digital marketing industry.

Erik Deckers is owner and president of Pro Blog Service, a leading content marketing agency.

13. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini

Recommended by: Sprout’s Email Marketing Director Joe Lekostaj.

“To me, this is one of the classics that can inform every kind of marketing and advertising expert,” said LeKostaj. “Cialdini’s book should be a required reading for anyone in the industry.”

About the Author: Robert Cialdini has previously worked as the visiting professor of marketing at Stanford and currently works as the Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.

14. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey

Recommended by: Sprout’s Marketing Associate Alicia Johnston.

“While ‘Seven Habits’ was published before social media became such a crucial part of our lives, its timeless principles ring true on and offline,” said Johnston. “The most valuable part of the book for me is the urgent vs. important matrix that Covey presents. In a fast-paced field like social media, it’s important to be able to iterate, respond, refine and test ideas quickly, and the matrix is a great reminder to stay focused on what’s important and prioritize from there.”

About the Author: Stephen Covey was an author, keynote speaker and educator dedicated to the simple logic behind controlling personal destiny.

Give Us Your Thoughts

The books mentioned above are just a handful of the inspiring titles available, but they’re a great place to start. We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

This post 14 Must-Read Social Media Marketing Books originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.


#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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