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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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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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