Must-Read Books for the Social Media Marketing Newcomer

Social Media is a Cocktail PartyUPDATE: Now that our new book, Social Media is a Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know the Rules of Social Media Marketing has made the Amazon best seller list for marketing books, we’d like to add that book to this list. Hope you enjoy it.

Social media is redefining the way we communicate with each other and the way businesses communicate with their target audiences. Before coming to work at a social media agency, I never knew social networks beyond MySpace and Facebook even existed. What I’ve found is a whole internet world full of social networks, blogs, social bookmarking sites, news aggregation sites, and personal broadcasting tools through which millions of people are communicating.

I may not be an expert in social media just yet (that’s not why I was hired), but I do know communication is key to any successful business. Social media has not only changed the way businesses disperse information, but has allowed them to get feedback from their most valuable resource, their customers. Since my awakening, it seems absurd for any business not to take advantage of this opportunity. However, it’s about more than just social networks and blogging. Done right, it can be a valuable marketing tool. So, I’ve compiled a list of must-read books on social media marketing that will help you get started:

Social Media Marketing Book List

The Cluetrain Manifesto

The Cluetrain Manifesto

Written by: Rick Levine; Christopher Locke; Doc Searls; and David Weinberger

Written by experts in web architecture, marketing, and online communications, The Cluetrain Manifesto puts forth 95 theses on how businesses should operate within the newly connected marketplace. The authors’ assert that the internet will transform traditional business practices and ordinary mass marketing by enabling two-way conversations through e-mail, news groups, and corporate intranets.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

Written by: David Meerman Scott

Scott explains why social media is the best new tool to hit the marketing scene since the “spin doctor.” His book teaches readers how to converse directly to an interested audience, with no need to obsess about staying on message, paying for expensive advertising, or begging the media to pick up their story.

Now is Gone

Now is Gone

Written by: Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis

A book on how to get started, Now is Gone is the quick and simple guide to understanding social media marketing strategies. Livingston, who has been dubbed a “local blogging guru” by the Washington Post, writes the #1 independent PR blog in DC. Co-author Brian Solis is Principle of the award-winning PR agency FutureWorks and is regarded as an expert in PR, media relations, and social media.

Marketing on the Social Web

Marketing on the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business

Written by: Larry Weber

This valuable guide social media, written by the founder of the W2 Group and chairman of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, discusses the important trends in social media. From the development of blogs and online communities to viral marketing concepts, this book gives marketers the tools and know-how to navigate the social web.

Naked Conversations

Naked Conversations

Written by: Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

Scoble and Israel discuss how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers. They explain why a blog is the best opportunity for companies to really communicate with their audience, and more importantly, give their audience the chance to talk back. Naked Conversations outlines the do’s and don’ts of blogging, and the authors’ sound advice is even backed by statistics, case studies and blogger interviews. Want more proof? Today, Scobleizer, is one of America’s most popular blogs.

Blogging for BusinessBlogging for Business

Written by: Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos

Communication and technology experts explain the ins and outs of using blogs to succeed in your business endeavors. The authors discuss how IBM, General Motors, and Sprint are utilizing social media marketing for products, customer affinity programs, public relations, and internal communications. Blogging for Business gives you the knowledge to gain that competitive advantage.

Radically TransparentRadically Transparent

Written by Andy Beal

A specialist in online reputation management, Beals gives expert advice on navigating the new rules of engagement, defining and developing a corporate brand, creating positive buzz with online content, and gaining visibility. He also discusses ways to repair a damaged online reputation.

The New Influencers

The New Influencers: A marketer’s guide to the new social media

Written by Paul Gillin

Gillin addresses the increasing popularity of blogs and social news sites; And how these sites, generating more traffic than traditional media sources, have become the new influencers. This book discusses not only the changes these new influencers have initiated, but how your organization can shape what they say.


Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed

Written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

The authors define “groundswell” as the social structure that has emerged as new technologies put power in the hands of individuals rather than institutions. They describe the phenomenon as global, unstoppable, and affecting every industry. Groundswell is intended to help executives recognize these new influencers and reach their target audience with a positive message.

Now that I’ve begun my social media marketing education by delving into these books, check them out and let me know what you think!

Ignite Social Media