I love books. And what better holiday gift to give the reader on your list? If you've got friends that are involved in social media marketing at any level, here are the top five books I would personally recommend this holiday. Are they on your top shelf?
1. Youtility by Jay Baer. This is the way social media is going-helping is better than selling. The book is filled with tremendous insight and case studies showing how brands that keep their social media content aimed at meeting their fans' needs are more successful. Gone are the days when we tell our fans what we want them to know. Now it's about content that helps fans lead a better life and make better choices. One great thing about the book: the case studies are not just the big brands--there are small and large businesses alike here.
2. Wild West 2.0 by Michael Fertik and David Thompson. Learn how to protect and restore your online reputation. This is the best book on the subject I've read to date. It is written by a couple lawyers and sheds much-needed light on why the internet is such a wild frontier. This book really deeepened my understanding about how we've been conditioned by the internet to think everything we read is the truth. After reading, you'll understand what the phrase "Google Truth" means. It will scare you and give you hope at the same time. The last half of the book is the road map for protecting your reputation online.
3. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. This is an updated version of the original book that is dedicated to keeping readers out in front of the trends, not just following. Scott has never been one to pull any punches or tell us just what we want to hear. The bottom line: if your marketing strategy isn't anchored in real-time, you are going to lose. Love his writing style and there are lots of good case studies here to drive the points home.
4. Brand Advocates by Rob Fuggetta. Social media engagement is at its best using brand advocate strategies. Fugetta teaches readers how to mount a brand ambassador program using loyal fans and their willingness to share their love without a tangible reward. There is a good range of information here from how to identify loyal customers to how brand advocates will help you in a crisis. And, as a crisis manager, I can tell you from experience that brands with loyal social media communities have a much better chance of preventing a crisis than those who do not.
And for those who want to a book that makes sense of how we got here:
5. Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. This book was originally written in 2008 at the beginning of the social media revolution for business. It lays a research-laden foundation that we are still operating on to this day. Li and Bernoff, who were both at Forrester at the time, present extensive research on how people use the internet and how that can influence how businesses market online. Even though the social media stats from the book are older, it is the bedrock that counts. Reading this book will shed a whole new light on why social media is so powerful. It would be great for someone who is struggling with "this whole social media thing."
Honorable Mention: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World by Gary Vaynerchuck. I like this book for a couple reasons. First, Vaynerchuck is always on the front of what's going on so you can count on him to be in your face. Secondly, he is losing patience with the idea of broadcast social media that so many are stuck in--kinda like Jay Baer and Youtility. The idea of getting heard in a noisy world revolves around give, give, give, then ask--that's the JJJRH formula.
And finally, one bonus book that really isn't social media-centric, but is a needful read nonetheless:
Platform by Michael Hyatt. If you are a brand of one, this is a must-read for you from a man with a tremendous leadership gift. It's about how to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, shares the wisdom he used to build a successful company to help people build winning personal brands. This book will help you cut through the noise. He also has an excellent blog. Practical advice from an authentic man.
What books are on your wish list for the holiday season?