At the beginning of each New Year, a few things are certain:
- Industry experts will share their predictions for the upcoming year - I tried to count the number of 2017 social media predictions I came across, but finally gave up after I got well into the triple digits. Bottom line: live streaming, chat bots and VR / AR.
- We'll compare New Year's resolutions - Candidly, my only resolution this year was to take down my Christmas décor before January 7 and I did that, so #nailedit.
- And, reading lists are everywhere - both what you should've read the previous year and what you should read the upcoming year. In fact, Nick Ayres's 2016 reading list was the inspiration for this post.
So, given we're all looking for a little inspiration to jumpstart our New Year, I reached out to several industry friends to ask: "What's the one book you'd recommend every social media marketer add to their reading list?"
Here's what they had to say:
Nick Ayres, formerly InterContentinental Hotels Group (@nickjayres)
"I met Olivier in 2009 at a Socialmedia.org BlogWell event in Atlanta and have been a fan of his wit, humor and no-nonsense approach ever since. This book is not for the faint of heart - and that's precisely the point. For too long, social media professionals have skirted the "ROI discussion" and have gotten by without tying social performance to actual business results. This book restates the ridiculousness of such an approach. Instead, Blanchard articulates how organizations of any size can align social strategies to larger business objectives in communications, market research, customer service, brand marketing and more. This book is a must-read for anyone looking for help in elevating their social strategy, moving beyond vanity metrics into the world of broader business outcomes."
Kara Hendrick, Velcro (@karatweets)
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
"In the world of social media, there can be a constant struggle to create a strategy that's both short-term and long-term in thinking. Trying to get your message heard, staying relevant and not missing a beat, while at the same time wanting to create meaningful and creative content that resonates. This book shares not only why and how to craft contagious content but also reiterates the importance of providing value that cuts through the clutter."
Jeremy Solly, Cambia Healthcare (@jsolly)
The Most Powerful Brand on Earth
Chris Boudreaux and Susan Emerick
"While this book is a little older, I think it's more relevant than ever - in fact it was probably ahead of its time when it came out. The focus is on how to empower your employees to be brand ambassadors. Sound familiar? Chris and Susan both work in enterprise social media, which gives them a great perspective on the challenges and opportunities of a strategy like this. Be sure to check out their website on social governance which includes a handy employee advocacy software buyers guide. In addition, there are a few resources I've found to be very helpful in providing clear guidance on metrics and analytics so social media helps achieve business results and your executives understand WTF you're talking about.
- Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne - quick, light read, but is a good primer on getting started and Jim's a genius in the field.
- Social Media Metrics Secrets by John Lovett - this is a textbook, I don't recommend bingeing this, but it's super comprehensive and comes from the brilliant minds of the guys who created the original Web Analytics Demystified - which was like the original bible of web analytics. (You can also read the first few chapters here.)
- Stay up to date on what the Media Rating Council publishes - like their Social Media Measurement Guidelines. This is a great independent body which will have more authority soon as it begins working with Facebook."
Caroline Aiken-McGee, UPS (@aikenmc)
The Power of Visual Storytelling
Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio
"This book is a very easy read, written in a conversational style, and it clearly explains how to leverage all types of visual formats for social networks and mobile platforms along with examples from major brands. It's filled with useful tips and advice to help any brand develop a viable visual content strategy. Kids aren't the only ones with short attention spans; adults have them too. The best way to capture someone's attention is through the use of great imagery. A good visual will attract an audience and naturally spark engagement. This book is the most comprehensive source I've found to provide a thorough overview explaining which type of visual formats work best and how and where to incorporate them."
Allen Plummer, Vanguard Institutional Investor Group (@mktrallen)
Hug Your Haters
"Hug Your Haters gets at the idea of trolls and what they mean to brands. Given that trolls aren't going away anytime soon, we all need refreshers on how to deal with them when things get stressful."
Kate Porter, Office Depot (@katemporter)
"It's a must-read for anyone in social and digital who is influencing brand content or experiences aimed at customers. Jay is a wealth of knowledge, and this book really spells out the need for value in all that we do in this industry. It's a great read for newbies and experts alike"
And, lastly, here's my own recommendation...
"The book pushed me to think beyond funnel metrics and engagement rates in analyzing social ROI and challenged me to consider social media's place in the customer journey - both as a means of enhancing and influencing their journey and as a mechanism for customers to take more control over their own experience. It also made me acutely aware of how I talk about the brands I love (have I shared with you the good news of Buc-ee's?), inspiring a more creative, thoughtful approach to engaging with Level 3's audience."
What other books would you add to the list?