Preferring to get my news and current events online these days, I don’t buy actual newspapers or magazines very often. I download and read the occasional e-Book, yet I still like buying a real hold-it-in-your-hand hardcopy book. Fiction or nonfiction, I like writing notes in a book and earmarking the page beginning a section I want to reference again. I like keeping the actual book on a shelf in my library. I like taking a book on a plane with me. I like curling up on the couch with a cup of tea with a fire in the fireplace and reading a good book for a few hours. I’m on the computer 4–6 hours most days. Yet, I still read a lot and find my passion this year was the topic of social media. I have read 2–4 books a month on this topic in 2009. More and more of my executive consulting business revolves around social media marketing campaigns, and I enjoy this work immensely.
I consider social media a fascinating and exciting element in today’s business world and in everyone’s daily life. Can you imagine not having a computer anymore personally or professionally? Can you imagine not being connected to family, friends, associates, organizations, and companies via social media anymore? Can you imagine not researching a product or company online including customer feedback? Can you imagine being successful in your own business pursuits without branding and promoting yourself and your company via social media? No, me neither.
I consider social media to be the vital “message connection technology” gold claim in networking, business development, marketing, and public relations. It provides the opportunity for a real time voice for customers and a real time interaction for companies with their customers. It reinvents the power rules for the advertising and branding community with exciting possibilities for extreme creativity and instant message-to-market expansion and penetration. Summarized below is my list of the best of the social media books I read this year. As we all move farther on the social media path personally and professionally, I consider these the must read social media books for 2010 if you haven’t read them yet. I’ve included a brief product description for each book from the Amazon.com website at http://www.amazon.com.
1. The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinberg
Blogs, networking sites, and other examples of the social web provide businesses with a largely untapped marketing channel for products and services. But how do you take advantage of them? With The New Community Rules, you’ll understand how social web technologies work, and learn the most practical and effective ways to reach people who frequent these sites.
2. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott
This one-of-a-kind guide includes a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the Internet to create compelling messages, get them in front of customers, and lead those customers into the buying process. (Brenda Note: There is a newer version of this book that will be available on Amazon.com 1/12/2010 that includes Social Media and Online Video.)
3. The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff by Clara Shih
Online social networks are fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and interact. They offer businesses immense opportunities to transform customer relationships for profit: opportunities that touch virtually every business function, from sales and marketing to recruiting, collaboration to executive decision-making, product development to innovation. In The Facebook Era, Clara Shih systematically outlines the business promise of social networking and shows how to transform that promise into reality.
4. Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day by Dave Evans
If the idea of starting a social media marketing campaign overwhelms you, the author of Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day will introduce you to the basics, demonstrate how to manage details and describe how you can track results. Case studies, step-by-step guides, checklists, quizzes and hands-on tutorials will help you execute a social media marketing campaign in just one hour a day. (Brenda Note: Twitter Marketing: An Hour A Day By Hollis Thomases will be available on Amazon.com 1/7/2010.)
5. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media) by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah
People are now increasingly turning to Google, social media, and blogs to find products and services. Inbound Marketing helps you take advantage of this change by showing you how to get found by customers online. Inbound Marketing is a how-to guide to getting found via Google, the blogosphere, and social media sites.
6. Social Media Is A Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know The Rules Of Social Media Marketing by Jim Tobin & Lisa Braziel
Social Media is a Cocktail Party is an essential read for any marketer looking to understand how blogs, podcasts, social networks and other Web 2.0 tools can help you connect on a deeper level with your customers and prospects. This book is your invitation to come on in and join the party.
7. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman
Brands can now be strengthened or destroyed by the use of social media. Online networking sites are being used as giant, free focus groups. Advertising is less effective at influencing consumers than the opinions of their peers. If you aren’t using social media in your business strategy, you are already behind your competition.
8. The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online by David Teton
For professionals whose businesses rely on a constant flow of new opportunities and contacts, The Virtual Handshake is a practical and vital resource