2011 Social Media Marketing Reading List

14 Experts Suggest Must-Read Social Media Books

In 2011, social media marketing continued to grow across businesses regardless of type (B2C, B2B, not-for-profit or solopreneur) or size. Evidence of the maturing of social media marketing was the explosion of books on the topic. Not sure where to start reading?

To help you, I asked fourteen social media marketing experts for their recommendations based on the books they read in 2011. What’s interesting about this list is that these books cover a variety of topics related to social media, not just the marketing.

  1. I read more than 90 books this year, and not one was specifically focused on social media. I did read a few that will inspire anyone working on social marketing programs though: Different by Youngme Moon, Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson, and A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Young. David Berkowitz – 360i
, @DBerkowitz

  2. I liked 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman. (Note: Here are Lisa Buyer’s insights on the book.) Lisa Buyer – The Buyer Group, @LisaBuyer
  3. The Now Revolution by Baer/Naslund and Welcome to the Fifth Estate  by Livingston were my two favorites this year. The Now Revolution offered real-life advice, was easy to read, didn’t come across as preachy, and was highly interactive. Welcome to the Fifth Estate offered a real snapshot of the online and offline world and how they are intersecting right now, especially when it comes to social good and the potential there. Margie Clayman – Clayman Advertising, Inc., @margieclayman 
  4. While the most up-to-date information about social media and cutting edge marketing and technology require online and blog content published by a variety of great bloggers, writing a longer format book requires that the author(s) take a step back and think in terms of larger trends and their impact on business and the world. To that end, I recommend Brian Solis’s The End of Business As We Know It. Brian’s well known for being able to see trends and cast them in terms that are easy-to-consume. I also enjoyed Mari Smith’s The New Relationship Marketing. I found Mike Seltner’s The Launch insightful and easy-to-read. Heidi Cohen – Riverside Marketing Strategies, @HeidiCohen
  5. When it comes to social media, I’ve really stuck to the web for up-to-the-minute info. Working in the daily deal space, you become very aware of how trends are shifting and evolving each and every day.  In that space, my social media team and I have relied on resources like Social Fresh, HubSpot, and Mashable. Jere Doyle – Prospectiv, @JereDoyle
  6. I recommend Rebecca Lieb’s Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher because content is a huge driver of social media and digital PR success. Rebecca’s book lays out the ‘how to’ in easy, understandable  steps. Sally Falkow
  7. In terms of social media books, I recommend Dave Kerpen’s Likeable Social Media and Mari Smith’s The New Relationship MarketingPeg Fitzpatrick – 12Most.com. @PegFitzpatrick 
  8. I tend not to read a lot of books on social media because I read so many blogs and articles online, and books get outdated so quickly. Right now I’ve got Humanize on deck by Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter, which I’m looking forward to because so many organizations still don’t understand that marketing revolves around their customer and their people; not their product. Tim Frick of Mightybytes has written a comprehensive textbook called Return on Engagement, which I love because it speaks to my social media marketing prediction – that PR and marketing professionals must become technologists to stay in the game. Lisa Gerber – Arment Dietrich, Inc., @LisaGerber
  9. Since I won’t vote for my own book, I’ll go with The Social Customer (Metz) and The Like Economy (Carter) – bringing like to important issues of social CRM and Facebook marketing Dave Kerpen – Likeable Media and author of  Likeable Social Media@davekerpen
  10. I liked Dan and Alison Zarella’s The Facebook Marketing Book, which was filled with case studies B.L. Ochman – What’s Next Blog @whatsnext
  11. I learned the most about new social media techniques in 2011 not from a book, but by watching the creative stream of activity from a subculture of 4chan users who started to play with Google+ in the early days. Most of these users were young digital natives who really get the medium and move rapidly to seize on any new meme in the wild. You can learn more about social media by studying the people who really live it rather than reading the often dated ebooks by self-proclaimed “experts”. Michael Pinto - Very Memorable, Inc. @MichaelPinto
  12. My social media book choices include: The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith because it covers all the bases and includes great recaps and action items for each chapter, Killer Facebook Ads by Marty Weintraub because it’s effective, smart, and entertaining Facebook advice like you’ve never heard it before, and Hierarchy of Contagiousness by Dan Zarrella because it’s a quality framework with priceless tips on creating magnetic, viral content and Content Rules by Ann Handley and CC Chapman because it’s must-read fundamentals for content strategy. Angie Schottmuller, @ASchottmuller
  13. The best social media book in 2011 is Welcome to the Fifth Estate: How to Create and Sustain a Winning Social Media Strategy by Geoff Livingston because it focuses more on the culture shift needed for social media to succeed than on the technology and tools. Dr. William J. Ward – S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications- Syracuse University @DR4WARD
  14. The book that captivated us most in 2011 is The Accidental Creative, by Todd Henry. The book explores how to find inspiration and apply it to any business type; and it’s focus on building relationships and seizing the day to produce great work, serve as a great guide for social media pros.  The lightening-fast speed of the social world can oft times prove daunting and an obstacle to creativity, but following Henry’s approach to everyday interaction can help turn the mundane into actionable inspiration. Deborah Weinstein – Strategic Objectives,@DebWeinstein 

While I agree that for the latest social media information, you need to spend time reading a variety of blogs and media sources, the effort required to put one’s thinking in perspective and in the framework of overarching theories and themes are useful for marketers. As a practitioner, it can be difficult to see the broader perspective that books provide when you’re focused on the details of implementing your marketing plan.

Did you read other social media marketing books in 2011 you thought were worth the investment? If so, please add your suggestions to the list and please include your rationale.

Also, if you wrote a book that was published in 2011, please let us know about it.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


BTW–If you enjoy this blog’s social media advice, I’d appreciated it if you would take a moment to click this link to nominate HeidiCohen.com for Social Media Examiner’s 3rd Annual, Top 10 Social Media Blogs. Thank you for your support.

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  • http://mrmotivatorfredfelton.blogspot.com Fred Felton

    Hi Heidi

    Thanks for the great article.

    You asked if anyone has published any books.
    I have just published a e-book on Twitter titled 101 Tips For Twitter
    which is a easy to use guide for people using Twitter for the first time
    and also for social media managers of brands.
    It is available on my website or on my giftshop
    at tinypay.me/falconscove

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

    Wish you continued success.

    Fred Felton
    Social Media Consultant & Speaker
    Umhlanga, South Africa

  • http://www.thedigitalraindance.com Al Quintana

    Hello Heidi,

    Thanks so much for sharing these social media book resources. There will no doubt be a great pickup in new published materials on the impact of social media and digital marketing in 2012. More and more brand campaigns will be generated based on concepts that work well across social platforms and social will begin to lead, rather than follow tactical executions.

    Al Quintana
    The Digital Raindance