6 Killer Books Guaranteed to Make You a Social Media Superstar

Summer calls for some nice R&R — reading and relaxation.  There’s nothing like burying your nose in a good book and your feet in the sand, right?

This list was put together with a couple groups in mind:

  • People who don’t know a thing about social media, but want to learn more.
  • Business owners and corporate managers who don’t understand the details of social media marketing, but know they need to learn more in order to succeed.
Social Media Books

These six social media books are sure to make you a social media leader in your industry.

There’s a little something for everyone here, whether you’re looking for basic introductions to social business, theories, concepts, tutorials, guides, tips, or a combination of everything.

There are dozens and dozens of new social media books on the shelves these days, which says plenty about how much of an impact social media is having on business.  We filtered through the lot and picked out our favorites.

But enough, let’s get into the list!

1.  The NOW Revolution  ::  Authors: Jay Baer & Amber Naslund

This book was a must for the list since we gave away a few free copies in May to our email subscribers.  Of course, there’s a lot more substance to the reasons the book made our list.

The NOW Revolution

Image credit to prblog.typepad.com

In just 224 pages, The NOW Revolution describes the giant shifts businesses need to make in order to meet the needs of social consumers:

  • Strip away silos and overgrown business processes that inhibit social business.
  • Hire and empower employees who understand social business.
  • Redevelop metrics for success to fit a business world that is no longer about careful, planned responses.
  • Learn to handle business crises in real-time and use proper damage control when your reputation is threatened through social media.

Plus, you get tons of practical, actionable steps at the end of each chapter that can immediately be applied to your business.

I put The NOW Revolution at #1 for a reason — if you’re limiting yourself to just one marketing or business book, this is the one that will drastically improve the way you approach your target audience.


2.  No Bullshit Social Media  ::  Authors: Jason Falls & Erik Deckers
No Bullshit Social Media

Image credit to socialmediaexplorer.com

If you’re looking for a raw, straight-to-the-point, no fluff guide to the conceptual models of social media marketing, this one is for you.

A bit of a warning: If you’re in search of a book that holds your hand and slowly walks you through the how of social media, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

This is very much a conceptual, theoretical book rather than a hands-on technical approach.

In no way is that intended to be a criticism of the book, because it’s incredibly important that you understand the theoretical foundations — the why of social media — before you start trying to do the how aspect of social media.

No BS Social Media is perfect for:

  • Companies who are on the edge of jumping into social media.
  • Companies who have tried social media but didn’t see the expected results.
  • Corporate managers, PR and marketing teams, legal departments, and people in other similar business roles who make “big picture” decisions.


3.  Content Rules  ::  Authors: Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman
Content Rules

Image credit to jwsokol.com

If No BS Social Media and Content Rules got together and had a baby, the result would be the “Bible of Social Media.”

Seriously, get these two books together and you’ll have the best why and how guide to digital marketing there ever was.

Content Rules is built around eleven rules:

1.  Embrace being a publisher         7.  Insight inspires originality

2.  Build momentum                        8.  Speak human

3.  Reimagine, don’t recycle             9.  Share or solve, don’t shill

4.  Show, don’t just tell                   10.  Stoke the campfire

5.  Do something unexpected        11.  Create wings and roots

6.  Play to your strengths

The great thing about this book is that it puts you in a position to start getting your hands dirty with a tutorial-like presentation and a model for organized content production.

While there are conceptual discussions, Content Rules does an amazing job of walking you through the process of actually producing the valuable content your target market desires.

This is a social media playbook, not a social media strategy.


4.  Permission Marketing  ::  Author: Seth Godin

If you don’t use permission marketing, chances are your reputation is similar to that of those South African Princes who spam people with offers to become billionaires.

Permission Marketing

Image credit to indiebound.org

Permission Marketing is a little older than the other books on this list, but the message absolutely stands the test of time:

Marketing no longer thrives on flooding consumers with advertisements; marketing thrives on first asking consumers for permission to deliver your message, then delivering that message in an unobtrusive manner.

If you want to understand what it means to be a truly good marketer, especially when it comes to Internet marketing, a solid grasp of “permission marketing” is a must-have.

Permission marketing is at the core of all social media and digital marketing.  Every new follower, every new fan, and every new email or RSS subscriber is giving you the privilege to deliver your message to them.

 Grab a copy of Permission Marketing today and learn why that privilege is so precious.


5.  The Tao of Twitter  ::  Author: Mark Schaefer

At only a little over 100 pages, this is a quick, but thorough, explanation of how to market and brand yourself on Twitter.

It’s not just a bunch of theory either, as loads of actionable steps are included throughout the entire book.

The Tao of Twitter

Image credit to newstrategist.ca

You’ll learn how to:

  • Build influence and authority.
  • Generate content your audience wants to see.
  • Effectively use Twitter features to your advantage (including lists).

With Schaefer’s brevity and clarity, The Tao of Twitter makes a perfect introduction to the world of Twitter for any business person or social media enthusiast who wants more out of Twitter marketing.


6.  Six Pixels of Separation  ::  Author: Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel outdoes himself with Six Pixels of Separation by combining personal branding, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing into one concise message.

This is one of those books that fills in all the missing holes and doesn’t leave you wondering, “What the hell did I just read?”

Six Pixels of Separation

Image credit to TwistImage.com

Of course, there’s no one better to describe the significance and characteristics of a book than the author himself, so here’s a video interview with Mitch Joel describing Six Pixels of Separation better than I ever could.  Enjoy!

What Are Your Suggestions?

We know we left out a ton of great social media marketing and business books.  Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Solis, Adam Metz, and lots of others have published some extremely awesome books recently.  Be sure to check those guys out as well.

What are some amazing social media books you would like to see on this list?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you purchase these books using some of the links above, I will receive a small portion of money (less than $1).

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About Jonathan Payne

I'm the Founder and Author of My Social Game Plan, where I've spent the last six years writing about social media marketing in an effort to help business owners and marketers stay on top of the rapidly-evolving marketing landscape.

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  1. Mark W Schaefer says:

    Thanks very much for the shout-out!

  2. Erik Deckers says:


    Thank you very much for including No Bullshit Social Media in this list. We’re in some pretty august company, and I’m glad our book was thought of this highly.Erik

    • Not a problem at all! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Erik.  Didn’t expect anyone on the list to drop in — says a lot about you and Mark down below.  People on social media actually being social…a bit more rare these days than you would expect.

  3. MorberMarketing says:

    Great list of books Jonathan! I’d also add to the list “Social Marketology” by Ric Dragon of Dragon Search -> http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/social-media-book-social-media-expert/. And here’s my favorite tip: be sure to spend at least equal time *being* social as *reading* about social. 🙂 tx again, jeannine

  4. Thank you for the list! It will definitely save time in searching for great books! Social Media is something that is evolving and also something that we don’t have a complete manuscript of. It is always important to read on new techniques, ideas and seeing a different view of social media. Something that is time consuming and something you have to love! Thanks, Dino

  5. SOme great list of books here. My question to you, can you extend my week to 8 days a week and make it 30 hr days, so I could fit a few of these books in. I will say this, Seth Godin’s book is excellent and he certainly change the thought process, even if the book is old, this type of thinking will need to be used down the road.

  6. sgregory57 says:

    Now reading Groundswell revised edition. Recently finished Trust Agents.

    • I’m a big fan of Chris Brogan, but I didn’t think Trust Agents really did his knowledge justice. I haven’t had a chance to check out Groundswell yet…should get on that soon. Thanks for the comment!

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