Becoming a successful social media manager is not just about marketing these days. To truly connect with your customers and what they want, you need a well-rounded approach. These eleven books can help broaden your understanding, and make your social media stand out from the crowd.
Content Strategy for the Web
(Kristina Halvorson, Melissa Rach)
We’re all aware how important social media is these days. That does not mean every blogger, everyone who Tweets, and everyone with a Facebook page is an expert in the medium. We’re also aware the big sites out there have immense strategy teams, figuring out how to make us use their platform, targeting ads at us, and trying to keep us connected at all times.
If you want to be one of them - or already are - this book can help. Social media and content marketing go hand in hand, so you need to put some time into learning the ins and outs of content strategy. Content Strategy for the Web is affordable, accessible in tone, clear in structure, and has great reviews. (Not just on its own site, on Amazon too.) If you want to check it out first, you can find a sample chapter on its site, or by doing a quick search.
This is the ‘godfather of marketing books’, and Seth Godin is clearly a man who knows what he’s talking about. The title of this book is one of his marketing buzzwords: the idea being that while consumers see a lot of brown cows every day as they move through the (virtual or real) world, you can bet they won’t forget a purple one.
That’s what Purple Cow wants to help social media managers with. Godin aims to change the way people think about marketing. He stresses the importance of searching for something remarkable, and explains why it’s time to stop marketing to the masses, and find the people who will actually listen. (Useful review here.)
Social IMC: Social Strategies with Bottom-Line ROI
So, you’ve worked out a social media plan that seems to make sense. Social IMC exists to ensure you understand how that plan will benefit your business in real terms. It is not, it claims, about the theory of marketing on social media - it provides tactics and actionable strategies that will make sure your brand makes profit. You can see Hlavac talk more about it here.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Contagious was named the Best Marketing Book of 2014, and is a New York Times bestseller. As the title suggests, it focuses on why some things go viral when others don’t, and how to make your product be one that catches on. Social media managers will find useful tips on getting your brand noticed, and Berger’s six ‘contagious’ qualities cover everything from consumer products to media content.
Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives - How Your Friends’ Friend’s Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do
(Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler)
I’m just going to go ahead and call this Connected. Connected looks into the myriad of ways human beings link with each other and form social networks (offline), and how they have expanded now everyone can also link online. The authors examine how the connections we have, even ones that seem distant and tenuous, can influence our decisions and lives.
Online networks have enormous scope. The most successful social media managers understand how they’re formed, and how to make them expand to suit their needs.
An excerpt of Connected can be found here.
Hug Your Haters
Moving on from the science of networks, Hug Your Haters will help you understand how to effectively deal with customers once you have them. We’ve all been on social media, we all know how ugly it can get. Ignoring upset customers only makes things worse, but what do you do when they move towards ‘incensed’, and can’t be reasoned with? Baer provides examples of how to handle difficult situations, and encourages social media managers to see complaints as an opportunity to shine.
Likeable Social Media
For something that a vast majority of people use every day, social media can still have a bad rep. For some, Twitter is synonymous with stalking celebrities; for others, Facebook means political ranting, and pictures of what your next-door neighbour’s best friend had for dinner last night. Or worst of all - ads. Constant, targeted ads.
Likeable Social Media teaches you how to build a brand you’ll never have to be embarrassed about. It walks you through the ideal ways to interact with your customers in a readable and interesting way; listening to what they want, dealing with complaints and making their experience with you one they’ll remember for all the right reasons.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
You can’t market without being able to write. Words are absorbed from everywhere, at all times, and everything makes an impression. And content describes more than words, encompassing literally anything a consumer can see on a web page. Social media cannot afford to overlook the details, and nor can you as a manager.
Handley’s book offers a ‘one-stop resource’ for online marketers and promoters. It is accessible, and useful for beginners and more seasoned writers alike.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
You have your strategy. You’ve understood how to make people like your brand. You have the right words, and you’re ready to listen and empathise with the haters. And now…you need to make your message heard. This is no easy task with the amount of content being shared out there.
Jab, Jab, Jab shows you how to make your content relevant by adapting it to specific channels, ensuring you’re approaching the right people in the right way. As this list of quotes from the book shows, Vaynerchuk’s approach counsels building a rapport, and investing in customers so they’ll invest in you.
Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers
Every business needs an audience to survive, and social media is the #1 way in which companies reach out. If no one’s listening to your media, you’re dead in the water…and still, some retailers fail to treat their audiences with respect, or seem to understand how important they are.
Audience challenges companies to focus on engagement, and uses research data and case studies to show you how to gain a competitive advantage.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Managing social media is not just about looking at numbers, and analysing trends. To be truly effective. a manager must remember that there is a person behind every comment, and ‘Like’ and Retweet. Thinking, Fast and Slow is an ‘outstandingly clear and precise study’ on why we do the things we do, and why we make the choices we make. Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his research on decision-making, and is an expert in human behaviour. He explores what drives our decisions in this book; invaluable knowledge for any social media manager.
Have you got any other books to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!