PR Professional Becomes Rear Admiral
Last Week's GSO3 Tweet Up

5 Books For Your Social Media Library

If you were starting out in social media, what five books would you pick to put on your shelf?

This question developed from an exchange I had with a book seller a few years ago, where we talked about the most important books a designer needs on their bookshelf. Not just the latest and greatest books, but the books every designer really needs as a primer and reference book to work in their profession.

We were discussing this question because we were comparing the books in review on some of the main book store sites with the books a professional would select for a newbie just starting out in their profession. We both agreed there was a difference between the books often reviewed online, which trended towards the latest books, and the books that a serious professional would have read to keep up with their profession.

To answer my question on the five most important books you need in your library if you need to understand social, I'd pick the following books; two of them were written by Shel Israel, Twitterville, and Naked Conversations, co-authored with Robert Scoble. Shel just went through heart surgery, so I thought I really needed to give him a shout out tonight.

The real classic social media book and the book that coined the phrase "markets are conversations," is the Cluetrain Manifesto, somewhat dated now, I think the book did not anticipate that employees would not always wish to talk with customers or have the time, but a great stepping stone and discussion book that projected in the industry forward.

I really view Groundswell as the updated corporate version of the Cluetrain Manifesto, more palatable for business people, though the core theme of people are on the web, and your business needs to recognize this factor is clearly the main story of the book.

Lastly, Paul Greenberg's CRM at the Speed of Light. At first glance a book about CRM, but really its about customers and marketing strategy, and how the web and social media is enabling companies to connect with their customers in ways unimaginable a few years ago. The book will become a classic because of its comprehensive nature, even though 600 pages long, I often felt the topics were just a dip into each topic area. And lastly, I finally finished the book after spending five months reading it on airplanes, so that was another reason I felt I could finally post this article (thanks Toby and David for your patience!)

  • Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Twitterville
  • Naked Conversations
  • Groundswell
  • CRM at the Speed of Light

In this theme of the most important books you'd need to start a library collection for a profession, I asked Toby Bloomberg and David Meerman Scott to share their favorite books on social media below.

Toby Bloomberg

Naked Conversations - a classic
Twitterville - the heart of how to Twitter
The Digital Handshake - good, basic, how to what is social media
The Facebook Era - great dive into the how why of social networks
The New Rules of Marketing & PR - 2nd Edition - a look at social media for PR .. public relations will never be the same again
Now Is Gone - social media through interesting case studies

David Meerman Scott

I am editing a series of books for Wiley called The New Rules of Social Media book series. Each title expands on the ideas of my bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR with books that provide valuable insights and detail on different aspects of social media marketing. These books are essential for me because they go into great detail on a particular topic. And I get to identify the authors!

Two books are out now:

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

I chose Brian and Dharmesh, founders of HubSpot, to write the first book in the series because they are social media marketing pioneers and have tons of amazing ideas for companies to get found online. In my work on HubSpot's Board of Advisors, I've learned so much from Brian and Dharmesh and I know their book will be a hit.

Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business by Steve Garfield

Steve, media advisor, video producer, and new media teacher - is a videoblogging pioneer, and has a rabid base of fans. I've come to respect Steve's amazing grasp of online video. His engaging writing style and video expertise is perfect to help people understand the power of online video.

One is on the way in April:

Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment by Jim Sterne

As founder and organizer of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits (held in eight cities around the world each year), Jim is the undisputed leader in marketing metrics. Whether you are selling online, through a direct sales force, or via distribution channels, what customers are saying about you online is now more important than your advertising. Social media is no longer a curiosity on the horizon but a significant part of your marketing mix. Social Media Metrics is loaded with specific examples of specific metrics you can use to guide your social media marketing efforts as new means of communication.

And for September, we have planned:

Beyond Viral: How to Promote and Sustain Your Brand with Online Video by Kevin Nalty

So that's five books. 

JC: Lastly, please tell me your five books, be that your social media library or your professions, I'd love to learn more about some good books, I should have on my shelf.