Let’s explore 10 of the very best social media marketing books. Each of these books provides a unique and valuable perspective, and rather than focusing on any one specific social platform, most of the books in this list focus on the high-level skills that you need to be successful on any social media network.
That way, you can focus your reading time on the most effective and most relevant books for you. So let’s dive into the list,
Interestingly enough, this book was written from the perspective of how to avoid being persuaded by the various techniques that it covers. And yet somewhat ironically, the book has become a cult classic amongst salespeople and marketers, and others that want to become more influential or more persuasive.
The book covers these six principles of influence, which include reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. You want to understand the principle, not to abuse it, but to avoid being ignorant of it. That way, you can build an appropriate marketing campaign to avoid the downside of not having social proof.
One of the most important factors for social media growth is virality. If you can create posts or content that is ever so slightly more likely to be shared and recommended by other people, this can have a profound impact on how quickly your audience grows and the impact that you have in the world.
This book is all about how to create products, services, or in this case content that is more likely to spread through word of mouth referral.
Let’s continue on to The Language of Trust by Michael Maslansky. This is a very important follow-up to a book like Influence because this book really stresses the value of building trust and credibility with your audience. The single most valuable asset that you have is your brand, whether it’s a business brand or a personal brand or even just your name, your brand is the single most valuable thing that you have and so you want to look for opportunities to build and maintain trust and credibility with your audience. So this book is all about how the world is far more skeptical today. People are far less trusting, we’ve all been burned by big businesses or big organizations or institutions, or even in some cases governments and so we’re far less trusting than we’ve been in the past. And as a result, it’s no longer enough just to do the right thing. Even if you have the best of intentions, even if you’re just trying to create value for people on social media or through your content, people today often assume an ulterior motive. And so it’s important not just to do the right thing, but to communicate that thing in the correct way and that’s what this book is all about. How to communicate in a way that builds trust and authority and credibility so that when you’re doing the right thing, you can connect with other people in a more meaningful way and you can cut through some of the skepticism and build a more trusting and credible relationship.
Let’s continue on to Start with Why by Simon Sinek. If you really want to connect with your audience on a much deeper level, then it’s very important to clarify and communicate your why, the deeper purpose behind your social media efforts. What is the impact that you want to have in the world? Why did you choose the topic or the theme that you happen to be focused on? If you can clarify your deeper purpose and share that with your audience, it can create a much deeper and more loyal connection.
Let’s continue on to the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This is one of my favorite business books of all time. It’s about the power of positioning. So how to position a product or a service, or in this case, your brand in the minds of your audience. And this is very important because if you can make it easy for your audience to create a strong association between your brand and the category of the theme on which you focus, well, whenever they think of that category, they’re more likely to be reminded of your brand. So for example, take a brand like ESPN. Most people would associate ESPN with sports news and coverage, but the reverse is also true. Whenever they think of sports news and coverage, they’re often reminded of ESPN because ESPN for many people is seen as the leading brand in that category. This is really powerful because whenever somebody thinks of that category, ESPN has a huge competitive advantage. They effectively live rent-free in the minds of their audience, because whenever that audience thinks of a need for sports news and coverage, they’re reminded of ESPN, this is how our brains operate, we like to make connections or associations between things. And so this book is all about how to achieve this when it comes to your specific brand and linking it with the category or the theme or the value that you provide for your audience. And while the book does cover other topics beyond this, it covers multiple strategies for how to achieve this kind of positioning where you have a natural advantage in your marketplace.
Let’s continue on to Break Through the Noise by Tim Staples and Josh Young. This is another really great book when it comes to creating highly shareable content. And this one is geared more towards video content. So if you’re publishing videos on TikTok or IGTV or Facebook or even YouTube, this book can help when it comes to making that content more likely to spread through word of mouth referral or social sharing. The authors of this book created a company called Shareability and they’re responsible for some of the most wildly successful viral videos of all time. And rather than just creating random videos that just happened to go viral, they set out to create videos that would promote specific business goals. So they work with other brands and they design video campaigns that from the beginning are designed to not only promote the business or the brand but to also go viral, so just really difficult to kind of pull that off and this book covers nine practical tips for how to make this outcome more likely for your own content. So if you’re creating video content for social media and you want to benefit from word of mouth referral, then I highly recommend you read this book. It’s both inspiring and very practical at the same time.
Next up is This Is Marketing by Seth Godin. This book is primarily about marketing new products and services, but the core idea here is how to create a movement, how to build momentum with something that is brand new. And of course, this is very important when it comes to social media because when you’re brand new, when you’re just getting started, you need to attract your first followers or your first supporters or your first fans and this can be a very difficult challenge. And the trap that a lot of people fall into when they’re just getting started is they aim for a broad, generic, diverse audience. They think if you aim big, you’re bound to stick out to some people, and those people will be attracted to you and you can build momentum and eventually reach this large broad audience. Unfortunately, that line of thinking really fails to appreciate just how difficult it is to create an impact and cause people to care about what it is that you’re doing. There’s a lot of noise out in the marketplace and if you try to appeal to everybody right from the beginning, well, it’s unlikely that you’re going to create an impact or catch their attention or have them care about what it is that you’re doing. So, this book recommends starting with the smallest viable market. You wanna identify a small group of people that are going to benefit most from what it is that you’re doing. They’re going to enjoy your content more than the average person, they’re going to love what you’re creating, and they’re going to be more likely to care ultimately about what it is that you’re doing because by identifying this audience and by creating value for them, you can cut through the noise, you can start to build momentum and they can end up being advocates for what it is that you’re doing and ultimately through word of mouth and through social sharing, they can help spread your message and allow you to build momentum and eventually reach a much larger and more diverse audience. So even if your initial goal is to reach a broad audience, if you want to do that more effectively, then it’s very important to start with the smallest viable market. And this book covers a number of tips and strategies around how to do that more effectively.
Let’s continue on to YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis. If your social media strategy involves creating video content and you plan to publish that content on YouTube, that it’s very important to understand that YouTube operates quite differently when compared to other video platforms like Facebook or IGTV, or TikTok. YouTube is first and foremost a search engine. So even though it does have a recommendation algorithm, and more recently, they’ve added a newsfeed feature, at its core, YouTube is a search engine. It’s the number two search engine in the world, the number one being Google, but the number two being YouTube. So most people when it comes to finding video content on the platform, they are using the search functionality either directly on YouTube or through Google and then landing on YouTube, so even if you’re publishing content on Facebook or TikTok or IGTV, and you’re just looking to treat YouTube as an additional publishing source, it’s very important to understand that it operates very differently. Now, personally, I’m a big advocate for video content. I think the video is very much the future and even though platforms like TikTok and IGTV are almost certainly going to become much larger in the grand scheme of things in the future, if you want to take advantage of YouTube and the massive platform that it is today, then I highly recommend that you pick up a book like this, understand how the platform operates and make sure that you’re taking advantage of the unique characteristics of YouTube as a platform.
Let’s continue on to Superfans by Pat Flynn. As you begin to build momentum on social media, it can become very tempting to start obsessing about vanity metrics, like the total number of followers or subscribers, or fans that you connect with on a specific platform. And often, these kinds of metrics are attractive because they make it relatively easy to feel like you’re measuring steady progress over time. Unfortunately, not all fans or followers are equal in terms of their interest or their passion in the subject that you’re covering and odds are the overwhelming majority of people that follow your updates are only passively or mildly interested in the topic or the theme or even in the content that you happen to be creating and this is perfectly normal, this is to be expected because people have shifting interests, they have shifting passions and at any given time, we follow all kinds of things that we’re only passively or mildly interested in. So with this in mind, it’s very important to focus on your super fans. These are the people that are very passionate and very interested in what you’re doing and they’re far more likely to be loyal in terms of consuming more of your content and sharing it with other people and they likely get a lot more value from what it is that you do. So if you eventually want to build a business where you’re offering products or services or other things to people that happen to be following you on social media, these are the people that are far more likely to convert into paying customers in the future. So if you want to grow your following if you want to have a greater impact when it comes to social media or any other content efforts like that, then it’s very important that you read a book like this, get familiar with the concept of super fans and look for opportunities to attract and nurture more of them rather than obsessing about vanity metrics, like the total number of followers or subscribers. Much more important to focus on the quality as opposed to the quantity of connections that you’re making on social media.
Last but not least is Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller. Now, this book won’t apply to absolutely everybody that’s pursuing a social media marketing strategy, but it tackles a challenge that is common enough that I think it’s worth bringing up here and exploring. And the idea here is as you begin to build real momentum on social media, it becomes very important to start to build an independent platform of your own that stands separately from the major social media networks because you don’t want to become overly reliant on their algorithms and how they operate to continue to allow you to reach the audience that you’ve worked so hard to establish. In some cases, they can change an algorithm or they can redesign the website, or then create some other change and suddenly you’re no longer able to reach your entire audience nearly as effectively as you could before. And so with this in mind, it’s very important to start investing in your own digital assets. Things like a website, an email list, email sequences, and even things like your own products and services that will allow you to create greater value for your audience and also allow you to create a much deeper and more meaningful connection with that audience. So this book is all about how to build an effective sales funnel. It can allow you to unlock new opportunities, both for connecting with your audience more directly, but also to make sure that you have independence from the major social networks. And if you eventually want to turn your audience or everything that you built into a functional business with products and services, then this is the kind of approach that you want to take in order to be more effective when it comes to that kind of strategy.