Several years ago I was very enamored with all of the knowledge that is available on blogs. I couldn’t believe the wealth of information that many of my favorite blogs published (for free!) that I didn’t have easy access to anywhere else. So enamored in fact, I couldn’t believe people were still writing books! How outdated, right?
Well, not really.
The reality of extremely high quality blogs has been around for several years now. I’ve had the privilege of working for many of them, including this one. And books are still around. However, I will say that a more beneficial relationship has formed between the two.
In today’s world of digital publishing, I think most people have stopped putting such a huge emphasis on one medium over another in terms of defacto standards. Instead they are asking themselves which format or medium is best for both communicating and consuming various types of content.
(At the intersection of art, understanding, and monetization of course.)
And it is by thinking in this vein that I have come to appreciate non-fiction resource books (like the one’s featured in this post) on a whole other level. I’ve realized that the strength of the book or ebook format is in providing an uninterrupted, comprehensive, highly organized reference of key principles and/or ideas surrounding a given topic.
On most blogs, even the really good ones, most effort is put into keeping the flow of content both persistent and relevant to current events. However, a book can take its time, deeply explore key ideas, and then become something that bloggers reference/quote/built upon in their ongoing rapid format.
What all of this means is that the value of the books below is not necessarily in complete novelty. You’re probably going to have heard and/or read a lot about the ideas explored in many of these books on blogs like ours. But not in as great a detail or depth of thought as the format of a book allows.
So if there are any concepts, methods, histories, or thought leaders you’d like to understand in a more complete way than you do now, cracking open some of the books below is probably a great place to start.
20 Social Media Books Website Owners Should Be Reading in 2015
The books below are not listed by rank or preference. As I tend to do with almost all of my roundups, I like to suggest that if it made the list its worth checking out.
1. Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years
Author: Tom Standage
In Writing on the Wall author Tom Standage explores the past 2,000 years of human social networking and draws forth principles that still apply today. This broader context for our current uses for and behaviors within today’s web based social networks is fascinating and useful.
Price: $12.97 | More Details
2. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand
Author: Ekaterina Walter
In The Power of Visual Storytelling author Ekaterina Walter provides an overview of visual storytelling and explains the keys to doing it right. Whether you’re creating infographics, taking photos, making videos, or any other form of visual storytelling–this book is for you.
Price: $18.34 | More Details
3. Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future
Author: Jonah Sachs
In Winning the Story Wars author Jonah Sachs uses principles discovered by great minds like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell to create a storytelling formula for cutting through the noise of modern social media. He also adds in a few hard earned lessons of his own to tie it all together for those living and working in the “digitoral era”.
Price: $22.50 | More Details
4. Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
Author: Ryan Holiday
In Trust Me, I’m Lying author Ryan Holiday uses his experience as a market who has worked closely with blogs, in his words “manipulating the media” to empower his readers to recognize when certain practices are being implemented in the media they’re consuming. So that they don’t fall prey to inscrutable practices.
Price: $10.12 | More Details
5. Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web (Voices That Matter)
Author: Paul Adams
It’s no small mystery to most of now, in 2015, that the web is no longer a simple matter of linked pages and documents. It hasn’t been that for quite some time–and it never will be again. However, knowing that social is where it’s at doesn’t mean we understand the dynamic principles of group behavior that makes this model work. That’s where Grouped by Paul Adams comes in.
Price: $22.49 | More Details
6. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
Author: Hugh MacLeod
While not necessarily a “social media book” per se, readers of Hugh MacLeod’s Ignore Everybody will nevertheless find its insights valuable to the content they create for social networks and the strategies they use to achieve creative success.
Price: $16.94 | More Details
7. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
Author: Clay Shirky
Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky is another example of a book that’s not exactly current (in the accelerated time of social media), seeing as it came out in 2009. However, what this book, like many others on this list do, that is more valuable than knowing the latest tip or trick associated with a social app or platform, is explain the underlying principles at work. In this case as they pertain to decentralized organization and the viral nature of content.
Price: $12.06 | More Details
8. The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism
Author: Matt Mason
To best tease this book, I have to quote some of the questions author Matt Mason answers in The Pirates Dilema: “How did a male model who messed with disco records in the 1970s influence the way Boeing designs airplanes? Who was the nun who invented dance music, and how is her influence undermining capitalism as we know it? Did three high school kids who remixed Nazis into Smurfs in the 1980s change the future of the video game industry? Can hip-hop really bring about world peace?”
Price: $16.40 | More Details
9. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business
Author: Ann Handley
If we’re blogging and using social media side-by-side not only do we need to know the principles of great content in general, but we also need to know how these various types of content work best together. That’s where Ann Handley’s Content Rules comes into play.
Price: $14.30 | More Details
10. Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing up to 11
Author: Jason Miller
Ever wonder how to take your great content and turn it into a sales funnel? Jason Miller knows the answer. And it’s all in his book Welcome to the Funnel.
Price: $5.99 | More Details
11. Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers
Author: Jeffrey K. Rohrs
We all know we need to foster and build community with our blogs and social media, but what does it mean to practice “proprietary audience development”? Is not practicing it why it’s so hard to measure results for our social effort? Jeffery K. Rohrs has a lot to say about that in Audience.
Price: $18.30 | More Details
12. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens
Author: Danah Boyd
So, how do teens use the internet anyway? That seems to be the big question for anyone looking to target the largest group in America (and the world?) with disposable income. Gain key insights in Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated.
Price: $16.68 | More Details
13. Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing
Author: Lee Odden
So you’ve covered all your bases. You have a blog and presence on all of the major social media platforms. But it’s not going so great. You’re spinning your wheels a lot and not necessarily seeing the big impact you had hoped for. Maybe you should optimize?
Price: $17.47 | More Details
14. Global Content Marketing: How to Create Great Content, Reach More Customers, and Build a Worldwide Marketing Strategy that Works
Author: Pam Didner
We’re not in Kansas anymore. Or, you know, limited to have a presence in any one place anymore. Technology has made the whole world (and every small business/brand) a global entity. Learn how to play on the global stage with Pam Didner’s Global Content Marketing.
Price: $12.49 | More Details
15. The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
Author: David Meerman Scott
If you don’t want to be jumping from blog to blog and book to book anymore, you might want to try getting what many consider the definitive guide (in its 4th edition). I would say more about David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR but just read that subtitle. It kind of says it all.
Price: $13.20 | More Details
16. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
Author: Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi wants you to be able to use “epic content” to achieve “epic sales numbers”. This book is his way of teaching us all how.
Price: $15.81 | More Details
17. Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing
Author: Rob Garner
The relationship between social and search can be mirky for many. But what if you had an in-depth guide into how they worked together and what practices you can adopt to make that relationship work for you? That’s what author Rob Garner has created with Social Search.
Price: $22.14 | More Details
18. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition
Author: Robert B. Cialdini
Every day we take to the web–to our blogs and social media–to tap out the next chapter in the ongoing narrative we’re selling. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew whether or not we’re creating it in such a way as to actually compel people to “say yes” to it? That’s what Influence by author Robert B. Cialdini is all about.
Price: $10.16 | More Details
19. The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy
Author: Brian Solis
Social media and ROI still have a mysterious relationship for most people attempting to reconcile the two. Brian Solis on the other hand, author of The Seven Social Success Factors for Social Business Strategy, knows how to do it and can teach us too.
Price: $2.99 | More Details
20. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
Author: Ann Handley
For many, the idea of writing (or thinking of one’s self as a writer) is often intimidating and/or alien in nature. However, communication is in our DNA. You could say it’s what makes us human. Writing is one of our most basic–and effective–forms of communication and we can all develop a knack for doing it. Even if it’s not our favorite thing in the world or we’re currently pretty bad at it.
Price: $14.53 | More Details
There are so many great books to read it’s hard to decide where to start! A problem I find myself perpetually laboring under as I try to read everything I can get my hands on. For many though, that kind of reading abandon is not desired or even possible due to time constraints. So if you have a book suggestion from this list that you’d like to highlight, or a book you think should have made the cut, make a case for it in the comments below and help the community here decide where to start!
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