2009 was definitely the year in which we saw a great number of new book additions in the realm of social media. While there have always been a classic book or two on social media (or pre-social media social networking books) published each year, 2009 was filled with several books that are destined to become classic reads for sometime to come. These are the books that, despite the changes in specific functionality that we will see over time, provide us a framework for us to better understand and utilize social media. And they not only deserve a place on my Top 15 list for 2009, they also deserve a place in your bookshelf!
My only rule for placement on the list is that the book had to have been published in 2009. There were many great books that did not make the list, so this is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that is out there. But if you haven’t read any of these 15 books, you may want to start hinting to your loved ones that these are what you want for the holidays!
Note that the list is in no particular order as they are all recommended social media books! I have done my best to classify which books are good for which type of readers, but even books that I recommend for beginners still offer value to all users of social media.
File Under: Social Media & Personal Branding
1) Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel brands himself as a leading Gen Y personal branding expert, but his advice transcends generation for how we can control our online identity as well as how people will perceive of our “brand.” A true thought leader who’s ideas shine in this must have book for any professional who wants to proactively manage their personal brand through social media.
File Under: Social Media Marketing
2) Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media) by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
While this book covers social media marketing as part of its discussion of Internet Marketing as a whole, seeing that the authors of this book are the founders of Hubspot is reason enough to recommend this book. More importantly, the secret to social media marketing is less broadcasting your message and more indirectly bringing people to your website. For this reason, “Inbound Marketing” is a book that will help beginners at social media marketing realize this. As Guy Kawasaki said in his review of Inbound Marketing: “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing by reading this book.” Elegantly spoken!
3) The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success by Lon Safko and David Brake
I am always skeptical of books that use the term “Bible” in them: They are setting themselves up for failure unless they can really deliver. This book, however, delivers 800+ pages of social media marketing information. Definitely the most comprehensive book out there on social media marketing. And you still want more? Enough said. This is your social media reference book.
4) The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinberg
An excellent methodological and tactical overview of the realm of social media marketing. Compared to the other books here, I am tempted to say that The New Community Rules is geared more towards the beginner and offers a lot more hand-holding than other books in this genre, but what it lacks in depth compared to the Social Media Bible it makes up for in its comprehensive look at the Social Web.
5) A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization by Deltina Hay
While potentially not as famous as the other books on this list, I found this book to be extremely hands-on and cover all of the bases with regards to creating and implementing a social media marketing strategy. Recommended, especially for those that are utilizing or interested in using WordPress as their blogging platform as there is much detailed and technical information on this included.
6) Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
The famous blogger Chris Brogan writes his first book, an enlightening story of how we can and should become “Trust Agents,” a new breed of influencers who can yield a great deal of influence in today’s Web 2.0 world. If you’ve ever read any of Chris’s blog posts, you know that he delivers valuable and insightful content for businesses and professionals in an authentic and transparent way. This book continues on his successful formula and provides a truly refreshing way of looking at how we can succeed in the Social Web by winning the trust of those around us.
7) Crush It! Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
If you don’t know @GaryVee you’d better buy this book. This guy has more spunk and exhibits more hustle than your most aggressive New York City taxi driver. He is also one of the best known social media success stories, and he inspires all of us to “Crush It!” in this uplifting book which is also uniquely enlightening in a similar vein to Trust Agents.
File Under: Understanding Social Media
(8) Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman
Wow…if you want to read one book that will give you a serious wake-up call on why social media is not a fad and how it significantly changes much about our society, this is your book. A fascinating analytical and intellectual look into the realm of social media.
This is a great book for beginners of social media to realize how connected social networking sites have made us and the potential this fact has for businesses. The book has loads of case studies that should be convincing enough to understand Mitch’s tactical advice on how businesses can cash in on this new era of connectivity.
File Under: Social Media & Public Relations
10) Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge
If there is one book you read out of any of these to enlighten you on the fundamental change that social media has brought upon any particular industry, this is the book you need to read. While probably written for PR and Marketing folks, this book is enlightening for all to read to understand the fundamental changes that social media bring into the world of communications. I had the fortunate chance to meet both of the authors at a recent PRSA Tweetup (picture above), and I learned the most amazing thing about this book: it was written by two people who didn’t meet each other until after the book was finished! (you tell me after reading this book if you could have figured that out!)
File Under: Facebook
The author, Clara Shih, wrote the first business application for Facebook called Faceconnector and in the past has also been in charge of social networking alliances and product strategy at Salesforce.com. These credentials alone hint at the masterpiece of a book this is for businesses, especially those that are looking to create Facebook applications to generate revenues. For the business user.
This book may not be as famous as “The Facebook Era,” but from an average user content perspective, this book is excellent for anyone to understand Facebook and most of its functionality in an easy-to-read format. For the general user, although the advice can obviously be utilized by businesses as well.
File Under: Twitter
13) Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm
Joel Comm’s book on Twitter is arguably the best Twitter book of 2009 if you are looking for Twitter marketing strategies and ideas. For this reason, compared to the below two books, this book is geared more towards the business user of Twitter. However, regardless of the type of Twitter user you are, this book is highly recommended to give you many hints as to what is possible with Twitter.
14) Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel
A unique and insightful look into the conversations that permeate Twitter in the form of stories of real people. You will get introduced to some of the more famous Twitter users, but more importantly, how we can all benefit from listening to and joining Twitter conversations, as well as what we stand to lose if we don’t!
15) The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein
Tim O’Reilly writes a book about Twitter. This should be convincing enough. It is an excellent book for beginners that will hopefully provide you with an “aha!” moment or two and get you started on Twitter. Easy to read with lots of images.
Note that, while tempted, I did not include my own book, “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn” to the above list, although I think it is a noteworthy addition to the growing library in social media and offers a detailed and comprehensive look at LinkedIn utilizing a unique and fresh concept of social networking which I call “Windmill Networking.” OK…I’ll stop there!
So there you have it! Would you agree with these choices and my reasoning? Any of your favorites missing? Do tell!