Every once in a while I teach a class on social media marketing for Lexington Community Education. (I also do private sessions for small groups and in corporate settings where I am frequently called upon to provide expert guidance for agencies, corporate PR and marketing departments.) Recently, one of my former students tracked me down while I was speaking on a panel of local female entrepreneurs. She’s part of a book group comprised mostly of marketers and they are currently reading Groundswell. “Great place to start,” say I. Now the group wants to know what they should read next.
If I was new to the social media marketing arena, here’s my ultimate (but not too long) reading list, in order:
- Starting with Groundswell is a great idea. Here are two other good places to start: The Cluetrain Manifesto and Secrets of Social Media Marketing.
- Check out how the blog-o-sphere really kicked things off. Naked Conversations is fabulous. John Cass’ book on corporate blogging is a good manual.
- It’s all about the rank, baby. You need to know SEO. Search Engine Marketing, Inc. is the bible for this important field. No easy book club read but get through it and you know SEO.
- Great round up books on social media marketing tools — and anecdotes and examples too. New Rules of Marketing & PR; Paul Gillin’s The New Influencers and Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s Trust Agents.
- The Twitter-specific books — love Twitterville but Twitter for Dummies is also a nice place to start. (These are very different, the first assumes you already Tweet.)
- And the Social Media economy? Check out Socialnomics, or skim either of Chris Anderson’s books — Free or the classic The Long Tail. The Long Tail has lots of nice anecdotes but once you understand the implications of that graphic, well, you are all set.
- And then there is the class of corporate/”part of our visibility program” books. I.e. These books, written by corporate titans so they can add “author” to their list of credentials, often contain the corporation’s buzzword and end up being part of the corporate PR campaign. That said, this class includes some truly worthwhile reads if you are just getting going: Inbound Marketing and Digital Body Language included.
Of course, there are a ton more of great books out there. What would you recommend to those just getting going?