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10 Books Every Social Media Manager Should Read

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I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I only read marketing books. I’m not a dirty liar. But there are a few resources that every social marketer must read.

I could list the top 10 marketing books on Amazon, but there is much more that goes into social marketing than simply “social media managing.” Don’t get me wrong, these books are there for a reason (and you’ll find some of them below), but a great marketer needs a wide variety of skills.

Continue reading to discover books that will help you:

  • Master the art of time-management to get more done in less time
  • Better predict your customers’ wants and needs
  • Build a brand story that catches your audience’s attention
  • Create social media posts that boost awareness and engagement

Bonus: Download our free guide that shows you how to 10X your social media performance and beat your competitors. Includes the tools, tricks, and daily routines used by three world-class social media experts.

10 of the best books for social media managers

1. The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases that Influence What we Buy by Richard Shotton

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you know that you can’t even visit the baking aisle without getting dizzy at the number of flour choices available. And, unless your product is truly unique, your customers are facing the same problem when it comes to deciding between your brand and the competition.

As a social media manager, you need to find ways to ensure your brand stands out.

If only you could get inside the minds of customers and find out what drives them to make a decision. Enter: The Choice Factory. In this book, author Richard Shotton focuses on the marketing potential of figuring out why people make certain decisions.

The 25 short, easily digestible chapters each focus on one issue and outline specific and actionable ways to apply the learnings to your own marketing strategy.

2. YouTube Growth Hacking by Jeff Abston

Google shows that YouTube reaches 95 percent of online adults aged 35+ in a month. Not only that, but 18 to 34-year-olds say YouTube is the best place to learn about a product or service that interests them.

In YouTube Growth Hacking, author Jeff Abston shares techniques and insight that will give you lasting, sustainable results on this powerful platform. You’ll learn:

  • How to use SEO to boost discoverability
  • The importance of making attention-grabbing thumbnails
  • And how to improve the production quality of your videos—without a giant budget

3. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

I included this irreplaceable resource in my post So You Think You Can’t Write: 8 Writing Resources for Non-Writers and it’s a definite must-read for social media managers.

Writing is a skill that all marketers need to have, and Ann Handley offers a clear and concise guide to developing and honing it. Handley explains that content is “everything your customer or prospect touches or interacts with—including your own online properties and web pages and the experiences they offer, but also everything on any social channel.”

If you want your audience’s attention, your social media content needs to be clear, concise, and well-written. You want your audience to notice your message—not your grammar mistakes or adjective overuse.

4. Storynomics: Story-driven Marketing in a Post-advertising World by Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

As a social media marketer, part of your job is to tell an interesting story with compelling content.

In Storynomics, legendary storyteller and international writing workshop creator Robert McKee teams up with digital marketing expert Tom Gerace to help brands use the power of storytelling.

Together, the duo provide a comprehensive guide for marketers who want to move to a more story-centric approach.

As Simon Mulcahy, Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce says, “Storynomics is essential reading for any company looking to build a loyal audience through great storytelling.”

5. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—And How You Can Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

Serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk believes the secret to success is a solid understanding of social media—along with a willingness to do whatever it takes to make every platform work to its full potential.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • How to boost your brand on each social media platform
  • Expert theories and tactics you can put into action today
  • Smart ways to optimize and improve well-known and tested strategies

6. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

If you read the above-mentioned Storynomics and are looking for even more insight into the power of storytelling in marketing, Donald Miller’s guide is a good one.

No two businesses are exactly alike and Miller’s approach will help social media marketers set their organization apart.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • The secret to helping your customers understand the benefits of your product or service
  • The seven universal story points all humans respond to
  • The real reason customers make purchases
  • How to create the most effective messaging for social media

7. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

If you’ve worked on social for awhile, you’ve probably been asked at some point to make a post “go viral.” Derek Thompson turns this idea on its head and argues that “nothing goes viral.”

Instead, Thompson explains that each pop culture phenomenon or “viral” piece of content has a secret history of power and influence. There is a definite psychology to why people like what they like, and Thompson reveals the economics of cultural markets that shape our lives.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why Facebook is today’s most important newspaper
  • The secrets to Disney’s success
  • How data scientists proved that going viral is a myth
  • How culture happens and why things become popular

With this information, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience—and create the kind of content that resonates with them.

8. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

While Twitter user, writer, and Aloe Bud app creator Amber Discko jokes that Oreo’s legendary Superbowl Tweet “ruined so many social media managers’ lives,” the lesson about perfect timing is, well, timeless. Oreo’s tweet made real-time marketing a focus for social media managers around the world.

Timing is often called an art, but author Daniel H. Pink argues it’s science. The book draws on cutting-edge research and data from psychology, biology, and economics to reveal the best way we can live, work, and succeed.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • How to build the ideal schedule in both your personal and professional life
  • How to choose when to tackle significant events and projects
  • Why a “restorative break” could be the secret to productivity

9. Non-Obvious 2018: How to Predict Trends and Win the Future by Rohit Bhargava

Part of your job as a social media manager is to keep on top of trends. This doesn’t mean you need to follow every trend, but you should be aware of them.

In the latest edition of Rohit Bhargava’s book series, the author provides proven methods that have been taught to top executives at leading organizations around the world.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • 15 new trends across five categories (including social media and marketing)
  • How to use the power of outside-of-the-box thinking to grow your business
  • How to better predict the future and apply these trends to your social media strategy

10. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

As you know, content creation doesn’t always come naturally. If you’re stuck in a rut or experiencing a creative block, Twitter user and Shell’s Global Head of Digital and Social, Americo Campos Silva, suggests Ed Catmull’s bestselling book.

As one of the co-founders of Pixar Animation Studios, Catmull knows a thing or two about originality. In this book, he reveals the techniques and beliefs that have made Pixar so universally admired and successful.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • How a mediocre idea can be elevated to genius-status
  • Why the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than that of fixing them
  • How to break down communication and organizational barriers to inspire creativity

In order to find success in the world of social media and content marketing, you need to stay ahead of the curve. While theory can easily become outdated, the above resources are great for building a solid foundation of ideas and skills.

Learning is great, but putting your newfound skills to use is even better. Hootsuite helps you easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience across networks. Try it free today.

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