I consider social media a fascinating and exciting element in today’s business world and in everyone’s daily life. Can you imagine not having a computer anymore personally or professionally? Can you imagine not being connected to family, friends, associates, organizations, and companies via social media anymore? Can you imagine not researching a product or company online including customer feedback? Can you imagine being successful in your own business pursuits without branding and promoting yourself and your company via social media? No, me neither.
I consider social media to be the vital “message connection technology” gold claim in networking, business development, marketing, and public relations. It provides the opportunity for a real time voice for customers and a real time interaction for companies with their customers. It reinvents the power rules for the advertising and branding community with exciting possibilities for extreme creativity and instant message-to-market expansion and penetration. Summarized below is my list of the best of the social media books I read this year. As we all move farther on the social media path personally and professionally, I consider these the must read social media books for 2010 if you haven’t read them yet. I’ve included a brief product description for each book from the Amazon.com website at http://www.amazon.com/.
1. The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar WeinbergBlogs, networking sites, and other examples of the social web provide businesses with a largely untapped marketing channel for products and services. But how do you take advantage of them? With The New Community Rules, you'll understand how social web technologies work, and learn the most practical and effective ways to reach people who frequent these sites.
2. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman ScottThis one-of-a-kind guide includes a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the Internet to create compelling messages, get them in front of customers, and lead those customers into the buying process. (Brenda Note: There is a newer version of this book that will be available on Amazon.com 1/12/2010 that includes Social Media and Online Video.)
3. The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff By Clara ShihOnline social networks are fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and interact. They offer businesses immense opportunities to transform customer relationships for profit: opportunities that touch virtually every business function, from sales and marketing to recruiting, collaboration to executive decision-making, product development to innovation. In The Facebook Era, Clara Shih systematically outlines the business promise of social networking and shows how to transform that promise into reality.
4. Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day By Dave EvansIf the idea of starting a social media marketing campaign overwhelms you, the author of Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day will introduce you to the basics, demonstrate how to manage details and describe how you can track results. Case studies, step-by-step guides, checklists, quizzes and hands-on tutorials will help you execute a social media marketing campaign in just one hour a day. (Brenda Note: Twitter Marketing: An Hour A Day By Hollis Thomases will be available on Amazon.com 1/7/2010.)
5. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media) By Brian Halligan & Dharmesh ShahPeople are now increasingly turning to Google, social media, and blogs to find products and services. Inbound Marketing helps you take advantage of this change by showing you how to get found by customers online. Inbound Marketing is a how-to guide to getting found via Google, the blogosphere, and social media sites.
6. Social Media Is A Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know The Rules Of Social Media Marketing By Jim Tobin & Lisa BrazielSocial Media is a Cocktail Party is an essential read for any marketer looking to understand how blogs, podcasts, social networks and other Web 2.0 tools can help you connect on a deeper level with your customers and prospects. This book is your invitation to come on in and join the party.
7. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business By Erik QualmanBrands can now be strengthened or destroyed by the use of social media. Online networking sites are being used as giant, free focus groups. Advertising is less effective at influencing consumers than the opinions of their peers. If you aren't using social media in your business strategy, you are already behind your competition.
8. The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online By David TetonFor professionals whose businesses rely on a constant flow of new opportunities and contacts, The Virtual Handshake is a practical and vital resource.
9. The New Influencers: A Marketers Guide to the New Social Media By Paul GillinExploring how and why online forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have gained such popularity—and credibility—with consumers, this practical guide offers proven strategies for organizations to leverage these new internet-based social media outlets. The differences between traditional and new media are explored, as are simple ways business owners and marketers can use these new resources to communicate with their customers.
10. ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income By Darrin Rowse & Chris GarrettWhether you're just starting out or have been blogging for years, these two professional bloggers show you how to turn your passion for blogging into extra revenue.
11. Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Ways Businesses Talk with Customers By Robert ScobleAccording to experts Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, blogs offer businesses something that has long been lacking in their communication with customers -- meaningful dialogue. Devoid of corporate-speak and empty promises, business blogs can humanize communication, bringing companies and their constituencies together in a way that improves both image and bottom line.
12. Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works By Janice (Ginny) RedishThis book helps you write successfully for web users. It offers strategy, process, and tactics for creating or revising content for the web. It helps you plan, organize, write, design, and test web content that will make web users come back again and again to your site.
13. Content Strategy For the Web By Kristina HalversonWithout meaningful content, your website isn't worth much to your key audiences. But creating (and caring for) "meaningful" content is far more complicated than we're often willing to acknowledge. Content Strategy for the Web explains how to create and deliver useful, usable content for your online audiences, when and where they need it most.
14. The Twitter Book By Tim O’Reilly & Sarah MilsteinThis practical guide will teach you everything you need to know to quickly become a Twitter power user. It includes information on the latest third party applications, strategies and tactics for using Twitter's 140-character messages as a serious--and effective--way to boost your business, as well as how to turn Twitter into your personal newspaper, tracking breaking news and learning what matters to you and your friends.
15. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time By Joel CommIn Twitter Power, Internet marketing and Web innovation expert Joel Comm shows businesses and marketers how to integrate Twitter into their existing marketing strategies to build a loyal following among Twitter members, expand awareness for their product or service, and even handle negative publicity due to angry or disappointed consumers.
Those who embrace social media as the new “message connection technology”, understanding a large segment of their target market does, will adopt early and have the benefits of first to market message space and following. Early vision understanding and adoption of emerging “message connection technology” is something I believe will separate the true movers and shakers of the world from those that only believe they are the elite. It will set apart the individuals, companies, and brands that will not only survive in the new global market, but will make a lasting mark and prosper.
Happy New Year! May 2010 be your Break-Out year and your best year ever.