The 50 Best Digital and Social Media Marketing Books to Read in 2024

The 50 Best Digital and Social Media Marketing Books to Read in 2024

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Anyone that is involved in digital, content, influencer and/or social media marketing tend to be busy people. Between social media, emails, Slack conversations, internal as well as client meetings, phone calls, webinars, conferences, and on top of that creating the latest, greatest ad campaign ever takes up a lot of time. But what about continued learning in our field? If we don’t keep track of the latest trends, we’re liable to lose whatever competitive edge we might’ve had in the past. Eventually clients or other operations staff at the firm will ask us questions we don’t know the answer to, and struggle to find the answer to. So, with our time being so precious, what can we read that will keep our knowledge up-to-date? Here are some excellent, if not the best marketing books that you should read this year, at least if you haven’t already.

For those who think that blogs and podcasts are enough, yes, reading and listening to those are critical to keeping up to date as well. But authors invest the time into their books to create structure, explanation, and depth that you simply can’t get in a single podcast or blog post. That’s why I’m an avid reader of books, and I hope you are and become one too!

I used to have a separate blog post for social media books and another for marketing books, but it seemed more natural to finally merge these together into one longish list of books that I recommend regardless if it is digital or social media. As digital and social media changes, these books and their perspectives provide us a guiding light. I plan to keep updating this list as well as new recommendable books get published, so make sure you bookmark this page and come back for more recommendations!

I also used to publish greater numbers of books in this post, but I thought that limiting it to 50 would be the best way to not overwhelm you. If you can just read one marketing book a week, this list of 50 will last you until my next revision at the end of next year!

I have divided these selections into categories based on the subject matter to make it easy for you to find the exact book you are looking for, so keep scrolling because I am confident your next read is in this list! Also, I have included the publication year for the latest version of the book – perhaps you read an earlier edition but you might want to check out a revised one!As a convenience, if you are an Amazon shopper, you can find all of these books in my Amazon storefront. Note that the links in the storefront, as well as each of the book links below, are affiliate in nature but cost no more to you.

The 10 Best General Marketing Books of All-Time

These are the books that you will find on the reading list if not bookshelves of marketing executives, CMOs, and business leaders around the world. If you want a place to start, before diving into my other recommendations of digital or social media marketing books, please start with the classics!

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin (1999)

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin (1999)

Seth Godin has been influencing marketers for decades, and this is perhaps his finest work. Godin’s approach to marketing is different from many of his peers’ approaches, but is valuable in its gentle approach. By cultivating a habit of marketing “permissively,” you can create feelings of trust and loyalty between customers and the brands they love.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini (2021)

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini (2021)

Influence is not a book about influencer marketing. It is the definitive book to better understand the role of influence in business. Cialdini’s book is considered a vital entry into your marketing bookshelf, because it simplifies the complexities of persuasion and influence, and tells you how to use these in your favor. With research and examples, Cialdini demonstrates how persuasion and influence are yielded responsibly and well.

Hooked by Nir Eyal (2014)

Hooked by Nir Eyal (2014)

As its name suggests, Eyal’s book dives into how to develop products and services that hook customers and keep them coming back for more. Eyal describes in great detail how to procure products that will create habits, as well as how to hook customers with marketing efforts.

Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown (2017)

Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown (2017)

Ellis’ book identifies the method behind the genius of highly successful companies like IBM, Uber, and Walmart, in order to continue to grow and avoid stalling out in their infancy.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger (2016)

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger (2016)

Berger’s book tackles the question of why some ideas, news stories, and even products take on a life of their own, and why others seem to easily falter and fail. Berger systematically takes readers into the minds and motivations of people, and how those motivations and thought patterns can be utilized to create products, services, headlines, and ideas that will have people coming back for more.

Made to Stick By Chip Heath & Dan Heath (2007)

Made to Stick By Chip Heath & Dan Heath (2007)

Chip and Dan Heath tackle the question of why some ideas take hold and travel far, while others falter and are ultimately lost or forgotten. While identifying why some ideas stick, Chip and Dan Heath help readers learn strategies to make their own ideas and proposals shine and take hold.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout (2001)

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout (2001)

This book has become a classic because it approaches sales and marketing from a radically different viewpoint; rather than providing a simple list of rules to follow, Ries and Trout identify the importance of positioning yourself or your brand as a compelling authority in your industry, complete with visible strengths, weaknesses, and growth. It is also considered a classic because it teaches readers how to change positions as needed to elevate yourself, level the competition, or shift markets and audiences as necessary.

Youtility by Jay Baer (2013)

Youtility by Jay Baer (2013)

Aptly named, Baer’s work considers sales from the perspective of service. In the book, Baer makes the argument that marketing teams would see far greater results and more long-lasting customer relationships if the focus was less on selling products or services, and more on creating value through helping their customers and forging genuine relationships. While this book may initially appeal to specific industries with more service-oriented products and services, the book provides valuable insights for people and teams in all niches, as virtually any product can provide some type of value or service to a prospective customer. While it is a bit older than some of the offerings on this list, its message remains a valuable one for marketers, because it continues to pinpoint human behavior and building trust as cornerstones of sales practices. 

1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib (2018)

1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib (2018)

The 1-page marketing method is laid out in this book, and it solves one of the most common issues with human behavior: it gives a clear starting place from which to work, and sets readers up with an easy, step-by-step way to develop the meat of a marketing plan. The book is largely geared toward smaller and medium-sized businesses, versus enterprise-level marketers, which means that the bulk of Dib’s suggestions are ready to implement, no matter where you are in your marketing efforts. With information about marketing budgets, addressing your most significant competitors, and troubleshooting for implementing the 1-page plan, this is a great option for small to medium sized businesses starting from square one.

Buyology by Martin Lindstrom (2010)

Buyology by Martin Lindstrom (2010)

Less a “how-to” than the other books listed here, Lindstrom’s work evaluates what truly drives sales, and how humans actually respond to marketing efforts. In reading the information presented here, marketers can tailor their approach to principles of neurology.

The 3 Best Digital Marketing Books

Digital marketing follows many of the same guidelines as print and other traditional forms of marketing, but to capture successful marketing online, there are a few additional considerations to take into account. The following books can help clarify some of those considerations, and point to digital marketing based concerns, such as growth hacking, follower counts and influencer partnerships, and plenty more. From navigating how to develop relationships with customers online, to determining your target market on each online platform, to understanding the different reports that come out of each platform, the more you can learn about digital marketing, the greater your comfort level working within its guidelines will be. 

Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation & Practice – Dave Chaffey & Fiona Ellis-Chadwick (2012)

Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation & Practice – Dave Chaffey & Fiona Ellis-Chadwick (2012)

While it was written a decade ago, if you’re looking to start with the definitive textbook on digital marketing, start here. Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick’s book gives real-life examples of successful marketing strategies from recognizable companies. By breaking down those campaigns and identifying what was done well in them, readers can apply best practices to their own marketing efforts to get themselves one step closer to being the marketing expert needed to take their digital marketing to the next level. Formatted in a way that reads more like a useful textbook, Chaffey’s work helps digital marketers navigate their questions and concerns quickly and easily to implement important features without delay. Because the book is structured in an easy-to-navigate layout, readers can jump around as-needed, and use the book as a regular go-to when a new question or issue arises. This is a great one to keep on your shelf. 

Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry (2020)

Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry (2020)

As is the case for the “for Dummies” series as a whole, the digital marketing entry is designed to offer a wealth of information for people who are familiar with the subject matter and complete novices, alike. With plenty of definitions for the novice and countless tidbits of information for anyone new to digital marketing or interested in improving their foray into this form of sales, Deiss and Henneberry’s book is a valuable cornerstone to brush up on the latest trends and terminology to make sure you are comfortable working within this world. Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, with new platforms, trending topics, and best practices at what can seem like every corner. With the firm foundation of knowledge delivered here, marketers can feel more confident implementing digital marketing campaigns. 

Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing by Simon Kingsnorth (2022)

Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing by Simon Kingsnorth (2022)

Currently on its third edition, Kingsnorth’s entry into the digital marketing world is considered a valuable resource with good reason: as new trends have come on the scene and transformed the face of digital marketing, marketers have been faced with a horde of competing ideas and pieces of advice. Kingsnorth addresses the ins and outs of marketing, providing everything from basic definitions, to more complex and in-depth strategies to make sure that your digital marketing keeps up with the crowd, and keeps up with all incoming trends and the latest in technology. The most recent addition, in keeping with this goal, has been reworked to include information about artificial intelligence and its role in digital marketing, as well as automation and affiliate marketing. While newcomers on the scene can be difficult or frightening to roll into your existing marketing strategies, Kingsnorth’s guide can help it feel far less daunting and far more manageable.

The 3 Best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Books

SEO is the basis for digital marketing, so it should come as no surprise that this is where we should start on our journey as we dig deeper into digital marketing. Rather than introduce you to one book, I will provide you with one classic and two newer books, all offering vastly different perspectives on how to best optimize your website for search engines.

The Art of SEO by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer and Jessie Strichola (2023)

The Art of SEO by Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge, and Jessie Strichola

The Art of SEO is coming up on its fourth edition, and with good reason: functioning as a textbook guide to SEO, the book was authored by Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge, and Jessie Strichola, all experts in the field of SEO and digital marketing. The Art of SEO is less an introduction to SEO and more a truly comprehensive guide to how to best create and implement an SEO strategy, from start to finish.The Art of SEO is an ideal read for people who have an existing understanding of SEO practices and those who are wholly new to the concept alike, as it goes over basic topics and advanced topics in depth, and functions as a guide to develop your own SEO strategy according to your business or brand’s needs and preferences. If you are new to developing your digital marketing strategy, or your marketing campaigns are in need of an overhaul, The Art of SEO can provide an ideal jumping-off point to customize your SEO habits and techniques.

Product-Led SEO by Eli Schwartz (2021)

Product-Led SEO by Eli Schwartz

The full title of this book is Product-Led SEO: The Why Behind Building Your Organic Growth Strategy and as the subtitle suggests, this book is designed for people who are either new to SEO, or those who do not fully understand the ins and outs of best SEO practices. Product-Led SEO is written by Eli Schwartz, a consultant and SEO marketing guru, with over a decade of experience in the field. This book may not be the best for people who have an established marketing strategy, or those who are familiar with standard customer behavior, but is a classic book for anyone whose approach to marketing is uncertain or just starting out.

Although the title of the book might suggest that the contents focus primarily on SEO practices for promoting specific products, Schwartz’ work focuses on SEO content as a whole, and offers an approach to marketing with SEO that virtually any company and brand can follow.

The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business by Jason Barnard (2022)

The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business by Jason Barnard

Aptly named, The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business focuses primarily on laying the groundwork for digital marketing, which is pivotal for modern marketers to understand and master. Jason Barnard’s book tackles one specific issue: SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages. According to Barnard–and plenty of other marketing professionals–SERPs are absolutely vital to boost the reach and consistency of your brand or business, as it allows people to continually be directed to you when searching online.

The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business offers tried-and-true techniques developed and used by the author himself in his online marketing efforts to develop a consistent and reliable marketing plan that has helped his business soar. This book is ideal for those who are unfamiliar with the best practices for SERPs in order to maximize online marketing strategies, and who are looking for simple advice regarding how to improve your brand or business’ search engine results pages.

The 5 Best Blogging and Content Marketing Books

Content marketing often gets lumped together with SEO, but they are actually two completely different concepts and tactics that both revolve around content. While blogging is only a subset of content marketing, most of these content marketing books focus on leveraging your blog and textual writing of your content. So whether you’re looking for a book on blogging or on content marketing, here are my recommendations.

Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi (2023)

Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi (2023)

An important inclusion and perhaps one of the best books to read for anyone working in content marketing, Pulizzi’s work is built on the idea that a great story cannot be trumped. Stories are how people connect, how information is disseminated, and how people find their attention being successfully diverted. This is what makes truly epic content: stories. Pulizzi’s original work was published 8 years ago, though its most recent edition has included all of the hallmarks in the current content marketing climate, including how to tell a story in order to build your company or brand’s community, get people talking, and position yourself or your brand as a trusted, reliable voice in your particular industry or niche. With plenty of practical ideas to get the ball rolling, this is a book about marketing to not only prompt a click of a “purchase” button, but to prompt connections and community that will have customers coming back again and again.

Check out this interview I did with Joe where he provides some insightful unconventional content marketing advice:

YouTube video

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley (2022)

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Originally released in 2014, Handley’s book is a simple and straightforward walk through how to make sure that your writing is delivering your message effectively. Although many people have argued that the written word is not as valuable as it once was, the written word continues to be one of the foremost delivery methods for all marketing, and can be far more compelling and informative than any other mode of delivery.

In Handley’s book, readers are walked through the basics of how to write well, and how to write in a way that effectively connects with your audience and humanizes your company and products. From writing snappy, witty product descriptions, to delivering heartfelt stories of real customers and your company’s history, Handley provides plenty of insight into how to take your writing to the next level and improve the reach and staying power of your business. 

Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina (2022)

Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina

Originally published in 2012, Andy Crestodina’s classic Content Chemistry is now in its 5th edition. According to him, it is the result of over a decade of research into marketing techniques and consumer psychology. Since the original publication, Andy has carefully revised the text to include the latest research, emerging techniques, and new standards. In other words, it’s intended to be a primer for those who are new to the field of marketing, as well as those hoping to learn what’s new. Even better, the workbook format makes it a great textbook for training, and helps you put insights into practice.

Several Amazon reviewers say it’s among the best books they’ve read. Beyond traditional marketing practitioners, content creators say that it’s a great book for those hoping to make their content more relevant to today’s market. In other words, influencers who collaborate with various companies can get a lot out of this book too.

They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan (2019)

They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

Rather than being just a marketing professional, Marcus Sheridan is a business owner who was able to grow his pool installation business in spite of the 2008 housing crash. Leveraging that experience, Marcus explains that the traditional sales funnel is incomplete. In order to be successful, he explains, you need to answer the questions your potential customers are asking. Generally speaking, one of the best solutions to this problem is content marketing, especially where it involves consumer education in the relevant field. To leverage this trend, it is essential to have an effective content strategy, including SEO-friendly blog posts and articles. After that, you need to effectively manage your inbound marketing and sales: customer loyalty and referrals that lead to further sales, customer service, and consultations.

The Content Fuel Framework by Melanie Deziel (2020)

The Content Fuel Framework by Melanie Deziel

As any marketing professional can attest, there are seemingly endless expectations placed on companies and brands to create a constant stream of interesting, compelling, and visually appealing content–something that can be difficult to accomplish without seeming repetitive or even pushy. Deziel lays out her approach to this very problem by detailing how to develop your own system for churning out content regularly, without sacrificing quality, content, or style.

The beauty of this particular book is that it does not contain industry specific ideas, but instead encourages readers to focus on their own industries and their own unique voices, in order to consistently create compelling, unique content.

Learn more about Melanie Deziel and her most recent books in this interview I had with her:

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The 3 Best Brand Storytelling Books

Over the last few years we have seen a lot of excellent works that speak to the need for companies to become better storytellers to have impact in their marketing. While I lump the following books together in this category of Brand Storytelling, there are obvious overlaps with content marketing, branding, and even employee and brand advocacy. This is the newest category of books that I added to this list, so if you are looking for a refreshing look at marketing, these books are for you.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (2017)

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The narrative of putting your customer as the hero of your story all began with this influential book, which really should be considered the must-read book in this category.

In Building a StoryBrand, author Donald Miller tackles content marketing in a refreshing and unique way. Turning traditional advertising methods on their heads, Miller encourages his readers to not merely write web copy designed to sell, but to write web copy that utilizes storytelling elements to draw the reader in and develop a tie to the company or brand. Writing for your target market in this way involves a great deal of creativity, certainly, but also creates personal ties to the brand or company in question, and develops customer loyalty more effectively than standard marketing copy.

The basics of Miller’s approach to marketing are laid out in the book in 7 points, and ways to simplify and consequently amplify a brand’s marketing message. Miller’s expertise is derived in part from his time as a best-selling author of memoirs, and his unique approach to content creation has been shown to improve brands’ marketing success and audience engagement and loyalty.

Brand Storytelling by Miri Rodriguez (2020)

Brand Storytelling by Miri Rodriguez

Brand Storytelling is an award-winning book that has become one of the classic marketing books used to improve companies’ content marketing strategy. Unlike many other authors in this post, Miri Rodriguez focuses attention and energy on encouraging her audience to listen to the wisdom generated by brands such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Google. The most pressing piece of wisdom offered in Brand Storytelling is this: new and existing customers want to hear about how they will be impacted and how others will be impacted, not why they should buy a product or service. Rodriguez touches on the wisdom of established brands and companies, and encourages readers to develop a lasting connection with their audience.Brand Storytelling describes how to build a brand story, from start to finish, in order to develop a solid base of loyal customers and elevate your brand or company.

The Laws of Brand Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio (2018)

The Laws of Brand Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

Did you know that your customers are the ones who define what your brand is all about? Increasingly, this is the conclusion that businesses must operate under. In their book The Laws of Brand Storytelling, Walter and Gioglio will tell you how to make sure that your brand is telling a story that will cause you and your customers to embrace the same definition of your brand. One of the chief ways of doing this, of course, is to be authentic with customers. Tell them who you are, and make a compelling story that they’ll embrace. Especially if you’re struggling to define your brand with customers, these insights are valuable.

The 6 Best Social Media Marketing Books

Social media has matured over time, but there are evergreen principles that brands can utilize to help them across social networks, and even if new ones that might compete with TikTok emerge. These books focus on the big picture and are always helpful as references to make sure our social media marketing is done at a strategic – and successful – level.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk (2013)

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk (2013)

Although most social media managers and marketers recognize the value of a story, it can be difficult to make sure your story is heard over the shouting of every other maker out there, also vying to be heard. Vaynerchuk’s solution is one that involves not simply following a rote formula that can be copied and pasted from one network to another, and instead focusing your effort on creating content that is designed for a specific social media site or specific space, and continually adapting your strategy and individual posts to suit the platform on which you are posting. Ideas are simple and actionable, and can help clarify the minutiae of posting across numerous platforms. 

Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social Media For Business by Jason McDonald (2022)

Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social Media For Business by Jason McDonald (2022)

Written by a professor of marketing based in San Francisco, this is truly a workbook for marketers to work through, in order to clarify their own social media marketing habits and practices, and develop the style and voice that best fits their brand. The book also comes equipped with “companion” videos to help clarify any issues readers may have, and to act as a source of support for readers who are trying to develop their own best practices for social media marketing. The way the book is laid out is easy to use and comprehensive, which allows readers to sift through ideas and questions platform by platform. Readers can also download worksheets to help bring the book’s ideas to life for their own businesses, and to create a plan of action as they read.

Check out my interview with Jason for more details about his work and thoughts on social media marketing:

YouTube video

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen (2019)

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

Need to read up on the newer social media networks? With 3 Billion people now on social media, Dave contends that every business should have a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. Now in its third edition, Likeable Social Media is considered a classic marketing tome. Originally, it was written before newer social media platforms like Snapchat were invented, but with the 3rd edition these are discussed in addition to the traditional networks.

In this book, Dave talks about what makes customers “like” and otherwise engage with your content. It isn’t as simple as putting out announcements about sales and product rollouts, because you have to get a customer to care. Most reviewers point out that the real-world examples and case studies are especially helpful. After all, what good are principles if you can’t put them into practice?

The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder (2016)

The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder

Considered a classic of social media marketing, The Zen of Social Media Marketing has been around since the early days of social media marketing, and has continued to grow, update, and evolve as social media has grown and evolved. Although the title may not lend a great deal of information about the contents of the book, it is a substantial text that covers not only social media marketing but also email marketing and content creation, in order to bring all of these marketing avenues together and have your marketing efforts working in tandem. The Zen of Social Media Marketing also goes over the basics of social media as a whole, explaining what it is and how and why it works as a marketing tool.

Because the book has been around for two decades and covers the entirety of marketing, it is a useful tome for people who are new to social media marketing, and those who have been working in the field for a decade or two.

SOCIAL 3.0: How Forward-Thinking B2B’s Can Unleash the Power of Social Media by Andy Lambert (2022)

SOCIAL 3.0: How Forward-Thinking B2B’s Can Unleash the Power of Social Media by Andy Lambert

While the focus for many of the books has been on B2C transactions, SOCIAL 3.0 focuses on B2Bs and how far too many of these companies allow their social media to be completely consumed by sales rather than compelling marketing content. Because B2B models often assume that businesses are eager to get down to brass tacks and avoid the usual trappings involved in sales copy, many B2B companies do not invest a great deal of time or energy into developing their own unique and interesting social media platforms. SOCIAL 3.0 urges B2Bs to avoid this particular pitfall and approach marketing to businesses with the same dedication and eagerness to impart value as B2Cs and offer plenty of insight, information, and personality on their social media platforms.

Identifying the immense value of influencer culture and e-commerce via social media platforms, SOCIAL 3.0 is an important book for B2Bs looking to truly innovate and improve their social channels.

Learn more about Andy and his thoughts in this interview I did with him:

YouTube video

Maximize Your Social by Neal Schaffer (2013)

Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success

Yes, I am the author of this book. Through my own social media marketing consulting, I wanted to create a resource that will allow the reader to create their own social media marketing strategy. I obviously wouldn’t put my own book on this list if I didn’t think it would add value to your business, and being encouraged by the reviews I’ve received so far on Amazon, I’m taking a deep breath and adding it. Once again, this is a subjective list, but if I wasn’t writing a book that I would recommend to others, why write it, right?

Full Disclaimer: This book is one of the older books on this list, and there are some chapters which are irrelevant today, but the main concepts and recommendations from this book remain intact.

The 3 Best Influencer Marketing Books

For those that have read The Age of Influence or my blog posts on influencer marketing, you know that I take a very broad and holistic perspective when it comes to the topic of who is an influencer in social media. It is not only those people that you have never heard of yet somehow have millions of followers. It’s also those who have brand affinity for you, whether it be your employees or fans. That’s why I’ve brought together 3 different books that cover 3 different aspects of influencer marketing that I highly recommend you read.

The Age of Influence by Neal Schaffer (2020)

The Age of Influence by Neal Schaffer

This first selection should come as no surprise ;-)

Influencer marketing is something that any business of any size and industry can leverage, but marketers have misunderstood the potential impact it can have for a lot of reasons. I wanted to set the record straight so that no company misses out on the opportunities that influencer marketing has, so I decided to write a book explaining the why, how, and what’s next. In essence, it is the influencer marketing playbook that simply didn’t exist before. Yes, this is my book, but I wouldn’t write and publish it if I didn’t think it was recommendable!

Superfans by Pat Flynn (2019)

Superfans by Pat Flynn

In Superfans, you will find some basics as to how to grow your business, improve your reach, and build a consistent group of people who love your brand or business, and continually come back and act as champions of your products, services, or brand. While plenty of books on marketing and social media will teach you how to gain followers and increase engagement, Superfans asks you to go a step further and create a following that not only pops in once in a while to check on new products, or occasionally “like” a post, but consistently shares your content, points people to your brand, and essentially promotes your brand consistently and without charge. In Superfans, you are encouraged to become a figure of authority in your field, build trust between yourself and your customers or audience, and watch your business grow as a result.

Participation Marketing by Michael Brito (2018)

Participation Marketing: Unleashing Employees to Participate and Become Brand Storytellers

Michael Brito’s Participation Marketing is a strong voice for leveraging employee advocacy. Identifying the countless ways in which employee interactions outside of work impact the culture, connection, and marketing efforts of any brand or business, Brito provides actionable steps to improve your brand or company’s employee advocacy efforts, teaching you how to effectively use your employees’ interest and pride in their work to further your reach and improve your brand or business image. Participation Marketing is so named because Brito uncovers the reality of employee participation in marketing, whether it is intentional or not, and urges his audience to maintain a positive, engaging, and employee-driven culture, to improve not only the company’s reputation, but also their marketing targets and reach. Employee Advocacy is targeted toward companies with a dedicated staff, but can be useful for even a two-or-three person operation.

The 6 Best LinkedIn & Social Selling Books

I have a special section here for LinkedIn not only because I wrote two books on it, but because it is one of the few social networks that you can achieve a LOT with organic social media marketing, and especially if you are in sales. I have tried my best to provide a collection of books that together will provide you a wealth of knowledge vis a vis leveraging LinkedIn.

Maximizing LinkedIn for Business by Neal Schaffer (2023)

maximizing linkedin for business by neal schaffer 4th edition

Maximizing LinkedIn for Business was written by yours truly, and acts as a guide to utilizing LinkedIn for your business in order to build a following, network effectively, and improve your reach across social media. Although many people see LinkedIn as a simple social networking tool, LinkedIn can actually be used to improve your business aside from the basic networking function of the platform. In Maximizing LinkedIn for Business, you will learn how to improve your credibility, engage with competitors and others in your niche, and automate your account to further extend your network and reach.

Previous books on LinkedIn have focused on specific aspects of business, such as sales, but my latest offering provides a broader stroke regarding the value and power of LinkedIn, in order to help businesses most effectively utilize the platform and improve their reach.

This book also can’t be found on Amazon because it’s only available as a free download through this link!

LinkedIn For Personal Branding by Sandra Long (2020)

LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide

No matter what you do on LinkedIn, all roads link back to your LinkedIn profile. That’s why it’s important for every outward-facing sales and marketing professional to have an optimized LinkedIn profile based on their personal branding. Fortunately, there is a book that helps the reader do exactly that!

Sandra Long’s LinkedIn for Personal Branding is unique on its take, as it positions LinkedIn as a powerful branding tool, rather than merely a networking tool. Although LinkedIn is often left out of social media marketing instructionals, Long identifies why this is doing your brand or business a great disservice, and demonstrates the immense value in leveraging LinkedIn to improve your social media marketing strategies and audience reach. With in-depth guides on how to use LinkedIn to build a compelling profile, market yourself or your brand, and improve your likelihood of coming up first in Google and LinkedIn searches, this is a great read for anyone who currently uses LinkedIn or is new to the platform, and is searching for a way to carry their branding further than standard social media markets like Facebook and Instagram.

60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery by Josh Steimle (2021)

60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery by Josh Steimle

If you are new to using LinkedIn, or you are not quite certain what to do with the platform, 60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery may be an ideal read for you. As the title suggests, Josh Steimle’s book is designed to help people who are not familiar with LinkedIn (or those who are not certain what to do with their existing account) adequately familiarize themselves with the site and what it has to offer. The book is separated into 60 segments, each of them offering a technique to utilize to master LinkedIn in less than 15 minutes, in order to create a LinkedIn profile that is providing the best possible avenue to maximize your LinkedIn profile for connecting with others in your field, networking appropriately, and creating content that will continue to drive people to your page and any pages or sites you may be affiliated with.

Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing by Neal Schaffer (2011)

Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing: An Unofficial, Practical Guide to Selling & Developing B2B Business on LinkedIn

First, an obvious disclaimer: As you might have noticed, I’m actually the author of this book. And I wouldn’t add my own book to this list if I didn’t have the confidence to tell you that it unlocks the mysteries of how to generate business from LinkedIn that no other book does. If you think LinkedIn is only for professionals and job seekers, think again. If your business markets and sells to other businesses, LinkedIn should be your top social media marketing priority, even above Facebook. Attract more leads, become an industry leader and improve your online reputation: you can accomplish all these things and more through this book. Includes more than 15 case studies to help you see exactly what others have done to see positive ROI from their LinkedIn investment.

This book was also published several years ago, so while the user interface has changed, the central concepts to the book are still intact today. It is why I update this book with my free Maximizing LinkedIn for Business above, but the concepts of leveraging your employees and salespeople – before we had the concepts of employee advocacy or social selling – together with the unmistakable power of B2B social media marketing is what makes this book still relevant today.

The LinkedIn Sales Playbook by Brynne Tillman (2017)

The LinkedIn Sales Playbook by Brynne Tillman

The LinkedIn Sales Playbook is less a playbook and more a compilation of LinkedIn webinars and advice sessions put together to produce a valuable piece of work to help LinkedIn users utilize the platform for selling over social media. Although LinkedIn is typically used for networking, the platform can also be used to network with a specific purpose in mind: sales. In Tillman’s book, the focus on optimizing your LinkedIn profile and practices hinges on sales and making sure that your audience recognizes you as a source of authority and knowledge, and can come to you when a sales need arises.

This particular book is ideal for people who are looking to LInkedIn as another sales building tool, rather than exclusively a networking tool, or even a combination of networking and sales The focus on sales allows readers to approach their LinkedIn profile in an entirely unique way and develop their profiles and outreach efforts specifically to boost sales and encourage purchasing relationships.

Social Selling by Tim Hughes (2022)

Social Selling by Tim Hughes

In Social Selling: Techniques, readers engage relationship-building exercises, a modern look at the decision-making process and touted social network solutions. Social Selling is a step-by-step guide for marketers intending to harness new skills, refurbish outdated ideas and obtain a high-quality community.

By building trust with online consumers, digital marketers can utilize Social Selling’s developmental points when furthering relationships. Unique to the book is a section on risk and governance—which steers digital marketers away from wasteful online maneuvers with a plethora of applicable examples. Social Selling is a definite “win” in the comprehensive seller’s guide section, and it’s a great choice for any digital marketer seeking evergreen advice.

The 2 Best YouTube Books

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, YouTube, the second largest search engine, is as popular as ever and can have major impact on your digital marketing when done right. Mr. Beast”s Squid Games spinoff, which got as many views on YouTube in 8 days as did the actual series did on Netflix, is a reminder of the potential power that YouTube has not just for content creators but also businesses.

The YouTube Formula by Derral Eves (2021)

The YouTube Formula by Derral Eves

Eves is perhaps best known as one of the most successful YouTube how-to channel owners currently in operation, and his book certainly delivers on wisdom and insight as a result. Eves breaks down the basics of YouTube’s algorithms to help readers learn how to effectively create a YouTube channel, from start to finish. Although you do not have to be a novice to benefit from a thorough reading of The YouTube Formula, the book is designed to provide a step-by-step guide to starting your own YouTube channel, including creating a name and developing an audience base.

In addition to covering the basics of YouTube, Eves goes over how to create content that will drive engagement and build your audience, while monetizing your channel and developing a solid audience base. In addition to drawing on his own successes on YouTube, Eves goes over case studies and other successful YouTube stories to further elucidate the best practices to improve YouTube reach and success.

YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis (2018)

YouTube Secrets: the Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Following and Making Money as a Video Influencer

Designed to provide a comprehensive guide to YouTube monetization and use, Sean Cannell and Benji Travis have compiled a book that thoroughly examines all of the possible avenues to monetize content on YouTube, taking a peek into the lives and habits of people who have successfully created YouTube followings, and identifying how six and seven figure earners were able to make their way to the top of the YouTube food chain. Alternately explanatory and actionable, YouTube Secrets provides a wealth of information for those new to the platform and seasoned veterans of YouTube, and offers a window into the inner workings of successful, monetized YouTube channels while offering straightforward actions to set you on the path toward YouTube success.

The 3 Best Customer Experience Marketing Books

I have heard some CMOs say that Customer Experience is the final frontier for marketing, for as everything becomes commoditized, the only way to strategically differentiate ones offerings is through the customer experience. With that in mind, these 3 books will provide you LOTS of food for thought as to your own customer’s journey and how you can implement customer experience marketing in a positive way for your business.

What Customers Crave by Nicholas Webb (2016)

What Customers Crave by Nicholas Webb (2022)

The focus of this book is on the customer, as the title suggests. Webb points out that connection, communication, and marketing have all changed exponentially to accommodate the changing face of social media, and simply creating content is not enough to effectively meet the cravings of your audience. Instead, you must learn what it is that your audience loves, and what it is that your audience hates. Although this may seem like a strange concept, Webb points out that keeping the interest of your audience means keeping your eyes and ears open and creating a relationship with your existing and preferred audience. By continually creating, accepting feedback, and adapting to that feedback, you can make sure that you are delivering content, services, and service that your customers crave.

The Experience Maker by Dan Gingiss (2021)

The Experience Maker by Dan Gingiss

The Experience Maker is a unique book regarding customer experience, because it hones in on the value inherent in existing customers, rather than constantly focusing on creating new customers. While many marketing and business books focus on growing, expansion, and bringing in new leads, Gingiss urges readers to acknowledge the value found in existing customers, and create experiences with those customers that will keep them coming back for more again and again. Like social media and other marketing channel how-tos that encourage a heavy focus on customer experience, The Experience Maker urges readers to make sure their customers are receiving care and interaction that they are eager to share with others and, more importantly, value that keeps them coming back to the company or brand for more.

Essentially, Gingiss asserts, your existing customer base is a far more compelling and believable series of salespeople than a sales team that is hired out of the gate, because people will express their gratitude and excitement about products or companies naturally and organically, provided that they have an ideal experience.

Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing by Carla Johnson and Robert Rose (2015)

Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing by Carla Johnson and Robert Rose

For marketers, it’s easy to see marketing as a big competition to see who can sell the most stuff. While that’s still true to some extent, the face of marketing has changed considerably in the last few years. Since the increasing popularity of the Internet, people look around for information about potential products before making a purchase. Even more recently, customers have begun to see the buying process as an “experience.” They want to feel “into” a brand before they choose what to buy, or if they want to buy at all. As a result, brands need to see their content marketing as a second “product” in order to win the game.

The 6 Best Personal Branding, Building Influence & Entrepreneurial Books

There are many entrepreneurs, present or future, that read my blog, and for them I wanted to offer a selection of broader marketing books that go beyond social media into personal branding, influencing, and becoming an entrepreneur. Some of these books have more overlap with digital and social media marketing than others, but they are all recommended reading for putting the ideas you read from the above books into concrete action!

Influencer by Brittany Hennessy (2018)

Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

In Influencer, Brittany Hennessy tackles the difficult topic of social media branding, and how to effectively leverage your life and lifestyle to build a following, maintain that following, and create a personal brand to attract the interest of your favorite companies, brands, and agents. Hennessy has worked in the field of social media from the first days of online influencers, and offers unique insights into how the industry has evolved—and continues to evolve—and teaches the most effective ways to fuse your passion for life and brand partnerships to create your own influencer brand. Hennessy’s book is perfect for those who are looking to build a personal brand, rather than a business-centric brand, and anyone seeking to leverage their existing lifestyle or social media presence.

Top of Mind by John Hall (2017)

Top of Mind by John Hall (2017)

As the title of the book implies, Hall’s book is primarily about how to remain top of mind, and why being at the top of people’s mind is invaluable in business. Noting that companies are considered trustworthy and reliable most often when they are one of the first names or brands that come to mind when an industry or niche is thought about, Hall encourages marketers to develop meaningful relationships with their audience and to continually ask how they might provide service to others, and thereby cement their reputation as a trusted resource in their industry. Hall offers real-life examples to help develop content-driven relationships that flourish and grow over time. 

KNOWN by Mark Schaefer (2017)

KNOWN by Mark Schaefer

In KNOWN, Mark Schaefer tackles the question of how important it is to be known in business. While many people are eager to build a personal brand and share that brand with the world, far too many brands are not truly known, or are not truly understood by their audiences or customers. Schaefer asserts that being known is what nets businesses, creators, and brands the most authentic connections and therefore the most authentic customers, and urges readers to make sure that they are developing a social media and digital marketing strategy that helps them be truly known, in order to maximize the reach, efficacy, and consistency of their business.

KNOWN combines case studies, personal experience, and personal stories to bring the audience a book that identifies the most effective way to take hold of your story online, and utilize that story to build trust, expand your brand or company reach, and develop consistent, loyal customer bases.

The Common Path to Uncommon Success by John Lee Dumas (2021)

The Common Path to Uncommon Success by John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas is perhaps best known for his podcast on entrepreneurship, which serves as the basis for The Common Path to Uncommon Success. In it, Dumas goes over how to develop an entrepreneurial road map to achieve your goals, based on the many interviews he has compiled over the years on his podcast. From failures and pitfalls to wild successes, Dumas delineates how to find success in your entrepreneurial pursuits to create the life you’ve always wanted.

Although the tips and guides offered in this book are certainly not a recipe against faltering or failing, it can act as a great reference guide for anyone interested in starting their own business or personal brand, without the hassle of going through old podcast notes, or re-reading the book itself. While some of the advice is designed to encourage a better life overall, the primary focus of the book is entrepreneurial spirit, and is best used for those who are interested in starting their own business or venture.

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur by John Jantsch (2019)

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur by John Jantsch

Especially if you’re a busy entrepreneur, it can be hard to slow down and reflect. As a business coach, John Jantsch is familiar with the problem: overworked entrepreneurs who lose their focus and quality of life through all the busyness. To help others, he wrote a different type of business book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, which is a collection of inspirational reflections and quotes. There’s one for every day of the year, including on leap year. In addition to his own thoughts, John borrows heavily from the Transcendentalists of 200 years ago, people he sees as displaying the modern entrepreneurial spirit before its time. Best of all, the topics are generally not business-related, even though they’re geared towards entrepreneurs and other busy professionals. Overall, the goal is to help you sit down and reflect on your own emotional needs so you can trust yourself again, one day at a time. Most marketers I meet are entrepreneurs or have an entrepreneurial spirit in their work. and thus I included this book on the list.

One Million Followers by Brendan Kane (2020)

One Million Followers, Updated Edition: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days

Brendan Kane’s One Million Followers details the steps and practices Kane employed to grow his social media following to over one million followers in only 30 days. Filled with insights, practical tips, and success stories, Kane brings plenty to the table when it comes to building influence across social media platforms, engaging meaningfully with followers, and creating content that will continue to encourage traffic to your brand and help you grow your sphere of influence. One Million Followers is a great read for those who are looking to not only amass a following, but keep that following engaged and invested in personal branding, from a veritable master of the art, with big names such as Taylor Swift and Vice under his belt.

What’s your favorite from this list of best marketing books? Any that are missing from this list? I’d love to know in the comments below.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. Great post. I have read Dave Kerpen – Likeable Social Media, and its probably in my own top 10 marketing books. Will b checking out the others! Cheers.

  2. Thanks so much Neal. My co-author (and daughter) Reiko Scott was very important to our book.

    • Thank YOU David – and I have made the revisions to make everything clearer! Appreciate your comment and support!

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