Yesterday was Black Friday. In a couple days, Cyber Monday will be here. Sure, this is the time to buy stuff like plasma TVs and iPads.
But if you’re looking to add something else to your shopping list that is a little more old-fashioned, here are three absolutely essential books that every marketer, entrepreneur, or business owner should read:
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
I bet you didn’t think I’d include a book first published in 1936 on a social media marketing blog post written in 2013. Dale Carnegie couldn’t have imagined that he’d be writing such a timeless classic all the way back then. Over 75 years later, How to Win Friends and Influence People still contains tons of realistic and actionable examples of how marketing really works.
For instance, Carnegie argues, “About 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering—to personality and the ability to lead people.” Sound familiar? I’ve been saying for some time that social media marketing is more about the strategy of understanding how to interact with others and less about the technical details of the social platforms we use.
I’ll leave you with one other relevant gem from Carnegie. He notes:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
This statement could have been made in a social media keynote speech three months ago and it would have fit right in.
The bottom line is that many authors today have been repeating the principles of Dale Carnegie, even if they don’t know it. So why not start with the source? You won’t be disappointed.
2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
This is a newbie. Social media marketing legend Gary Vaynerchuk just released Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook on November 26th. I finished reading it yesterday. What I love about it is the focus on all major social networks, from Facebook to Vine and everything in between. Gary goes into detail on what works and what doesn’t work on each of these networks. The main takeaway is that we need to have different approaches for each network and that context really matters!
If you’re the type of person who posts the same content across all of your social channels, please stop! Read this book, refine your approach, and start giving your fans and followers what they want. That’s how to use social media effectively.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook:
“Your number-one job is to tell your story to the consumer wherever they are, and preferably at the moment they are deciding to make a purchase.”
“Content is king, but context is God. You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can still fall flat.”
“This brings me to the misconception a lot of marketers have about social media. It’s not lipstick. No matter how brilliant, clever, or authentic you are, nothing will cover up the flaws in your content.”
There are many more gems like these in the book, so be sure to check it out. If you only read one social media marketing book this year, make it this one.
Scott Stratten knows his stuff. He’s seen it all when it comes to marketing. UnMarketing explains how to do away with ineffective marketing methods and finally put your past, present, and future customers first. One way to do this is by sharing what you know in order to provide maximum value to others.
As Scott notes, “To successfully UnMarket your business, your goal should be to get to the point where you are a recognized expert in your field.”
Scott then offers this brilliant take on what “social media” actually means:
“The problem with the term social media is that whenever people see the word ‘media’ they automatically think ‘push.’ Media has been classically linked as a way to push your message out through a variety of methods such as television, newspapers, radio, and online. However, social media isn’t media at all—it is simply a conversation with two or more people. It’s an action. Not a site.”
UnMarketing will make you rethink every aspect of your marketing campaign and rightfully so. For some great ways to think outside the box, this is the book to read. It’s probably the most all-encompassing and broad of the three books on this list, but it delivers by providing us with a new perspective for what marketing really means.
At the end of the day, there are so many great sources of information available to help you improve your business. These books are just three such resources that I find to be helpful. I’d love to hear your personal favorites. If you could only choose three marketing books to recommend, which ones would they be?