Rise and Shine

Top 15 Social Media Books for Online Marketing

Photo of Ashley BennettIn 2013, Social Media is mandatory. If you aren’t on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you cease to exist, your business will fail, you are falling behind.


It’s very important to build your presence presence. Many people get the wrong idea – you don’t have to live on a computer and be tethered to your profiles through a mobile device. It’s about doing the right things while you’re online and making the things you do count.


So the question then becomes, how can I figure this out?


You have a couple of options. You can hire a social media firm to manage your accounts, you can keep working through trial and error, take a course, or do some good old fashioned reading. When I say old fashioned, I mean it. Most of the blogs on the subject are overly redundant and more than just a few are wholly inaccurate. Of course, Social Media Sun is a great resource, but I recommend a more comprehensive and organized resource for someone just starting. Let online material supplement a solid foundation, but build that foundation by reading the “classics”.


Since there are literally thousands of books about social media on the shelf, here is a list of the my top 15 to get you started.


1. Think Before You Engage: 100 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Social Media Marketing Campaign By David Peck

Think Before You Engage by David Peck


This book is essential reading prior to starting any type of social media venture. The reason why so many social media campaigns fail is because they were poorly planned in the first place. Knowing who you want to connect with, how, and why are vital questions that this book will help you answer.

2. The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue: 2012 Edition

By Shama Kabani

Shama Kabani Author of Zen Marketing


If you don’t know Shama Kabani, then you should. She is not only the author of this book, but also the CEO of The Marketing Zen, which is a Internet marketing firm. Her book is great for beginners who want to know the lay of the land in social media and gain an understanding of which sites are appropriate for their purposes and how to use them.

3. Social Media for Business: 101 Ways to Grow Your Business Without Wasting Your Time

By Susan Sweeny and Randall Craig

Social Media For Business Randall Craig


Social media can be a time waster for businesses that do not know how to use it effectively. This book is geared toward businesses that want to get into social media without wasting their time, money,  or effort. It provides practical strategies and advice to get started and create an effective strategy that will increase their exposure and bottom line.

4. Social Media Is Bullshit By BJ Mendelson

Social Media is bullshit


This particular book has been the center of many controversies, but it does have some good points. The point of this book is not so much to help you create a social media strategy, but rather to understand the true limitations of social media. It explains that social media can be good for a few things and if what you’re doing is not one of them, then you should probably direct your efforts elsewhere.

5. The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success (Wiley Desktop Editions) By Lon Safko

The Social Media Bible 


If you are a total beginner at social media, then this would also be a great book to check out. It is very lengthy and comprehensive because it will actually give you step by step instructions about what to do. Even more some of the more experienced social media marketers have this book for reference purpose.

6. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech) By Olivier Blanchard

Social Media ROI 


A must read for businesses using social media. If you are planning on using social media to earn more money, get clients, or build your brand then you have to be able gauge your progress in some way. This book explains exactly how to measure your ROI and what you can do if things are not adding up.

7. Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator By Ryan Holiday

Trust Me Im Lying


Whenever you say social media, you should put an emphasis on the word media. One of the secrets to becoming successful in social media is understanding that the same principles of working in the media are also at work. Reading this book will make you more skeptical about some the things you read online, but it will help you understand how to promote yourself via social media and understand how and why things go viral.

8. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us By Seth Godin

Tribes We Need You to Lead Us


Seth Godin is legendary in marketing period, but especially when it comes to social media. His book is a must read to learn how to build a following on any social media website whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. It is all about establishing yourself as the leader of a tribe and manage them across any platform.

9. Music 3.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age, Revised and Updated (Music Pro Guides) By Bobby Owsinski

Music A Survival Guide for making music in the internet age


This book is really geared toward the music industry and the shift to digital content, but it has some great tips about how to build an effective social  media strategy. It can help musicians and non musicians alike. There are a lot of techniques about connecting with people, building a fan base, and bundling products and services in world that wants to get everything for free online.

10. Content is Currency: Developing Powerful Content for Web and Mobile By Jon Wuebben

Content is Currency


Creating valuable content is just as important as any other aspect of your social media strategy. Some people get stuck trying to figure out what to write about on a regular basis and this book can help. It offers practical ideas about to make interesting content to keep your followers happy and fulfilled.

11. Your World is Exploding: How Social Media is Changing Everything – and How you Need to Change with it. By Christopher G. Dessi

Your World Is Exploding


A book about how to look at the big picture of social media. Yes, it does touch on some key strategies, but it is mostly about knowing how to navigate this new realm and and use it your advantage. The information in this book is applicable for both individuals and businesses.

12. 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More! By Andrew Macarthy

500 Social Media Marketing Tips


A quick read full of some of the best tips and tricks to gain traction online. The good thing about this book is that it covers the entire spectrum, so you can learn some useful techniques for sites outside of the more popular ones.

13. Engagement from Scratch!: How Super-Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same! By Danny Iny

Engagement from Scratch


Danny Iny may be the Freddy Kreuger of blogging, but he also knows his stuff when it comes to social media too. This book is a actually a compilation of essays from other popular bloggers, marketers, and social media experts. Much of their advice does apply to social media and the best thing about it is that all of the writers are speaking from personal experience building their own brands online.

14. UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging By Scott Stratten



Everything you know about marketing is wrong, so you need to read this book. The biggest misconception that people have about social media is that they think that plugging products every 5 minutes on Twitter is effective. Quite frankly, it does not work like that and if anything it will cause you to lose a lot of followers.

15. Social BOOM!: How to Master Business Social Media to Brand Yourself, Sell Yourself, Sell Your Product, Dominate Your Industry Market, Save Your Butt, … and Grind Your Competition into the Dirt By Jeffrey Gitomer

Social Boom


Jeffrey Gitomer is another well known marketing expert and his book is unlike the others in the sense that he explains everything you would want to know about Internet marketing, social media, and how they connect. There is a fair amount of information about social media, but the strength of this book is that it will provide a comprehensive plan to include blogging and other types of strategies to build your brand online.


Of course, there are lot of other great books about social media on the market, but these are just a few to start you off. What is your favorite social media or marketing book? Let us know in the comment section below.

Ashley Bennett
Latest posts by Ashley Bennett (see all)


  1. I don’t read as many of these books as I should, but 3 that aren’t listed I would highly recommend are No Bullshit Social Media by Erik Deckers and Jason Falls, Marketing in the Round by Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston, and ROI: Return on Influence by Mark Schaefer as strategy and comprehensive books that cover a wide topical area.

    For network specific books, I like the Hour a Day Series from John Wiley and Sons, including Linked an Hour a Day by Viveka Von Rosen and Facebook an Hour a Day by Mari Smith.

  2. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks so much for featuring my book, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips, and I hope your readers enjoy it too! I have just released a revised and updated edition for December 2012, available on all Amazon websites.

    Thanks again, 


  3. Hi Ashley…
    Thanks for featuring my book Social Media for Business.  I should note that this summer the 5th edition of “Online PR and Social Media for Experts” just came out, which is also available on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Photo of Tristan Pelligrino
Video Production Resources For Small Business

It seems that every online marketing blog is pushing the use of videos to help small businesses connect with their...