12 Most Helpful Books on Social Media

12 Most Helpful Books on Social Media


I am an avid reader – I love books. That’s why my fellow social media practitioners always ask me for recommendations on the ones I thought were the most helpful or impactful. Below are some of the books on my ‘social media’ list that I share with them.

1. Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, Spike Jones

One of my favorite books on marketing and social media, Brains on Fire offers original, practical and actionable steps for creating a word-of-mouth movement for corporations, products, services, and organizations. It takes you step-by-step through the necessary actions needed to start your own authentic movement. How did the 360-year-old scissor company, Fiskars, double its profit in key markets just by realizing its customers had already formed a community of avid scrapbookers? How is Best Buy planning to dominate the musical instruments market? Read this book, find answers to those questions and develop and harness a powerful, sustainable word-of-mouth movement for your brand!

2. Engage! by Brian Solis

The ultimate guide to branding and building your business in the era of the Social Web, Engage! examines the social media landscape and how to effectively use social media to succeed in business. It leads you through specific steps required for conceptualizing, implementing, managing, and measuring a social media program. Brian is one of my favorite thought leaders in the space and he never disappoints.

3. The Thank you Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

In his book Gary reveals how companies big and small can scale that kind of personal, one-on-one attention to their entire customer base, no matter how large, using the same social media platforms that carry consumer word of mouth. He offers compelling, data-driven evidence that we have entered into an entirely new business era, one in which the companies that see the biggest returns won’t be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign but but rather the ones that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else. I appreciate Gary’s candor and his wit, but most of all his passion about this subject and his passion towards his customers.

4. Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard

In his book Olivier brings together new best practices for strategy, planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and optimization. You will learn how to define the financial and nonfinancial business impacts you are aiming for and how to achieve them. Whether you are in a startup or a global enterprise, this book will help you gain more value from every dime you invest in social media.

5. The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund

This book isn’t about how to “do” social media. Instead, it outlines how you must retool your organization to make real-time business work for you rather than against you. Read about seven shifts that will help you make your company faster, smarter, and more social.

6. Pre-Commerce: How Companies and Customers are Transforming Business Together by Bob Pearson

This book explains how the exploding use of social media channels has fundamentally changed the way customers go about making their purchasing decisions, how they educate themselves and why they choose to support certain brands above others. Bob shows what executives must do to re-create the way their companies interact with and learn from their customers, employees and competitors.

7. Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day by Mari Smith and Chris Treadaway

Develop, implement, and measure a successful Facebook marketing campaign. Packed with tips and tactics not documented anywhere else, the book serves as the ultimate step-by-step guide to developing a winning Facebook marketing campaign. Personally, I enjoy and value any knowledge Mari shares through her published work.

8. Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael Stelzner

Michael’s message focuses on building relationships and not your traditional marketing messaging. The principles outlined in the book are precisely the opposite of traditional marketing. Yet they work. And they are the future. If you follow the formula outlined in this book, you can attract countless customers and prospects, resulting in amazing business growth.

9. The Conversation Manager by Steven Van Belleghem

Great book from Steven on how to deal with the changing consumer and social media as a marketing specialist. I particularly love the case studies from all over the world.

10. Content Rules by Ann Handley and CC Chapman

Content is king and that’s a fact. This book equips you for online success with a one-stop source on the art and science of developing marketing content that people care about.

11. Location-Based Marketing for Dummies by Aaron Strout and Mike Schneider

This helpful book teaches you how to successfully build, launch, and measure a location-based marketing program and figure out which location-based services are right for your business.

12. Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

In his book Dave shares THE secret to successful word-of-mouth marketing on the social web is easy: be likeable. A friend’s recommendation is more powerful than any advertisement. Likeable Social Media helps you harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing to transform your business. Listen to your customers and prospects. Deliver value, excitement, and surprise. And most importantly, learn how to truly engage your customers and help them spread the word. Dave’s energy, passion for putting his customers first and his knowledge shines through –  great reading!

By no means are these the only books that you might find interesting on the subject. But if you have limited time this list should be a good starting point. If you feel like I left some great books out – by all means, recommend them in the Comment Section below!

Featured image licensed via Stock.Xchng.

Ekaterina Walter


Ekaterina Walter is a social media innovator at Intel. A recognized business and marketing thought leader, she is a speaker and a regular contributor to Fast Company, Huffington Post, and other leading-edge print and online publications. She is an author of the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. Walter has been featured in Forbes and BusinessReviewUSA and was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and is an active member of the Thunderbird Global Council at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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Great list, I can't wait to download some of these on my kindle! They all sounds good I am not sure which to read first!


A great social media book I am in the middle of reading is Return on Influence by @Markwschafer I haven't even finished it yet and I highly reccomend it.


#4 was one of my favorite reads in 2011 (probably because Mantis produces a social media monitoring tool). I also read Engage!, and it had excellent information. However, I prefer a less verbose writing style.

I have Jason Falls No BS Social Media queued up next.

Caylie Price
Caylie Price

Love this list and am pleased to say I have some of these books (that said I haven't read them all). I would definitely add @Problogger and his book 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. Fantastic for newbie bloggers but still helpful and relevant for the more experienced.


What if people do not like to read, learn best through video


Thanks so much, Ekaterina! Great company to be in. So appreciated. hope all is well with you and that 2012 is off to a banner start!



Thanks so much for including me @ekaterina! Great list!


Great list! No. 4 is my personal favorite. I would also add Socialnomics by Erik Qualman to that list (if it were 13-most, that is ;-)


This is a tremendous list! A couple of books I was surprised to not see here are Scott Stratten's 'UnMarketing' and Mitch Joel's 'Six Pixels of Separation'. Both are truly excellent reads.

PegFitzpatrick moderator

Welcome to the 12 Most Community Ekaterina!

I also love to read! I host an online book club and have featured three of these books with Content Rules for February. This is what I am reading right now.

I heard Mike Schneider speak about Location Based marketing and immediately bought the book. Brilliant!

I would add Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki to your list — it was my favorite that I read last year.

Are you on GoodReads? I am going to look for you!


Caylie Price
Caylie Price


Great point Jason! There are so many books out there sometimes it's hard to know what has the highest quality content.

Cheers, Caylie