4 Archetypes of Top Social Media Influencers

Did you ever wonder what traits are associated with the top influencers in your industry? An examination of the top social media influencers led to the following 4 archetypes. 

sample social media leaders

Attributes of Social Media Influencer Archetypes Match Strategy Effectiveness

In the same way that social media influencers are told to make their  content informative, instructional, entertaining and inspirational,  we can easily identify social media leaders that excel in these attributes. Although marketing scholars would argue at this point that a rigorous discriminant analysis would then be required to demarcate each attributes’ contribution to audience growth, this exploratory analysis will first consider what we know of these social media influencers.  There are limitations, however, to consider when drawing conclusions on whether these archetypes can be confirmed from a subjective evaluation technique. 

First, much of the background on the popularity of social media influencers was gleaned from Klout scores, which many will debate is a suspect tool in which to affirm influence. Second, the dominant attributes assigned to each social media influencer were decided from content revealed in social network endorsements, the sampling of twitter dialogs and my own personal perceptions of these social media influencers’ ability to draw a large following after reading their books and attending their conferences. 

That said, a sorting of social media leaders having expert-level Klout scores into categories reflecting their most dominant attributes revealed the following two dimensions as a framework for classification: 

  • A communication style ranging from a predominantly insightful to a predominantly engaging way to connect with their audiences.
  • A rapport building purpose ranging from being predominantly educational to being predominantly inspirational.

Combining the two-axes then gives us four archetypes of social media influencers: Analytical Pundits, Mentors, Evangelists and Motivators

social media influencersPlacement of Top 100 Social Media Influencers 

Analytical Pundits Thrive on Education and Insightfulness

Most in the field of social media would likely attribute the popularity of David Meerman Scott, Sarah Lacy and Danah Boyd to how well they educates us.  In essence, we count on these social media influencers to interpret the industry’s technical makeovers and their impact on our marketing practices.

Some like Lee Odden accomplish this by leading the way on predicting how changes in technology will affect our search engine marketing strategies. Others like Brian Solis provide deeper insights into how social media is reshaping our social business practices. 

Common to all of these analytical pundits is a drive to be the first to interpret strategic meaning to technical developments and changes in user behavior. And as their fans, we trust in the accuracy of their judgments while anxiously awaiting their take on industry shake-ups or their predictions of what technologies will really materialize in the future. 

Mentors Thrive on Helpfulness and Engagement

Mentors among these social media influencers, on the other hand, serve a different purpose. Though not always as insightful as their intellectual counterparts, their influence scores are among the highest. These folks are seen as being educational and engaging. The latter is an especially distinguishing attribute as very few analytical pundits have active dialogs with their fans. As noted in the engagement statistics below, analytical pundits often have ratios of followers-to-following averaging around 20:1. To the contrary, mentors have ratios typically less than 2:1. 

Social Media Influencer StatisticsEngagement Statistics Associated with Social Media Influence Archetypes

Highlighted in this category are social media influencers like Kim Garst, Marsha Collier, Bryan Kramer and Darren Rowse. They all show dedicated commitment to their many fans. Jay Baer, for example, regularly dives into LinkedIn discussions and blog posts with tips for the blogger as well as words of encouragement.

Following the LinkedIn recommendations supporting those listed as coaches, it’s clear that fans appreciate their help and responsiveness. Their twitter feeds show an extremely highly level of dialog beyond just thank you’s.  Kim Garst, in particular, will respond and even converse with her nearly 300K followers on what is going on with their lives. Mentors like Jay Baer seem have a genuine passion to teach us tricks of the trade through their engaging podcasts. These behaviors are not as prevalent among the other 3 archetypes. 

Motivators Thrive on Engagement and Inspiration

In this next group, these motivators often take the route of staged performances and air time to launch their audience exposure. In even the most mundane of industries, it is hard to imagine social media influencers reaching the top of audience exposure without at least some flair for comedy or lively interaction.  From Joe Pulizzi’s infamous orange suit to Andrea Vahl’s “Grandma Mary” alter ego, many social media influencers capture their audience’s attention through entertaining chats, webinars and posts. 

The key to gaining influence as an entertainer, however, is to make sure the style fits your personality. Many social media influencers turn comedian at conferences and on podcasts only to annoy the rest of us that would rather they stick to their flair for educating, coaching or inspiring. But some are naturals. The ever ebullient Gary Vaynerchuk is perhaps the most popular of my students because of his candor, comic wit and sarcasm. Just like Robert Scoble’s knack for “off-the-wall” technical discoveries, Vaynerchuk and others have capitalized on their gifts to connect with today’s Millennials.

Others like Dave Kerpen, Jessica Northey, Brian Carter and Lou Mongello seem to have personalities that especially resonate with those needing a dressed down version of the scholarly type mentioned early. Common to all is a personality that attracts fans proud to reveal their lighter side. From Jessica’s roots in country music to Lou’s background with Disney and Dave’s wedding in a ballpark, these social media influencers convince us all that work should never be dull.

Evangelists Thrive on Insightfulness and Inspiration

But there is a reason why Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki and Gretchen Rubin have established arguably the greatest amount of trust with their fans. Evangelists often take the route of “inspire” first and “teach” later.  A typical trail of tweets from Cali Lewis or Sarah Evans for example, will help balance your info-overload with what matters in life just like one webcast from Mari Smith can recharge your day.

Many of the other archetypes attempt this, but typically fall flat. Instead, their sporadic use of inspirational quotes comes off as a ploy to boost their following. Evangelists, on the other hand, have a life story to share that resonates with our own struggles to succeed. 

I suspect that Mitch Joel, Joel Comm, and Beth Kanter also raise the bar in excellence by sharing their life stories. But they do it while weaving in their tips of the day on how to master social media. And unlike the motivator’s route, their twitter streams seem to appeal more to those seeking inspiration from someone they trust. In the process, this trust leads to followers wanting their interpretation on a variety of life matters.

What Makes for a Strong Social Media Influencer

From just exploratory research, it seems that social media influencers follow one of four fairly distinct paths. Granted some will say that Joel Comm can be entertaining, inspiring and educational. But most that follow him will likely credit his success to being a great evangelist. Similarly, few would attribute Gary Vaynerchuk’s success in garnering 1M+ twitter followers to his visionary ideas on where social business is heading. 

Successful social media influencers have obviously mastered the art of mentoring, motivating, analyzing or evangelizing to their audiences. But some have done it more through insightfulness than engagement. This most likely has to do with their introverted or extraverted behavioral styles. Either could work provided they avoid staging an unnatural behavior. 

The same applies to their motives. Many with Klout scores in the 80′s have earned their reputations from educational advice, while others have taken the route to inspire us. But just as I may not want Jay Baer as my lifestyle mentor, I would not want Ann Tran to explain why Jay’s perspective on sideways marketing has merit. 

So as many of us may be discouraged to take the route of a motivator or analytical pundit just to fit in, recognize their are 4 distinct paths to influence. And no one path leads to higher results when evaluated across the top social media influencers. But like strategy development and many other business concepts, it probably makes sense to pick ONE. 

So have  I missed any additional attributes that would separate some of these social media influencers from the crowd? Which of the archetypes do you feel will gain the most traction in years to come?

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2014 Top 25 Brand Stories Suggest 4 Archetypes

The top 25 brand story videos released in 2014 averaged nearly 2M views per month on YouTube. As more brands witness the power of stories to create an emotional connection, 3 to 5 minute videos are touching hearts with themes of love, encouragement, patriotism and giving.

Brand stories in social content marketing

Archetypes of Brand Story Themes Characterizing Top 25 Stories Released in 2014

A study of the following top 25 videos depicting a brand’s story showed that these heartfelt emotions span from the heartwarming to the heart-lifting. Most start with a sad commentary on loneliness, hopelessness or poor self-esteem. As the story unravels, the obstacles are revealed and made to relate to the target audiences. A hero then emerges who mentors the discouraged or surprises them with unexpected rewards.

  1. Always – Like a Girl: A story about young girls keeping their confidence throughout adolescents
  2. Budweiser  – Puppy Love: A story about an unlikely friendship where a puppy earns a spot on the Clydesdale team
  3. Beats by Dre – The Game Before The Game: A story about a father’s Godly and family advice for game preparation
  4. Sainsbury – Royal British Legion: A story about how enemies became momentary friends during Christmas and sharing
  5. John Lewis – Monty The Penguin: A story about a lonely struggle to brighten the Christmas of just one or two other people
  6. TD – Automated Thanking Machine: A story about the spirit of giving
  7. Duracell – Trust Your Power: A story about  a deaf NFL superstar overcoming all odds
  8. Dove – Patches: A story about women respecting their natural beauty
  9. P&G – Pick Them Back Up: A story about how falling makes us stronger
  10. Under Armour – I Will What I Want: A story about a ballerina overcoming rejection
  11. Thai Insurance – Street Concert: A story about the power of music in bringing unlikely friends together
  12. Linaloved – Thai Good Stories: A story about the emotional gratitude from community giving
  13. Pantene – Not Sorry: A story about how women need not say sorry so often
  14. Verizon – Inspire Her Mind: A story about encouraging young girls to consider science and technology
  15. Microsoft  – Empowering: A story about a heartwarming celebration of human empowerment through technology
  16. Intel – Look Inside: A story about how technology gave arms to a wounded man from Sudan
  17. Juhayna – Cheering Egyptian Mothers: A story about a mother’s rewards after the struggles of raising children
  18. Chevy – Maddie: A story about a dog as a best friend for life’s journey
  19. Airbnb – Wall and Chain: A story about breaking down walls towards friendship
  20. WestJet – Christmas Miracle: A story about a community spirit of giving
  21. Chrysler – America’s Import: A story about American heritage in car making
  22. Guinness – Empty Chair: A story about saluting the character of a community as they honor one of their own
  23. Duracell – Moments of Warmth: A story about shivering Canadians were greeted with a warm bus shelter
  24. Boots – Special Because: A story about family love shown when a mother’s children travel far to surprise her
  25. Jose Cuervo – History in a Bottle: A story about Mexican pride in staying with traditions

A further dimension that distinguishes high performing videos includes the scope of narrative contribution. Over 70% of the views include stories aimed at the inner self. In particular, the top videos show that themes of self-worth, hope and appreciation especially resonate with audiences. The remaining 30% involve stories aimed at communities blessed by the spirit of giving or celebrating their heritage. 

Perhaps surprising to some are the video attraction and engagement statistics showing performance results of brand stories rivaling the best of funny and heart stopping videos. Comic devices and scenes of astonishment traditionally dominated the domain of entertaining content. But this recent foray of heartfelt stories suggests that a “slow stir of the heart” now approaches “jolts to the heart” in content engagement.

Top Brand Stories in Social Content Marketing

Rank of 2014 Top 25 Brand Stories by Video Performance

What storyline themes or stories released in 2014 do you feel should qualify as among the top ways to boost brand content?

 

 

Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #1 Audience

For academics, Jeffrey Rohr’s Audience should be seriously considered as the primary text for an MBA-level course in social media marketing. The author, Jeffrey Rohrs, nails the concepts covered in a curriculum aimed at transitioning traditional marketing to marketing in the age of subscribers, fans & followers.  More importantly, the structure of the book is well integrated around audiences, as opposed to searchable content and social platforms, as a company’s key asset. 

Audience ranks as top social media book

Jeffrey Rohr as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as the best primary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. Jeffrey’s formula for discovering, engaging and capturing proprietary audiences offers a great baseline in which to introduce marketing in a social era. But rather than the typical topic progression from developing channels, searchable content, and social organizations, the author builds the entire market strategy around the development of proprietary audiences as manifested in cultivated audience seekers, amplifiers and joiners. In so doing, students understand why, how and where content and social media fits into an enterprise-wide marketing plan.
  2. As readers are exposed to the goal of proprietary audience development from seekers through joiners, every social platform, channel and media format is covered with a sense of purpose. This alleviates the struggle professors have in dealing with SoLoMo, search, and content hairballs.  As a bonus, each chapter ends in a detailed channel summary. This is a refreshing change from the typical “let’s learn about social networking and content” before we dive into strategic initiatives.  The latter often makes it difficult for professor to engage in critical thinking exercises until midway through the course. 
  3. Many credible insights are provided on proprietary audience development. The author goes into great detail on the keys to balancing paid, earned and owned media that are taken from successful entertainers as well as well documented empirical evidence. 
  4. Organization of the book is perfect for an MBA curriculum. Each chapter ends in a strategic foundation with email being the bedrock audience. More than just describing best practices, each chapter leaves a strategic message like using a website as a magnetic center; making things personal with Facebook; and capturing audiences on the go with apps. What may seem like an obvious course of action is often ignored in textbooks. The Seeker-to-Amplifier-to-Joiner framework, for example, gets students to focus more on audience goals and market opportunities than gaining proficiency in tool and social tactics.
  5. The book is highly current on the role of mobile apps, influence marketing, visual dominance and popular platforms used today.
  6. The book offers many case examples, strategy mapping and roadmaps to use as frameworks for students to follow in their audience strategies. Some of the frameworks fit well into critical thinking capstone projects and evidence of learning outcomes. 
  7. Topics are sequenced in a learn-as-you-go format starting with proprietary audience rationale and progressing through audience channel development and the building of an audience roadmap.
  8. The book is easy to digest. It is one of the few on this topic where I could not put it down. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Audience as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #2 Social Marketology

Ric Dragon’s Social Marketology hits on all cylinders for an MBA-level course in social media marketing. The book is well rooted in theoretical concepts and fits the curriculum topics and learning outcomes expected for social media marketing.

Social Marketology ranks as top social media book

Ric Dragon as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. Ric Dragon speaks as both an academic and practitioner in his overview of social media strategy. In a very creative way, he blends the marketing behavioral goals of today’s enterprise with the changing social landscape. But rather than a recipe or series of tactical guidelines, he uses numerous metaphors and historical society pattern discoveries as a foundation for what social media really does to our organizational setup, goal setting, audience building and community engagement. In so doing, it connects well with traditional marketing professors while rolling out a sequence of topics consistent with a marketing planning process.  
  2. Every chapter includes highly useful diagrams, close-out points and case examples that lend themselves well to critical thinking exercises. And by introducing each topic as thought provoking concepts related more to changing behaviors and organization mentalities, students have grounds for debate and conceptually deriving their own strategies. This is a refreshing change from the myriad of books that preach magical tactics and secrets to viral content success.  
  3. Several decision making frameworks and checklists like the social pyramid for platform selection, strategy alignment, finding your brand voice, ideation, social triggers and measuring your progress are introduced for practice and plan building. This builds a confidence in the reader to get started especially on process optimization. 
  4. The book is highly current and covers in detail such topics as influence marketing, brand ambassadorship, storytelling and hyper-targeting.
  5. The book is organized consistent with an MBA-level introduction to social media strategy. Starting with a rationale and interpretation of social media’s logical progression from traditional marketing, fundamentals of organization building are then laid out in line with a more powerful social consumer. Sessions are then devoted to the peculiarities of strategy development, branding and segmentation based on the changing social landscape. After the organizational and strategy foundation is established, later chapters go into tactics for thinking like your social consumer as well as growing communities, engaging them and improving the marketing process. This organization first, culture second and buyer journey tactics third seems to work better than the reverse as MBAs are accustomed to addressing management issues early on. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as the number one book is the following:

  1. This book is meant for the serious student. As I got close to the finish, I find myself reaching for my graduation cap and saying “I could do it.” It is packed with useful information and decision aids extending across every aspect of social business development. But it is tough to be fun in the process. 
  2. Although many long-awaited frameworks are provided to get companies going, a number one book would be expected to offer a fresh new perspective in the process. Books like Youtility, Visual Storytelling and Audience take a stab at an evolving mindset.  

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Social Marketology as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #3 Your Brand

Michael Brito’s Your Brand, The Next Media Company is an excellent resource for MBA courses in social media marketing. Professors will delight in its academic rigor, social business strategy perspective and link to traditional branding and media concepts. 

Your Brand ranks as top social media book

Michael Brito as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. The book sets the stage for the growing demand towards brand journalism and the enterprise-wide processes needed to adopt your own media approach to marketing your brand. The focus is on building a trusted brand from a socially driven organization, not the other way around. Most books lay out tips and other tactics on content awareness, social engagement and sales nurturing. When done, they highlight the infrastructure elements to consider in support of their social content marketing recommendations. The flaw in these alternative approaches is that they fail to capitalize on the people and process side of the equation as a way to create superior content and social connection. Brito, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of brand advocate groups, cross-department collaboration on a brand narrative and enterprise-wide platform tools over the magic of fan engagement tactics or SEO schemes.   
  2. Listed among the top 20 social media educators in the world, Brito not only understands social media marketing, he is a world renown brand expert and guest speaker for prestigious universities. 
  3. The book  is perfectly organized for a brand struggling to go mainstream with content and social business development. Starting with arguments for adopting in-house media for brand development, the book progresses through the steps required to create an effective social business strategy and center of excellence. Staying on course with social business development, the author then lays out the steps for building a command center leading to infrastructures for brand advocacy and a continuous flow of content creation. This fits in well with MBA courses entering the program with expectations for strategy adoption and organization building. Once the social business framework is established, Brito then goes into concepts for creating great content, developing an effective brand story, and leveraging syndication and social networks for content distribution. The book concludes with tactics for measuring success and governing content. 
  4. The book is highly current and covers in detail such topics as influence marketing, the convergence of paid, earned and owned media, real-time context marketing and the impact of search and thought leadership on making long vs. short form content decisions.
  5. The book is packed with case examples in nearly every chapter from well known and smaller brands. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as the number one book is the following:

  1. The book’s underpinning philosophy is that brand journalism and employee advocacy offer new avenues for building brand trust in a world where consumers have chronic attention deficit. In Brito’s words, these advocates will help their brands “demonstrate thought leadership while influencing others through the buying cycle and feeding the content engine with relevant and trusted content.” The book is perfectly organized around this principle. Unfortunately, those professors new to this social customer mindset will struggle grasping the book’s organization. Most are just now getting comfortable with “first comes the eyeballs…then comes the fans…then come the communities…then comes the sale…”    
  2. Intended more for established brands, the book requires some supplementary materials to cover start-up entrepreneurial topics like social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) context marketing, social selling and social analytics. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Your Brand as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #4 Optimize

Optimize by Lee Odden has been the primary text for NSU’s MKT5855 Social Media Marketing course for 2 years. The 5-star book blends SEO-integrated content marketing tactics with a technical framework for implementing enterprise-wide strategies that place the customer first. 

Optimize ranks as top social media book

Lee Odden as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. This is one of few social content marketing books that is built around an SEO discipline. Especially at a time when content marketers  are racing to tell their brand stories or capitalize on big data for real-time context, marketers have slowly begun to abandon the art of and discipline behind SEO. Throughout his book, Lee treats social media, content marketing and search as an integrated exercise to be practiced in the research, content creation and content distribution phases of buyer courtship.
  2. As a top 25 social media influencer and blog traffic in the top 0.003% of registered websites, Lee can walk the talk of his recommendations. 
  3. The book  is craftily organized along the lines of a marketing plan while introducing social/search tools as the planning topics are discussed. This keeps the readers attention on a “build-as-you-go” content creation strategy without drifting off into dry topics of tools and tactics. The marketing plan structure includes early discussion of objectives, audience and audits. Following this situation analysis, the topics progress through a typical content marketing framework (e.g., content creation, promotion and socializing). It culminates in measurement, process and training. This lines up perfectly with typical marketing curricula. 
  4. Now in its third year, the book is amazingly current. Lee’s exceptional technical understanding, especially in SEO, is still relevant to much of today’s Hummingbird and Panda updates.
  5. But more than just technical recommendations, Optimize is written for the experienced marketer struggling with putting the pieces together of a complex content marketing exercise. This includes detailed explanations of how to apply research behind buyer personas, their pain points and their buying stages to their content needs and social/search behaviors. 
  6. Each chapter ends in a series of summaries and critical thinking exercises. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying higher on the list of top 25 books is the following:

  1. Because of its technical nature, the book lacks the high energy of books by Jay Baer, Gary Vaynerchuk and Matt Collier. But professors will likely appreciate Lee’s organized structure and thoroughness over alternative entertaining styles. 
  2. Although very well sequenced, topics are not well aligned to the learning outcomes proposed in many MBA marketing curricula. The concept itself, optimization, fits more of a practitioner’s formula for success. In academia, however, professors are struggling with the mere inclusion of SEO, content and social in their learning objectives. Lee does cover this well in his first few chapters, but skill-based learning outcomes are more readily mapped when they align well with each chapter. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Optimize as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #5 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott is a top 5 book for social media educators to consider in their courseware. The book covers nearly every topic needed for a graduate level class in social media marketing. 

The New Rules of Marketing & PR ranks as top social media book

David Meerman Scott as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. The book is packed with guidelines for content storytelling, thought leadership, mobile apps and numerous other subjects challenging today’s social media marketer.  
  2. As a long-time experienced marketer, David demonstrates the value of social media marketing from the perspective of a traditionalist. Every social content claim is challenged for its merit over traditional PR and buyer courtship. Topics like context marketing, building advocacy and engaging the media online are first rationalize before suggesting a “how-to” approach. This is key given the reluctance of many professors to dive into social media concepts that lack a familiar marketing framework.
  3. The book  is very well written from an experienced educator and social media influencer. Personal client experiences are shared throughout the book, thereby adding to its credibility and understanding. Moreover, the experiences are explained in a conversational style that makes the book very digestible and even enjoyable to read. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying higher on the list of top 25 books is the following:

  1. The organization of the book follows more of what David calls “new rules.” In a nutshell, the book is more about how we marketers should act and what we should exploit in a changing social era. It hits a home run in doing this. But it becomes challenging for professors more accustomed to a marketing planning framework to sequence the topics in a build-as-you-go manner. 
  2. MBA students are prepared to critique the confluence of social, content and search in a far more robust framework than offered by this book. Many of the chapters deal with isolated topics explained in a lecture oriented format. Consequently, professors are further challenged using the book as background for enterprise-wide social marketing cases; class projects that integrate the many covered topics and overall critical thinking exercises. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of The New Rules of Marketing & PR as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #6 Epic Content Marketing

Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing is a primary text read for NSU’s MKT 3605 class in content marketing. Believed by many as THE expert in content marketing, Joe provides a comprehensive instructional guide on how to adopt an effective content driven marketing organization in a growing world of info-besity. 

Epic Content Marketing ranks as top social media book

Joe Pulizzi as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for undergraduate level courses and a supplementary reading for MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. Joe has extensive experience as a marketer and social media influencer for major brands. His company, Content Marketing Institute, is heralded for its leading edge podcasts, blogs and world renown conferences devoted to the subject of content marketing.   
  2. The book provides a solid case for how content should drive our sales funnel efforts.
  3. Using content marketing as the center of a new wave of marketing, Joe effectively captures why storytelling, influence and the development of subscription-based audiences are redefining the way we market ourselves.
  4. The book is perfectly organized for a course on content marketing adoption. Starting with the rationale for adopting a content intensive strategy, the book progresses through the content creation process, descriptions of what content works well and how to leverage social media for content exposure. It concludes with the highly demanded subjects of measurement, staffing and content planning.  
  5. The book has an exhaustive list of examples on the effective use of content by well known brands.
  6. Joe’s humorous style turns a dry and detail oriented subject into a fun read. It fits his orange suit persona that can pack an audience at key conferences.  

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.

  1. The book lacks rigorous cases and conceptual overviews that lend themselves to critical thinking exercises. 
  2. Written more as an enterprise-wide primer on content marketing adoption, the book serves more as a guide or reference than a textbook. Missing in the way the book is laid out is a clear path to learning outcomes common to most MBA marketing curriculum. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an undergraduate course in content marketing or supplement to MBA courses in social media marketing and related topics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Epic Content Marketing as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #7 How to Measure Social Media

Nichole Kelly nailed the long awaited question on How to Measure Social Media with her common sense oriented but highly rigorous approach to tackling ROI. 

How to Measure Social Media ranks as top social media book

Nichole Kelly as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a supplementary reading for MBA level courses in social media marketing and social analytics. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. Nichole Kelly provides a complete guide to calculating ROI for brand awareness, lead generation and retention using real CRM software tools, analytics and practical approaches to building the case for social media adoption.
  2. The book is well organized along the sales funnel as a syllabus format. This allows its use as a reference for measuring brand awareness, lead generation and retention as it is often rolled out in class.
  3. This is perhaps the only book that deals head-on with the issue of convincing skeptical management of the merits of social media. But instead of copping out with return on influence, return on relationship, and other intangible excuses for not measuring ROI, Nichole shares her extensive consulting experiences with clients on how isolated, close-looped measurements can gradually convince the C-Suite that social media marketing is worth the investment.
  4. Numerous up-to-date examples and cases are covered with “do it yourself” exercises that could be easily adopted for class projects. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.

  1. The book is restricted to measurement. Though it ranks among the most important topics of 2014, its coverage in the classroom is normally restricted to a 4-hour class. 
  2. Many of the exercises are tactical in nature leaving it to professors to extrapolate a more strategic approach to the subject.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended supplementary reading for an MBA course in social media marketing or social analytics. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of How to Measure Social Media as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #8 Maximize Your Social

Neal Schaffer’s Maximize Your Social is a primary text read for NSU’s MKT 3610 class in social networking. And when asked what book I recommend for those getting up to speed on social content marketing, this is the one I suggest. It covers everything needed to create and execute a social media strategy.

Maximize Your Social ranks as top social media book

Neal Schaffer as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a primary reading for undergraduate  level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. Neal is a social networking pioneer with a wealth of practitioner experience. But unlike many practitioners that harp on their client tactic successes, Neal is a masterful strategist that applies his client experiences to the entire process of creating and fine tuning social strategies for enterprise wide adoption.  
  2. The book is perfectly organized for a course on social networking adoption. The sequence of topics starts with a status check on what’s going on in the world of social media. Mentoring is then provided on developing an overarching strategic framework after auditing your key social assets and enterprise objectives. Strategies for acquiring and engaging audiences are then covered one social platform at a time. This allows platform mastery for all stages of prospect courtship as opposed to mastery of a platform technical capabilities.
  3. After platform mastery, the book focuses on the ever needed subject of measurement and social business development.  Neal provides as good an overview of social media ROI, onboarding and social team development as any publication devoted to the subject.
  4. The book is very well written in a direct, “how-to” style especially suitable for undergraduate upperclassmen. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.

  1. The book lacks rigorous cases, critical thinking exercises and some strategies related to audience development, entertaining engagement and mobile customer experiences. 
  2. MBA students would applaud the ending chapters on ROI and social business development but likely see the rest of the book as a primer on social networking concepts and the fundamentals of social media marketing. Supplementary material would be required on topics like mid-funnel content marketing, storytelling, enterprise-wide campaigns for top-funnel growth, SoLoMo context marketing, influence marketing and community management.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended primary reading for an undergraduate course in social networking and social media marketing. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Maximize Your Social as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #9 Youtility

Jay Baer’s Youtility is arguably the greatest contribution to the field of social media marketing since 2012. As an experienced marketer, he demonstrates how friend-of-mine marketing is reshaping our approach to traditional top-of-mind (AFLAC!!) and frame-of-mind marketing (lead nurturing) mindsets where readers can now understand the power of real-time marketing and apps. He also puts some real meat around the bones of topics like content relevancy and usefulness. 

What keeps this book from being number one on the list is the scope of its contribution to an entire MBA curriculum. The book was likely aimed at practitioners needing interpretations of how consumers work in the world of SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) context marketing. 

Youtility ranks as top social media book

Jay Baer as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a supplementary reading for undergraduate and MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. As one of the most knowledgeable and current experts in the field of social content marketing, Jay builds a convincing argument that success in a social era is more about being “useful” than being “amazing.” 
  2. His friend-of-mine approach to marketing is backed by numerous large and small brand examples of apps that help us in real-time decision making. The spread of examples applied to his concept of “Youtility” build a case for “sideways marketing” (widening the funnel by solving related problems without being opportunistic) that challenges typical sales funnel approaches to content marketing.
  3. This fresh approach to real-time problem solving is now being widely adopted but not well understood or convincing prior to Jay’s book release. Youtility demonstrates very well how branded content used in decision making apps offer the best hope for audience connection while widening the funnel in the process.
  4. Jay uses real life experiences in his travel life to explain many points. The apps used to demonstrate his “Youtility” concept (e.g., Charmin’s Sit or Squat, Clorox’s My Stain, Hilton Suggest, etc.) are well known but previously underestimated as a powerful marketing tool.
  5. Jay’s fun loving personality and fascinating life stories keep your interest cover to cover. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.

  1. The book is arguably ahead of its time. When sharing his ideas with other professors, I often get blank stares. We are just now getting accustomed to what Jay refers to as frame-of-mind marketing and concepts like inbound marketing. To build an entire curriculum or course around friend of-mine marketing would, therefore, be a challenge. Instead, I use the book as a framework for approximately 4 hours of class discussion near the start of our MKT 5585 Social Media Marketing  course as a prelude to “social marketing in the modern age.”
  2. Some of the foundational subjects in social content marketing like influence marketing, brand storytelling, native advertising, social business development and community management  would have to be covered in another text. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended supplementary reading for an undergraduate and MBA course in content marketing or social media marketing. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Youtility as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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