Category Archives: Top 25 Social Media Books

Top 25 Social Media Books from an Academic Perspective: #21 B2B Social Media Book

Continuing our countdown on the top 25 books that could qualify for classroom reading, number 21 is The B2B Social Media Book: Becoming a Marketing Superstar by Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen.

The B2B Social Media Book: Becoming a Marketing Superstar ranks as top social media book

Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen as authors of top social media book

Bodnar and Cohen do a great job translating the myriad of content pieces on social media into crisp “how-to’s” for B2B lead generation and lead nurturing. 

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a supplementary reading for undergraduate level programs. Although somewhat dated in content, the book stands out in the following way:

  1. The authors provide a broad perspective of how a sorely neglected B2B domain can benefit from social media. 
  2. The “how-to” approach and helpful tips provides undergraduate students with a useful hands-on tutorial.
  3. Both authors have exceptional expertise in marketing automation and inbound marketing. 
  4. Unlike many other books that scatter their functional perspectives across many marketing objectives, this one is focused and organized around B2B lead generation. 

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

  1. The book lacks a strategic perspective suitable to enterprise-wide implementation.   
  2. As a 2012 release, some topics like storytelling, mobile marketing, visual intensity are somewhat outdated. 
  3. The book does not lend itself well to critical thinking exercises. It tends to be more tactical in nature. Strategically insightful case studies would have been helpful.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended supplementary reading for undergraduate social media marketing or social selling. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of The B2B Social Media Book: Becoming a Marketing Superstar 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.

Top 25 Social Media Books from an Academic Perspective: #22 Launch

Continuing our countdown on the top 25 books that could qualify for classroom reading, number 22 is Launch by Michael Stelzner.

Launch ranks as top social media book

Michael Stelzner as author of top social media book

Stelzner’s book was the required reading for an NSU undergraduate class I taught in Social Selling (MKT 3240). It provided a fresh insight into the role that content plays in trust building.

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a supplementary and primary reading for undergraduate level programs. Though lacking in some critical thinking areas, the book stands out in the following way:

  1. The author provides an easier to read explanation of how content fuels the selling process.
  2. His style is very personal and backed by his own hands-on experiences.  
  3. Using his Elevation Principle, Stelzner demonstrates very convincingly how content can be crafted  and sequenced to build a trail of trustworthiness.
  4. His many examples of content formats and media tactics are highly descriptive and convincing. 
  5. The blog style orientation of the book makes it an easy read for beginners in the field.

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

  1. The book is written much like a large recipe for blending content and social media. The “lists of” and “how to” tactical approach actually hurts the development of strategic and critical thinking exercises even at the undergraduate level. 
  2. Most of the case examples assume large brand resources. Examples more relevant to entrepreneurial businesses would have helped. 
  3. The book’s advisory style may be the preferred format for practitioners, but MBA academics tend to appreciate more of a case orientation and empirical evidence to derive their own conclusions.
  4. As convincing as the author’s primary and nuclear fuel insights are to real world situations, evidence of success is lacking outside of some vanity metrics captured for those in social media circles. 
  5. As a 2011 release, the book lacks a current perspective on imagery-intensive, SoLoMo and entertaining content.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended supplementary reading for undergraduate and primary reading for content marketing or social selling. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Launch 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.

Top 25 Social Media Books from an Academic Perspective: #23 Mobile Influence

Continuing our countdown on the top 25 books that could qualify for classroom reading, number 23 is Mobile Influence by Chuck Martin.

Mobile Influence ranks as top social media book

Chuck Martin as author of top social media book

Few books provide such a comprehensive view of examples illustrating the power of mobile marketing. And by examining the mobile shopping life cycle across six stages, readers get a tactical perspective of mobile marketing in easily digestible doses.

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a supplementary reading for an MBA level program. Its appeal is limited to mobile marketing topics in social media for which it has the following advantages:

  1. The author clearly has an exceptional and very current grasp of mobile marketing concepts.
  2. Numerous examples of mobile influence are provided from brands that detail their own programs and success stories often in a personal way.
  3. Examples cover a broad spectrum or retail, service, B2B and high ticket item industries. 
  4. The Mobile Shopping Life Cycle approach provides a structural format for education consistent with consumer behavior decision making models.
  5. The balance of brand testimonies, global perspectives and technology feasibility assessments bolsters the credibility of the book’s insights into future mobile marketing possibilities.  
  6. The organization of the book around the six stages of mobile influence provides a certain degree of intrigue and even engagement as readers feel a sense of accomplishment completing each stage. 

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

  1. As much as the statistics on mobile usage and segmentation adds to data credibility, its overuse often distracts the reader’s train of thought. 
  2. Without any diagrams or visual displays of the discussed mobile concepts, I found many concepts open to interpretation or difficult to visualize.
  3. Although the buyer journey orientation adds to readability and understanding, a lack of exercises, templates. process mapping and planning tactics makes it difficult to construct assignments or group exercises around the discussed topics. In essence, the book lacks a problem-to-solution orientation the lends itself to mobile planning development.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended supplementary reading for social media marketing course at MBA-level.

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Mobile Influence 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.

Top 25 Social Media Books from an Academic Perspective: #24 Influence Marketing

Continuing our countdown on the top 25 books that could qualify for classroom reading, number 24 is Influence Marketing by Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella.

Influence Marketing ranks as top social media book

Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella as authors of top social media book

Do a search on influence marketing, and you will likely stumble upon these two pioneers What makes their book especially appealing to academia is its modelling of influence paths that shape our customer’s buying decisions.  This fits well with sales funnel concepts discussed in marketing and lead management.

And rather than romancing high Klout scoring individuals that could amplify our messages, the authors help us dissect the situational factors surrounding a customer’s affinity for our brands. This centers the influence exercise more around the customer than the influencer.

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a recommended reading for an MBA level program. Its appeal is limited to influence marketing topics in social media for which it has the following advantages:

  1. The author’s provide numerous cases and stories related to the mapping and modelling of influence down to micro-influencers.
  2. The modelling takes a bottom-line view of influence that transcends the more popular approaches to merely counting followers and likes or measuring Klout.
  3. High academic rigor is applied to understanding the customer’s influence path with their Customer-Centric Influence Marketing and the Customer Life Cycle Continuum.
  4. Their 4 M’s of influence marketing offer a structured approach to deploying influence strategies.

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

  1. The topic, itself, covers less than 20% of a typical curriculum that covers content marketing and social media.
  2. Following a great MV-1 Canada story of how the influence modelling process works, the rest of the book takes a more technically descriptive approach to sharing insights. This dispels some of the early energy gained from a fascinating example at the onset.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended reading for MBA-level course in social media marketing.

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Influence 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.

Top 25 Social Media Books from an Academic Perspective: #25 New Relationship Marketing

Beginning our countdown on the top 25 books that could qualify for classroom reading, number 25 is The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith. 

The ever ebullient Mari Smith is often nicknamed the Queen of Facebook Marketing. Her webinars are entertaining and she attracts millions of fans. As would be expected, her book is packed with fascinating stories. 

The New Relationship Marketing ranks as top social media book

Mari Smith as author of top social media book

But the book, in my opinion, narrowly qualifies for academic purposes. Its appeal is limited to an undergraduate class in social media for which it has the following advantages:

  1. Mari’s popularity and upbeat personality is bound to strike a chord with some students.
  2. The book portrays well the relationship aspects of social media along with some best practice tactics to be considered by beginners in this field.
  3. Her anecdotal style lends well to content recall.
  4. Her references to Hollywood Squares as an influence building technique is highly useful in influence marketing exercises.

But what creates much of her higher popularity among newcomers to social media actually hurts her book’s acceptance in the classroom for the following reasons:

  1. The title itself has to sting the many relationship marketing scholars who credit the field of relationship marketing with well studied constructs and frameworks backed by years of empirical research.  To stake a claim on “new relationship marketing,” I believe the author should discuss what part of relationship marketing changed because of social media.
  2. The tactical checklist orientation of the book does not bode well with theory-based approaches to learning.
  3. The numerous references to people in high places throughout the book may leave students wondering if its out of their league.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended supplementary reading for undergraduate level course in social media marketing

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of The New Relationship 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.

Top 25 Social Marketing Books from an Academic Perspective

Have you ever wondered what books on social media and content marketing make it to the classroom? Of the literally hundreds of social media marketing books released over the past few years, not many qualify for the standards imposed by undergraduate and MBA level accreditation guidelines. But after reviewing those that do meet the standards, the following rank ordering of qualified books was derived from a detailed analysis explained further.

Rank ordering of social media books

Rank ordered list of top social media books for MBAs

In order to understand how authors can meet these standards, consider some of the courseware and curriculum standards followed when selecting primary texts, recommended readings or specialty topics. 

social content marketing books

Meet Curriculum Standards

As a full-time professor of Social Media and Content Marketing courses, I have used over a dozen books across 2 MBA and 3 undergraduate courses since 2010. Few have had the staying power of traditional marketing books, however, in large part because of their quickly outdated concepts or misalignment with broader course objectives.

Without a doubt, this field has been dominated by practitioners anxious to define their versions of inbound marketing, the age of context, Youtulity and a whole host of other alternatives to traditional marketing jargon. As a result, these high energy and often insightful books can serve as a breath of fresh air to the dry nature of textbooks.

In fact, some of the elite MBA programs published lengthy lists of recommended readings by leading practitioners in their syllabus. Like them, I reached the same conclusion that academically oriented books on the subject were either too narrow, too out of touch or simply too boring to suit the interests of today’s millennials.

But after teaching nearly 800 students over the course of thirty classes, I stopped using these books as recommended readings. Rigorous AACSB standards and other performance criteria present too much of a challenge for adopting these books in class. Consider the following shortcomings of a typical “client oriented” book on either content marketing or social media marketing:

Insufficient Strategy Foundation

Especially important for MBA social media marketing courses, few books provide enough critical thinking exercises and conceptual understanding to educate our students on the holistic value of inbound marketing. Most address their points as a checklist of tactics often spun around a catchy title or theme that boosts the author’s exposure with the search engines.  

At the other extreme, social media evangelists get too abstract in their visions of future social business and people behaviors. Although this may serve well to address the advanced strategies of big brands, most MBA’s are seeking foundational knowledge on subjects like audience development, content marketing, SoLoMo context experiences, influence marketing, etc. 

Lack of Case Study and Class Exercise Rigor

What makes many practitioner books so attractive is their testimonies with marque clients. But beyond just a few classic examples we all know (e.g., Marcus Sheridan’s Riverside Pools),  few success stories pass the rigorous standards of  what  enables a critical thinking case study.  The same applies to exercises that lend themselves to performance driven testing and chapter reviews.

Lack of Content Scope

This is perhaps the biggest challenge of adopting books to curriculum requirements. At best, we professors settle for 3 books to cover the necessary program scope. This tends to annoy students with the high price, numerous text overlaps and skipped chapters. 

Evaluating the Top 25 Social Media and Content Marketing Books

To help practitioners reach the classroom, I am sharing the following academic perspective on what books should qualify as a recommended reading or primary text. This evaluation is based on course objectives, courseware adaptation, student excitement, concept credibility, currency and scope.

Social media book analysis

Summary Evaluation of Top Social Media Books for Academia

The evaluation is just one professor’s opinion of what suits the classroom. But I base this judgment on my qualifications as a relationship marketing educator with a doctorate in the field and full-time faculty responsibility for developing and teaching social media marketing courses at NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business. 

For detailed reviews of the top 25 books approved for academia, check out these posts. 

#1 Audience by Jeffrey Rohrs

#2 Social Marketology by Ric Dragon

#3 Your Brand: The Next Media Co. by Michael Brito

#4 Optimize by Lee Odden

#5 The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David M. Scott

#6 Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi

#7 How to Measure Social Media by Nichole Kelly

#8 Maximizing Your Social by Neal Schaffer

#9 Youtility by Jay Baer

#10 The Impact Equation by Brogan and Smith

#11 Global Content Marketing by Pam Didner

#12 eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee

#13 Content Rules by Handley & Chapman

#14 Inbound Marketing 2nd Ed. by Halligan and Shah

#15 Visual Storytelling by Walter and Gioglio

#16 Go Mobile by Hopkins and Turner

#17 Age of Context by Scoble and Israel

#18 Think Like a Rock Star by Mack Collier

#19 Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

#20 Social Marketing to the Business Customer by Gillen and Schwartzman

#21 The B2B Social Media Book by Bodnar and Cohen 

#22 Launch by Michael Stelzner

#23 Mobile Influence by Chuck Martin

#24 Influence Marketing by Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella

#25 New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith

So what is your take on this selection criteria? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with the ranking of books qualifying academically.