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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2 thoughts on “Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #1 Audience

  1. Dr. Barry–I’m speechless! Thank you so much for your review & ringing endorsement of AUDIENCE. I truly hope it does help students–and marketing practitioners–of all stripes get their arms around what is truly important in social media. And should you ever find yourself in Lakewood, Ohio, lunch at Melt Bar & Grilled is on me–cheers!

    1. It was my pleasure to review your book, Jeffrey. No book on the subject is as comprehensive and insightful as Audience. And I will definitely take you up on Melt Bar & Grilled someday!

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