Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #18 Think Like a Rock Star

This is a fun book to read. I believe it qualifies as the best on the subject of fan engagement.  In his book “Think Like a Rock Star,” Mack Collier draws a perfect analogy for turning customers into fans much like the way rock stars treat their fans. 

Think Like a Rock Star ranks as top social media book

Mack Collier as author of top social media book

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

  1. Few books give such adequate coverage to this part of the sales funnel. Mack offers numerous examples of how powerful fans can be when you relinquish control and let them advocate. The examples start with familiar rock stars for picture stories and progresses through examples of brands that lead the pack in customer advocacy.
  2. Some solid examples are given in later chapters on how to implement brand and customer advisory councils with practical approaches to getting buy-in.
  3. The book provides an excellent example of how employee advocacy can be adopted in the real world of social media skepticism and social business challenges.
  4. His concepts are tightly integrated around “drawing relevant insights from existing customer feedback and conversations, with the end goal of creating more connections with and better understanding fans.” He then explains the value of this customer understanding to the bottom line. Few books tackle this beyond its value in customer service. Instead, Mack ties his concepts to the power of brand ambassadors, employee advocacy and even influence marketing (to a point) in driving business. 
  5. The book is highly current and very relevant to today’s challenge in adopting enterprise-wide programs to implement ambassador programs.
  6. The book is well organized around convincing first, then dealing with tactical issues and finally setting up an organization to mobilize and empower fans and employees. 

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

  1. The subject matter applies to one or maybe two classes at the MBA and undergraduate level.
  2. It is tough to draw critical thinking exercises at the end of each chapter. It almost requires you to finish the entire book before assigning case oriented exercises. I believe this can be done, but it will take some work on the part of a professor. 
  3. The last few chapters get highly instructional around the subject of creating and managing councils.  Although beneficial to practitioners tasked with implementing ambassador programs, the detailed steps could lose a student audience more interested in strategy.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended supplementary reading for MBA/undergraduate in social media marketing or IMC.

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Think Like a Rock Star 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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8 thoughts on “Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #18 Think Like a Rock Star

  1. Hi Jim,
    I interviewed Mack a little over a year ago for the MarketingProfs podcast, and read his book so I could prepare questions. It inspired me to completely revamp my master’s course in New Media Marketing. (I wrote about the experience in a post that Mack shared on his site: Teaching Marketing Students to “Think Like A Rock Star” )

    I collaborated with Mack to create custom videos to complement the reading, offering additional instruction for finding fans and researching influencers, executing an ambassador program, etc. these formed the basis of the weekly exercises.

    The result was that students crafted marketing plans that were unique to their organizational goals, their audience’s preferred channels and content types, etc. I saw a marked improvement in critical thinking and application as compared to when the curriculum was designed as more of a survey course.

    I’d absolutely recommend Mack’s book as an academic text for marketing courses. Moreover, I’d recommend hiring Mack as a consultant to develop custom webinars or videos for academic courses: he’s a natural teacher, insightful and engaging. In fact, some smart university should snap him up and add him to their business faculty!

    Excellent write up for Think Like A Rock Star, Jim!


    1. Thank you, Kerry. The book is fun to read. Having videos and exercises will make it a great fit for our MKT 5955 Social Media Marketing course at NSU. I will recommend it.

  2. Hi Jim, thanks for the kind review of Think Like a Rock Star! You’re correct in that this book wasn’t written primarily for students, it was written for practicing marketers and managers at mid-sized to larger companies. The first six chapters are absolutely beneficial to students and they can apply the lessons learned immediately to their coursework and any internships they might be involved in. For the last 4 chapters they’ll probably need to wait till they get out in the business world and are in a position where they actually manage marketing activities that facilitate direct contact with customers.

    Appreciate the review!

    1. You are welcome, Mack. I believe the book is well positioned as a supplementary reading for brand advocacy and fan engagement. These topics normally cover 3-5 hours of class time. The first six chapters would be just about right as a class preview on the topic.

      1. Think Like a Rock Star is part of the curriculum for my masters program in internet marketing. What can I say? I’m a fan of Mack Collier. This book has given me a different perspective and will definitely influence my approach when working with clients.

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