The 5 Best Books on Social Media Optimization

Social networking

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: social media is a critical part of any website marketing strategy. Unfortunately however, social media is also a hard nut to crack for most people. Heck, I’m still learning a lot about how to do social media myself. However, I am learning more every day and I learned a lot from these five books on social media optimization.

An important note before we get started with this review however: a book, by its very nature is going to have at least some out of date information. It’s just the nature of the beast – social media and SEO is a rapidly changing world and what was true yesterday may not be true today.

Therefore, I suggest looking at these books as “broad strokes” guides. That is to say, they are great for teaching you the fundamentals of how to make the most of social media, but they should not relied upon, at least not exclusively, for information about specific tools or techniques since many things change so rapidly.

Important note: For those who would like to be able to buy the books I reviewed, I included links below which all go to Amazon.com. You don’t have to buy from them though. Feel free to use your favorite bookstore. The links are basically just for your convenience.

Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day By: Dave Evans

If I had to choose a favorite amongst the five books I reviewed for this roundup of books on social media optimization, this one would probably be it. Unlike most other books which say they talk about social media, this one is much more laser focused on actual social media and not on the stuff you run yourself (i.e. it talks about using the social networks to your advantage instead of blogging or SEO).

If I had a complaint here it would be that it’s not quite “an hour a day” guide. It’s more like, here is the information, now go do what you need to do and spend an hour a day doing it.

The Social Media Bible By Lon Safko

Calling this book the Social Media Bible might be a bit strong. While it is an excellent introduction to social media optimization, I’d say that this book, like most of the ones in this review, is a little broad based for that title.

It spends time telling us the history of the web and talks about a lot of tools that are not purely social media related. Joomla for instance is discussed here even though that’s not really what I would think of as social media (when I think social media, I think of things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & some of the popular news sharing sites like Digg and StumbleUpon, etc).

That said, I found the strategies section to be quite helpful because it shows you what to do rather than talking about which tools to use to do the job.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

I liked this one quite a little bit for what it does offer, which is a broad look at how the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we do business. What I didn’t care for however was the way they seem to brush lightly over specific ideas for making social media work for you.

They also are more broad based than I’d care for, talking about how to use the ‘net in general (you could write an encyclopedia on that and not cover everything) rather than being laser focused on a specific topic. Still, it’s good for what it is – an introduction to marketing on the web.

Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan

Okay, here’s what I like about Inbound Marketing: they talk about one of my favorite subjects, blogging. They explain in beginner’s language how a blog can be used to effectively build your online presence and why it’s so useful. What I didn’t like is that it seems to be light on the other piece of their promise, which was social media optimization.

Marketing to the Social Web By Larry Weber

This one could also be called social media marketing 101. It’s a great introduction to the world of social media, however when it comes to the nitty gritty of what you need to know in order to create successful campaigns in social media, it’s a little thin on that content.

4 thoughts on “The 5 Best Books on Social Media Optimization

  1. Always happy to help. I’m glad you found the information useful. Please feel free to drop by again sometime for additional good ideas.

    1. Glad you found it useful. Of course, you don’t really need it if you spend time reading our blogs here since we provide lots of useful info. Also be sure to see the book Yasir and I wrote together.

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