The 8 Best Social Media Marketing Books of 2021

Strengthen your social media strategy with these reads

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Learn how to harness the power of social media and big things can happen. Whether you’re a job seeker, a small business owner who needs a boost, or a bold entrepreneur trying to break into the industry, knowing how to leverage social media is a crucial skill. 

But in a time where one tweet can break you, it’s important to avoid slip-ups and understand the nuances of various social media platforms. To help you deploy the right messaging to your target audience, consider these social media marketing books your crash course into the digital realm. 

Best Overall: 500 Social Media Marketing Tips

500 Social Media Marketing Tips
 Courtesy of Amazon

How does this book cram 500 tips into 228 pages? By delivering the information succinctly, concretely and in a way that is immediately actionable. This book takes you from zero to sixty relatively quickly and helps you start getting likes and clicks on social media almost immediately. More advanced users and pros might feel like this book is at times a bit tedious, but it is perfect for beginners and those who just need a quick refresher. If you feel like you’ve already grasped hundreds of fundamentals about social media, you’re in luck, because this book still has 400 more for you to learn!

Best for Native Advertisers: Epic Content Marketing

Readers should only be able to tell a great advertorial apart from an actual journalistic report by the labeling at the top of the section. In order to create top-of-the-line native content, you have to know how to tell a story about the things that your readers (and potential customers) actually care about. Enter this book by Joe Pulizzi, which teaches you not only how to write great stories, but what sort of stories you should be writing in the first place. He will guide you through choosing an appropriate content vertical, developing your mission and action plan, curating content and leveraging social and traditional media to share your epic work.

Related: The Best Advertising Books

Best on Visuals: The Power of Visual Storytelling

You already know that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so why not leverage photos to attract and build your audience? The human brain engages with images more easily than with written words, and this invaluable guide from Jessica Gioglio and Ekaterina Walter will teach you how to build and share compelling ones. As you should expect, this book is also filled with captivating images and great examples of images companies have successfully used to get their messages across.

Best for Pros: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

In this book, Gary Vaynerchuk shares the secrets of getting your message out there in a busy digital landscape. In his extended metaphor, the continual strategies that focus on slowly winning over customers and potential customers on social media are the “jabs,” and are not always so successful –  not to mention, they take a lot of time to test and implement. Lest you think that the author is just speculating, you should know that he increased his small family wine enterprise from a $4 million operation to a $60 million behemoth. He’s also taken smart bets on investing in some of the most wildly successful digital companies –  Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Uber and Venmo, just to name a few. He walks you through the steps you and your companies need to take to adapt to the changing media landscape and the ways in which consumers devour content, including optimizing for mobile.

Related: The Best Strategy Books

Best Autobiography: Chaos Monkeys

This is a book about power. It’s also a book about winners and losers, about the tech landscape today and about how those on top got there and stay there –  or how they crash and burn. This is not a book that gives you actionable insights you can immediately leverage: it is a book that tells the story of Silicon Valley before, during and after the tech bubble. It’s written by an industry insider and is gripping as any true crime novel. The book draws its title from the image of a primate running amok in a data center, an analogy software engineers use to test their online services. The author makes the case that tech entrepreneurs are society’s version of these unruly disruptors –  and he makes the case that they’re very much worth learning from.

Best for Small Business Owners: The Lead Machine

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, Rich Brooks’s book will help you make a comprehensive digital plan. This book will teach you skills you need to bring people to your social media pages, increase your ranking on top search engines, add more subscribers to your e-mail list and turn online fans into loyal customers. This book walks you through four essential stages: the building of your website, how to attract people to that website, how to keep in touch with the folks that have visited your website, as well as how to analyze your Web traffic data. This book is perfect for those looking to grow website traffic through several channels, those just starting out on social media and those looking to grow their digital mailing lists.

Best for Social Media Managers: Content Mavericks

There’s a ton of information and products out there for consumers to choose from, and in order for yours to stand out above the rest, you’ve got to have a plan. Enter Andrew and Pete, whose book gives you a seven-step plan for creating social media content that people enjoy and, more importantly, that drives clicks and sales. Don’t write another article, record another podcast or shoot another video until you have a plan for how you’re going to send it out into the universe. Reviewers love that this book isn’t about gimmicks –  it’s about actual strategies that will feel (and will be!) genuine for both you and your audience. As a plus, the book not only offers valuable advice on how to craft a strategy but also practical advice on how to put such a plan into action.

Related: The Best Brand Marketing Books

Best for Brand Building: Make It Rain!

Ever wonder how guest experts get their great gigs? Areva Martin dishes on their secrets in this page-turner. She doesn’t have a marketing budget anymore, but she’s been on Dr. Phil, AC360, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX promoting her work and her brand –  and now, everyone comes to her. In this book, Martin shares how to pitch irresistible stories to producers, make yourself relevant to breaking news, deliver great soundbites and use social media to build a reputation for yourself that will send more and more gigs your way.

Final Verdict

The format of “500 Social Media Marketing Tips” (view on Amazon) is perfect for beginners as it teaches you how to create content that is concise yet powerful. Get out your highlighter as you go through the actionable tips for all of the key platforms. For a more in-depth read, you can’t go wrong following Gary Vaynerchuk's guidance in “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook" (view on Amazon). After all, Vaynerchuk is the king of social media success stories.

Meet the Expert

This roundup was updated by Dawn Papandrea, a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance and marketing content. She also occasionally gets hired to write social media posts.