Since social media combines with a blogger outreach strategy, I thought it would be useful to look over some must-reads for those. The following are must reads for those entering the world of social marketing. Let’s begin.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

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This is the only book on the list that’s devoted solely to social media. In it, Gary Vaynerchuk explains the new rules for marketing in an environment that demands two-way communication and a little give-and-take. No more do you simply get to blast your message and hope to capture even the smallest microsecond of people full’s attention. People have to want to look at your content. You have to provide them with something useful or entertaining. It’s about giving and then receiving. That’s what the “jab, jab, jab” is. You don’t come out swinging. You soften people up with jabs (conversation, humor, responding to their content) and then come with the right hook (hard sell).

There are valuable insights on every page of this book, but some of the most useful are the actual posts from real companies that Gary analyzes and critiques. You see what they did right and wrong visually and in their native format and then can apply these lessons directly to your own posts. Overall, this a fantastic book that combines strategy with execution and is a must-have reference you’ll go back to over and over again.

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

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Even in social media where obscure abbreviations and bad grammar seem to rule, writing matters. With the bombardment of content and fierce competition for even shreds of attention, perhaps it matters more than ever. What could be worse than creating an amazing post that gets people to stop and look, only to have bad writing in the caption ruin it all?

When everyone is using lol’s and wtf’s, good writing that is concise and to the point will stand out. Your message can easily get lost in bad writing and even turn people off. Whether you like it or not, your business is being judged by how you communicate and bad writing is simply bad for business.

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

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The classic by which all others are measured. This book defines modern advertising and is standard reading for anyone who wants to learn the subject. You might think the ideas are outdated or don’t translate to the new rules of social media marketing, but that couldn’t be more wrong. With so many poorly executed ads flooding the channels, having a little knowledge in how to actually do it could make all the difference.

Think of it like painting. There might be a hundred different mediums, but the basics never change. Whether it’s watercolor, spray paint, or even digital, form, color, shape, and space still matter.The same applies here. Social media is just another medium that demands a knowledge of basic principles and this book is a master course.

Aha!: 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas by Jordan Ayan

So you don’t think you’re creative? You don’t think you have what it takes to be funny or eye-catching? Not true at all. We all have it in us. Every single person is creative. The trick is finding it within yourself and bringing it out. Often the only thing holding your creativity back is a lie you’ve told yourself. You’ve always thought that you just didn’t have it. Well it’s time to break that myth with a book that offers practical suggestions and exercises to find your creative core.

You really don’t have to do anything different either. Jordan teaches you to find ideas in everyday situations and turn your life into creative inspiration. Again, this is about getting a leg up on the competition and being ready to try new ideas. But first you have to find them and this book will help you do just that. How else can you expect to compete with a million cat videos if you’re not willing to be a little creative?

96 Proven Principles by Bob Rehak

Bob Rehak is a former VP of Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago and two-time winner of AdWeek’s copywriter of the year. He has spent decades in the advertising industry and has condensed all of them into a small book of proven principles. Using mainly illustrations and short concise text, this book is a treasure trove of knowledge that can only be gained from experience. This can be a beginner’s guide or a refresher for experts and includes examples of templates and forms that can be put to use right away. This book is more than theory. It’s a manual on how to be an effective advertiser.

Sharpen Your Axe

Of the five books in this list, only one is about social media marketing. That’s because too many people jump in without learning the basics first. They spend and spend and wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere. Expenses pile up, but results are few. Why not step back and learn some proven ways and new tools to approach it. Chopping at a tree with a dull axe might feel like you’re getting somewhere, but it’s really a wasted effort. As Abraham Lincoln probably never said, but it’s attributed to him anyway and the lesson is still a powerful one: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”