6 Books & Podcasts ALL Social Media Managers Should Know About!

Regardless of the size of your social media following or engagement, if you have any business sense you'll continue to strive for greater growth be it in numbers or engagements. Whilst it seems that digital content is king, there are some sensational real life books and podcasts that can help you help you brand exceed expectations. 

I'm a book fiend, and for every crime thriller I read, I also read a book that helps me develop myself or my business, so I thought I would share 3 of my favourite reads and 3 of my favourite listens from the last 12 months.

BOOKS

1. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

There would be no possible way of compiling a list of must read books about the power and potential of social media and marketing without starting it with Gary Vaynerchuk. Vaynerchuk is without doubt one of the most prolific voices on the internet, his voice is loud, unapologetic and combative, in the best of ways. 

In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Vaynerchuk shares hard-won advice on how to connect with customers and beat the competition. Thanks to massive change and proliferation in social media platforms, the winning combination of jabs and right hooks is different now. Vaynerchuk shows that while communication is still key, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms and mobile devices—content tailor-made for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.

2. Contagious 

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Image by @nickiecatwoman

Jonah Berger is the God of viral marketing, social influence, and trends. He's written a handful of books, but the one that I recommend time and time again is Contagious. Do you find yourself head scratching as to why other brands with similar products to you are succeeding, whilst you are not? Why are some products and ideas talked about more than others? Why do some articles make the most emailed list? Why do some YouTube videos go viral? Word-of-mouth. Whether through face-to-face conversations, emails from friends, or online product reviews, the information and opinions we get from others have a strong impact on our own behaviour.

Whether you're a Fortune 500 company trying to increase sales, a corner restaurant trying to raise awareness, a non-profit trying to fight obesity, or a newbie politician running for city council, word-of-mouth can help you succeed. And you don't have to have millions of dollars to spend on an advertising budget. You just have to get people to talk.The challenge, though, is how to do that. This book will show you how.

In Contagious, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheesesteak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the most seemingly boring products there is: a blender.

Contagious provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.

3. Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behaviour 

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Image by @erinjway

If you’re like most people, you think that your choices and behaviours are driven by your individual, personal tastes and opinions. You picked a jacket because you liked the way it looked. You picked a particular career because you found it interesting. The notion that our choices are driven by our own personal thoughts and opinions seems so obvious that it is not even worth mentioning. Except that it’s wrong.

Without our realising it, other people’s behaviour – what psychologists call “social influence” – has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane (which movie to see or place to have lunch) to the momentous (which career path to take or person to marry).

We make riskier decisions because someone patted us on the shoulder. We like the name Mia because Madison and Sophia are popular names this year. Even strangers, or people we may never meet, have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions: our attitudes towards a welfare policy totally shift if we’re told it is supported by Democrats versus Republicans, even though the policy is the same in both cases.

But social influence doesn’t just lead us to do the same things as others. Like a magnet it can attract, but it also can repel. In some cases we conform, or imitate others around us. But in other cases we diverge, or avoid particular choices or behaviours because other people are doing them. We stop listening to a band because they go mainstream. We skip buying the minivan because we don’t want to look like the soccer mom.

By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it: we can affect others behaviour and use others to help us make better-informed decisions.

PODCASTS

1. The Tim Ferriss Show

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Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him "the world's best human guinea pig," and The New York Times calls him "a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk." In The Tim Ferriss Show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.

2. StartUp

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StartUp is a documentary series about entrepreneurial life. The show has been downloaded tens of millions of times since its launch in 2014. Its first season has been adapted into an ABC sitcom called Alex, Inc. starring Zach Braff. StartUp has won a Gracie Award and the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 

3. The Science of Social Media

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The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media marketing stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing strategies from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode. It’s our hope that you’ll join our 15,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

Do you have favourite books and podcasts that inspire you in work or play? Let us know in the comments below.