Free Business Book Giveaway

Update: our top-5 must read social media books post is now up at Mashable. Which books do you think should have made the list. VISIT THE POST AND COMMENT

This week I’m giving away a personalized, signed copy of each of the books you see here:

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I was lucky enough to convince 7 of the smartest people in the entire social media and marketing space to give away personalized, signed copies of their best selling books here, and in 4 other places. Mitch Joel, Tamar Weinberg, Tara Hunt, Chris Brogan + Julien Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk, Avinash Kaushik and John Jantsch were generous enough to oblige. These books will not only fill your brain with enough knowledge to rule the online world, they’ll serve as pretty cool conversation pieces. How much do I love you? I didn’t even keep a set for myself. I’ve read each of these books and every single one of them should be read, underlined, and read again. Please do me a favour and drop by each of their blogs to thank them for their generosity – bonus points for anybody who does.

Here’s how you win:

1. Leave a comment below telling me your social media plans for 2010, and why you think these 7 books will help you achieve what you want to accomplish. Best comment in within the next week wins the set.

2. Visit one of the following blogs who have the same set of books to give away. If you really want to increase your chances of winning, you’ll probably want to visit each of them and leave a comment there as well. Here’s where to go (if the blog post is not up yet, check back later in the day):

www.kaushik.net/avinash: this is the amazing blog of Web 2.0 Analytics author Avinash Kaushik. He’s simply the smartest guy in the world when it comes to analytics and what it means for your business.

beth.typepad.com: this is the blog of non-profit social media master Beth Kanter. She was recently named by Fast Company as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media”. That means she’s really smart and you should be tuning in.

www.horsepigcow.com: this is the site of the amazing Tara Hunt, the other blogger on this list who was named by Fast Company as one of the most influential women in technology. Smart lady. She also produces thought-provoking content on a regular basis, which you should be catching on a regular basis. Shame on you if you aren’t.

www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog: this is the blog of John Jantsch, THE expert on small business marketing. He’s also writes probably the most practical, hands-on marketing blog on the planet. It’s a must-read.


{ 131 comments… read them below or add one }

stevecunningham November 16, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Kathleen – perhaps these books (or at least one of them) should become required reading for you credit union colleagues? Good luck with the plan for 2010!

stevecunningham November 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Thanks Caitlin – the world needs more people like you. We share a passion for helping non-profit organizations succeed. Good luck in 2010!

stevecunningham November 16, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Katy – as Gary would say, you want to make social media the steak, when the organization considers it the pepper. Great stuff, and good luck convincing your top management!

stevecunningham November 16, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I think you are officially in the lead for “most creative answer” – love it!

Jeff Brown November 17, 2009 at 8:53 am

Steve –

I work for a Nashville radio station that is part of a larger company that syndicates content to our own and other radio stations across the country. Right now, social media efforts within the company are scattered and all over the map. No two stations are on the same page.

In 2010, I hope to be the one to lead a more laser-focused social media charge across the company. I want to help steer our efforts so that they are unified and in sync whereas, right now, each station's social media-related tactics are just that, tactics, without much thought given to strategy.

So far, I've been successful in positioning our station locally as ahead of the curve in emerging media and thought leadership but relish the opportunity to spread this mindset company-wide. Radio's future, like newspapers, magazines and TV is in doubt. I believe these books, two of which I'm reading now, would be an excellent starting point for me in plotting our next course. With them, I believe I can succeed in helping make radio relevant again.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate.

johnhutson November 17, 2009 at 9:57 am

Hey Steve,

Thanks for reviewing the books. All look extremely good.

As far as strategy is concerned for 2010 – its about continuing the momentum we have started to have since mid 2009. I have been evangelising the channel across our key products in the business with great success. My passion for this has shone through and captured their imagination.

Next steps for me is to make our whole site sociable, by allowing comments on our news and promotions, allowing our customers to vote for a promotion, and also share as much as possible our site has to offer.

Our Facebook fan pages have seen massive improvement since actively promoting them and engaging them. Moving on from that, I will be going through our customer service teams to get heavily involved with the engagement and help more “real time” when it comes to dealing with customer problems and frustrations.

I feel there is no excuse nowadays to guess what our customers want in terms of promotions, offers and service and by allowing them to comment and vote on our products, news and promotions, I feel this will be a big step to making our company more accessible, more personal and an overall better site to be on.

Our email/CRM channel will also have an overhaul by making the whole experience of receiving an email from us a much more pleasant experience – tailored to their interests.

Thanks once again for reviewing these. It's a big help.

alliwinkler November 18, 2009 at 11:42 am

I work for a public university that has 13 two-year colleges and an online campus. Students from these campuses have a great opportunity to transfer to the four-year campuses in the state university system to complete their final two years. The two-year campuses have frozen tuition for the last three years and are running on a very lean budget. Resources are stretched to the limit. Currently, some the campuses have experimented with a few social networking sites but have not measured or planned in any social media in significance. At the central office, we just added Google Analytics to all the sites (better late than never) and would like to build a university-wide social networking focus. It seems to me that the old-fashioned “sending letters to high school juniors” marketing push is no longer effective (both in cost and results). I need to convince my supervisor, my team and the higher powers (provost, chancellor) that it is time for us to step into the current century. We need to update our marketing and recruitment tactics and open a discussion with prospects where they live: online. These books would be extremely helpful in our mission to give students an affordable start to their higher education. In this time of crippling budget cuts, maybe we could find cost-effective ways to reach students through this library of books and give them the best start to the life they want.

Erin McMahon November 19, 2009 at 9:33 am

Awesome! Thanks for doing the giveaway BTW!!! :)

stephaniegraham November 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Hi!
Thanks for reviewing these books and sharing the information. It’s very difficult trying to figure out which books are the best to read with any topic, so I always rely on experts such as yourself for book recommendations. My name is Stephanie Graham, and I have a few things going on:
-I am a photographer
-career advisor for photography and communication design students at a college in Chicago IL
-children’s apparel designer/e-boutique owner.

I would love to add a social media library to my book collection because, as an advisor I am always promoting how important social media is for branding yourself and your business especially while searching for employment opportunities. I would be able to use these books to cite, case studies, and share strategies to the students and recent grads. For my photography business, I plan to develop a steady social media workflow so I can stay connected and informed in my industries and become a person who can help others. As far as children’s apparel I have yet to implent a social media strategy for 2010 and as I create usernames and logins for all these accounts I want to make sure I am on the right track

Thanks for your consideration

museumofsamoa November 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

At the Museum of Samoa our social networking plan is to create meaningful connections between Samoa and the rest of the world.

We've started a Flickr account with our own photos as well as creating a gallery of photos about the recent devestation tsunami from other Flickr members. We also plan to start a blog in the coming year as a way of connecting with people outside of Samoa, especially the many Samoans who live outside of this country.

Our plan is also to use the blog and other social networks to build connections with other cultural institutions. This is important for us as building our network could help with partnering to create new exhibitions or projects.

Having a copy of these books would be a huge boost for us – we have a small library where they could be accessed not just by the staff but also by visiting students and would help us to create workshops in social networking for students as well in the coming year. They would definitely be used and appreciated!

laurakeet November 20, 2009 at 1:09 am

This is a good reminder to get my eyes a'reading! I'm working with a couple of social justice groups who have social media presences without a plan. So, first thing is to assess what each group has already, then examine a plan–and then get to integrating! For us, it's mostly going to be blogs, Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts. And analytics, oh, we will become close friends with analytics!

emills November 20, 2009 at 2:44 pm

know you may have already picked a winner, but here’s to hoping you are still reading the comments…I didn’t see that this contes was happening until today…through facebook, social media in action, right?
Heres my theoretical plan:
For my company page impressions are king because more page impressions mean more underwriting and grant revenue. Ultimately we want to drive people to look at our website and keep coming back for more because if they consume more of our content and loyal to our site, we know we are serving our audience well.
To that end, I would value metrics that show interaction with our content (linking, retweets and comments) higher than other metrics available (Fans, followers and subscribers). Fans and followers are passive; the act of linking and spreading the word is active and gives a sense that our content is resonating with our audience. Since we have several fan pages, twitter accounts and blogs for different content categories, I would create rank reports for each social media platform based on the content categories performance in the key “active” metric associated with the platform (linking for facebook, retweets for twitter and comments for blogs). A content category may rank well in its comments, but poorly in its linking. If a content category ranks well in all metric categories than we can infer that it is serving our audience well. If we’ve put a lot of effort into one content category and it ranks low compared to our other content, then we should re-evaluate our efforts because we are either need to change something or realize that our audience may not put as high a value on it as we do and it is no longer worth our limited resources to produce it.

Most of my training has come from reading books, and I would love to expand my library with books on social media strategy and if my theoretical social media strategy is way off then I really need the books!

Ingrid November 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm

At Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, we have entered with a soft start and slowly adding elements to our endeavors to make sure we can sustain what we establish. We are at the point of solidifying our experiments into policies and procedures which will affect approximately 13,000 girls, volunteers, and staff members in our area as well as other United Way nonprofits in the area (we are working toward a model that can be adopted by other nonprofits) and even other Girl Scout councils (a few of us are comparing notes and working to establish best practices).

As part of our formal Strategic Learning initiative, we want to utilize technology to build relationships. As the staff and volunteers lead this initiative, I would love to learn from the leaders in this realm and make this library available throughout our organization as share what we learn with other organizations. Our vision is to enliven a new element of community and be more able to reach out and connect to truly make a difference in the world!

InKneeSocks November 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm

I commented yesterday… hmm.

After several years of ardent convincing, the suits have agreed to move forward with a digital marketing strategy and to start taking seriously the importance Facebook, search engines, blogging and, to some extent, Twitter. Our goal is to begin to distinguish ourselves as industry leaders – we want to increase communication and discussion with others in our business. As well, we want to increase communication between ourselves and our clients (or potential clients).

Some of the most exciting things we will do this year:
- Company blog – a discussion blog for the company and our clients, as well as those in the industry that are interested (our clients are the type that will read blogs)
- Twitter – this will serve as another point for discussion (many of our clients are on Twitter) and we can rely on our blog as the hub
- Facebook – again, the blog is the hub of our efforts, but we will participate on Facebook to gain exposure and be represented there

In addition, the company I work for is digital publishing company that works with some of Canada's favourite retailers and I see some opportunities there for us.

So this is sort of my show – and while I know what I am doing, I sometimes lack the language. I studied anthropology which in fact is very useful (tribes are nothing new to me) but kinship terminology sometimes does not work in situations like this. This is a great opportunity for me and I want to impress the bosses, and more importantly, impress myself.

I think Duct Tape Marketing appeals to the do-it-yourselfer in me – and since the initial budget on this won't be that big, I might need all the help I can get in “practical” marketing.
Trust Agent – well we want to become leaders in the industry, and this book would be a great help in identifying how to go about become the reputable, 100 million dollar company we feel we are.
The Whuffie Factor is one I have wanted to pick up for a while – we want to build a community and discussion around what we do and improving/enhancing those solutions. Tara Hunt's insights would be really useful. As well, this would be a great book for retail community building strategies.
Avinash's Analytics book – MUST HAVE! I have his other Web Analytics in an hour a day, it was very gripping. I loved it and want to know what he thinks about analytics for social media.
The New Community Rules would be helpful to us in building communities around the brands we work with, using the our digital publications as an access point – another great book I ashamed to say I don't have.
Crush It would be a great book to get me pumped for starting my own social media revolutions.
And Six Pixels of Separation – from what I hear of this book, it might be a good gift for the suits when I have devoured it. They want to understand but still chuckle when mention Twitter.

I would read them all cover to cover. And I suppose I will even if I don't win. After all, that is why they invented Amazon. Cheers and have a great day!

Ingrid November 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Did my eloquent answer truly disappear? I was going to edit it, realized I didn't need to, and then it was gone! Will tears and passion win me any points? LOL

I won't try and retype the fluff (anyone reading this can be thankful) … I'll just say that as part of Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, we have several initiatives and alliances in play where our Social Media discoveries and resulting policies will be affecting not only our membership of 13,000 but will be shared with other United Way agencies as a model as well as part of best practices among Girl Scout councils. I took it upon myself to create a “soft start” to experiment. It has proved valuable and we are starting the formal council involvement with Membership Executives and our “cookie diva” … next step? Formal policies, trainings, and collaboration.

These books would not only benefit our efforts to make wise steps with a variety of audiences and needs, but their impact would be shared throughout a network of organizations and people dedicated to doing something GREAT in this world!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Jeff – it sounds like you are biting off a big challenge – awesome. I'd love to see radio reinvent itself – good luck!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Jamey – that's an amazing way to ge using social media in healthcare. I hope it goes well!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm

John – they ARE extremely good books. I agree – if you let your customers have a voice, they will tell you how to win. Good luck in 2010!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Good stuff adding Google Analytics to the sites – certainly better late than never. If there's anywhere a marketing initiative could be improved by taking it online, it would be for high school students. Good luck!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Stephanie – thanks for your thoughts. I wish you luck in 2010!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm

It sounds like you have a great cause – good luck in 2010!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Danielle – thank you for the time and effort you put into this comment. You should definitely read them if you don't win the set of books – they will help immensely.

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Ah – the old social media presences without a plan! Please make sure you DO make good friends with analytics!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:14 pm

I haven't picked the winner yet, so you are still in the running. Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts, and good luck in 2010!

stevecunningham November 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Tears and passion always win points in my books :)

You have a great project underway, and I wish you all the luck in the world with it. Good for you for taking the initiative to get it off the ground!

Danielle November 21, 2009 at 1:48 am

Books are my weakness so I am sure I will end up with a copy of each eventually – it's a good reading list.

stevecunningham November 22, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Erin – I have no other way to contact you, but if you get back to me by midnight tonight with your contact information, the books are yours for your creative answer and the promise to come back and let me know how it's going. Congrats!

Erin McMahon November 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Wooo hoooo! Thanks so much! Can you drop me an email at firestar9s [at] gmail [dot] com?

:)

stevecunningham November 22, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Erin – I have no other way to contact you, but if you get back to me by midnight tonight with your contact information, the books are yours for your creative answer and the promise to come back and let me know how it's going. Congrats!

Erin McMahon November 22, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Wooo hoooo! Thanks so much! Can you drop me an email at firestar9s [at] gmail [dot] com?

:)

somaie December 15, 2009 at 11:01 am

Small Business owners are largely forgotten. Thats why I only focus on them. I have experience several members of my family file bankruptcy due to small business failures. I also I suffered through 2 destroyed businesses due to failure however, in my failings I have learned some of the secrets to success. (Who can say they know it all?)
What I like about small business owners is that they are not afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. But, I agree they do need a lot of help with their marketing. I think having them go the social media and email route is not only the least expensive but its also the most effective. Thanks for the stats!
http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

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