Books gone wild in a bookstore (courtesy pfala at Flickr CC)Those who want to start learning about social media and online communications may be more comfortable jumping in with some help from books rather than blog posts, web-based tutorials or even simple video.

If you’re new to all this, having things bounded within book covers is less overwhelming than being told to “go play on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Whatever and figure it out.”

After an interesting conversation about this topic with a few tourism geek friends (don’t miss the next SoMeT / Social Media Tourism Symposium if that sounds like your kind of posse) here is a list of books to consider:

Note: the links to the books below are affiliate links – I get a small commission from Amazon if you purchase the book through that link. If you don’t want to use those links, then please consider ordering from your local independent bookstore or through the excellent site IndieBound.

1) One of the originals – “Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, an early but still relevant book on business blogging.

2) “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

3)  “Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies” by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (hat tip to Katie Cook from the Austin CVB for this one.)

4) “The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly” by David Meerman Scott. Good broad-brush overview.

5) For those who don’t mind carrying curse words around, and can’t stand BS – “No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing” by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers.

6) “Social Media Marketing For Dummies” by Shiv Singh and Stephanie Diamond. Does what it says on the package. 🙂

7)  “The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social” by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund (hat tip again to Austin CVB’s Katie Cook for the recommendation.)

8)  “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (New Rules Social Media Series)” by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.

It may seem odd to learn from static books when social media changes so quickly, but a lot of the basic social culture and etiquette has not changed since way back in the days of online forums, such as….

Share honestly, thoughtfully, publicly and quickly. Be helpful. Don’t get the big head. Stand up for yourself when needed. Say “thank you” publicly when someone does something nice, and “I’m sorry” publicly when you mess up. Remember that the entire world is listening, 24/7, and the web is searchable and archivable, forever.

The rest is just details.

Did I leave out any of your favorite social media books that are good for beginners? Tell us down in the comments!

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