7 Social Media Books to Grow Your Following

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7 Social Media Books to Grow Your Following

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are some of the most highly populated spots on the web. In fact, Facebook alone has 2.2 billion monthly active users; that’s a ton of potential followers and customers for your business that you can reach. But you won’t be able to reach them if you don’t know how to effectively market your company on social media.

If you’ve got social media profiles that are struggling to stand out in the crowded feed and gain more followers, or you’re lost on where to begin in the first place, don’t worry. You can easily learn top strategies that will take you from novice to social media guru just by reading some social media books we’re recommending today. And even though social media is constantly evolving, you can rest assured that these book recommendations are still current and useable today.

Turn your small business into a hit on social media, here are seven social media books to grow your following.

1. Likeable Social Media

"Likeable Social Media, Revised and Expanded: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Amazing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and More" by Dave Kerpen, provides insights and clear how-to instructions for building brand popularity by engaging with customers on popular social media platforms.

With this book you don’t have to worry about being confused by complicated marketing jargon, the author gives you practical, actionable advice on how to get people talking about your business on social media.

2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

"Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World" is written by social media expert, entrepreneur and internet personality, Gary Vaynerchuk and is a must-have if you want your company to stand out on social media and grow your following.

Vaynerchuk provides valuable advice on how to connect with customers, beat the competition, develop tailor-made content, and perfect the right combination of “jabs” and “hooks” on social media that will give you results and convert traffic into sales.   

3. Social Media: Strategies to Mastering Your Brand

Do you want more followers? Want to explode your presence on social media? Then pick up a copy of "Social Media: Strategies To Mastering Your Brand- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat" written by David Kelly.

This best-seller is great for beginners and pros alike and will tell you everything you need to know about social media marketing. Training is broken down into easy-to-understand modules that include top strategies the pros use, lessons on how to double your Instagram following, understanding Facebook ad marketing, and even monetizing your social media.

4. The Zen of Social Media Marketing

Find your own social media marketing “nirvana” with "The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue" by Shama Hyder. Hyder was named one of LinkedIn’s “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social in 2015; if you want to thrive and profit with social media, you’ll want to hear her priceless insights.

Topics you’ll learn to master include a proven process to attract fans and followers and convert them into customers, social media trends, innovative tips for mobile design, online advertising, and much more.

5. 500 Social Media Marketing Tips

If you’re struggling to make social media work for your business, this all-encompassing book is one you’ll definitely want to pick up. "500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!" by Andrew Macarthy provides hundreds of actionable tips for success on any social media platform.

You’ll learn how to create and share the most effective content on social media, tips to grow your audience, and the key foundations for every successful social media marketing plan. Plus, if you purchase the Kindle version, you get access to over 250 social media marketing video tutorials.

6. Social Media Marketing Workbook

"Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social Media for Business" by Jason McDonald will help you learn social media marketing, step by step. This book covers all the basics to show you how to navigate and use different social media platforms for your business.

This workbook includes a deep-dive into the business side of Youtube, how to market on Instagram, why Pinterest is the most effective social media platform for retailers and eCommerce, how to use LinkedIn to network and market your business, and much more.

7. The Art of Social Media

"The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users" by Guy Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist for Apple and one of the pioneers of business blogging and tweeting, is an essential guide for how to get the most out of your time spent marketing on social media.

With over 100 practical tips and tricks, this book will teach you how to create a compelling presence on any social media platform to win you more followers. Topics include how to optimize your profile, how to perfect your posts, how to get more followers, how to integrate social media with blogging, and many other useful lessons.

Add these books to your wishlist or check them out at your local library as soon as possible so that you can gain a wealth of knowledge to help you become popular on social media. By using the tips in these books, you’ll grow your following exponentially and then you can turn those followers into lifelong customers.

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Star CEOs can be good for companies, providing social proof that their firm is a high quality place and making it easier to attract capital and talent. But they can also be dangerous. The recent cases of Tesla, Papa John’s, and CBS exemplify this: all three companies benefitted from the brightness of their star CEOs. And then all each company had to deal with expensive, distracting problems their star created.

Consider Tesla: before Elon Musk became CEO in 2008, the electric car company had delivered fewer than 200 cars and was running out of cash. Ten years later, it could produce, albeit with extraordinary measures, 5,000 cars a month and had a higher market value than Ford’s. Within the company, Musk has held unusual power; he is the largest stockholder in Tesla, and is positioned as a visionary genius who is essential to the company’s success. Still, Musk’s tweets about taking the company private cost the company a $20 million settlement with the SEC and exposed it to larger potential liability from aggrieved stockholders.

This is a far from unusual story. You could also consider Papa John’s; working out of a converted broom closet in his father’s small-town tavern, John Schnatter grew pizza empire Papa John’s to over 5,000 locations. Schnatter now controls of 30% of Papa John’s shares, and his status as founder, as well as his long-running visibility as the company’s spokesperson in broadcast and print ads gives him unusual power. Still, Schnatter’s comments about NFL players who knelt during the national anthem and the accusation that he used a racist word in a conference call drove down the company’s sales and its stock price.

Similarly, though Les Moonves owned an insignificant amount of CBS stock, he had outsized power at CBS based on his long-term performance and the prestige he built for himself in the entertainment industry. Under his leadership, CBS turned from the last-place butt of jokes into a first-place powerhouse. Still, accusations of sexual harassment against Moonves this year exposed CBS to not-yet quantified but likely expensive liabilities.

These examples highlight the delicate balancing act when it comes to handing star CEOs who provide large benefits but expose the company to great risk; they have to fire a CEO who acts unethically, but they can’t fire a CEO just for exposing the company to risk. And because CEOs have to take risks in order to create value, directors have to strike a balance that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the dangers of a risky CEO. There are ways to thread this needle, though. Work I and others have done to help boards get the best out of CEOs who wield unusual power and bring a company unusual benefits suggest that there are ways for directors to achieve that difficult balance, even in difficult situations like the ones above.

First, directors should push for a large number of directors who are truly independent, not just technically independent. If the CEO chairs the board, have a lead director who is strong and who is actually independent of the CEO. Give the lead director the power to call meetings of the board without the CEO’s permission or presence. This avoids giving the CEO the ability to prevent the board from meeting without him.

Second, the independent directors should meet regularly in executive sessions without the CEO present. Executive sessions give independent directors opportunities to discuss concerns without the sessions turning into battles with an offended or enraged CEO. Bill George, the Medtronic CEO who took its market value from $1 billion to $60 billion in 10 years and went on to be a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, heard regularly from his independent directors after they met in executive session. Governance expert Ram Charan considers executive sessions the most important recent innovation in corporate governance.

Third, support your CEO’s activities that relate to the interests of the company, not just to his or her ego. It is hard to imagine a successful CEO who lacks sufficient ego-strength to face the challenges CEOs face or to display the confidence stakeholders need to see, but when a CEO becomes more than a CEO — when he or she becomes a star — it is easy for their ego to get out of hand. Stardom also can be a problem, for example, when CEOs spend too much time enhancing their personal reputation instead of enhancing the value of the company.

Some CEOs exhibit traits that resemble narcissism. Narcissistic CEOs often provide a compelling vision and attract followers. But there are downsides to CEO narcissism. Narcissistic CEOs often are poor listeners and hyper-sensitive to criticism when they do listen. They often lack empathy, which can lead them to do things that are obviously unacceptable to most people but not to them. Think of Musk’s tweet calling one of the Thai cave rescuers a “pedo.”

Fourth, star CEOs are more likely to take advice from other people who are stars like them than from people who are merely experts, because stars often think they know more than the experts. Get star CEOs of other companies on the board. Your CEO is more likely to listen to them than to non-star directors. Narcissistic CEOs rarely take advice. Worse, they often see advice or mere disagreements as mortal threats. Their overconfidence, unwillingness to take advice, and tendency to become hostile when they feel challenged can put the company at risk of expensive and dangerous litigation.

Fifth, Don’t let a CEO put the company in a position where he or she can prevent you from doing what is good for the company by threatening to quit. While you might want your CEO to be seen as a star, don’t let your CEO position himself or herself as indispensable to the company. It is a sign of danger when investors say “There is no Tesla without Musk.” Have a good COO and other C-level people in place. Tesla has no COO. Facebook brought in Sheryl Sandberg as COO. Google brought in Eric Schmidt as CEO until co-founder Larry Page was ready for the position.

Finally, recognize that to fulfill your director duties, you might have to change the CEO’s role to something like chief strategy officer or chief visionary. Even if the CEO has the power to replace you, you have legal and moral duties to try to do what is best for the company. If the balance tips and the CEO is creating more damage than benefit, you have to act. Consider two of our three examples: Schnatter no longer is CEO or board chair at Papa John’s, and Moonves left CBS. Tesla’s board has done less — only what the SEC forced it to do. Still, Musk, who remains CEO of Tesla, gave up being board chair. Is this enough to balance what he brings and what he threatens? Tesla’s board alone can answer this question.

Some years ago, at a former company, I began noticing a curious series of events. My manager and team practiced an egalitarian decision-making process in which we would meet, discuss everything from content marketing campaigns to social media tactics, and collectively come up with strategies to move forward with. However, often, I would return to work later in the week to find the decisions that we had initially agreed upon were moot, and the manager was moving forward in a completely new direction. There was no explanation for what initiated these changes.

I eventually solved the puzzle; my male manager and certain members of our department were meeting with employees, including leaders, over unplanned, informal networking events at a local bar. There, they would talk shop and decisions were made that excluded others — about who to hire, promote, and assign to important projects. Though I was never invited, I later learned that it wasn’t gender-based. White women at all levels in our department were invited. But as the only woman of color and immigrant woman in my department, I wondered how I could score an invitation.

Situations like these aren’t nefarious. Research on affinity bias shows that we are naturally drawn to people who are like us. A casual drink here, a few networking events there with like-minded colleagues isn’t so bad, right? Unfortunately, these seemingly innocuous meetings can have consequences, and most of them fall on the careers of employees from underrepresented backgrounds. This especially applies to immigrant women of color who are often navigating three historically low-status identities: being female, a person of color, and an immigrant.

Part of the solution is to invite people from underrepresented backgrounds to these kinds of events. The other solution is one that can create lasting change for diversity and inclusion: to organize inclusive events that welcome employees from all backgrounds. A good first step for managers is to master the below practices, based on interviews I conducted with female leaders who are working to reduce bias in the workplace.

1. Learn about your employees’ preferences, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. After-work drinks can exclude women who shoulder the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities globally. In addition, many women of color are not invited to out-of-office gatherings, whether or not they have children. Ellen Pao’s seminal book Reset is among the growing evidence that shows the consequences women of color, and often immigrants, face from being left out of office networking events — both spontaneous and planned. She writes: “We are either silenced or we are seen as buzzkills. We are either left out of the social network that leads to power — the strip clubs and the steak dinners and the all-male ski trips — and so we don’t fit in, or our presence leads to changes in the way things are done, and that causes anger, which means we still don’t fit in.”

To ensure all women feel included, managers need to first understand the practices that exclude them, as well as the barriers that stop them from attending work functions. “As a manager, it’s necessary to ask questions about your employee’s preferences in a respectful way,” says Adina, a manager at a global technology company. These include dietary preferences and activities that make your employees feel comfortable. “Make sure there are always options for people with restrictions: of food, drink and activities,” she adds. It’s important to ask these questions privately so that the employee doesn’t feel targeted in a group setting. The most effective way is to ask in person, one-on-one. You can also include questions surrounding personal preferences for work events in an organization-wide, anonymous survey.

2. Engage a diverse planning committee. Formal company events should have a diverse planning committee that understands how to serve a diverse group of people. Susi Collins, Senior Program Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Nordstrom, advises that managers empower “all employees to contribute to the content of the event, especially women, junior colleagues, and people of color.” Throughout the planning and execution, attribute ideas to their originators, and concretely and explicitly praise the contribution of women of color, she adds. The contribution of women, particularly women of color, is often undermined. Giving credit and calling attention to it affirms its importance.

While planning, also try to listen more than you talk and be mindful of how you are taking up space, especially if the topic of discussion is not your expertise. Constantly being the loudest voice in the room reinforces the social dynamics you are trying to change, those that position only men and white people as leaders, and women of color as support staff.

3. Plan more events that don’t center around alcohol — and don’t immediately assume that women of color don’t drink. In the U.S. and Western Europe, networking culture often revolves around alcohol, which can leave out people who don’t drink. Planning more events that aren’t alcohol-driven is key to being more inclusive. Even if an event is at a bar or alcohol is present, don’t assume that immigrant women of color will be uncomfortable attending. I’ve attended plenty of events at bars, even during times when I wasn’t drinking alcohol, and know many immigrant women of color who have no objections to being around alcohol, whether or not they personally consume it. In these situations, it’s best to extend an invite and let your employee decide for herself, rather than making the decision for her.

4. Organize more daytime events. Day or lunchtime events are a great way to ensure all employees can participate. Bhavani Murugiah, the former head of people for a technology company, recommends a tactic that worked well at her former employer called “Lunch Roulette” — a program that randomly matched employees with 3-5 coworkers to connect over a monthly lunch. This kind of casual meeting can break down silos between departments and create networking opportunities for people who don’t always get invited to informal events.

5. Be intentional when structuring events outside of business hours. Organize events outside of business hours that actively get employees from different backgrounds to connect with each other. Passive events like movie screenings “can alienate employees from underrepresented groups,” says Felicity Menezies, Sydney-based CEO of Include-Empower, and former head of private banking for Westpac Singapore. It can be challenging for people to make new acquaintances in general — especially those who are more introverted. Add in factors like language barriers, cultural differences, biases, and stereotypes, and it becomes clear why casual networking events can feel inaccessible to, or at times, completely exclude people from underrepresented backgrounds. According to Menezies, a better approach is to offer activities that structure interactions without triggering social anxiety and are considerate of diverse personalities, languages, cultures, ethnicities, and physical abilities. Examples include community volunteering, team-building exercises, or potlucks where people from different cultural heritages share dishes and the stories behind them.

6. Be intentional when making connections. When there are employees from diverse backgrounds at an event, go out of your way to introduce women and people of color to important stakeholders, says Collins. Using your influence to foster these connections can have a significant impact on how welcomed an employee feels and even change their career trajectory. “As a manager, you have to understand how there are so many ways to impact someone’s assimilation into a company, or even a new culture,” Murugiah also says. “Whatever you do to make a change, it has to be genuine and thoughtful.”

7. Audit the frequency of events and attendees. Take stock of how often the team meets informally, as well as formally, and the demographic of the attendees each time. This will give you the information you need to course-correct and personally reach out to those who you don’t see. Your goal should be to figure out what is preventing people from coming, and use that feedback to make positive changes.

8. Constantly look for blind spots and ask for feedback after the event. Doing so will help you recognize areas for improvement, and hopefully, make the next event even better. A part of being inclusive is recognizing what you don’t know, so respond to the feedback with openness and humility. This will help build trust and create an environment where people feel comfortable expressing their opinions honestly.

In my research, I have repeatedly found that companies that don’t make an intentional effort to be inclusive often end up excluding women of color and immigrants. It’s crucial for people at all levels of an organization to understand how casual gatherings exclude employees from marginalized backgrounds, and more so, can have a detrimental impact on their careers. Organizations have a responsibility to disrupt these destructive patterns.

The United States faces a mental health epidemic. Nearly one in five American adults suffers from a form of mental illness. Suicide rates are at an all-time high, 115 people die daily from opioid abuse, and one in eight Americans over 12 years’ old take an antidepressant every day. The economic burden of depression alone is estimated to be at least $210 billion annually, with more than half of that cost coming from increased absenteeism and reduced productivity in the workplace.

In a crisis that has become progressively dire over the past decade, digital solutions — many with artificial intelligence (AI) at their core — offer hope for reversing the decline in our mental wellness. New tools are being developed by tech companies and universities with potent diagnostic and treatment capabilities that can be used to serve large populations at reasonable costs.

AI solutions are arriving at an opportune time. The nation is confronting a critical shortfall in psychiatrists and other mental health specialists that is exacerbating the crisis. Nearly 40% of Americans live in areas designated by the federal government as having a shortage of mental health professionals; more than 60% of U.S. counties are without a single psychiatrist within their borders. Those fortunate enough to live in areas with sufficient access to mental health services often can’t afford them because many therapists don’t accept insurance.

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Instead, the countless undiagnosed suffer, or look to emergency rooms and primary care physicians for treatment. Patients with depression, for instance, see their primary care physicians more than five times on average annually, versus fewer than three times for those without depression. For this reason, even though mental health treatment appears to account for only 4% of employer health costs, it’s really linked to nearly a quarter of them.

While some may consider the digitization of mental health services impersonal, the inherent anonymity of AI turns out to be a positive in some instances. Patients, who are often embarrassed to reveal problems to a therapist they’ve never met before, let down their guard with AI-powered tools. The lower cost of AI treatments versus seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist is another plus. These advantages help AI tools ferret out the undiagnosed, speed up needed treatment, and improve the odds of positive outcomes.

Like all digitization efforts in health care and other industries, these new tools pose risks, especially to patient privacy. Health care has already become a prime target of hackers as more and more records have been digitized. But hacking claims data is one thing; getting access to each patient’s most intimate details presents a whole new type of risk — particularly when those details are linked to consumer data and social media logins. Providers must design their solutions from the outset to employ mitigation techniques such as storing minimal personally identifiable data, regularly deleting session transcripts following analysis, and encrypting data on the server itself (not just communications).

AI vendors also must deal with the acknowledged limitations of AI, such as a tendency for machine learning to discriminate based on race, gender, or age. For instance, if an AI tool that uses speech patterns to detect mental illness is trained using speech samples only from one demographic group, working with patients from outside that group might result in false alerts and incorrect diagnoses. Similarly, a virtual therapist trained primarily on the faces of tech company employees may be less effective reading non-verbal cues from women, people of color, or seniors — few of whom work in tech. To avoid this risk, AI vendors must recognize the tendency and develop AI tools using the same rigorous standards as research clinicians who diligently seek test groups representative of the whole community.

More broadly, AI’s scale can be both a blessing and a curse. With AI, one poor programming choice carries the risk of harming millions of patients. Just as in drug development, we’re going to need careful regulation to make sure that large-scale treatment protocols remain safe and effective.

But as long as appropriate safeguards are in place, there are concrete signs that AI offers a powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tool in the battle against mental illness. Below, we examine four approaches with the greatest promise.

Making humans better. At their most basic level, AI solutions help psychiatrists and other mental health professionals do their jobs better. They collect and analyze reams of data much more quickly than humans could and then suggest effective ways to treat patients.

Ginger.io’s virtual mental health services — including video and text-based therapy and coaching sessions — provide a good example. Through analyzing past assessments and real-time data collected using mobile devices, the Ginger.io app can help specialists track patients’ progress, identify times of crisis, and develop individualized care plans. In a year-long survey of Ginger.io users, 72 percent reported clinically significant improvements in symptoms of depression.

Anticipating problems. Mental health diagnosis is also being supplemented by machine-learning tools, which automatically expand their capabilities based on experience and new data. One example is Quartet Health, which screens patient medical histories and behavioral patterns to uncover undiagnosed mental health problems. For instance, Quartet can flag possible anxiety based on whether someone has been repeatedly tested for a non-existent cardiac problem.

It also can recommend pre-emptive follow-up in cases where patients may become depressed or anxious after receiving a bad diagnosis or treatment for a major physical illness. Already being adopted by insurance companies and employer medical plans, Quartet has reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations by 15 to 25% for some of its users.

Dr. Bot. So-called chatbot counseling is another AI tool producing results. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation, either through text or a voice-enabled AI interface. In mental health, these bots are being pressed into service by employers and health insurers to root out individuals who might be struggling with substance abuse, depression, or anxiety and provide access to convenient and cost-effective care.

Woebot, for example, is a chatbot developed by clinical psychologists at Stanford University in 2017. It treats depression and anxiety using a digital version of the 40-year-old technique of cognitive behavioral therapy – a highly structured talk psychotherapy that seeks to alter a patient’s negative thought patterns in a limited number of sessions.

In a study of university students suffering from depression, those using Woebot experienced close to a 20% improvement in just two weeks, based on PHQ-9 scores — a common measure of depression. One reason for Woebot’s success with the study group was the high level of participant engagement. At a low cost of $39 per month, most were talking to the bot nearly every day — a level of engagement that simply doesn’t occur with in-person counseling.

The next generation. Today’s mental health AI solutions may be just the beginning. The University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies has developed a virtual therapist named Ellie that hints at what’s ahead. Ellie is far more than the usual chatbot — she can also detect nonverbal cues and respond accordingly. For instance, she has learned when to nod approvingly or perhaps utter a well-placed “hmmm” to encourage patients to be more forthcoming.

Ellie — an avatar rendered in 3-D on a television screen — functions by using different algorithms that determine her questions, motions, and gestures. The program observes 66 points on the patient’s face and notes the patient’s rate of speech and the length of pauses before answering questions. Ellie’s actions, motions, and speech mimic those of a real therapist — but not entirely, which is an advantage with patients who are fearful of therapy.

In a research project with soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan, Ellie uncovered more evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the Post-Deployment Health Assessment administered by the military. Ellie was even able to identify certain “tells” common to individuals suffering from PTSD. With up to 20% of returning veterans coping with PTSD and a staggering suicide rate among the population, the potential impact of a solution like Ellie is significant.

As with all potential breakthroughs, caveats remain and safeguards must be developed. Yet, there’s no doubt we’re on the cusp of an AI revolution in mental health — one that holds the promise of both better access and better care at a cost that won’t break the bank.

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