book on social media
Writing the Book on Social Media: A First-Time Author’s Experience

“It’s about accepting the flood of creativity when it happens,” said Aaron Templer, when asked about the process of writing his first book, “Leading in a Social World,” which he describes as “a post-social media marketing book for business leaders and marketers.” Templer, founder and owner of Three Over Four, a full-service boutique agency in Denver, had never written a book previously. To get his endeavor off the ground, Templer, past president of the Colorado AMA chapter and the AMA’s Professional Chapters Council, utilized his experience, network and creative instincts to create the finished product.

A New Look at Social Media

During his time as the marketing director at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, Templer became familiar with leadership in both academia and industry and started thinking about social media through the lens of leadership. As social media became a dominant tool in marketers’ toolboxes, Templer also saw its shortcomings. After examining data and looking at the strategies and experiences of a variety of brands, he realized that success in building online communities depended more on leadership than marketing tactics. “As a marketer, it’s social capital, both in person and online, that matters,” he said.

Templer’s goal is to show marketers how they can connect with customers and succeed in our 24/7 digital world by using their leadership skills to build social capital. “Social capital is essential, whether in person or online,” he emphasized. In his research for the book, he looked at 500 studies on how marketers think about and use social media. He concluded that marketers can be biased when it comes to evaluating social media – “we look at directional data and use that as marketing data” – and that automation tools to measure the results of an organization’s social media strategy may not provide the most accurate picture – “they want to tell us how they are successful.”

Templer also looked at neuroscience research, with an emphasis on how social networks operate and how people’s minds navigate them. He focused on how people respond to content and how they connect to people and brands in digital social circles. One of the major challenges of writing the book, he noted, was “deciding how much research was enough and when and how to stop” and move on to the writing process.

Creating the Product

Having never previously written a book, Templer was in uncharted territory. It was important to be true to himself during the process. “I spent time being honest with myself and how it would work,” he said. To keep himself on schedule, he made an effort to work on the book a little each day, noting that mornings worked best for him. 

As a first-time author, Templer encountered the predictable difficulty of connecting with publishers in the industry. Without previous publications to his credit, he faced an uphill battle trying to convince publishers to take a chance on his work. After meeting with one publisher and being told he would have no power over the editing process through the traditional publishing route, he decided to self-publish. Fortunately, he had “a trusted guide” in a friend who had previous experience with self-publishing, who he hired to help guide him through the editing, design and production process.

Templer is eagerly looking forward to the book’s release and hopes to spark conversation in the marketing community on how marketers can generate value through social media. He will be speaking at AMA Baltimore’s AMA in the PM on September 14. To learn more about the event, visit