Social Media Book Review: Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard
One of the things often asked of judges for The Social Buzz Awards is "What's the best way of judging ROI on Social Media?" It may seem like a self-answering question (ROI is your best way of judging ROI - duh) but clearly many still have an issue with it and Olivier Blanchard's book goes a long way to trying to help people and businesses out.
Social Media ROI book review
It's a good thick book, coming in at 280 pages packed with information that will challenge most operators in the social media sphere. It's not a book that advises just counting your daily tweets as a great sign of engagement - far from it. It's a book that starts as it means to go on - presenting solid, business material. Chapter One takes you from Creating a Social Company to aligning Social Media to Business Goals. There's no fluff or feelgood padding here - it's straight in to the deep end.
As such, it's most likely not a book for social media newbies (something like Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith or This is Social Media by Guy Clapperton may be a more gentle introduction to the field) and if AVE is the only business metric you know, prepare to do some homework as terms like Frequency, Reach and Yield are peppered around the book.
All of this is to the reader's benefit though. Blanchard wastes no time in setting out his stall, going through businesses and how a social media program can be brought together. It's more than 200 pages before you get to actually looking at ROI but the pages beforehand lay out very simply the steps companies should take to ensure they have a comprehensive social media operation in place. Blanchard also convincing talks in the language of the C-suite giving marketeers, PRs and others the right tools to go and argue for social media operations to be carried out.
As noted above, one group the book isn't for are the chancres who think that counting some tweets or likes are all that a social media program needs. Blanchard's list on details to monitor covers two pages and is more than 50 items long. It's not a book you can read once and be done with. You'll come back to it time and time again, thinking how certain aspects apply to your own clients or workplace.
Are there any downsides to the book? Your head will hurt after reading it. It's densely packed with Blanchard's viewpoint - and he is very rigid on the idea of ROI. It's about the cash value with modern ideas like Return on Engagement and "What's the ROI of your mum" being given short-shrift (in fairness, if you head over to his blog he's the same there. He's not taking a viewpoint purely for linkbait. He genuinely believes social media projects can have a strong ROI so that people can show value.
It's not an easy read - as Chris Brogan notes "Blanchard is demanding. He won't allow you to flip through this book, nod your head and leave... you're going to have to invest to get your rewards." It's a serious book - but an essential one for anyone serious about social media.
Also, don't be fooled by the disclaimer on the back though about buying the book and getting a free digital copy (a great idea) - the digital copy expires after 45 days.
And if you're still stuck on what ROI is, here's some help...
The Social Buzz Awards 2012 are open for entries until August 1 2012. Click here to enter.
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We'll be reviewing books on social media every Tuesday - if you've got one you think we should be reviewing, let us know in the comments below...