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Everybody's got a "go-to" shelf of books they constantly dig through and re-read. I don't put a lot of books on my shelf, but Olivier Blanchard's Social Media ROI is going to be the latest addition to my "go-to" shelf. Blanchard's work will join two other measurement favorites of mine on the shelf: James Sterne's Social Media Metrics (an earlier, but thorough work) and Katie D. Paine's recent Measure What Matters.
There are really two general groups of social media practitioners today. The first group knows the tools, loves the tools, knows how to teach people how to use the tools, and thinks the tools ARE social media. Just for the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with that-- I think it's just an incomplete thought. The second group approaches social media as a strategy. They know the tools as well, but they know that tools only help build the house, they are not the house. Tools may disappear (as some already have), may evolve, may mutate, but the strategy will be constant. Blanchard's book is for the second group, or for people who want to understand the complete social media management mindset. Its not a resource for filling your tool belt.
What do I love about this book? Let's start with comprehensive. A nutshell summary: create a social company that aligns social media to business goals and performance measurement, and is sustainable. Like others before him, Blanchard admits that creating a successful integration of social media into a company involves changing some operational groundwork (chapter 8), and may need to be accompanied by a paradigm shift.
The book also contains sections for nonprofits, internal support, public relations, human resources, and crisis management, to name a few. There is a lengthy section on the nuts and bolts of measurement (including formulas) and advice on how to create buy-in for comprehensive social media programs. Importantly, he addresses the "big five" myths of social media including "social media is a waste of time." Where have I heard that before?
Another section of the book is about integrating social media into your organization, and includes some advice on models, who should handle it and a description of what a social media director might look like. Policies, guidelines and training are also covered. But I'm just giving you a 3000-foot view. There's just too much good stuff in this book to discuss in a review. Just get it and read it and do it.
Social Media ROI reminds me that social media is not an add-on; it needs to be a fully integrated strategy in every aspect of business.It's a powerful media that can create a consistent upward climb in long-term customer engagement that traditional media cannot do alone.
Blanchard, a native of France, is principal at BrandBuilder Marketing, and maintains a few highly rated blogs. He has an extensive bio. Read it here.