Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard

Search on “social media” on Amazon books, and you get an astonishing 1,300 titles – you'd never know there's a crisis in the publishing biz judging by this embarrassment of riches. For those seeking guidance on social media, this overabundance makes it a struggle to sort the wheat from the chaff.

First-time author Olivier Blanchard's book initially caught my attention because of the brevity and bravery of the title; many writers may have been tempted to appended a question mark after Social Media ROI, but Blanchard is fearless. He is trying to address the key question being asked by many in marketing, public relations and the media, and he does so with clarity and without dodging the complexity.

The book is especially good at rooting social media in a recognizable marketing landscape. Readers familiar with marketing principles, strategy, goals and objectives will quickly understand Blanchard's arguments and frame of reference.

The book is refreshingly straightforward in determining what a meaningful ROI should be, and realistic in how to attain returns. I'd have liked to have seen more real-world examples (and less of the now tired case studies from Dell and the like). In places the book labors the obvious.

The book is not for those looking for tactical details on how to use Twitter, Facebook and the rest, or indeed an understanding of the tools and techniques for measuring ROI – Blanchard defers to others on these details. Rather, this book will help marketing pros understand how social media can play a role in programs and campaigns, and suggest ways of using social media that are results-oriented and driven by common-sense business objectives.

I'd specially recommend the book for marketing managers.

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