Author: Olivier Blanchard
Publisher: Que, 2011
Aimed at: Brand managers in big business
Pros: Very comprehensive and detailed
Cons: ROI not main topic
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
If you are a regular I-Programmer visitor you'll be aware that we consider many aspects of social media marketing as part of our remit. Books on Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook and You Tube, on Google analytics and on conversion optimisation have all proved to have something relevant to say to our developer audience and so I selected this one for review assuming that since developers often have to be able to justify their time and effort spent on social media endeavors a book called Social Media ROI (Return on Investment) might provide some useful pointers.
It might serve this purposed but for a very small number of you - the reason being that this book is pitched at the top echelons of big business and very little of its message can be applied to smaller organisations.
Moreover the idea of ROI (quantifying is the effort delivers) is only dealt with in the final part of the book. A better title would have been Social Media: from first principles and could have been worked into the play on words used in the Foreword: "ROI doesn't stand for Return on Ignorance".
The books four sections cover Strategy, Integration, Management and Measurement respectively and Social Media has a very wide definition - its more than blogs, Facebook and Twitter - and not just about marketing. Rather it looks at how social media can be added to many aspects of an organisation - PR, customer service, internal comms, etc. At the end of the day this ends up being abstract.
I found the the recommendation on the book's front cover to be accurate:
“Blanchard is demanding. He won’t allow you to flip through this book, nod your head, and leave. If you’re in, you’re going to have to invest to get your rewards.”
If you are going to get the best from it you do need to start and the beginning and continue, at least skim-reading to the end. His style is readable and there is good use of headings and lists. This combined with clear introductions to each chapter does help in following his presentation.
The other presentation like feature is the use of diagrams and it was a set of diagrams, specifically organisation charts, in Chapter 8: Laying the Operational Groundwork for Effective Social Media Management, that helped me understand that the type of reader Blanchard has in mind is someone in a business with a deep hierarchy of executive levels - Chief Officers, Vice Presidents, Directors and Managers with multiple levels below them so that they delegate different the execution of social media responsibilities even further down the food chain. No wonder they don't want to hear about the practicalities of doing anything concrete, let alone measuring it . It's all too nebulous for my taste.
This book didn't live up to my expectations and part of this was the fault of the book's title which but on the whole I was simply the wrong reader. This leaves me with a problem in rating it - if you are the right reader for this book - i.e the executive of a large organization who needs then how would you respond? If you want a book that is focused on ROI you would still be disappointed. On the other hand you wanted something that goes from start to finish through contemplating integrating social media in its widest sense into a large organisation in fairly theoretical terms it is a undoubtedly a good book.
If you are a web developer looking for a book on measuring and achieving return on investment from web marketing and integrating social media such as Facebook then here's a list of other reviews (of titles all rated 4 and above) to look at:
Social Media Marketing
Friends with benefits
The Facebook Marketing Book
YouTube for Business
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