A Review of Social Media R.O.I. by Olivier Blanchard

Social Media R.O.I. is a good, comprehensive primer for any professional who wants to better understand how to leverage social media within their organization as a tool for creating a social business (as opposed to a social marketing program).  Specifically, if your business touches social media in any way and you work in marketing, business development, customer service, human resources, or are the CEO or a senior level executive of a company, buy this book!

All too often people fall into the trap of thinking that social media is something that is limited to the realm of marketing, advertising, or public relations, when in fact social media is a strategic business issue. Social media represents an evolution in communication, not a revolution. It’s a tool you use to help achieve business objectives; a tool that embraces the dynamic shift in communication that is taking place around us, which recognizes that the customer is not only at the center of the conversation, but that the conversation is a two-way communication.

One of the most common mistakes made by organizations that are starting out with social media is that they place too much emphasis on social media tools and not the objectives for using them. In Social Media R.O.I., Olivier Blanchard differentiates between strategy and tactics, goals and targets, and how to tie such measures into a social media program that addresses business objectives. He mentions specificity as a roadmap for turning goals into targets: the more specific you are, the more you shift your organization from a maintenance mode to a problem solving and business building mode. Specifically, he talks about how social media applies to increasing sales, aiding customer service representatives, enabling human resources departments, business intelligence efforts, and the function of public relations.

Below is a brief overview of the book in Blanchard’s own words:

As you can clearly see, Social Media R.O.I. is more than just a review of social media tools and strategies. The book details a framework for utilization and optimization across the organization to achieve maximum results, and he lays out the necessary steps for straightforward application through a detailed approach to program development, integration, management, and measurement.

From the very beginning, Blanchard begins his book with the reminder that building a social media program for a company is not easy: patience, long hours and a razor-sharp focus of getting things done right will be required. To elaborate on the four main points of the book, below are some of the types of questions that you will find thoroughly answered upon completion of the text:

  1. Strategy and Development – How do you align business goals with a social media strategy that yields results?
  2. Integration – How do you build a physical infrastructure and operational framework that carries out primary business objectives? How do you institute a program both laterally and vertically across your company? What types of policies and guidelines should be a part of a social media program?
  3. Program Management – What are some of the best practices for adapting a social media program to such business lines as marketing and customer service? What is the best approach to managing an online community? How can a social media program be used to address human resources issues?
  4. Measurement – What is the best method for measuring, analyzing, and reporting data that captures business objectives? What is the difference between financial vs. non-financial ROI?

How to Bridge the Knowing-Doing Gap

Even though you may fully comprehend the big picture when it comes to pulling together the various aspects of a comprehensive social media program, there is oftentimes one large obstacle that may still need to be overcome when the time comes to turn your ideas into action: politics! So how do you get past such a roadblock within your organization when no one else seems to be able to see the forest for the trees?

According to Blanchard, who has 15 years of experience as a brand strategist for B2B and B2C marketing management experience, it’s all about education. Through a strategy of continuous education, and a focus on objectives, targets, and results, it should only be a matter of time before adoption catches on. In other words, understanding the business enough to see where social media fits in, and having a solid plan that addresses business issues, provides clear measures for resolving those issues, and that addresses potential concerns or fallbacks is always going to be the best approach for a pitch.

For some additional tips, you can also read my book review of the Knowing-Doing Gap by clicking here, and learn about some of the reasons why smart companies fail to turn knowledge into action.

For more information about Olivier Blanchard, visit his web site and subscribe to his blog at http://www.olivierblanchard.net, or follow him on Twitter @thebrandbuilder.

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