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on June 17, 2011
ROI - Doesn't Mean Return on Ignorance - it means Social Media Marketing Return on Investment (ROI)

As someone who teach Social Media Marketing in San Francisco and online (Google 'Jason McDonald' or click on my Amazon profile to connect), I eagerly awaited the UPS man with her delivery of a book claiming to help us measure the Return on Investment of Social Media Marketing. I wondered, would the measurement by an increase in Twitter followers, Facebook likes, LinkedIn connections, YouTube views, or perhaps the Holy Grail of marketing - actual conversions to a sales action, like purchasing our product? Many are engaged in Social Media Marketing, I thought, but few are engaged in the actual measurement of their Social Media Marketing ROI.

Blanchard makes some great points throughout the book, beginning with the title. Even if measurement of ROI is difficult, that's no excuse not to set up basic measurements for a Social Media Marketing campaign. Before / after is an obvious split - do we have more Twitter followers today, or more tomorrow after we honestly and eagerly create a Twitter marketing plan? URL click thru's is another - if we Tweet a URL, blog it, post it to our Facebook page - do people actually click thru. is a great free service for quick URL tracking. And, finally, if our ultimate goal is to sell something or drive registrations for a free consultation, webinar, or download - is our Social Media Marketing driving those conversions? Blanchard touches on all these topics, but doesn't provide a great framework for setting up measurement.

Ultimately, the book - despite its title - isn't really about ROI. It's more about weaving Social Media Marketing into your organization. That's really pre-ROI, if you think about it. And that, dear reader, brings us to the year of our Ford.

Social Media Marketing in the Year of Our Ford

In Huxley's famous dystopian novel, Brave New World, the future society is organized around principles of mass production, modeled very much after Henry Ford and the factory metaphor. Ford is so worshiped in the future society, that people speak of "our Ford" much as people today speak of "our Lord" or say "Jesus" when they just missed a close call in an automobile.

Blanchard, like so many in Social Media Marketing, worships at the feet of our Ford. Many of his examples, connections, reviews come from major companies - companies such as Ford. For example, on page 23, Blanchard discusses the head of Ford's Social Media strategy (Scott Monty) and how Ford reacted to the negative PR about the auto industry bail-out's. Ford wasn't a recipient, yet its brand was damaged, so Monty went into social media overdrive to address brand damage during the financial crisis. Is this important? Yes? Is it relevant to a small business? Not so much. Few of us have a brand as big and powerful as Ford, and few of us are ever even close to receiving Tarp money.

Why is this relevant? The issue is that the examples drawn in this book, plus in many others, draw on high profile names and brands (names and brands that help authors sell books, give books credibility by name-dropping...) but ultimately are not very relevant to small businesses.

Small businesses need social media advice on issues such as how to respond to a negative review on Yelp, how to get to the page 1 of a Google search using Google Places, how to get your products into Google Merchant Center, or the tricks and tips to success of review marketing on In this, the book disappoints because it worships at the feet of our Ford.

Furthermore, much of the book is really addressed to large companies, with large teams, and large brand issues. Many chapters read at a very high level, executive discussion - when most small businesses need hands-on, direct advice on how to implement social media marketing. Is this bad? Not particularly. But if you are a small business struggling with social media marketing, much of this book is clearly not written for you. It's written for executives at multinational corporations such as Ford, not the mom-and-pop watch shop in New York City that needs to encourage Yelp reviews.

Back to ROI Measurement

Leaving aside the middle chapters, focused on more abstract, big company issues, Blanchard returns to the topic that best propels his book to your attention: ROI, and the measurement of social media marketing ROI. His high-level advice is very good for companies, big and small -

* Keep an eye on objectives and targets

* Monitor, measure, report.

* Maintain a list of everything you can measure.

* Maintain a list of everything you must measure.

* Test, measure, learn, adapt, repeat.

The final measurement chapters have great food-for-thought examples, such as connecting changes in sales performance with social media mentions. They lack a clear list of tools for measurement (especially free social media marketing tools), as well as a clear "to do" list that connects abstract concepts to practical measurement. That said, the ROI discussion is one of the first I have seen in a book, and therefore this book will stay on my Social Media Marketing bookshelf - as a remember to a) not worship at the feet of Ford, and b) measure everything!
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on March 14, 2011
I am kind of a book snob. When it comes it reading "business" books I expect a lot of dramatic stories which are loosely related to the topic and a few insightful nuggets of information. Let's be honest, most books for the business audience could barely fill out a good blog post.

"Social Media ROI" scores high on providing good actionable content and information for anyone who is trying to build a social media program. It is a one stop shop. You get information on how to evaluate your organization's current social media abilities. You learn how to sell this program to others in your company. You'll even learn about the metrics you should follow and how to create a good reporting system.

The reason I am withholding a star is that I wanted to hear a deeper discussion around the concrete ROI that Social Media can provide for business. I mean any business. If you are in retail, manufacturing, CPG, or sister verticals the discussion around ROI will be helpful. If you are not in these verticals it will be less applicable. And if you are in B2B like I am it probably wont scratch your itch.

That being said, I enjoyed reading this book. There are obviously years of experience behind the information that is shared. And let's be honest you can't cover everything in one book. I would love to see follow up materials perhaps in blog format that attempt to tackle the question around Social Media ROI in a B2B context.
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on March 3, 2011
For the past few years, corporate executives skillfully shot down social media evangelists with the question of death: "Oh yeah, so, what's the ROI of social media, huh?" The bewildered evangelists and gurus stammered something like, "it's all about the relationship," or some other more new-age sounding mantra.

Now corporate executives and social media gurus alike can breathe a sigh of relief. Olivier Blanchard answers not only the specific ROI question, he also gives a solid framework for assessing the real question: "What's the VALUE of social media?" Though the questions SOUND like the same thing, they're vastly different. One is about money. The other is about purpose. Armed with Social Media ROI you'll know the difference and you'll be able to answer both questions with intelligence.

Olivier's book is essential reading for anyone who seeks to use social media to accomplish business objectives.

To get the most value from the book, buy it, read it, mark it up and then tap into the power of social media for yourself and see the value of all this new stuff by connecting with Olivier on Twitter and by commenting on his blog. When you do, you'll be taking your own professional development up a notch and you'll feel like you've earned your MBA in marketing. It's a good feeling.
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on March 13, 2011
I have never met Olivier, but I have had an online relationship with him for over 3 years and I can tell you he knows what he is talking about. He is firm in his stand, and he always takes the time to explain why he takes the stand he does, he is a man on a mission.

Now, for some reason the world has missed a simple observation, Social Media (conversations)is not new, its just gone digital. What has been overlooked, is how to accurately translate these conversations into revenue, how these conversations become conversions, how they actually bring about a result worth measuring. No Olivier is not the only one to see that conversations can have a Return On Investment (ROI), he is however, the only one to date that can articulate it with clarity and passion. And now with this book, he is working with you side-by-side.

What caught my eye upon cracking the cover, is how Olivier walks you from beginning to end, from what a Social Media Program IS, what you need to think about, to what it should look like,and what you should get from such a program. It's the first Social Media University TextBook in my humble opinion.

Right from the beginning you'll read how to create a social company, all the way to Analysis and reporting of your social media program.

This book is easy to read and yet it is serious heavy lifting at times, but if you take the time and follow Olivier's thinking, the confusion simply goes away. If you do the work, you will have a solid foundation of how to not only leverage Social Media networks, you'll know how to participate in them, how to plug Social Media into your business, how to listen, how to monitor. and as he says, " Listening Before Talking". You learn more from this book than sitting at your computer trying to figure it out. Olivier is your Social Media ROI Mentor, all for the price of a book.

One of my favorite chapters is, The Eleven Key Best Practices for Social Media Program Management.

I highly recommend reading this book many times not just once,it is packed with so much, one reading would merely set you up to fail. You have in your hands a text book if you study it, you will increase your odds of success in all social networks. A MUST have on your book shelf. This book will protect you from those who consider themselves Social Media GURU's, the so called Social Media Expert.

This book will play a huge role in my work, how I see the future of business, how this fits an open and free business model, and how an ROI can be achieved. I look forward to implementing many of the steps in this book, and you will too, it's the best investment you'll make for the future of your business.

Make Social Media work for you, buy this book and you will be working along side Olivier, you'll be working with the best. be sure to follow him on Twitter: [...]
Owen Greaves
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on April 6, 2011
For anyone serious about getting into the utilization of Social Media for business this is THE book to read. I helps with the basics and provides very practical advise. Actually this book will provide great value for the executive decision maker, the entrepreneur and the business owner as it is simple and not laden with all kinds of industry lingo and acronyms while providing immediate useful insight into what's important. Congratulations to Olivier Blanchard and thank you for making things more understandable for the non expert crowd!
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on July 2, 2011
Good book for beginners. Much of the financial commentary is glossed over, broad, and not accurate. If you run a sizeable organization, over $5mm in sales, or have a start-up with significant potential, seek the help of a professional firm to contribute to strategy and execution.
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on March 7, 2011
Olivier really gets ROI in all areas of business. If you are a business owner, small or large, then you need to read this book.

It's not about Social Media only, but how businesses apply the basics of ROI to their Plans. This is a walk-through, that is simple for anyone to understand and apply to their current situation.

This is why most businesses fail today. They have no measurable way to know when they reach a target. They have no path to understand what it is they are after and have no idea when they get there.

Read, implement and grow your business today with this information. Olivier does a great job in keeping it easy to read, and understand at most any education or experience level. Even if you own your very own business as many of us do, this sets the tone for running your business like a business with achievable outcomes.

Great work here.
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on March 12, 2011
Disclosure 1) I know Olivier.
Disclosure 2) I have kidded him about where I am in the acknowledgements. (I should have been higher on the list)

But, plain and simple: Neither of those clouded me enough to NOT write a review once I completed reading the Kindle edition.

Measuring ROI is usually at the snakeoil-iest of all of Social Media measurement. The gurus have ALL got some way to do it. But if you want straightforward, no nonsense ideas on where to start, what to judge, and how you REALLY know if you are moving the needle, this is a book I recommend you consider.

It's one of the easiest reads I've seen in business books, with useful takeaways every chapter.

Well worth the coin.
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on April 16, 2011
Bigger books have been written on social media, but not better ones. This book systematically builds a social media programme through Blanchard's four sections: Strategy, Integration, Management and Measurement.

As Blanchard is first and foremost a brand expert, this book is not a full of social media hype, nor about social media as an annexed wonder-tool that must change a company. Instead, as a brand expert, he demonstrates how social media can be added not just to the marketing mix of a company, but it's PR, customer service, internal comms, etc.

Highly recommended.
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on April 4, 2011
The first half of the book is simply a tutorial/primer on Social media and how a corporation should run its social media program...which was not of much interest to me. However, I found the full worth of the book's money in its last chapter - where the author provides some concreteness to the hitherto illusive idea of return on investment for social media. This is a very impressive chapter and brings a lot of clarity to the subject. I wish the author had illustrated the ROI on Social media with a solid case study but even with what it has, the book is worth the money.
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