Book Review: Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard

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Paying it forward has been a popular buzz-theme as of late, especially within the context of professional development and social responsibility. When applied to social media, C.W. Leadbeater said it best, “You are what you share.” and if this book is any indication of paying it forward, Olivier Blanchard has embodied this ideal.

Blanchard starts with the basics; he delivers insights into the social media world with a no-nonsense light in Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. This “meat and potatoes” business guide, will help the inexperienced as well as the experienced develop and hone excellent social communications habits, mindsets and insights into effective social communication programs. A quote within the forward from Brian Solis best describes the affect that it will have on readers. Solis states, “Thanks to Olivier, you’ll find the answers to your questions and also answers to the questions that you didn’t know to ask.”

Social Media plays an increasingly larger role within communications and marketing. The digital landscape is arguably the fastest paced environment for PR practitioners and communicators to work in. Whether one works full time within the digital/social media realm or part of a team that implements social communications into strategy, it is of no consequence, this read is a MUST.

For years, the debate has raged as to how to prove or justify the ROI on digital/social efforts and surrounding the debate, many questions arise such as: Can it be measured, If it can, what should be measured and how does it correlate? How do I translate this to executives? These are but a few of those questions and the answer to all these questions, via Olivier Blanchard is a resounding yes!

Blanchard challenges professionals to take a much more serious and in-depth look at the organizational structure and base purpose of their programs. Blanchard says, “A social media program is not a mere marketing add on. More than anything, a social media program is neither simple nor easy.” This direct approach cuts through buzzwords and attributes what is important, why it is important and how it can be important for the reader.

Social Media ROI is a true resource. Blanchard aggregates some of the best lessons a communicator can use to assist their programs or to even develop a program that doesn’t exist. Some of the “KPI” of Social Media ROI are how to:

  • Align social media to business goals and functions
  • Get started by “listening before talking”
  • Leverage mobility and the “on-the-fly” social media culture
  • Establish the importance internally and externally the need for social media policies, guidelines and training
  • To deliver real-time digital support and customer service

If the “KPI’s” given freely in this book weren’t enough, Blanchard in his generosity of spirit with his pay it forward mentality, provides a free online edition when his paperback has been purchased.


264032cJR Rochester is the current membership co-chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section. Connect with him on Twitter @TrulyJR

Four Social Media Challenges for the Young Professional

Growing up in the whirlwind of social media, many young professionals find this area as one of their specialties. It’s almost inevitable that in today’s industry you’ll be involved with social at some point in your career. However, even if you rock at social media, there’s hurdles you may face as a young professional when dealing with execs, clients or the business side of the company.

Here’s some of the challenges of working on social media and steps to finding a solution:

What’s the ROI?

Ah, the dreaded return on investment. Social media is a great tool from a PR perspective, but if you can’t prove what it’s doing on the business side, you don’t have much going for you. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness or creating sales leads, you need to be able to provide quantifiable results that prove why your company needs a social presence. If you can show numbers directing customers from social platforms to your website with intent to buy, perfect! However, it’s not always that easy. Think outside the box – showcase conversations that you’ve had or feedback you’ve received that turned a skeptic into a brand believer. You must be ready and able to prove – with results – why social media is necessary.

Every. Single. Post. Must be approved.

This is one of the hardest hoops to jump through. Everyone knows real-time content and engagement can be more meaningful than a month’s worth of pre-scheduled posts, but oftentimes the legal department trumps for social media. Try proposing an in-depth social media strategy that would guide your real-time engagement policies and would have legal’s stamp of approval. This would lay out the topics you can cover, conversations to take part in and outline specific guidelines. I’ve found that partial content calendars work wonders – you still have pre-approved content approved by legal, but you also have the guidelines and permission to create content and engage in real-time. It’s a win-win.

We’d like to just be on Facebook and Twitter.

Sticking to the basics of Facebook and Twitter is the safe, and sometimes, dangerous route. These are both valuable platforms in many cases, but they’re not right for every brand or company. If you’re looking to reach the teenage audience you may not be connecting with them on Facebook, as they’re too busy on Snapchat or Instagram. If you’re proposing the idea of being on a new platform lead by example and showcase other successful brands who’ve executed their strategies. Back up your case with facts on how you’d better be able to reach your audience and why you’re missing out by not having a presence. You can’t be everything to everyone on all platforms, but you should look beyond Facebook and Twitter.

Because you’re a millennial, you’re a pro at social media marketing, right?

Sometimes social media will get thrown to the intern or newbie since higher management isn’t accustom to best practices and don’t have time to devote to the practice. Just because you’re familiar with the various platforms and have put together content calendars before may not mean you’re experienced enough to develop overall strategy – that’s a big chunk of responsibility. Luckily, there’s an abundance of blogs, webinars and workshops that can help you continuously learn and stay up on trends. Take advantage of resources to stay up to speed with the ever-changing world of social.

What social media challenges have you faced as a young professional in the industry?


6764ca56d3423d376c8675cca0f7d1f7Ashleigh Mavros is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and works in public relations at Fahlgren Mortine, a fully-integrated agency in Columbus. She is a member of the Central Ohio PRSA Programs Committee. Connect with Ashleigh on Twitter at @ashleighmavros or on LinkedIn.