Have you ever seen the movie Raising Arizona? It’s on my list of very favorite movies. One line that is particularly funny, albeit understated, is when the Dr. Spock guide to child-rearing is referred to as “the instruction manual.” It’s sort of apropos though, right? If your child has red dots on his chest, you ask Dr. Spock about it. If your child’s poopoo isn’t looking right, you check your “instruction manual” to see what to do.
If we think of your use of social media for business purposes as your new baby (and why wouldn’t we?) then I am happy to tell you I have the perfect instruction manual for you. It’s called Social Media ROI, and it’s by Olivier Blanchard.
Who could benefit from reading this book?
I’m gonna go ahead and say that I highly recommend you read this book if you are using social media to help build your brand and/or business. However, that’s a pretty vague sentiment, right? So let me put it this way. If you have any of the following questions, you should read this book.
1. What should I measure in social media?
2. Why do people scoff at me online when I say I have a “Social Media strategy?”
3. How can I sell social media usage to the C-suite?
4. How can I get marketing and sales to speak the same language?
5. Who does social media belong to as a channel?
6. How can I know for certain that social media will work for our business?
7. How can we hire the time factor involved in using social media properly?
8. What is the difference between an objective, a target, a tactic, and a strategy?
9. How does one calculate ROI?
10. Why do I *need* to use social media?
Yep, you can get answers to all of those questions by reading this book. See what I mean? Pretty interesting and spiffy!
It’s a business book, not a social media book
Before I read this book, I saw an interview Olivier did where he noted that the title of the book was really misleading. After reading the book, I can see that’s 100% true. This is really not a social media book. Rather, it is a business book that is integrating the use of social media platforms into what has been traditional lines of business thought. This is a rarity in my experience so far…many books these days focus on social media as the star and then say, “By the way, this can help your business.”
In this book, your business is the starting point. How do you set goals? How do you decide on your departmental structure and who is responsible for what? Then, social media is brought into the conversation. OK, you have your goals. How can social media help? OK, you have your structure. How can social media be overlaid onto that structure effectively?
If you are a proponent of integration within companies, you will appreciate this book too. Pretty much every facet of a business is touched upon here, then woven into the more general conversation of how social media can affect that facet. For example, if you are working in an HR department and have been charged with finding a “social media person,” this book offers you different kinds of roles to hire for, how to hire for those roles, and how to monitor your new hire’s effectiveness. If you are in a management role, you get clear-cut ideas on how to map your organization’s structure so that your new “social media person” knows exactly who to report to, when, and why. If you’re in the legal department, you are given solid advice about how to help HR and management create a workable guide for employees who are using social media channels for work.
It’s a rich piece of fudge
Given the depth and breadth of information available in this book, it is not the kind of book you want to read while in a really noisy area or in an environment where you can’t pay careful attention. Granted, I’m an OCD reader and like to read every word, but even so, there are step-by-step directions, charts to analyze, and a lot of other details that are significant but that may take some time to absorb. I would suggest this is the kind of book that you read once all the way through and then return to as you find yourself facing questions or problems that you know were covered. Take notes. Take breaks to apply what you’re learning to your own situation.
Image credit: Geoff Livingston (http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoliv/5492603960/) via Creative Commons