Social Media ROI book

Industry Book Picks: Social Media ROI

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We’re all about staying creative at FUEL, and we want to help spread some of the inspiration. So, we tapped into our team’s bookshelves to find the reads they turn to when they’re looking for a professional lift—from deep dives into industry best practices to unique perspectives on their fields. Here’s the latest pick for our FUEL Favorite Industry Books, courtesy of Zachary Chastain, our senior digital strategist.

Book Title: Social Media ROI
Author: Olivier Blanchard

About the Book

Olivier Blanchard shares his no-nonsense treatise on managing and measuring social media marketing efforts correctly and effectively.

Why I Highly Recommend It

This was the first business book I ever read for the marketing industry. When I first began transitioning into marketing, social media was just starting to gain traction with the masses. Every company’s marketing team was looking to jump on the social media bandwagon: Hotels were giving away rooms to people just because they had a lot of Twitter followers; everyone was worried about increasing their Klout Score; and tech companies were willing to fly 20-year-old “influencers” to the other side of the world to stay in luxury hotels, have breakfast with their senior execs, and then party the night away with their marketing team.

A lot of really fluffy advice was going around, and most companies weren’t looking to tie anything they were doing with social media back to any type of business metric. As long as followers were growing and engagement was up, those were the end goals. That’s as much as anyone was reporting to executives or their boards, which made some bit of sense for the time because it was so new and everyone was still figuring it out. But a lot of early influencers in the space were pushing for a paradigm shift away from tying social media efforts back to real business metrics. One noted expert even published an article in the Harvard Business Review proposing a “value of a like” calculation to replace ROI for measuring social media marketing efforts.

Olivier blew all of that b*llsh*t out of the water. And he wasn’t polite about it, nor did he mince words. He advocated for setting real business goals and tying actual performance metrics that executives would care about to social media marketing efforts long before anyone else did. He refuted the “value of a like” (and quoted/linked to a blog post I wrote when he did, which was the first time anyone of consequence referenced something I wrote for the marketing industry), and he called out anybody he saw who was trying to push that concept in the early days of social media marketing.

How It Helped Me Professionally

Olivier’s book and his Brand Builder blog were very influential for me when I was first getting started in digital marketing. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the industry, even today; but back when that segment was first getting off the ground, there were “gurus” around every corner who somehow had decades of experience in this thing that had only existed for a few years.

That whole situation made me really question whether I was making a good move for my career, and it gave me a lot of misgivings about getting into the digital marketing industry. Olivier showed me that there was a legitimate path I could take to become a true expert and provide real value for my clients and my peers.

After he quoted my blog post, we connected and are still friends to this day. Now he’s a senior analyst at Futurum Research and writes more about broader market trends and predictions than marketing.

Key Takeaways

  1. Social media marketing efforts can be properly quantified, measured, and reported on. I know we take this for granted today, but it was a very different industry in 2010 with lots of fluff and push-back from “gurus” and consultants who stood to lose out if that industry segment matured and their efforts were properly measured.

  2. Olivier also did more than just advocate for proper measurement. He laid out practical methods for how to accomplish it, as well as recommendations for testing and how to tie social media marketing into a company’s existing customer acquisition and branding campaigns.

  3. Olivier also dove into methods for providing effective social customer support at a time when the norm was for companies to do this poorly and few tools existed to make social platforms easy to manage for brands.

Social Media ROI was one of the first influential books I read in my early digital marketing career. It helped shape my own focus on driving real, measurable results for clients and also gave me better insight into how marketing, particularly digital marketing, could provide real value for businesses.

Whether you’re just starting a new career in marketing or you’re an experienced professional looking to get a better understanding of how social media marketing can be tied back to hard business objectives, I highly recommend giving it a read.

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