The `for dummies’ franchise has covered just about every topic under the sun, including information technology, so it’s no surprise to see a new title focused on how companies can get the best out of Facebook.
Facebook has grown into the dominant global social network over the past few years with over 400m active users, so I read this book with some trepidation about which level of user it would aim to inform. As an experienced Facebook user with experience of online promotions and campaigns, I was interested in seeing what it could offer.
However, the first 52 pages of the book are consumed with a step-by-step guide to Facebook, without any focus on the specifics of using online marketing tools. Then the book focuses the next one hundred or so pages on creating pages, groups, and events.
Only in the latter third of the book does it begin to explore the use of applications and viral marketing, which is a shame, because there is an important tale to tell for companies who really want to reach out to consumers online.
Facebook is a constantly evolving environment so the book should have steered clear of screen shots and detailed guidance on menu options – who can say whether those menus will look the same next week, let alone in a couple of years? This book will have dated by summer 2010.
A book is not the natural medium for guidance on how to use a social network. The authors should have abstracted away from the nuts and bolts of Facebook and focused more on the challenges of marketing using any social network. This may not have given the book a typical `for dummies’ approach, but it would make it more useful for marketing professionals.
The book assumes the reader is still considering whether to sign up and use a social network. Educated marketing professionals are not browsing bookstores looking for guides that will give them a reason to get online. They are already online, already using Facebook, and already familiar with all the tools described in at least the first 200 pages of this book. This is 2010 – not 2006. Over 100m mobile devices connect to Facebook every single day…
File this one under doorstop.