Social media has radically transformed advertising and marketing, requiring a new set of writing and graphic design skills. While Facebook may seem simple and cost-effective, it can be misused or even under-used by companies who do not understand how the site works. As Dan Zarrella and Alison Zarrella state on the cover of The Facebook Marketing Book, “just showing up is not enough.” A sequel of sorts to Dan Zarella’s The Social Media Marketing Book, The Facebook Marketing Book provides concise, clearly written advice on using the social networking site to promote products and organizations. The book offers an overview of setting up a Facebook page, writing advertising copy, and designing graphics and applications to attract potential customers. While supplemental reading may be required, particularly concerning analytics and return on investment (ROI), the manual walks the reader though Facebook basics, explaining how social media marketing differs from traditional advertising.
Experienced Facebook users will find the first three chapters simplistic, but newcomers should benefit from Zarrella and Zarella’s thorough definitions of a Facebook profile versus a page. The authors offer step-by-step instructions on setting up profiles and pages, and discuss the advantages of establishing groups. Although avoiding overly technical specifics, they also describe creating applications, and how they can further advertise a brand. Those looking for explicit programming information should consult another manual, as The Facebook Marketing Book functions as an introduction and demonstration of how applications help to promote a product.
How does social media marketing differ from print and television advertising? Think socially, Zarrella and Zarrella emphasize. The audience becomes one’s partner in marketing in that they help spread a message through sharing. One goal, the authors explain, is for an application to “go viral” — to accomplish such a goal, the advertising campaign should be contagious. They suggest designing applications that mimic pre-existing behaviors, such as sending a congratulatory gift to a college graduate. Another important aspect of maintaining a Facebook page is by frequently adding content; they list keywords that are often shared, and others that search engines such as Google or Bing consistently find. Copywriters may wish to consult a book addressing search engine optimization (SEO), but The Facebook Marking Book offers a useful introduction to the concept.
While Facebook functions as a useful promotional tool, Zarrella and Zarrella also discuss the benefits of cross-promotion, or integrating the page with Twitter and company web sites. The authors offer an easy-to-emulate example of scheduling daily updates, incorporating Twitter for promotions such as “Free Friday” and “Two for Tuesday.” Constantly updating content may seem daunting, but the book illustrates how devising a schedule and pre-determining themes can ultimately save much time.
Numerous screenshots and graphs accompany the text, although they are not full-color reproductions. Unfortunately the screenshots at times appear blurry, which can be challenging to read. Since the authors often cite these pictures as examples of effective marketing, it is frustrating to not be able to view text or photos clearly. Future editions should include full-color, clear illustrations, as the book details writing and graphic design issues that would benefit from sharper images.
The Facebook Marketing Book serves as a useful, brief overview of the new frontier of social media marketing. Zarrella and Zarrella expertly guide the reader not only in the mechanics, but also the concepts behind social networking. “Do not copy and paste from your website or email campaign,” they stress, reminding readers to rethink their messages for this new environment. The book introduces readers to Facebook marketing basics, those looking for specific information on SEO and application design may want to consult other manuals.