Likeable Social Media

I am currently taking a graduate class on social media marketing. One assignment was a book review. In the end, I picked the book most recently published: Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen.

New to the world of social media marketing, I had never heard of Dave. A quick search showed he’s the cofounder and CEO of Likeable Media, a leading social marketing firm. With a client list that includes 1-800-flowers.com, Neutrogena, and Verifzon Fios, and a very informative blog, Dave has the clout to write such a book. I was sold.

The Book Itself

Likeable Social Media starts with examples from positive experiences the author has had with organizations that use social media effectively from his personal experience. In one example, he describes poor customer service he experienced at a hotel in Las Vegas. While in line, he tweeted about it. A rival hotel responded, simply apologizing and wishing him a nice stay in town. Where did he stay his next time there? That’s right, the rival.

But it didn’t stop there. He also “liked” the rival hotel’s Facebook page. Some of his friends noticed his “like” during their own hotel research. They decided to stay there as well due to his recommendation.

It’s a great example of the power of social media. And it really gets you excited to read more. Only a few chapters in, I felt myself thinking of how what I’d read could apply to my daily work as a web developer/business owner.

One of the great strengths of this book is the many examples. Each chapter begins with an issue. Then, the author explains the heart of the problem and a technique for using social media. Next, real-world examples show the technique successfully implemented by leading companies (Starbucks, UNOs Chicago Pizza, Stride Rite, Omaha Steaks, and more). Finally, each chapter concludes with a list of “Action Items,” as a form of home practice, with a brief summary.

So, What’s the Book About?

The book can actually be broken into 4 themes:

1. Listen

Dave says listening is the foundation to target your customers. You can learn something differnet from each of the major social networks. Hint: Facebook is for targeting very specific audiences, while Twitter is more of a catch all and you need to search keywords to find conversations in your area. There you can learn about them.

2. Be Transparent

Another theme is being authentic with users. Honesty is of the utmost importance as you build a relationship with them and they get used to your voice. Or, as an example, if there are several posters, that too should be known.

He also talks quite a bit about supplying free content to your users. By supplying value, your customers will see you as a leader and want to use your services/product when in need.

3. Be Responsive

While you should expect good comments, it’s even more important to respond quickly to the negative. By helping resolve them quickly you take control of poor situations, winning over customers.

4. Be Likeable

Then, he turns things toward the mind of your customer. He stresses the need to think what they want and produce content that they will enjoy and like. By liking they increase the likelihood of exposure on the Facebook wall.

Not only that, you must have and encourage conversations with your customers. Some may have nothing to do with your business, but have everything to do with what your customers like.

My Thoughts

As a visual learner, I truly enjoyed so many clear examples from the author. It gave me many ways to visualize the techniques described and see how organizations have used them for success in different ways. I typically found a situation in each chapter that I could relate to.

As I read further, though, I found some of the points repetitive. This is largely because many examples worked across techniques. For example, one chapter asks you to “be authentic,” while the next asks you “be honest and transparent.” Both are good points, but the material was similar and ruined a bit of the momentum and excitement that chapters before had generated.

Also, the author really skips the topic of social media analytic tools. While I was a bit disappointed, I will not hold it against him as these seem to change daily. Perhaps that can be a follow-up…

Whether you are just getting started or have an established social media presence you’re doing yourself a disservice by not buying this book, which is what I now call “the manual.” Social media offers you a way to listen to your customers, target almost anyone, and interact like never before. This book will get you a long ways toward an effective plan. I am truly excited to implement some of the techniques covered in my social media marketing as well as general business practices.

Written on November 02, 2011 by Kevin

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