By Stacey J. Haseleu
Trying to promote a product, brand, company, artist, or even yourself for professional purposes? If so, you should read this elaborate, somewhat excessive title and continue by opening the cover and flipping through each page until you’ve read the entire book.
Why? Because I said so, and if you’re reading my blog that means you can relate to me on some level and, perhaps, you even trust my opinions and experiences more so than the New York Times and USA Today who are saying this is a bestseller.
While many of you may not jump out of your seat and hurry to Barnes and Noble to secure your copy, my suggestion that you read this book, as well as my words that follow, will stay in the back of your mind until the day that you are working for a fortune 500 company and need to find an inexpensive, creative way to promote a new product. Then you’ll remember reading my blog, in which I reviewed a book about successful use of social media, and you’ll choose the book I’m reviewing right now; because a suggestion by someone you relate to is more powerful than any printed advertisement or TV commercial from a stranger.
Ironically, once you purchase the book and begin reading it, you’ll find that the power of social media suggestion is precisely what Dave Kerpen discusses in this book.
Who is Dave?
He is the co-founder, along with his wife Carrie, of Likeable Media – a social media marketing firm based in New York City. The company was founded, Dave reminisces in Chapter 12 of the book, after he and his wife began planning their wedding. Although both wanted a large, New York celebration packed with friends and family, money was tight and NY weddings are expensive.
“Carrie came up with a genius idea,” he writes, “we decided to create a promotion around our wedding.” The couple contacted a local minor league baseball team and “pitched” the idea of having their wedding at home plate after one of the games, in front of a stadium of 5,000 of the bride and grooms closest family, friends, and…. complete strangers.
The minor league team accepted the proposal and Dave and Carrie began contacting sponsors such as 1-800-FLOWERS, Smirnoff, and David’s Bridal. When all was said and done, the couple ended up with $100,000 towards wedding costs, a $20,000 contribution to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and an absolutely amazing wedding!
News about the totally sponsored wedding spread and soon the couple appeared on TV shows and news stations across the nation. The companies that contributed to the wedding received astronomical sales increases because of the media exposure. Everyone was asking the couple what they would do next.
Dave says, “since we couldn’t get married again, we decided to start a company around the concepts of word-of-mouth marketing… Likeable Media was born.”
The book is comprised of 18 chapters, each giving a specific prompt for creating likeable social media. The chapter format works well while reading as it lends itself to a step-by-step exploration of how to master the social media world. It makes the book easy to read. You can read one section in 15-20 minutes, put the book down for a couple of days, and pick right back up where you left off with a new chapter with no difficulty.
The chapter titles can act as an 18-step reminder of how to produce successful social media:
Chapter 1: Listen First and Never Stop Listening
Chapter 2: Way Beyond “Women 25 to 54”: Define Your Target Audience Better than Ever
Chapter 3: Think — and Act — Like Your Consumer
Chapter 4: Invite Your Customers to Be Your First Fans
Chapter 5: Engage: Create True Dialogue with, and Between, Your Customers
Chapter 6: Respond Quickly to All Bad Comments
Chapter 7: Respond to the Good Comments, Too
Chapter 8: Be Authentic
Chapter 9: Be Honest and Transparent
Chapter 10: Should You Ask a Lot of Questions?
Chapter 11: Provide Value (Yes, for Free)
Chapter 12: Share Stories (They’re Your Social Currency)
Chapter 13: Inspire Your Customers to Share Stories
Chapter 14: Integrate Social Media into the Entire Customer Experience
Chapter 15: Use Social Network Ads for Greater Impact
Chapter 16: Admit When You Screw Up, Then Leverage Your Mistakes
Chapter 17: Consistently Deliver Excitement, Surprise, Delight
Chapter 18: Don’t Sell! Just Make it Easy and Compelling for Customers to Buy
In addition to the 18 chapters, Kerpen includes bonuses such as an “introduction,” a “conclusion” section, an “appendix,” and a “notes” section.
Most of these sections are what I like to call the reading “fluff;” however, I would pay particular attention to the conclusion and the appendix. In fact, if someone needed to read the book in 30 minutes, I would instruct them to read the appendix, chapter titles, and the conclusion. While the full effect of examples Dave brings to life throughout the book would be lost, the reader would still be able to narrow down the basic theme.
The appendix explains the basics of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and the “blogosphere.” This section provides general information for audiences that may not be familiar with one, or all, of the social media venues Kerpen further discusses in his book. In fact, I would suggest reading this section first as it will help you visualize Kerpen’s suggestions in a better context.
After delving into specific stories, and somewhat redundant ideas, four themes begin to develop throughout Kerpen’s 18 chapters of social media wizardry. Those four key concepts tell the reader to:
- Listen up – The ability to listen to your customers’ needs, wants, and likes is crucial in providing the appropriate social media coverage of your company/product/brand.
- Be Transparent – Trust is the cornerstone of successful social media usage. If the customer trusts your company/product/brand, they will be more inclined to engage with you and to ultimately buy whatever it is you’re selling. Kerpen explains in detail throughout a few of the chapters how you can be transparent, thereby gaining your consumer’s trust.
- Respond to Everyone – With the new age of social media, everything is not only permanent, but word also spreads more quickly. That is why it’s so important to respond to not only negative comments on social media sites regarding your product/company/brand, but to also respond to the positive comments as well. Responding to both, asserts Kerpen, makes you more transparent/trusted.
- Just Be Likeable – Ahhhh… something we all strive for in social, face-to-face situations. In interviews, we want to be likeable and make a lasting impression. At cocktail parties, as Kerpen suggests in his introduction, we strive to be that person at the party that everyone can relate to. The person who is warm, open, and relatable. Our brand/company/product needs to be that person at the cocktail party and this can be achieved through the proper use of social media.
My Overall Review
While I enjoyed reading Kerpen’s exploration of successful social media tactics, I did find many of his theories redundant. Some of the chapters re-hashed points he already made. Although this may have been intentional to drive his point home, it did make for a longer read than what I thought necessary.
Additionally some of the information provided is what I would consider a nod to the obvious. Most marketing professionals out there have a basic understanding of how to attract and retain an audience. The book does, however, provide the foundations for understanding the complex world of social media and how the paradigm shift from old media to new media can be developed through social media application.
Kerpen’s examples and stories are engaging and thought-provoking. His writing style is simple, yet smart and he does a tremendous job of turning the reader’s attention away from concentration on a company’s wants, needs, and likes and forcing us to view the world through the eye of the consumer.
I would recommend anyone starting a new business, a career in marketing and/or writing read this book before developing social media strategies. It provides a good foundation to build upon.
“I’ve read and reviewed a lot of books on Social Media and this is the first one I’ve given five stars. It’s that good.” – David Bowers, Amazon
“He shows us how important it is to offer valuable content and develop relationships with people, without always thinking about the next sale.” – Awwwards Team, Awwwards_Recognition and Presitge for Web Designers
“Ironically enough, as much as you consider yourself a savvy entrepreneur or marketing guru, one day when you start a Facebook page for your own business, it’s easy to become that overzealous person at the cocktail party talking only about yourself. So many companies make this critical error and void some very simple behaviors that Dave Kerpen covers in his book “Likeable Social Media,” a must-read for any brand on social media.” – Stacia, Revolution Public Relations
Nick Reffin’s review on YouTube click here.