Social media is now deeply rooted in people’s lives. Knowing the inevitability of social media in people’s lives, all marketers are trying to utilize social media as a business tool to drive sales of their products. However, because social media is fairly new, many marketers are using it inefficiently. In Likeable Social Media, Dave Kerpen gives 18 “winning” methods of utilizing social media for anyone who wants to market his/her products and brands. His strategies stress the importance of listening and responding to customers, being authentic, and providing free values and stories to get customers engaged. These strategies will help the brand to “delight customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing on facebook,” as the title of the book says.
Kerpen wrote this book to target anyone who owns a brand or products, and wants to market it to people through social media platforms, because he believes in the marketing power of social media–where countless potential customers exist and Word-Of-Mouth marketing really works. Therefore, instead of giving instructions of how to join facebook, Kerpen gives advices on how to utilize technological affordances that each platform has: Facebook’s Likes, News Feed, Fan Pages, Communities, Groups, YouTube’s Video uploads, Twitter’s @replies, and etc. These advices show that the author sees the social media in social shaping and domestication discourses. As Nancy Baym defines in Personal Connections in the Digital Age, social shaping discourse is the view that both technologies and users construct the society together and influence each other. For example, as more and more people joined Facebook, facebook created more features that would help people to create their online identity easier, such as Pages and Like button. With the Like button, users were able to depict their online identity through displaying their “Likes” in public. The effect of Like button on people’s identities online, Kerpen had learned the importance of likeability of a brand. Once the brand is liked by fans, it is much easier to engage fans, and reach out to fans’ friends by appearing on their News Feeds. This appearance on News Feed through the fan’s friends network is the Word-Of-Mouth marketing strategy that is only possible in social media. Also, Kerpen sees social media as domestication discourse of technology, because brands are all expected to have a social media presence and his advices are about how to successfully build and expand the brand’s social media presence.
Just like every person produces and displays online contents to state own online identity, or taste performance, every brand can display online identity on social media through using social cues, likes, writing style, and etc. Out of four taste performance categories that Hugo Liu suggests, Kerpen emphasizes that brands must have authenticity taste performance through creating an honest and accurate profile. Kerpen’s Golden Rule is being authentic and transparent on social media (Kerpen, 101, 110). Being authentic and transparent breeds trust, and this rule agrees with Alice Marwick and danah boyd’s idea of building successful relationships with others through being authentic. Social media representation of a brand is how customers perceive the brand and if the customers feel that the brand is honest and transparent, they will be loyal and be returning customers.
No wonder why this book is The New York Times and USA TODAY best-seller. This book contains essential rules that every brand marketers should be aware of. However, even though the author mentions about Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, most examples and strategies only apply to marketing on facebook. I understand why he emphasized on facebook, because facebook has most users. However, customers now expect the brand to have presence in every social media platforms, so it would have been better if he explained more in detail about what are the unique strategies for other social media platforms to increase likeability.
Also, because this book is little outdated, Kerpen did not know about Instagram, the fastest growing social media platform. Instagram meets Baym’s five definitions of community, which are having sense of shared space, shared practice, shared resources, shared identities, and interpersonal relationships between members. Having a community is a even better way of engaging people than just likes and mostly broadcasting the brands, because it always enforces users to actively get engaged through commenting and building interpersonal relationships with others under the common goal or theme. Therefore, marketers nowadays highlights Instagram as a great business marketing tool. If Kerpen had known about Instagram, he could have talked about the importance of creating community about the brand and how it creates loyalty and special tight relationships between the brand and customers.
This book was different from other social media marketing books, because it actually gave real examples to prove that each of his strategy really worked, and many books usually don’t give specific examples. I think this book did a good job of guiding any start-up entrepreneurs and brands in the online world. By giving the most general but vital advices, Kerpen’s strategies could be applied to businesses of any industries. If the readers follow Kerpen’s 18 strategies, they are guaranteed to have certain level of likeability of their brands in the online world. However, it is their job to make their brands truly irresistible– each brand needs to come up with creative and unique campaigns and events that would engage potential customers and differentiate from other brands, within the boundary of Kerpen’s advices.