The mission of his book is to teach you how to not be that awkward guy at the party – because surprise, although the Internet is a place where you can’t see real faces (save for an avatar), it’s more “transparent” than ever.
The only way to survive the oh-so-harsh transparency of social media where the occasional pissed off customer resides, is to build a solid online reputation.
The book covers the basics of how to be “likeable,” constantly weaving in examples from company Likeable Media (which you can like on facebook by the way). Or at least, that’s Kerpen’s premise. Whether that’s actually achieved is questionable.
What the book does cover is how to not be ‘unlikeable.’ The basics of online etiquette are quite apparent: don’t delete posts, don’t ignore people, don’t be an online douche. But I would argue it’s hard to teach people how to be truly LIKE-able. It is however, fairly easy to teach people how to be normal and at least proficient in using it for a company.
Kerpen will argue in the introduction of the book, with some merit, that times are now changing, making the tradition one-way advertising communication obsolete. Because of social shaping — how inevitably technology affects us, and we use technology — companies should master social media. In fact, the book comes close to hailing social media as the new cure-all holy grail for company reputation or face.
Kerpens gave many examples of successful media ventures, such as Oreo and Chill Zone. By referencing them in his book, a reader will subconsciously associate their success with him; despite the fact his company (which you can like on facebook) had nothing whatsoever to do with Oreo’s innovative marketing. (I see what you did there.)
A large portion of the book, more than necessary I felt, was dedicated to “Here’s a social media success story! It works!” And not, instead, HOW I get it to work for my company. He does offer questions and short bullet points, but it’s hardly comprehensive.
Granted, that’s probably intentional, because after all – why should he tell you how to achieve social media success in a $9 book (although I got it for free off the internet, I probably shouldn’t complain) if his company Likeable Media (which you can like on facebook) is paid to help companies do the exact same thing.
Kerpen bragged about a 200k$ deal made as a result of free tips he offered via facebook, which helped spread the reputation of his company (which you can like on facebook).
He encourages self-censorship, not mainly though because of a nightmare reader, but because although free tips are cool, $200k is cooler. If all of the secrets are revealed via facebook, you’d have nothing left to sell.
Basically, instead of being Internet naked, be Internet scantily-clad-sexy and reveal lots, be transparent, but don’t reveal everything. Think back to the cocktail party. Wear a sexy dress to the cocktail party? Swag. Wear your birthday suit to cocktail party? Awkward.
While the Jedi secrets of social media marketing are not to be found in this book, I do admit Kerpen has done a good job of covering the basics of using social media for a business. He’s also made a fairly solid argument with case studies about how that will eventually benefit a business. In short, the book is all about how to turn social media into moolah. (Yeah, Clemons be hatin’.)
Ironically, although the book preached Liu’s authenticity taste preference as the key to likeability, his book isn’t particularly authentic or likeable. If anything, the entire thing appeared to be a prestige ad for Likeable media (which you can like on facebook.)
However, the feel-good advice of “Be authentic, be nice, be responsive, give tips, build a community, etc.” will certainly help out new starting companies who are social media clueless (and get you nice NYT reviews). It definitely sounds like a better buy than the “30 Days to Social Media Success” by Gail Martin that’s receiving a row of negative reviews from the CSMT blog.
So go ahead! Consult Likeable Social Media (they’re on facebook) for your business social media needs. Oh, and last, but certainly not least, you can like Likeable Social Media on facebook.
Not a critic,