Book Review: “likeable social media” by Dave Kerpen

Our next book review is of Dave Kerpen’s New York Times best seller “likeable social media,” subtitled “How to DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMERS, Create an IRRESISTIBLE BRAND, and Be Generally AMAZING ON FACEBOOK (and other social networks).”

As the subtitle might convey, Dave has a lot to say about how to do social media right. He begins early in the book by sharing an analogy about being at a cocktail party. As with any party, you encounter a wide variety of people on social media networks; those who are great story tellers, and those who bore you to tears. Then, Dave boldly asks which person you want to see again, or maybe even do business with.

Since this review was first written, a revised and expanded version was released, which you can find here instead.

We all instinctively know who we want to hang out with at a party, but as businesses, we tend to ignore some of the most basic niceties of human communication. We forget to listen, to ask questions, and to engage with people.

Dave reminds us of the elements that make people likeable, and applies them to businesses as well. His first chapter looks at the importance of listening, and to never stop listening. From there, he stresses the importance of knowing your demographics, as well as where and how to find them, then putting yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, if you were your customer, what would you want?

Each chapter focuses on another aspect of likeability and how to apply it online; things like being authentic, honest and transparent, taking responsibility, responding to comments people make (both the good and the bad), providing value to the people you engage with, inspiring people with the stories you share, and integrating social media into your customers’ experience.

There’s not a lot that’s new in Dave’s book. Any child who has ever been taught their manners learns the same thing. Listen. Say “please” and “thank you.” Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes. Ask questions. Be nice. If you’ve done something wrong, apologize. Don’t be pushy or bossy. Play nice with others. Don’t run with scissors. (Well… That’s not really in the book, but you get the idea!)

However, Dave puts all of these simple things together in the context of developing a likeable social media presence for your business, even if you are hampered by regulations that hinder your ability to participate in social media. A significant benefit of using social media comes from listening to what people have to say, showing appreciation for their praise and concern for their frustrations, offering guidance when and how rules allow.

One thing I particularly liked is that at the end of each chapter, there are action items that help you to apply what you’ve just learned to your own unique situation. For example, Chapter 12, called “Share Stories (They’re Your Social Currency)” suggests that you write down your company’s founding story, and package it for easy consumption on social networks. This is more than writing a bio for your profile, or an “About Us” page on your website. This is about sharing the story that captures your unique “Why,” and it can be a very engaging and compelling connector between you and your audience.

It’s for this reason that I believe there’s something in this enjoyable book for everyone working with social media; both the newbie and the experienced veteran. So, if you’re looking for an engaging read that inspires you to be more likeable, I highly recommend reading Dave Kerpen’s “likeable social media.”

The new and revised edition of likeable social media is available on Amazon now.

Should I Upgrade My Facebook Page Now or Wait?

[Update: Please note that this post was originally published on February 11th, 2011, and applies to the upgrade that was applicable at that time. It is not relevant to subsequent Facebook upgrades. For other Facebook-related articles, go here.]

If you’re an admin of a Facebook page, you will soon be invited to upgrade your page to the new format. Just as profiles were recently redesigned, Facebook is redesigning pages as well. Here are some thoughts to help you make your decision.

Thankfully, Facebook offers you the opportunity to preview the upgrade on your specific page before actually making the change. I highly recommend that you do that. It will help you understand where some familiar things have been moved to (like your tabs will no longer appear at the top of the page; instead, they’ll be along the left-hand side as navigation links). It will also help you preview your landing page to make sure it still works properly. Right now, there seems to be a bug that affects some landing pages, but not all. With this bug, the content of the page is being truncated so that information on the right-hand side is cut off. The width is still supposed to be 520px, but seems to be shortened by as must as 30px for some pages.

Be aware that this preview opportunity is intended to help you discover and resolve issues before Facebook creates any problems for you. You can opt to wait to upgrade, but all pages will be upgraded in March. (I’ve read three conflicting dates so far ranging from the 1st to the 31st.) You’re only delaying the inevitable if you do wait. So, use this time wisely to review your page, make any changes you need to make, and be prepared for the new layout.

So, what are some of the pros about this redesign? The two biggest seem to be that if you improperly categorized your page when you created it, you now actually have the ability to change that. I know that’s been a huge issue for many businesses. Second is that you can now post on other pages as your page instead of as yourself. That gives great visibility to your page, and encourages people to come like your page rather than trying to connect with you as a friend, thus clarifiing the blurred lines Facebook previoulsy created between business and friendship.

And some cons? If you manage multiple pages, you can no longer access them through the Account menu. I still have not found a way around that, other than to search on each of the pages you administer, and hope you don’t forget any. Personally, I administer a couple dozen pages, so I’m not a fan of that technique at all! But for those of you that only administer one or two pages, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Another con is that the wall filter has been changed so that the most popular posts on your wall float to the top. That means newer posts with fewer interactions will be buried on your wall (which will now function more like a newsfeed), unless you change the filter from “Everyone” to just your page. But then you’re missing out on the interactivity of what others are posting on your wall. Tough call to make, and one that I need to review some more. The purpose of this change is to ensure that viewers see high quality content each time they visit the page, but that means that content editors are going to have to be even more particular about creating engaging content so that they can overcome the popularity of an older, engaging post.

For more details about the change and what specific things you’re going to see, check out: Inside Facebook’s Page Redesign Guide.

If you’re an Aleweb client (or wish to become one) and have specific questions, or want input as to whether to upgrade or wait, contact us!

9 Easy and Inexpensive Ways for Businesses to “Get Found”

Image from Photobucket.com

I was recently asked the question,

What are some easy and inexpensive ways for companies to get their name out to the public?

This all depends first on what you have to start with. Do you have a website? Do you have an existing client list? Does it include e-mail or mailing address details? Are you starting totally from scratch? What industry are you in?

Off the top of my head, here’s what I’d do…

  1. Add your business listing to Google Places.
  2. If you have an established business, search for your business/product/brand and find all business directory listings in which you appear. Claim each one, and ensure that your listing is appropriately categorized and that the keywords are optimized.
  3. If you have a website already, review the keywords to ensure that they’re accurate and optimal. Use Google’s Keyword Analyzer to identify the best keywords for your site.
  4. If you don’t have a website already, create a free one using either WordPress.com or moonfruit.com. If you plan to include eCommerce on your site, you may have to go ahead and pay a little something. To see the differences between WordPress.com (the free site) and WordPress.org (paid version), go to WordPress’ Support page.
  5. Create social media profiles, as appropriate. Use Facebook to build a community around what you do, Twitter to share news and information, LinkedIn to network with potential collaborators, partners and referral sources, and industry-specific networks, as appropriate.
  6. If you have an existing mailing list, I use a fantastic online greeting card and gifting company to connect with my best clients. If you’re interested in doing the same, take a look at SendOutCards.
  7. If you have an existing e-mail list, consider sending out a newsletter or using the list to invite people to join you on your various social network profiles. Be sure to also add links to your online profiles in your e-mail signature and newsletter. (I use WiseStamp for this.)
  8. Ensure that you post links to your website and social media profiles everywhere that you can. Think of your online presence like a spider web. Each strand (site) should point people from one to the other, providing similar content with unique information at each place. (Some overlap is expected. But give people a reason to follow you in more than one place.) As these pathways from one place to another are created, a web builds around your online presence, making you easier to find.
  9. If you enjoy writing or sharing information, consider blogging or video-blogging. If having one of your own is too time-consuming for you, find people who would welcome a guest post from you.

Obviously, this is a quick and dirty list. There are many more things you can do, but this will get you started. Up to this point, everything I’ve suggested (except a WordPress.org site) is free. The only expense is your time and talent.

The only issue with this is, you probably didn’t go into business to do all of these things. You started your business to do whatever it is that you are passionate about. So, is your time and energy best spent doing these things on your own, or hiring someone to do it for you?

Whenever I take on a business-related task that is not part of my work, I consider this before I start. Where are the cost efficiencies? To make it simple, say you charge $50/hr for what you do, and the task you’re considering doing will take you 90 minutes. Are you willing to pay yourself $75 to do it, or is there someone else you can pay to do it so you can find a client willing to pay you for that time instead?

To give a concrete example, when I first started my business, I wanted to form an LLC. I spent some time on it, and found the whole thing very frustrating. I didn’t understand much of what I found. After wasting more than an hour on it, I found a website called Legalzoom.com. For $150, they would file the papers for me. Given how little progress I’d made, it was easily evident that it would cost me less to hire them (even though funds were limited) than it would to pay myself for my time based on my own rates. Plus, hiring someone else gave me the chance to focus my attention on what I love doing instead.

So, do yourself a favor. Balance “easy and inexpensive” against “experienced and cost-effective.” And if you decide that you want help, give us a call! Helping you get found is what Aleweb loves doing!