Likeable Social Media was written by Dave Kerpen, the co-founder of one of the most successful social media organisations in America. Combine this with the fact that that he is the 25th most ‘followed’ person online in the world, and that his blog posts sometimes hit upwards of 2 million views, and you can see why I was keen to read his book, Likeable Social Media.
On the whole, I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely targeted at communicators who are just stepping into the world of social media, rather than experts. The sections on each of the major social networks would be particularly useful to someone looking for basic information to get started – there’s lots of useful stuff packed in but it’s all simply explained and very accessible. I completely agreed with his focus on authentic communication and listening on social media, rather than just talking, and the examples used throughout the book are great. He explains each example thoroughly, and gives top ten lists of brands using each social media platform, which gives readers the chance to go and see the principles in practise.
Another thing that kept striking me was how useful this book could be to senior management, or any employee for that matter, that wasn’t fully bought-in to the idea of corporate social media. By relating conversations online to conversations in person and on the phone he makes his message very clear and successfully conveys the importance of ‘being part of the conversation’.
One theme that I disagreed with was that Facebook is the be all and end all of social media because everyone’s target market is on there. While that is undoubtedly (mostly) true if you’re targeting consumers directly, it is not necessarily so for B2B communication. Although many employees and senior management will have Facebook accounts, they may not want to conduct business via a social network that traditionally consists of your friends and family, as opposed to a more open platform like Twitter. However, I think this is a more general limitation: B2B communication is not covered in any detail but this is to be expected in a book focused on consumer marketing.
Likeable Social Media is full of insights that would be useful to someone with very little experience of social media, such as the fact that there is a personal element: a friend’s ‘like’ or endorsement is worth more than 500 endorsements from strangers. In short, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wanted to explore communicating to consumers using social networks, but it’s not necessarily a useful read for B2B or practised online communicators.