Do you know how to use social media to build an irresistible brand and delight customers? Want to be amazing on Facebook, Instagram, and all the other sites? Need some inspiration for your social media branding?
Today, we’re talking to Dave Kerpen, chairman of Likeable Media and best-selling author of Likeable Social Media. He shares his advice on what has remained relevant in social media over the past few years and what will continue to help you be successful.
Nathan: In 2011, I was looking for a book. I needed to learn everything I needed to know about using social media to build a brand, and I had to do it fast. That's when I stumbled across one that promised that would teach me how to delight my customers, create an irresistible brand, and be amazing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
Dave Kerpen is the Chairman of Likeable Media and he's a New York Times bestselling author of the book, Likeable Social Media. Today, Dave is sharing his advice on what's remained relevant on social media for the past several years, and what will continue to help you be successful. Get a notepad and pen ready too because, he's going to drop some really big brands that rock in social media, that you can look up after you listen to this conversation for some inspiration for your own social media branding.
You're going to learn a bit about branding and trolls today, the biggest mistakes today’s marketers make on social media, and how to resolve them, and a whole lot more. There is a ton of Dave's expertise crammed into this super quick hitting episode. Let's get to it with Dave Kerpen. Hey, Dave. Thanks a lot for being on the podcast today.
Dave: Thanks for having me.
Nathan: Dave, could you tell me a little bit about Likeable Media and what you do there?
Dave: Sure. Likeable Media is content as a service agency, digital agency that works for some of the world's leading brands, and helps them manage their enormous outputs of content, video content, blog content, to social media content, all across the social and digital web. I was cofounder with my wife, and now I am simply a lowly chairman of the board. That basically means I don't do anything there anymore. I attend quarterly board meetings, and oversee with the rest of the board the direction of the agency, and occasionally get to do I guess interviews like this, still talking about social media.
Nathan: Actually, that's why I wanted to talk to you. I read Likeable Social Media way back, I know it was first released in 2011 I'm sure a lot has changed in marketing since then, social media marketing specifically. What are some of your favorite ideas or concepts from that book that are still very much relevant today as they were seven years ago when you published it originally?
Dave: As you mentioned, the book was first written in 2011. We did a new edition in 2015, and I'm doing a new edition and now they will be out in early 2019. A lot has changed about social media, but actually quite a bit had stayed the same, and a lot of the concepts that I wrote about way back are still as valuable now as they were back then. Back then, the first concept that I wrote about was listening, and using social media for listening, and years later, there are lots of ways to magnify your voice, and lots of things have changed about your ability to be heard, and seen, but not a lot has changed about your ability to listen, and we all still have the opportunity to use social media especially at the brand level, the enterprise level to use social media as a 24/7, 365 focus group, and really pay attention to what our customers, and prospects, and employees, and competitors, and the media, are all saying.
It's that element of social media that's listening that absolutely hasn't changed. The other element that hasn't changed that I wrote about way back when was the storytelling. Storytelling has always been the best way to put ideas into the world. I wrote in 2011, and 2012 that social media was the best, most efficient way to do storytelling, and I still strongly believe that. your ability to tell a story in social media is awesome not only for the efficiency with which you can tell a story but for the fact that if your story doesn't resonate, you can go ahead and craft another story within a few hours, or a few days if you really want to craft it carefully, and thoughtfully, which is totally different from traditional advertising, storytelling which was done by the 60-second spot, or the 30-second spot, or the billboard, all of which are very time consuming and very hard to replace if they don't go as planned.
Nathan: Do you know of any good brands that are doing storytelling so we could go and find some examples to look at?
Dave: There are lots of brands and naturally I'm going to share some of the brands that work with Likeable Media in their storytelling. A couple that I'll share are Redbox, which is now a sort of older video distribution platform. I'm really proud of the work that we're doing for Redbox with Likeable Media. Ahold Supermarkets is another client that I'm really proud of the work that we do for them. They're the holding company for a lot of smaller supermarket chains. Depending on where you live you, you probably have an Ahold Supermarket chain, whether it's Stop & Shop in the northeast, or another of their chains out all throughout the country.
Century 21 is a client that we did some really great storytelling for, and we actually helped them do their own storytelling. We published a book, we helped Century 21 publish a book amongst their most influential real estate agents last year which is a book that's really selling well in the industry. We did our campaign called "Adulting," which was in my humble opinion is a really awesome storytelling. Let me give you one more, my wife as the leader of the agency has done some awesome storytelling on her own in targeting women, and in helping women tell their story for the Facebook watch show that she has called "Work It." as well as her book of the same name "Work It." and as well as her podcast.
There are so many ways to tell stories now, whether it's through a video, or podcasts, or books, or blogs, or infographics, and social media allows us to not only tell a story, but distribute that story in a really powerful way.
Nathan: What would you recommend as something like the number one social media goal for brands, would it be storytelling?
Dave: No, it would be making money. It's funny because the Likeable Social Media was the first book that I wrote, but I've written three books since then, and I think my work has focused much more on building businesses than social media in the last eight years. Social media for storytelling sake alone, or for followers sake alone, or for brand alone is not worthwhile, just like any other business activity. If you're engaging in social media activities, you should have a specific monetary ROI in mind.
Nathan: If you had to give me a few examples, or a few things that we could do to meet that goal, what might you recommend for driving ROI from social media?
Dave: Well, you have to give me a specific brand, and a specific business objective. Unfortunately, if you ask a question that broad, it's sort of impossible to really answer, and have that answer apply universally. In general, yet again, it sort of depends on what your product is, and what the price point is, and what the sale cycle looks like, but you want to move people down the funnel in terms of awareness to purchase, and social media is a great way to build relationships, and nurture people across that sales funnel, no matter what the product or service is.
Nathan: Dave has some more knowledge to drop on you in just a few seconds but for the moment, I want to ask you for quick favor, if you like hearing from rock stars like Dave, I was wondering if you could help me continue to attract top talents for this podcast, does that sound good? It's pretty simple. Leave your rating and review on iTunes. Your review helps us grow our audience, and that subsequently helps us attract really smart people like Dave to the show. Please hit up iTunes, leave your rating and review, then send me a screenshot of it along with your address to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll mail you a CoSchedule care package to say thanks no matter where you are in the world. So please leave your rating and review on iTunes. Alright, now let's get back to it and hear a little bit more about social media with Dave.
This is a question from our social media strategist, she wanted to ask you personally, what's your take on the social media savatory trend, that trend where brands are trolling the trolls, is that helpful or hurtful to a brand image, would you recommend doing that, or what's your take on that?
Dave: It really depends on your brand's personality. I've done a lot of speeches about this, and I don't even remember if it's in any of my books but I'm sure I've written about it. The extent to which you develop your own brand personality is really an important aspect of social media. Brands can take on lots of various personalities across the spectrum. If you're a very serious, very professional, very professorial law firm, it probably doesn't make sense to troll trolls, but if you are in an irreverent fast food chain that's targeting teenagers and 20 something, it probably makes a lot more sense to troll the trolls. It really depends on your overall personality and audience, the extent to which you'd want to engage in that sort of behavior.
Nathan: One of the other questions that our social media strategists had for you Dave was, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see marketers making in social media today?
Dave: It's amazing that so many years later, I still see the same general mistakes that I saw years and years ago. People using social media try to sell too quickly, people using social media to not try to sell at all but being sort of too completely engagement focused, people not using advertising, that's I guess a newer mistake that I see, people failing to take advantage of the paid opportunities that you have to engage in a few during social media now. I guess those are three of the biggest ones.
Nathan: What might you recommend to solve some of those? If we're accidentally not even knowing selling too quickly, or we're focusing too much on engagement, how much do you recommend that we approach that so that we don't focus too heavily on one or the other?
Dave: Make sure you're not selling too much. Ask yourself the question of, if you had your marketing hat off, and your consumer hat on, is this content that you would want to click, like, or comment, or share on? Chances are, if it's too much sales driven content, you probably wouldn't. To make sure you're having enough sales content, I would say talk to your boss. Talk to your CEO or CMO, I promise they're thinking, they want to make sure that you have sales driven content in there.
Nathan: Excellent, and one of the other things that you mentioned was paid opportunities. I was just wondering if I could pick your brain a little bit on there. If I haven't started doing that yet, where might you recommend that I focus first?
Dave: The biggest change in social media in the last several years has been the necessity of using page. If you're on Facebook as a brand, but you're not spending money, that's just not going to work at all. You definitely have to invest significant dollars in Facebook ads, and I would say again, depending on who your audience is, what your product is, you should look at LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat.
Nathan: Nice. That kind of leads into the next question I have for you, what network do you think is going to be ticking off here if it hasn't already? Do you have any insight on some trends coming up with social media?
Dave: Well if you follow the logic that a lot of social networks have started younger and sort of gone from there, you might take a look at musical.ly which is a social network that my children and lots of young as in under 16 folks are using, but besides that, I would say the messaging apps, and Instagram, I would continue to be very bullish on Instagram, and Whatsapp. Both of which obviously are owned by Facebook. This has been around for a long time, I have seen LinkedIn make wonderful strides in the B2B world in the last couple years, I'm very bullish on LinkedIn to continue growth.
Nathan: I've seen a lot the content that you've written on LinkedIn, it's great stuff by the way.
Dave: Thank you.
Nathan: As we know that things are changing always in the social media space, how do you decide when to stop investing your time into a certain social channel? What might you recommend for that?
Dave: That's a good one, and it's a hard one because it's often a long tail approach that yields results. First of all, I would just check back and make sure that the same reason that you joined that social network applied, and then I would give it at least a year unless something drastic was changing about the landscape. For instance, if you joined Twitter 9 or 10 months ago, and you're not seeing any attraction, I mean there probably comes a point at which it might make sense to you maybe not leave the social network at this point, but perhaps decrease your efforts, and decrease your spend. It's a tricky question like I said because on the one hand you have to really give these things time to see success, on the other hand, you have to know when to fold.
Nathan: And I think for now that wraps up our podcast today Dave. I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time. I really appreciate you being on the show today.
Dave: My pleasure, thanks for having me, and I look forward to connecting with all the listeners on the internet. Feel free to reach out to me on any social network and say hi.
Nathan: Marketing exists to drive profitable customer action, so I loved hearing Dave's take on the goal behind social media. Let's see a return of some kind, right? Dave, thank you so much for sharing your advice today on the Actionable Marketing Podcast. This was an awesome and really fun episode for me personally.
Nathan is the Head of Content & SEO at SimpleTexting. He's a demand generation enthusiast, content marketing advocate, and team player. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, running ultra marathons, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.
Connect with Nathan on LinkedIn.