Social Media Expert Interviews: Dave Kerpen

Interview with Dave Kerpen

This week saw us chat with one of our favourite authors on the subject of Social Media, Dave Kerpen. Dave Kerpen is the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, an award-winning social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm with triple digit revenue growth for 4 consecutive years.

Dave and his wife and COO Carrie have transformed theKBuzz (founded in 2006) into Likeable, 1 of Facebook’s Top 65 Preferred Developer Consultants as well as the only 3-time WOMMY Award winner for excellence from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). Dave has been featured on CNBC’s “On the Money”, ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Early Show, the New York Times, and countless blogs.

Dave, tell us a little about what it is you do?

I am the cofounder and CEO of Likeable Media. We’re a social media & word of mouth marketing firm. Some of our 200+ clients include Neutrogena, 1-800-Flowers.com, and The Pampered Chef. Our goal here at Likeable is to help firms become more responsive, transparent and likeable through social media, by establishing a dialogue between brands and consumers. Right now, I am also involved in a new Likeable initiative - Likeable Local, which is a Facebook marketing solution for small businesses. Likeable’s also expanding abroad and we’re currently tapping into international markets in Mexico City, Istanbul, Moscow, Dubai and London, so I’m extremely involved in that. Additionally, I’m an author - I wrote the NY Times Best Seller,Likeable Social Media and am just finishing up my second book Likeable Business.  When I’m not working on Likeable initiatives, I’m also a frequent speaker at social media conferences and webinars.

Tell us about the journey you undertook to get you where you are now? Where did you start?!

The idea of a word of mouth marketing firm came from my wedding actually. My wife Carrie, who is the co-founder of Likeable, and I were married in 2006 at Keyspan Park where the Brooklyn Cyclones play. We had our entire wedding sponsored by businesses and were able to raise $100,000. The wedding made headlines and ended up being a hugely successful promotion for the sponsors. We couldn't get married again so instead we started a company. We formed theKbuzz, a word of mouth marketing firm in 2007. In May of 2010, after theKbuzz expanded into social media with the popularity of Facebook, we re-branded to Likeable Media. From there the social media marketing industry has taken off and we have been lucky enough to have worked with some major brands that have helped create rapid growth for Likeable.

How important would you say having a social media presence is for businesses these days?

Social media presence is essential for businesses these days. Traditional marketing such as television commercials and print ads are becoming obsolete with new technology that allows you to skip commercials, and read newspapers online. There is an increasing audience in social media marketing as more and more people join social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media marketing capitalizes on the principal of word of mouth marketing; the earliest and most effective kind of marketing. Through social networks, consumers can make decisions based on recommendations of people they know and trust. Thousands of fans can spread the word about their favourite (and least favourite companies) through Facebook. This has forged the need for companies to be more transparent and responsive. They can best accomplish these two objectives using social media as it is a medium of conversation between brands and consumers. Basically if you’re not tapped into social media, you’re going to fall behind.

What three bits of advice would you give a business that is taking their first steps into the world of social media?

1) Success doesn't come easy and it won’t happen over night. Simply having a Facebook page won't increase your ROI.  You have to drive traffic. Do this not by simply telling people to “Like” your page, but by revealing what’s in it for them.   Offer potential followers incentives to join your social network. As people like your page, more people will take notice and do the same. You have to be active in this process. Don’t expect the presence of your page itself to generate likes.

2) Create a dialogue with consumers using social media. Don't bombard Facebook fans with product promotions, but ask them questions that relate to the product or company. Instead of promoting a new stereo, ask consumers about their favourite songs. Social media isn’t about talking to your customers, it’s about talking with them. Listen to what they have to say because after all, their opinion of you and your products or services is the determinant factor in whether or not your business is profitable.

3) Make sure you have enough manpower to keep up with your presence. It is essential to respond to all comments. Know how big your audience is and how many comments you expect to receive in order to know how many people you need to manage your page. Having a page with thousands of likes won’t increase ROI. It is essential to keep up the conversation with followers, and this means responding - even to the negative comments.

What do you think the future holds for social media?

Social media is the future of marketing as social networks continue to surge in popularity. All potential audiences can be targeted through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. These networks continue to capitalize on the weakening of traditional advertising. The thing that social media has is longevity as social sites are like virtual journals that document life through photos, videos, and interactions with loved ones. Because of this sentimental factor, it is unlikely that people will cease to use them once they’ve started- quite the opposite actually. In the future, I think we’ll see just more companies using it, which will create competition, which will inevitably bring about some new features in the sites themselves and some new and exciting ways to hook audiences.

What is the coolest fact about Giraffes you know?

They are really tall. And peaceful.

If you want some more of Dave, make sure you check out his book: 'Likeable Social Media' - it is a terrific read and will really help you with your social media journey.

Image source: inc.com

Editor - 

Kane is the Managing Director of Giraffe Social Media. His primary focus is Finance and Operations Management, that's when he isn't watching clips from The Office on YouTube anyway. Google+ Profile

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