social media book reviewsWould you like people to rave about your business?

Wouldn’t it be nice if customers fall in love with your brand?

If you think that sounds silly, see what people are saying about Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey:


Fans are raving about Newark Mayor Cory Booker, despite numerous challenges facing the city.

Delighting Your Customers

On December 31, 2009, the city of Newark was hit by a terrible snowstorm that left thousands of residents stranded and concerned about their safety.

One resident—Ravie Rave—tweeted that she was extremely anxious about her 65-year-old dad getting snowed in. Immediately the mayor saw the tweet and tweeted back:


Mayor Cory Booker does a remarkable job using social media to connect with his constituents.

One hour later, the mayor showed up at her dad’s house and shoveled out his driveway!

In his book Likeable Social Media—How to Delight Your Customers and Create an Irresistible Brand, Dave Kerpen suggests that, “Just as we fall in love with people who can listen to us and whom we can trust, we can fall in love with brands that do the same.”

Perhaps you’re NOT even thinking about creating a likeable brand. In this tough economy, you’re struggling just to get the word out about your product, drive sales and accomplish all of your other business goals.

What if I told you that this book could teach you how to do both?

Here’s what you need to know about Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen.

Author’s Purpose

dave kerpen

Dave Kerpen

Dave Kerpen wrote this book to teach brands how to use social media to achieve likeability, transparency and responsiveness in a digital marketplace.

Consumers like to share with—and feel connected to—brands, organizations and even governments that they like and trust.

In the book, the author reveals 18 key principles that will get people raving about you and your products, while helping you achieve all of your other marketing objectives.

What to Expect

likeable social mediaThe book consists of 249 pages arranged in 18 chapters. It is lavishly illustrated with fascinating stories of social media successes and failures.

Whether you’re a general reader or a serious social business strategist, expect to be motivated by its relevance, simplicity and brilliant style.

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • How to listen (it’s harder than you think!)
  • How to just be real (it’s easier than you think!)
  • How to make your customers say, “Wow!
  • How to consistently deliver and delight
  • How to empower your audience
  • How giving turns into receiving, and much, much more!

You’ll also learn three things that social media cannot do for you:

  • Social media cannot make up for a bad product, company or organization
  • Social media can’t lead to overnight sales success
  • Social media is not free, as success will take time and effort


Social media sites and tools are ever-changing. But there are certain principles that remain timeless.

If you truly want to delight your customers and become a more likeable brand, here are six principles that I found to be absolutely indispensable:

#1: Listen first and never stop listening

As tempting as it may be to join the conversation, keep in mind that communication is 50% listening and 50% talking.

Your customers want to be heard and social media provides a channel that really allows you to listen on a large scale. Some (free) ways to listen on social media include:

  • Google Alerts
  • Technorati search blog
  • Twitter search
  • Facebook search
  • YouTube search
  • TweetBeep

For more advanced listeners with a higher volume of conversations to listen to, consider using paid listening platforms such as Meltwater Buzz, Parature, Radian 6, Sysomos and Vocus.

Remember to not just search for your brand name, but also for your competitors’ names and words and phrases that your customers use.

#2: Be authentic

As organizations grow large, they develop processes and models to enhance efficiency. Unfortunately those processes also make it difficult to be personal and authentic when dealing with customers.

Social media provides an opportunity to reverse this trend and actually ‘be human’ in dealing with customers. Some ways to be authentic include:

  • Be an “improv show,” not a musical—brands need to think less about putting on a show for their customers and instead focus on building an excellent team that is flexible, able to go with the flow, responsive and engaged.
  • Develop an authentic voice—consider what your brand or organization is all about. Think about how you can convert your mission statement or About Us page into a conversation piece. Let the world know your company’s personality while showing that you truly care about your customers.
  • Just be real—drop the PR-speak or legalese from your organization’s communication. If you sound robotic or scripted in your social media conversations, you’ll turn off customers. Let people hear your real, human voice in all of your interactions and they will trust you and even buy from you.

#3: Provide value—for free!

The more valuable content you can share with your fans and followers, the greater the trust and reputation you’ll build with them.

Share your expertise without expectation or marketing-speak and you’ll create an even better name for yourself. Some ways to provide free value include:

  • Start a blog to share resources, advice and tips that your prospects will find useful.
  • Write white papers to solve customers’ problems.
  • Create ‘how-to’ videos.

And don’t worry about giving away too much information. It’s rare that you could give away so much information that people could afford to do everything on their own. In any case, they’re not the experts, you are—and eventually they’ll need your expertise to help them solve their problems.

#4: Share stories (they’re your social currency)

Every brand has at least one story to tell. Social media (especially blogs and online video) allow you to share stories with your customers, prospects and the world. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did your company get started?
  • How did you survive the toughest times?
  • What kind of funny or interesting things have happened involving your customers or staff over the years?
  • Which employees’ lives have changed as a result of working for you?
  • Which charitable organizations has your company or its staff supported?

Remember, stories humanize brands and make them ‘talk-able’ online and offline. And they can be told by anyone—customers, employees or management. They just need to be real.

#5: Admit when you screw up, and then leverage your mistakes

Being able to say “I’m sorry” when you make a mistake goes a long way toward making up for your error. Companies are made up of people and everyone makes mistakes.

Here are some ways to say that you’re sorry:

  • Have the highest-ranking person (or another executive) at the organization say it through a brief online video.
  • Use the appropriate social media channel to respond quickly when a bad situation arises.
  • Don’t stop at “I’m sorry.” Apologize individually to each person’s complaint and continue to follow up.

By responding swiftly and showing that you care, you can take a serious mistake, turn it around and end up with an even stronger reputation than you had before!

#6: Consistently deliver excitement, surprise and delight

On social media, you’re not just competing with your real-life competitors; you’re competing with all of your customers’ friends and the brands they’re connected to.

So the way to stand out is to create as many “Wow!” moments as possible. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide unexpected value—try listening to conversations that are not necessarily about your company and then respond to questions not directly aimed at you. For example, Best Buy developed Twelpforce to answer people’s Twitter questions about electronic products.
  • Create situations to bring people closer to your brand and strengthen that emotional connection. For example, Cisco Networking Academy delights their Facebook audience by actually allowing select customers to become administrators of their fan page (they have over 260,000 fans!).
  • Sometimes a personal, unique response from a real person at a big company can really “wow” people, even more than the coolest contest or giveaway.
  • Use surprise conversations. When the New York City Department of Health created their “NYC Condom Campaign” in late 2009, they used Twitter to search for people talking about “going out partying” or “looking to hook up” and then surprised them by responding with funny tweets such as “Pick me up, I’ll keep you covered,” or “Don’t leave home without me.”

Ask yourself how you can create conversations and situations that make people smile, while generating surprise. Remember, if you can truly reward your fans and followers, you’ll be able to energize a huge group of online advocates.

Personal Impression:

Likeable Social Media makes a huge (and risky) promise in its subtitle: “How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand and be generally amazing on Facebook” (and other social networks).

But Dave Kerpen has expertly delivered on his promise and provided all the tools you’re going to need to become a likeable brand on and through social media.

Like its title, the book is fun to read and highly engaging. Kerpen’s use of action items (at the end of each chapter) provides very helpful insights to the reader. My suggestion would be to keep a pen and pad handy to jot down all the ideas that this book will inspire.

I also think that some people may dismiss it as your typical social media guide. “Who needs yet another book to learn how to use Facebook and Twitter?”, they will object. But unlike other books on this subject, the author recognizes that being likeable in the digital space is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, had this book been around back in 2008 when United Airlines broke Dave Carroll’s guitar, they might have done things very differently.

Social Media Examiner gives this book a full 5-star rating.

Over to you: Do you own a likeable brand? How have you used these or any other tips to delight your customers? Leave your comments in the box below.

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  • Murat Esmer Facebook deals with the customer well and all the above criterias are likely to be applied. 

    You can observe it from

  • Nice review of the book and there are lots of great examples of folks who “like” a brand from Star Wars to Jeep — we talk about folks building brand communities to celebrate the brands they like.  These were the precursors to social media marketing and are still effective ways to build engagement with the brand.  I recently heard a speech about Allrecipes and their community so they still work — even in the digital age.  But, there’s a downside to building these communities — read more here:

  • That’s a very complete review of the book, I think I will pick it up for my collection for sure. Like mentioned in the review, the key is to be authentic, and bring something to the table.

  • predsicker

    Yes you’re right Murat. With almost 40,000 Facebook fans, they appear to be a likeable social media brand. But again, this is achievable by almost any brand that applies the principles of likeability, trust and transparency outlined in the book. Thanks for that case study.

  • predsicker

    TY for your feedback Angela. You’re so right in your observations.

    I think online community building is simply the offspring of word-of-mouth marketing which has been around for a long time. But even with the downsides that you mention, keep in mind that the benefits of community building outweigh the risks by far.

    Some of the most critical elements of building online communities include earning people’s trust (even asking their permission for certain types of marketing such as email) and making the community a fun place to hang out. Sure there will always be people who are disgruntled with this or that about a product, but as long as a brand remains transparent and positive, it becomes easier to persuade them to see the bright side. Don’t you think?

  • predsicker

    I’m glad you found this review helpful in making up your mind Jamie! You will get so much out of  the 18 principles discussed in the book. And you’ll also find that most of them are ‘ever-green’. All the best to you.

  • Love your blog! There is really useful info!

  • At least at first glance, TweetBeep seems unreliable or perhaps inactive. It sounds like a great tool, but I’m hitting 500 Internal Service Errors when attempting to hit its homepage or subpages, and @TweetBeep:twitter hasn’t been updated in two months.

  • John Oz Layne

    This seems so very interesting.  How can I learn more?

  • predsicker

    Here’s a link to the official website for the book:

  • predsicker

    Hi Marly,
    Thanks for pointing out this problem so that others are aware. I’m not sure what’s going on with their site. Perhaps it’s under ‘construction’. Anyway there are many other free services out there – I personally prefer Hootsuite.

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your feedback — glad to know that this information was helpful to you. Come back soon 🙂

  • No problem. Great book overview.

  • I’m intrigued by point #5: Admit when you screw up, and then leverage your mistakes. It’s not something that I would have thought of but will certainly implement. Great idea.

  • I haven’t read this particular book, however I have a feeling it is soon to become part of my MUST READ LIST. Ok, I have a question: How do you start your social campaign RIGHT from the beginning? What would you recommend for a small dentist office or a tiny pizza place lost in the middle of nowhere? Setting up a Facebook Page is easy, Twitter account easier.. but where to start? meaning actions and/or activities. What should I do in order to bring the right people in and have them share and contribute to the discussion/conversation making it relevant for the business/professional (pizza/dentist) and to their clients as well?  Thanks.

  • Nice post Patricia. I enjoyed your review of this book. 

    I have been looking for a new piece of reading material and was contemplating purchasing “Likeable Social Media”. I think you have just convinced me.

  • Great review!  I love point #6. Whenever brands take the time to respond to questions or comments left on their social media accounts, it really helps me connect to them. I left a comment on the Cheez-Its Facebook page about the font on one of their boxes, and they replied to me with an equally geeky note about typography. It was small, it was brief, but it made me love Cheez-Its all the more!

  • Dave Kerpen

    Thanks so much for your review of the book! If anyone ever has questions for me, you can tweet me @DaveKerpen or contact me through Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc 🙂

  • cool stuff on there.

    #5 for most of my clients is the one they’re afraid of

    “what if they say this?”  “what if they say that?”  publicly addressing you’re at fault AND fixing it in the same space does wonders for your image and gains a tonne of respect from your present and future clients.

    i blogged about a bank that sent me way too many paper statements (their fault in my eyes).  i tweeted about it.  they got back to me with a solution.  i implemented it, and here i am saying how good social media is and how good this bank was at addressing my issue!

    critical comments are be far the most constructive.

  • predsicker

    Absolutely Ian. #5 can be a really powerful strategy especially since we’re bound to make mistakes and most businesses don’t know what to do when that happens.

    A few years ago, Ramon DeLeone also known as Chicago’s pizza guy messed up on a customer’s order and when she tweeted about it, he recorded an apology to her on YouTube and went out of his way to make it up to her. That one act alone has done more for his reputation than if the mistake hadn’t happened . You can see the video apology here:

  • predsicker

    That’s a fantastic question Tcheilly. If only more people asked that question before starting with social media.

    I think the first priority for any business is to figure out how they can create great content that will solve their customers problems. For a dentist those problems have to do with bad teeth, root canals, pain, wearing braces etc. Start a blog addressing these problems and give your clients helpful information, tips and resources to help improve their lives. Try to post an article on your blog as often as possible e.g. once or twice a week if you can. Then use social media to distribute and share those blog posts. If the articles are compelling people will re-tweet and share them across the internet.

    Over time, you will start to attract and retain the kind of people who are interested in your business…and eventually they might even become your customers. Social media always starts with great content because people only talk about and share interesting information.

    Hope that helps. Cheers.

  • predsicker

    So glad to hear that Rob (and I think the author will be pleased too 😉

    Also be sure to check this site from time to time for other interesting book reviews that we’re continually publishing. All the best Rob.

  • predsicker

    Mandy, you’re so right — it’s the little things that make a brand likeable.

    If brands can remember to treat their fans/followers just as they would a real friend, then they would be careful about the little things: responding to a comment, using friendly language and so on. I love that Dave Kerpen reminds us how simple some of these things are, but online we seem to forget their importance. Great feedback Mandy 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks for writing an awesome book Dave. You have helped many people to understand how to do business online. Much needed and very resourceful information!

  • Bellevuedentist

    I enjoyed the article, especially the Mayor story–very unusual for a politician in my opinion, but very cool!

    Unrelated to the story, why are some names in black and others in orange??   Thanks.

  • predsicker

    Yes Mayor Cory Booker is quite remarkable in the way he uses social media. Don’t think any other politician is doing as great a job in this area as he is.

    That said, the ‘orange’ names indicate a link to the person’s profile on Twitter, etc (so you can click on them). The ‘black’ names have no link attached to them 🙂

  • predsicker

    Good point Dexter!

    The funny thing is… that if a brand screws up, people are going to find out one way or the other, and they are going to talk about it (with or without that brand’s permission). So it only makes sense that the brand should insert itself into the conversation, shed some positive light on the situation and in doing so they might end up changing a few minds (as you yourself have experienced).

    However, it’s tough for certain regulated brands to have such frank conversations on social media. For them it can be tough, but for the rest of us who are not bankers, lawyers or pharmaceutical companies, there’s no reason not to take this opportunity. TY for sharing your ‘teachable moment’ experience!

  • Ashley

    Would love to get my hands on that book!

    And what a responsive mayor!

  • another book to put on my Kindle list…sigh. 🙂
    thanks for the excellent review Patricia!

    Mtn Jim

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Jim. Happy reading!

  • predsicker

    Indeed he is. Ashley feel free to grab the book here 🙂

  • Sara Blevins

    what can you sell. I started my blog without having a product. But now, I hear all of this and what do you sell? I blog my reccipe, my life and kids, savings and blessings. And if I can earn income doing what I love it would b great! Any tips?

  • Thanks for sharing.  Great article!  

  • Sara Blevins

    I am interested in buying your book. I have a blog, I just started in June. How can you chage it to business? I love blogging and it would be nice to make some money as well. What do you sell? or how do you sell?

  • Dr. Angela Hausman

    I think you’re right. But, don’t underestimate the power of peer to peer interactions on any community — whether its online or off.  It’s like when I was in college, a club would be popular one day and no one would visit the next.  Sometimes its courting influential folks.

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  • post is really beneficial. thanks for posting this. i will become likable now… hope so…

  • Social media a place to exchange ideas and drive interaction surrounded by a topic or product. Find professional advice specific to planning and building online communities.

    Online Business
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  • I love your review, Patricia! 

    From the tips you shared, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book as they seem to resonate so well with my beliefs. If the book has even more value than suggested by your post (which I am sure it has) it must be mind-blowing!

  • predsicker

    Good question Sara.

    Some people blog for money and others blog just to have a voice to express what’s important to them. In any case, the first step is always to attract readers, because your blog has to be read by someone in order to be successful.

    Once you have generated enough traffic, then you have to decide whether you’re going to sell ads or products through your blog. Of course placing ads on your blog is more effective if you have a big audience but it can still provide a little extra income which in turn will motivate you to generate more traffic.

    Once you have enough loyal readers, you may decide to write an e-book about food, life, kids, savings & blessings. But make sure you have enough loyal readers FIRST because it will be tough to sell a product through your blog if you can’t convince your own readers to buy it.

    Hope this helps, and all the best to you!

  • predsicker

    Thank you for reading 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thank you Grace,
    I have no doubt that if you follow the 18 principles in the book, you WILL become a likeable brand. All the best.

  • predsicker

    Ana, I’m glad you enjoyed my review. Keep in mind that I only highlighted 6 out of the 18 valuable principles. So yes — it will blow your mind 🙂 It is a wise investment. Go here for more information about the book

  • All of these are fantastic tips that I share with people on an almost daily basis. Always glad to hear other people preaching the same.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • predsicker

    Thanks Sheldon – you guys are doing a great job over at Sysomos – sorry to hear that you won’t be blogging there anymore. Where can we follow your future blog posts?

  • Haha! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. 
    I assume you’re talking about today’s post. That was actually a post I did for the Social Media Week that we’re just also sharing on our Sysomos blog. It was my last one for Social Media Week, but not for Sysomos.
    I’m going to go put a note about that on the blog right now.

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  • This is a great post because it is applicable to big brands as well as small startups. Anyone can implement these strategies. But time and time again I always come back to content. You have to post content that interests your consumers in a way that gets their attention, like using the Voice for Facebook or Voice for Twitter app so consumers can hear your message so it overrides all the textual clutter. This proves that not only are you not a robot, but you’re also being authentic because you’re listening to what people are saying and coming up with something original that is valuable for them. I see a lot of spammy messages on social media properties that aren’t helping any companies engage in conversations with their consumers or potential customers and are largely ignored by users. And if you’re not likeable, no strategy is going to help you. Thanks for posting!

  • I have a question, Patricia. As a college student, how do you become more likable and more reputable in the professional sense of social media? Likability on a social level is pretty easy, but being young, professional input tends to be ignored.

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  • Well… who could you possibly benefit by giving a “How to…” guide? or…what about a  list of Nine things to avoid/ to expect/ and so on  when…” Or even some inspirational videos with useful tips on a certain topic that would address your audience of interest, like: Saving tips that will pay for your holidays…bla bla… What do you think?

  • predsicker

    That’s a good point Jordan.

    Generally, people tend to ignore younger, less experienced professionals because they don’t believe you have a track record, or that you don’t yet have authority in a given subject area.

    With social media it’s pretty easy not only to correct that perception, but to become more likeable as well. Start writing a blog about a subject matter that you want to be recognized for. Be diligent and consistent in publishing well thought-out articles that give value to your readers. If there are questions/comments, respond to them in a helpful, friendly fashion. If you’re not shy on camera, try video blogging because #1. people love video, #2. it demonstrates your expertise #3. while showing your fun personality as well.

    Keep in mind though that one thing that will make people quickly lose respect for your point of view is lack of consistency. So if you decide to start a blog (text or video) you’ve got to keep it up with fresh content as often as you possibly can.

    Hope that helps, Jordan. Have a great week!

  • predsicker

    Hi Allison,

    Thanks so much for that great idea about Voice for Facebook/Twitter apps!! I didn’t know about these tools and I’ll be sure to check them out — I’m sure others will be grateful for that tip as well!

    On a different note, I received a bouquet of flowers this morning (October 3rd) from Dave Kerpen and the Likeable team, for writing this book review!! Now that’s what I call Likeable!! What sums it up for me is this: Likeability is about delivering as many Wow! moments to your audience as possible. Dave Kerpen proved to me that he practices what he preaches. We (social media experts) would do well to learn from him 🙂

  • Wow, I would love to have a mayor like that. All work and not just talk, quite inspirational in these trying times. Great points though. I do think that sincerity, effort and service are just some of the key things you can do to be a likeable brand.

  • Loved the example of the Mayor’s likeability. 

    Thanks for reviewing the book and the tips!


  • Sunil Gandhi
  • predsicker

    Agreed Sydney!

    The mayor’s social media success is due to his ability to connect remarkably well with his constituents (online) and then to prove he means business in the offline world. Yes, if only more politicians were like this. He makes a great case study

  • predsicker

    Hi Expat Doctor Mom (love your username!)

    I think a lot of people who read this article will check out the mayor’s profile on Twitter 😉 But you’re right he is extremely likeable.

  • Thanks Patricia!

  • Thanks for posting. It’s a great book review. Many people actually have some sort of “groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome.” “They know they need to get involved (in social media), but they’re nervous about moving forward.” as the BOOK “Groundswell” states.I’m sure “Likeable Social Media” can help people and businesses step out, overcome the “syndrome” and generate likeable social media strategies.
    Particularly, I like what you reply to Dexter Eugenio, “if a brand screws up, people are going to find out one way or the other, and they are going to talk about it (with or without that brand’s permission). So it only makes sense that the brand should INSERT itself into the conversation, shed some positive light on the situation.”
    I think it’s also worth mentioning that brands should have a holistic view of their social media engagements and understand how things fit into the big picture when confronting fragmentary feedback from its public.
    Anyway, I’ll add the book in my reading list!

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  • The Senior List

    Great examples of Likeability here Patricia.  Thanks, and we look forward to reading this!