Book Reviews


Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

Author: Dave Kerpen
Publisher McGraw-Hill
Publication Date: Jun 7 2011

Reviewer:Lisa Jo Barr

Lisa Jo Barr is a freelance writer, a swimmer and a volunteer. She has been published in The Denver Post, The Downtown Denver News, Nexus-Colorado's Holistic Journal, Networking Times and others. She has written columns, done copywriting, technical writing, ghostwriting and written the storyline to a Comic Strip. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul, Daily Inspirations and written numerous blogs including one for and one on her outsourcing adventures in New Delhi, India ( . See more of her work at: and .

Lisa can be reached at: lisabarr9 (at) . On Facebook at: , and on Twitter at @bylisajobarr .

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Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare. Social media platforms: they are the wave of today’s most innovative marketing strategies moving into the future.

Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, a social media marketing firm, is acutely aware that social media has been a fast growing phenomena. So fast that most companies have not been able to catch up with it. They don’t have a clear understanding of how they can incorporate social media to grow their brand and business.

Kerpen’s book Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (and other social networks), (McGraw Hill, 2011), helps businesses to catch up.

The book is for rookies and old-timers alike. There’s a 25-page appendix containing a simple starter’s guide to Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and beyond.  The same section is also a refresher course, giving social media-savvy readers great ideas on how they can utilize these platforms to become more engaging and visible.

The rest of the book is filled with marketing strategies and advanced tools that social media technology has to offer. Likeable Social Media is an easy, how-to textbook with a crystal-clear, respectable tone. At the end of every chapter are “action items”—thought-provoking questions and exercises that readers can participate in, putting the content of the book into practical use.  What sets it apart from other social media books is that it’s full of “simple solid case studies and easy-to-follow strategies,” says Kerpen. 

For instance, Blendtec, who sells powerful blenders, posted footage that is hilarious. Millions of people have viewed their entertaining videos. This lead them to having one of the most popular corporate YouTube channels ever.The point is: if you can entertain your community, then do it.

Another example is Chill Zone, a slushy-like product offered by Cumberland Farms. They opened a fan page on Facebook that became very popular. Then they held a contest to give away a full year’s supply of their product to the person with the best story illustrating why they are Chill Zone’s favorite fan. Stories poured in through emails and videos, with a wide range of story telling from fans. The point is: Storytelling is powerful. It connects people. The sharing of these stories that grew a community among fans contributed to growing Chill Zone’s Facebook page to over 140,000 “likes” strong.

Starbuck’s uses Facebook ads to broadcast offers and announce events that draw fans into their stores. Communicated via Facebook ads are great deals such as “free pastry day” and “Frappuccino Happy Hour.” The point is: Facebook advertisements can be used in a number of creative and dynamic ways. They’ve made a great impact on Starbuck’s targeted audience by bringing in millions of fans to in-store locations.

A unique feature of Likeable Social Media is its interactive nature. The author says he will discuss the book and answer questions on both Twitter and Facebook.  The book is meant “as the beginning of an ongoing conversation,” says Kerpen.


Likeable Social Media offers a clear analogy to understanding Facebook’s algorithm called EdgeRank, which according to Kerpen is “the most important innovation of our time.”  

It filters out the junk, and allows for the best content to rise to the top.

Kerpen explains: “EdgeRank is Facebook's algorithm for determining what appears in user’s Top News Feeds. It’s a complex formula, but essentially the more relevant your content is, and the more comments and “likes” it generates, the more likely it'll show up in your fans' News Feeds.”

In other words, the best content wins.

Social media’s effectiveness demands top-notch listening skills. After all, people want to be heard, says Kerpen. The biggest mistake companies make is that they’re still talking too much. They’re still investing all their marketing dollars in print advertising, radio and television commercials, and email blitzes that scream in the customer face to “Buy!” without providing a listening ear.

Listening takes time and so does developing a friendly “likeable” relationship with your customers, says Kerpen. The social networks may provide companies the infrastructure, but an investment to listen needs to be made. This investment includes listening to the conversations made by customers about your company. It also involves listening to competitors and potential customers.  Through social media listening, businesses are able to understand more clearly how customers are using ( or not using) their products, according to Kerpen. They can discover new opportunities and understand what’s most important to their customers. Kerpen suggests to “avoid pricey ad campaigns championing things you think people will love about your product or service by listening to what people actually want before you spend a dollar.”   


Insincerity can be spotted a mile away when communicating through social media outlets. For this reason and others, it is imperative to be honest, authentic and transparent. Without a strong sense of trust, patrons will not buy from you nor will they share their stories about your business with their friends. To build real relationships with your clients, be transparent and authentic, says Kerpen. In a world where marketers once used dishonest tactics, social media demands to “be real,” be transparent, and be honest.


In his personal life, Kerpen values family, transparency, authenticity and creating a better world for his children. His values transfer to his professional life and all throughout his social media book.  

As CEO of Likeable Media, Kerpen keeps his family close: his wife is his business partner, his eight-year-old daughter is already a twitterer.

Kerpen dedicates chapters of Likeable Social Media to authenticity, and on being honest and transparent.

“The value of transparency can create a better world,” says Kerpen. “Being transparent forces other companies and politicians to also become transparent, and as a result, become better listeners who stay deeply connected to their customers and constituents. Social media can change the world by becoming more likeable, responsive, engaging, more customer friendly and more authentic.”   

Likeable Social Media is a likeable, engaging, value-packed, educational read. A two “likeable” thumbs up.