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Social Influencer Series | CEO & Founder Likeable Local, Dave Kerpen

Social Influencer Series | CEO & Founder Likeable Local, Dave Kerpen

I met Dave Kerpen at a Red Sox game. I was a young sales manager at CBS in the market to hire top talent and there was this guy who seemingly had more sales and marketing ability baked into his DNA than anyone I had ever met. 

Dave was the “Crunch 'n Munch Guy” and his ability to delight, engage and influence was uncanny. He was the original “social’ influencer, before there were social influencers or even social networks for that matter. 

Years later, at Hubspot’s Inbound there was a featured speaker who looked familiar to me, but I could not place it. There he was - Dave Kerpen - all grown up. He was the Founder and CEO of Likeable Local and the author of the NY Times bestselling book - Likeable Social Media. Once again I was captivated by his command of the audience. This time playing to a room of inbound marketing disciples, instead of the Fenway Faithful. 

Dave’s presentation was about the importance of brands understanding the mission-critical role that social media will play in their future success. He spoke about the importance of being likeable and building a passionate connection with both customers and employees who could advocate for your business and take your likeable brand to market - like he had done all those years ago for Crunch 'n Munch

He was after all, the Crunch 'n Munch Guy. 

I bought a copy of Likeable Social Media and followed Dave’s success as he founded a second company and went on to publish three more books including: Likeable Business, Likeable Leadership and a must read book for anyone - The Art of People.

I recently caught up with Dave and had a great conversation for the Social Influencer. Here is what he had to say:

You saw the influence of social media early on - from your highly publicized and "sponsored" wedding to the launch of your company, Likeable Local - what did you see in those early days about social media that made you say..."I am in"?

Our original company was a word-of-mouth marketing company. We were doing event marketing and word-of-mouth promotional marketing for brands. For one of our clients - Verizon FIOS, we were doing a "house party" themed promotion and we needed to find actual Verizon Fios customers who wanted to host these house parties. They were hard to find. One of our interns at the time - this was 2007 - suggested that we use Facebook.

Facebook? 

She went on to explain that, "Facebook is this social network that I am on that just opened up it membership to beyond students. You should join it and try to find people there”. 

So I did. I was one of the first “non-students” to sign up and very quickly we were able to find the right people to recruit.  It was amazing how quickly we were able to recruit everyone that we needed. I thought - someone is going to need to manage the presence of all of these brands in social media. We pitched our early clients like Verizon and 1800FLOWERS.com to manage their social media presence and we were very fortunate to be early in the game. 

Now it is essential for all businesses - large and small. Social is a set of tools that allows information to spread faster than ever before and more efficiently than ever before and that has a major impact on all business. 

I saw you speak at Inbound - your best selling book Likeable Social Media has recently been published and was a NY Times bestseller - what is the secret of being "likeable"? 

For me the Likeable brand started off as a social media brand with our first company - Likeable Media and our first book - Likeable Social Media, but it's become much greater than that. My second book, Likeable Business - was more about how to build more likeable businesses. 

What’s a likeable business? Businesses that employees want to be a part of and customers want to buy from. 

My latest book - The Art of People is more about how to get everything you want out of life and out of your relationships - both personal and professional. 

It is a complicated question - “what is the secret of being likeable”, but if I were to try and sum it up here are the key ingredients of being likeable: 

  • listen, really listen more than the talk. 
  • be authentic
  • be honest
  • be transparent
  • and really, strive to provide value - “how can I help the other person first”

Lastly, I think to truly be likeable you have to be authentically grateful. As a person and as a brand. 

What are the top trends you are seeing in Social Media in 2017?

I think that one of the biggest trends is certainly video. And when I say video, I mean - “live video” even more than just video. Facebook’s vision is truly to compete with television. The only way to do that is to create destination programming which can only be accomplished with live video and archived live video that people can access on demand and share.

As part of that, we are seeing stories evolving over newsfeed. Facebook has successfully copied Snapchat and integrated stories across their four major products - Whatsapp, Instagram, Messenger and now Facebook proper. A couple of years from now it will be all stories, not news. 

The other trend worth mentioning is the rising importance of influencers. Brands need to embrace influencers and really start treating them as not an add-on extra, but as a fundamental aspect of your social media and brand programs. We are talking about both external and internal influencers that can be leveraged as successful evangelizers of your business and brand.

Is there a brand that stand apart from the rest - who's leveraging social most effectively in your eyes? 

One of our clients - Century 21 is doing a phenomenal job on the creation of appealing content; the distribution of content in smart way; and the use of influencers.

What advice would you give to a CMO or business owner of a "legacy" brand about how they should view or approach social media in the digital age? 

The first piece of advice that would share is to become a more likeable business. That is the foundation point. 

The world has dramatically changed. Because of social. Because of the internet. People are connected at scale. They have voice. They have power. The have influence. To become a more likeable business you have to be transparent and authentic. Once you do that, then approach social media as a fundamental part of your brands communication strategy.

Think of social as first a listening and communications tool - then second as an amplifier. 

SPEED ROUND:

  • Go To Social Channel? Linked In and Twitter
  • Celebratory cocktail? Anything Orange
  • Most proud accomplishment? My 3 Kids
  • What do you love most about what you do? The Ah-ha Moment When People Get It
  • Inspirational #hashtag for social marketers? #LikeableWorld and #YouRule

Dave Kerpen is the CEO and Founder of Likeable Local and Chairman and cofounder of Likeable Media. He is the father of three, husband to an amazing business partner, and friend to many. He is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker. Follow Dave @DaveKerpen 

Mark Keaney is a Regional Sales Manager for @Sprinklr - the world's most complete customer experience management platform for the enterprise. Sprinklr helps the world's largest brands do marketing, advertising, customer care, sales, research and commerce on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and twenty-one other social channels globally, all on one integrated platform.

e: mark.keaney@sprinklr.com or m: (617) 513-2668 or t: @markkeaney2pt0

 

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