Dave Kerpen Interview Transcription
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Interview with Author Dave Kerpen
Hosts: Kersten Kloss and Chris Hamilton
Guest: Dave Kerpen
Kersten Kloss: With us today is Dave Kerpen, the author of Likeable, a very popular book right now. As a matter of fact, Chris can introduce David and explain a little bit more about the book Likeable and about Dave.
Chris Hamilton: You bet. Thanks Kersten. I appreciate you doing the introduction there. Dave, we appreciate you being with us today. I'm going to do a quick overview of the book. I actually- I was- I read the book about a month ago and then did a recap on it here in the last week and you see my nice little post-it notes in here. It's a great book from the standpoint of its broken down into numerous sections and also kind of has a guideline almost at the end of each section that tells you what to do and how to be engaged with people. And I think you know Dave, is there anything that you want to put in on a plug for your book right now before we jump into an interview or...?
Dave Kerpen: No. I'm just super-happy that the book's been well received. It's been really an awesome six months. It was near kind of best seller and it continues to do really well and I'm just really humbled and excited by the whole thing.
Chris Hamilton: Excellent. It is a great book. I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed reading it. In fact, I'm actually, I'm going to jump to one of the first sections that I read in the book which was what social media can and cannot do for you. And I got a great chuckle out of that. It's on page 9 and I think it's on page 9. I got to just paraphrase what you were talking about is, just at a high level, three things that it won't do for you is: Social media cannot make up for a bad product, company, or organization. That's number 1. Number 2, social media will not lead to overnight sales success. Number 3, social media is not free. Boy did that ever resonate with me because of the fact and I'm sure you see this especially with your company is that a lot of times people come in and they go, "I just want to be successful," but they don't realize that there's effort associated with going down this path. So why did you just come up with the three which I think nails it and kind of give us a few thoughts on that one, if you wouldn't mind?
Dave Kerpen: Sure, sure, well yeah. Just like you said, I get tons of companies that say you know, they come to like or they come to us and they say, "Give me some of that social media. We want social media. And we want a million Facebook fans and we want you know, X and Y." And you know the first question I ask is always, "Is your product or service ready for primetime?" Because not only will social media not make up for a bad product or service, social media is going to make it worse. Because if I get more people talking about you and they don't have nice things to say then that's not good. So before you even think about spreading the word online and offline about your company, you've got to make sure that your company is really delivering great value. And whatever your product or service is, it's really on point.
And then as for the other two, you know just because the social networks themselves are free to use, so many people get a little bit confused about the costs involved and the time involved that it takes to be successful in social media. The truth is, it's a lot less expensive than traditional media or what I now call linear media like television, radio, billboards, direct mail. Social media is a lot less expensive in that but there is a major, major expense to social media and that's time. Social media takes a lot of time, whether it's your time, you hire an agency like me and it's my time, your interns' time, and your staff's time. Social media cannot be done well without taking a lot of time and therefore it's not going to lead to instant results either. It's going to take six months at least to really see a huge impact.
In the book, I described social media as the world's biggest cocktail party. And just like a real cocktail party, I can't walk up to you guys, no matter how great my product or service is, I can't walk up to you guys in a cocktail party and say, "My product is the best. I'll give you 50% off. I'll give you a free prize. Here, buy my product." You'd look at me like I was crazy. It takes time to build relationships in real life and therefore it takes time to build relationships with social media.
Chris Hamilton: You know I absolutely agree. It's so funny because I get so many people that just come and just go, "I just want the success." Right? Like I said, that just nailed it because of the fact that people don't realize that there's effort associated with it. And it does take time no matter what it is and that's the most valuable asset that most people have. As I kind of went through the book, a lot of things- I found some really cool stuff that I found in the book. And what I love about reading books is that you always glean nuggets and I'll get into a couple of these things here. But one of the things that you talk about is just basically starting to listen online. I believe that's in chapter 1 where you start talking about the, listen first and never stop listening. And it's becoming more and more of the mantra I guess or the way that people can engage with people online. For people that don't really grasp that concept that are just kind of new to social media or anything that's around that genre or whatever, what should people be listening for? What would be- I know it's kind of a how long is a piece of string question but what should people listen for and hone in on in order to start moving the process forward?
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. So let me share that- the story about my trip to Vegas because that's the story that I open the book with and a story that when I'm trying to explain the power of listening and specifically when I'm trying to explain the power of Twitter to senior executives, that really works to bring it home for them because there's still so many folks as you said that don't fully get Twitter and don't necessarily fully get the whole concept of listening. So about a year and a half ago, I was staying in Las Vegas. I had taken a six-hour flight from New York. I was staying at the trendiest hotel in the Strip, the Aria and I was exhausted and tired. I just wanted to go to sleep. I went to check-in and the line to check-in was over 45 minutes long.
Chris Hamilton: Oh Jesus.
Dave Kerpen: And I got really progressively angry and more frustrated as I waited on this line. Well, eventually I did what any big social media nerd would do. I tweeted. I tweeted something like "Waiting on line at the Aria for over 45 minutes. Not worth the wait. #fail." Again, sort of social media nerd lingo for you guys think. Well, the Aria wasn't listening to my tweets and they did not respond. But guess what? The Rio was listening to my tweets. They must have been monitoring tweets about competitive hotels and the Rio responded within two minutes to my tweet. Now when I shared this story to senior execs, every single time they get really excited about this. At this point, they think "Wow. Now we get listening, Now we get Twitter. What did the Rio tweet back? Come on over? We'll take care of you? We got a room with your name on it?" And the thing is, the Rio didn't tweet that. Had the Rio tweeted that back, I would have thought two things. First, it's sort of creepy that they are stalking me this closely.
Chris Hamilton: Yeah, yeah.
Dave Kerpen: And second, why is it wide open at the Rio when it's jam-packed and happening at the Aria? Well the Rio tweeted back to me the following: "Sorry you're having a bad experience Dave. Hope the rest of your time in Vegas goes well." "Sorry you're having a bad experience Dave. Hope the rest of your time in Vegas goes well."
Chris Hamilton: Wow.
Dave Kerpen: Well guess where I stayed the next time I went to Vegas/
Chris Hamilton: Absolutely.
Dave Kerpen: So they earned a 600 dollar sale from me just from listening and demonstrating empathy. I don't think there's a single marketer on the planet that would argue that that, the message that they sent, the tweet that they sent was a marketing message. It wasn't a marketing message. All they were doing was listening and demonstrating empathy and showing me that they were listening.
Chris Hamilton: What would be some good tools? I mean- I'm going to plug Hootsuite because it's a good Canadian company but is there- what kind of listening tools could people be utilizing to find that- to be out listening on the Web for that sort of stuff?
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. Well you know on an absolutely free basis, just using the Twitter search to itself can be very robust. And then on a more enterprise level, you can go all the way from Hootsuite for free or for a few bucks a month to Radian6, another great Canadian company that is probably the leader in the social listening and analytic space. A little bit more expensive but definitely can better provide you with lots of great data. And the truth is there are literally now hundreds of companies, about 300 companies that specialize in social listening and so you know, if you don't like the ones I mentioned, just you know do some research and try some other ones out.
Chris Hamilton: Yeah, there's a ton out there. I mean Google Alerts is another way to look at stuff as well.
Kersten Kloss: I had a question here for Dave. One thing I always have a question about from others is how do you inspire other people to share some of the knowledge that you share on your thread or on your stream? How do you get your followers to take that information and redistribute it through their networks?
Dave Kerpen: So a good question. I think first you have to incent- well forget incentivize. First you have to tell them to if you want them to. So the number one word in- the number one phrase in generating retweets on Twitter is "please retweet." You know if you tell people, "please retweet," you're going to be much more likely to get a retweet. If you tell people on Facebook, "please share this," you're going to be much more likely to get a share. Then you can certainly start to incentivize people and give people prizes and surprise and delight them and thank them for sharing your content. But ultimately, it's not about you, it's about the content. It's about the content that you're delivering and it's about delivering that value so that other people are going to want to share that value so that they look good.
Kersten Kloss: So kind of what you're saying is that it's also important to distribute other content and maybe comment on that content while you're distributing it so that you're adding to the conversation and building a bit of a history behind that conversation, then perhaps people would be more likely to retweet that information or redistribute it on Facebook.
Dave Kerpen: Yeah and just helping other people for the sake of helping other people and thinking about this. And again, sorry to keep bring the cocktail party analogy up but you don't go to a cocktail party just thinking about how you can score some business. You think about meeting interesting people and bringing some value to the table and hearing some good stories and sharing some good stories of your own.
Almost I would say two or three times a week, on Twitter, I just ask "what can I retweet right now to help you?" And people send me, in the next ten minutes they send me a dozen tweets and I retweet them all to my lot of followers and that helps them. And then you know when I want stuff, my own stuff to be shared later on, obviously they're going to be thrilled to share it.
Chris Hamilton: By the way, using the analogy of the cocktail party, you can use it over and over again because I think it really hits the message home right? It's uh- I'll give you an example. The other day, I had someone connect with me on LinkedIn... back, we're not audi-... just, you're no longer connected with me to a thing. So I mean that's- it comes back to the analogy of the cocktail party.
Kersten Kloss: Can you ask that question again Chris? I had a freeze up here.
Chris Hamilton: Did you have a freeze up here?
Kersten Kloss: Yup. Just right from the top.
Chris Hamilton: So just go from the top about talking about LinkedIn?
Kersten Kloss: Yup. You betcha, yup.
Chris Hamilton: Okay. Sorry about that Dave, some of the issues with the-
Kersten Kloss: Internet.
Chris Hamilton: ... with going live in the Internet and everything.
Kersten Kloss: Yeah, go for it.
Chris Hamilton: So the concept is that just basically using the analogy of a cocktail party is okay to continually bring it up because people understand that analogy as it relates to the social world. An example of that one is, the other day, I just had someone who tried to connect with me on LinkedIn. I do accept everyone on LinkedIn but the problem was within five hours after accepting, I got the worst spammy message ever and it's just delete, see you later. And it's not different than if I'm standing in a meet-up event or I'm at a cocktail party or anything. If someone comes up and the first thing they do is just talk about how I want business, I mean it's just- you feel slimed. It's what it comes down to. Right?
So hence the title of your book, Likeable which I mean that's the- It is all about the engaging which is, it's interesting because we're kind of getting, as I'm going chronologically through your book, we're getting to the chapter where we talk about engaging with people. And there's two different sides to I think engaging; engaging on at a corporate level with people through say Twitter or Facebook or anything, and then also engaging with people at an individual level. What's your thought process around kind of engaging with both? Because it's two different distinct engagement pass you want to go down I think.
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. Well as we go from sort of listening to actually a conversation that has both partners, right? Listening is just you know, part where you're listening. And then once you enter the dialogue, there's two ways to think about it. There's talking and there's engaging. And to me, the difference between talking, you know when I think about talking, I think about some guy that can't shut up you know. And when I think about engaging, I think about a true and back-and-forth dialogue where both parties are bringing something to the table. And it continues. And from both a corporate to consumer and an individual to individual perspective, you know engaging means really staying in that dialogue, being present, not just being there to promote your thing but being there to continue an ongoing conversation that you know the truth is, it could go on forever. It might have a stop at the moment but it's going to be continued on because you're going to continue that sort of back and forth.
Chris Hamilton: Excellent. By the way, one of the things that I found in your book like I talked about the little nuggets that you find information in pieces was the- In chapter 4, you talked about like and then the person's name to 32665 which is liking the person the Facebook with a text message via your phone which I did not know. I had no clue that that was there. I think you gave the example of wouldn't it be wonderful if you could do this in a doctor's office or you do this somewhere where someone is sitting and just say hey, once you like us on Facebook right now, or like us on Facebook and you get a coupon that comes back almost immediately, again those things.
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. They're just you know, I try to keep the book pretty strategic but there are so many little things that people don't know and that there's so many technical things that people don't know that- that's actually to me, that's the most underutilized Facebook marketing tool out there. Everyone from a small business like a restaurant- Imagine a restaurant while you're waiting online or a doctor's office like you said, or really any professional office to a big business that maybe funds a corporate, has a corporate sponsorship at a baseball stadium, and you got 40,000 people right there. Instead of your little ten second spot saying "Check us out online." Have you ten second spot be, "Hey everyone, take out your smartphones. Text Like_my big company name to 32665. We're giving away a car tomorrow." You know you can drive 20,000 people like your page. You know if-
Chris Hamilton: If you start going in and getting engaged with people, I mean this could become a full time endeavor and you could stop working altogether. In fact, Kersten and I came across a company once where, they found a girl who's on Facebook and Twitter eight hours of the eight hours she was working. And it was not work-related in the slightest. Right? I can see how this could become overwhelming for somebody. Where should someone focus their efforts? And what kind of ideas should they- What should they do?
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. It can get very overwhelming. I spent a ton of time on it myself of course and my whole staff does, but I mean my first- the first thing I want to say is don't let that overwhelm and the potential overwhelm keep you from getting started and keep you from committing to at least a certain amount of time each day, so maybe a half an hour a day, minimum. Now, how do you spend that half hour to your point? You got to think about where, what's going to give you the most return over time? Does it pay to engage with a random person versus engaging with someone that's clearly a prospect versus engaging with somebody that's clearly an influence or potentially could get your message out or help you with their thousands and thousands of people that they could reach. Well probably the influential person is more valuable for you to engage with than your actual direct prospect, because over time that person could have a much bigger effect over your business.
Chris Hamilton: Got you. It's interesting. Jeffrey Gitomer's Social BOOM! I wrote a section in that book. But part of it is very similar to what you talked about is devote kind of that half an hour or day to this because if you don't, guess what, your competitors already are. So it's you know, you really have to spend time doing this because- an analogy is a real estate agent for example. Right? In Calgary, there's about five thousand where we live and I can think of only a handful that really leverage social media very well. And I'm guessing they're spending an hour to two hours a day doing this whereas the other guys are picking up the phone making cold calls or sending out leaflets or something and are wondering why their business isn't working anymore. So just a point that I was making against what you're saying is just really you got to put the effort in.
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. You have to spend some time and you have to be smart about it, because it can be a time sink. You could spend ten hours a day on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook just playing games and goofing off. That's not actually helping your business at all.
Chris Hamilton: No, and I guess the same point is, if I were actually online doing that, how do I convey that message to my sales manager, my VP of sales that I'm actually not on there you know, goofing off playing Farmville where I'm actually trying to show some results. I guess the question would be, how do you show measurable results against this sort of stuff? How would you track it to be able to show a sales manager, a VP of sales or something in your company? What would you suggest?
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. That's the challenge. I think that you have to take a leap of faith a little bit in the beginning and have some small wins. And if you can start to show that you can use social media to drive some leads even before you're driving sales, well then that's a win. And eventually, the numbers will speak for themselves and you'll be able to show direct impact from the work that you're doing to generating results.
Kersten Kloss: What are the typical demographics that you'd find that are using Facebook right now? If my company specializes in a certain age group, am I going to hit that audience?
Dave Kerpen: Great question. Yes. I'll answer the second question first. Yes. No matter what. Everyone is on at this point. I have a standing challenge to the world to find me an organization on this planet whose audience is not on Facebook. I had the Palm Beach Florida Opera call me and say you know, "My audience isn't on Facebook." I found 20,000 people aged 60-plus that liked opera within a 25-mile radius of Palm Beach on Facebook. So the truth is it started off obviously with young people and they pretty much maxed out young people, and the fastest growing demographics on Facebook are all now on the 45-plus categories and Facebook continues to grow all over the world at this point.
Kersten Kloss: Well and it's true. My wife caught on to the Facebook thing and she's a flight attendant and they have that community is huge on Facebook. As a matter of fact, so much so that they're somewhat disruptive in the world of the union versus the corporation through their dialogues on Facebook, so you know, it leads to another question I actually have which is regarding how corporations use and misuse that whole idea of social media. I know there is recently a story about Qantas talking about their greatest, latest thing and their union took over the conversation which they were rather disgruntled employees. What's your take on that whole corporate versus union scenario or any situation where you might have negative press about your product mixed in with the good stuff that you have to talk about?
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. Well you know Verizon is one of our clients and they had a strike earlier in the year and you know, tens of thousands of employees were on strike. Some of them obviously took to the social web. My best recommendation is to be transparent and to do unto others. I mean a lot of what is in my book and in my core belief system is quite frankly very simple. It's not that complicated. I think what's happened is before the social web, there was the first web, Web 1.0 where everything was about the mathematics of click through rates and calculating ROI and conversion- What kind of word is conversion when we're talking about real people here you know? And what's happened is, everyone, when the web went social, everyone got to sort of try to continue with those same metrics and that same way of thinking that they have started with Web 1.0. But the truth is social media is much more about social than about online media. The problem isn't when companies make mistakes. The problem is when companies are jerks about it. The problem is when companies don't admit their mistakes. The problem is when companies try to cover up those mistakes. The problem is when companies make mistakes and still treat their customers like crap. It's not that hard. Be likeable. Admit when you screw up. Be the sort of person that you would want companies to be, be to you.
Chris Hamilton: I mean it can come back and really bite you hard I think. You know the example you've given in the book that I think was amazing which I really clued in on was the Macy's, Marc Jacobs incident right where you show up and I think it was Foursquare you'd used to figure this one out. And you show up at the Macy's counter and they looked at you like you had three heads I think. Right? If you could just give a business scenario so people could understand what happened.
Dave Kerpen: Sure, sure. I'll share this story. I mean I was obviously a big social media user so I saw a Foursquare special that said you know, show up and you get a 250 dollar Marc Jacobs bag at Macy's. I'm not a big fashion guy but I was like, "All right, a 250 dollar Marc Jacobs bag sounds pretty cool for my wife there." So I showed up and they had no idea what the promotion was and really they just treated me like I was trying to cheat them and they just treated me really, really badly. The thing about social media is it's really just not- it's not just a marketing thing. It's an everything thing. And the future of social media won't just be marketers. It will be every person at a business from the CEO down to the cashier, anyone that ever has any contact with customers needs to be clued into this. It can't just be your marketing department going out and doing social media. If you're a sales guy, if you're a customer support woman, if you are a recruiter, every person is going to have to understand how to use social media tools to do right by the customer and to do right by the company.
Chris Hamilton: Well I think it comes back to your- the philosophy of the Golden Rule. You treat people how you wanted to be treated. I mean that- it's interesting especially with the advent of social media online is that if you're a scumbag, you get found. Right? It shows up on results like you wouldn't believe. And the worst thing is that those results or that information is literally there almost forever especially if you look at something online. And there's still a lot of people out there that do not comprehend this concept of if I treat someone bad, and you know, they used to be able to tell ten friends and those ten friends you know, might tell ten friends so you get a hundred people. Now, I got a blog and I post that up. I did that with the West Edmonton Hotel. I had a horrific stay there. I put it up online. I wrote about the example and I said, "Here's the financial impact of what this means for me blogging." And I went through the whole process and said, "By the way, X amount of people are going to see this. Here's how much they get. Here's how much they'll probably lose because people will not go there because of this. Right?" And you know, just the way that the employees and staff treat people anywhere, you know, you may think, "Oh well, I won this round." Right? But you don't is the best way to look at it. It comes back and it just will bite you like you wouldn't believe.
Dave Kerpen: Yeah, yeah. Three things. First of all, I actually stayed at the West Edmonton Mall many years ago. I did an event there at the mall. That's a big mall. Second of all, I also had a negative experience at a hotel in Canada that we blogged about as well. I won't give them any more grief but I did have that experience. And third of all, one of the reasons I'm so passionate about talking about this is that you know, you could get away with things because you could spend a lot of money on TV advertising to make up for a crappy product or a crappy customer service, and you could sort of use money to buy out all your competitors and be a monopoly. And you know, it was much easier to not be likeable 20 years ago. Well you know it's hard. It's hard to be- to screw people over and stay in business now. And in five years, it will be absolutely impossible. It really will.
Kersten Kloss: Yeah, it's the great equalizer. And I think you hit the nail in the head earlier on as you alluded to the- It's the culture of a company and it's the culture of that- that a company instills on their organization. Yeah. And where people are going to be wanting to support the success of a company as opposed to being drones or cogs in the wheel. That's going to change the way business operates. And I'm hoping because everything changes. I'm hoping that this will turn into a more responsible corporate community out there compared to the way it's kind of been going in the past 15, 20 years.
Chris Hamilton: Dave, what are the things that you talk about in here? I think it's in chapter 11 where you talk about providing value. And you talk about providing enough value without giving the farm away I guess is the best way to look at it. A lot of people that actually watch our show or consume it later on are either new to sales, new to marketing, and I don't think they quite grasp that concept that if I give this away, our people are just going to take it and I'll never get any business or anything. Can you kind of give your concept behind that as well so that people can get a good understanding because I'm a firm believer in that too by the way.
Dave Kerpen: Yeah. Look, we at Likeable have been in business for four years. We've updated our Facebook page probably about a thousand times. The number of updates that have been self-promotional is less than ten. The other 990 times out of a thousand, we have shared really valuable content, articles, tips, webinars, videos, all sorts of really valuable content, so much so that I have had not one but two people walk up to me at conferences and say, "You know Dave, I just want to thank you for all the really amazing content. I've learned so much from you and I've actually started my own social media agency thanks to everything I've learned from you guys."
So on the one hand, not only are we helping competitors but we're actually inspiring new competitors to go into business. But for those two people, and from the countless others that we have admittedly helped of our competitors, we have built up arguably the leading reputation in the space for thought leadership in social media marketing, and we have gotten countless inbound calls and emails from people that want to do business with us already. I don't have a sales staff. We made the Inc 500 this year, the fastest growing companies in America without a sales staff because people call us and email us every single week saying we want to do business with you guys. I had somebody that called me and said you know, "I've been following you guys for six months. I have a very big company so I have to do an RFP but I want to let you know I have 300,000 dollars for you and it's yours. Let's get started soon." I mean, and so the value of giving away value is tremendous. Yes, you're going to help your competitors a little bit. So what! You're also going to establish yourself as the most credible expert in what you do. And that is way more valuable than giving away a little information.
Kersten Kloss: So Dave, it's been great having you today on the broadcast. We could go on probably for another half an hour but unfortunately you have some time constraints and you got to get going. Yup, and thumbs up as well. I love the imagery. That's fantastic.
Chris Hamilton: I'm holding it up, Likeable Social Media. I'm holding it up right now. And by the way, please we would love to have you back on when you get- No! No thumbs down on this one. It's a great book. We'd love to have you back on when your next book comes out. If you would- We would be honored to have you back on.
Kersten Kloss: Absolutely.
Dave Kerpen: Thank you.
Chris Hamilton: The information that you conveyed today is invaluable and we very much appreciate the fact that you would enlighten our audience with so much information. So it's greatly appreciated and for those of you...
Kersten Kloss: Get the book.
Chris Hamilton: ... who are looking at this right now, look at the book. Go buy it. It's from McGraw-Hill, from our good friends at McGraw-Hill. Likeable Social Media, and our guest today was Dave Kerpen.
Kersten Kloss: And yeah, Dave Kerpen. And remember to go to the website, Likeable.com and go take a look at all the good stuff that Dave has over there at Likeable Media.
Dave Kerpen: And one thing we didn't talk about guys was responsiveness and I wrote in the book a lot about being responsive. Responsiveness is one of my company's core values and it's one of my core values. So every interview I do, I invite people watching the interview to contact me with questions and I answer every single question. I get thousands and thousands every week via email and Twitter and Facebook. The best way to reach me is on Twitter, twitter.com/davekerpen. But you can also reach out to me on Facebook and LinkedIn and Quorum, Foursquare, and Youtube, and just about every site out there. But if you have any questions whatsoever, tweet me @davekerpen and I will get back to you. I promise.
Kersten Kloss: And we also simplify it through a question form. We will make sure we get that question relayed over to Dave as well.
Chris Hamilton: Exactly.
Kersten Kloss: So leave your questions in a question form to the side of this broadcast. So thanks Dave. I appreciate it.
Dave Kerpen: Thanks so much guys for having me.
END OF INTERVIEW
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Last Updated (Wednesday, 04 January 2012 18:18)