The Power of Social Media at Boston Common Coffee Company

So, I went to Boston Common Coffee company for lunch today for a nice goat cheese panini. The lady behind the counter hands out two sandwiches at the same time. I obviously get the WRONG one…don’t even look… and take a bite out of it. The good-looking 30-year old man walks over to me and was like “Uhhh I think we have each other’s sandwiches…” I awkwardly explained how I took a bite out of it and he said it was fine, since he had a good immune system. I proceeded to send a tweet: “So @BostonCommon gave me and this random dude each others sandwiches…we both took bites and then switched. Awkward.” Then, 5 minutes later, they called “Melissa” to the counter. I ignored it, thinking it was someone else. THEN the lady comes over to me and hands me cash and says “Are you Melissa? This is for you.”..and she was the one who gave me my wrong sandwich. AWKWARD.


This is an example of great customer service on social media. I am probably too awkward to go back for a while, but I love how responsive the company was to my complaint.
 
Image

My interview with Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen (CEO), a successful entrepreneur is the co-founder of Likeable Media, along with his wife Carrie Kerpen (COO). In 2006, Dave and Carrie Kerpen created theKbuzz, which was a word of mouth marketing agency. Likeable Media, originally known as theKbuzz works to create social media “buzz” for clients such as 1-800-Flowers, Entenmann’s and Restaurant.com.

Background of Dave Kerpen:

Dave Kerpen, the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media was not from a particularly “entrepreneurial” family, although his mother was in real estate and his father had a small business. Kerpen says that he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and possesses a talent for selling, as well as setting a vision for a company. These two qualities, along with his entrepreneurship skills will significantly help him with his career in business.

He began his higher education at Boston University studying elementary education and psychology. While at Boston University, Kerpen worked as a Ballpark vendor at Fenway Park, selling Crunch ‘n Munch. When describing his time working at Fenway Park, Kerpen said “I ended up selling quite a bit of Crunch ‘n Munch and making a lot of money as the ‘Crunch ‘n Munch guy’ and that led me to know that business, selling and promotions were in my skill set.”

When Carrie and Dave Kerpen first got engaged, they decided to have a large wedding at Fenway Park. Since both Carrie and Dave had marketing, radio sales and management experience, they used their skills to create a dream baseball stadium wedding. The Kerpens received sponsorship from vendors in order to fund the Fenway Park wedding – 1-800-Flowers, Smirnoff, David’s Bridal and Entenmann’s donated their products, which in return greatly marketed the companies. These companies earned a large amount of media coverage through sponsorship of this wedding, which made it a huge promotional success.

Development of theKbuzz & Likeable Media

After the wedding of Carrie and Dave Kerpen, the companies that served as vendors were ecstatic with the marketing results – they immediately asked the Kerpens to do this again. Since there wasn’t a need for another wedding for Carrie and Dave, the couple started brainstorming ways to market for these companies. In 2006, theKbuzz was founded. Kerpen explains that the goal was to “. . . help clients like our wedding vendors drive buzz through word of mouth programs.”

When asked about the existence of a business plan for theKbuzz, Kerpen said “We did not have a business plan until three years into the business . . . we just did it.” This shows that Dave and his wife Carrie had an idea and just went with it. The goal of this company was not to make money, but instead, to create word of mouth marketing strategies for existing companies. The motivational qualities of Dave and Carrie are exemplified when Dave states, “We were eating, sleeping and breathing the business in the beginning.”

At the time, theKbuzz’s main competitors were other experiential and event marketing companies. At the time, social media was in the beginning stages and not nearly as popular as it is now. When beginning theKbuzz, Carrie and Dave made sure to secure at least two clients, while still working at their other jobs. Therefore, this was a positive cash flow for the company from the start – the co-founders made sure that there was a need to be filled by current and potential clients.

TheKbuzz was known as a word of mouth marketing firm, which eventually transformed into a social media marketing agency. In May 2010, theKbuzz turned into Likeable Media – this transformation created a significant social media strategy component for the company. At the present time, there are many other companies who are focused on social media strategies for companies. As the company grew with more clients and contracts, more people were hired to work under Carrie and Dave. In relation to hiring, Kerpen states “So this is a fundamental question and so many great business leaders and writers believe that the single most important aspect to the company is the people that they hire.”

While Likeable Media was growing simultaneously with social networks, the company took on more and more clients. In order to fill gaps while the company was growing, it needed to hire more employees. On this, Kerpen states “For us, hiring more senior people has always been a struggle and something we know we want to continue to work toward.” Since the company started with Dave and Carrie being the only employees, it was difficult to bring more people on-board who have the same goals and understanding of the business. When hiring, these core values are a necessity: passion, drive, transparency and thought leadership. Therefore, the future employees need to be as driven as Carrie and Dave were when first starting the business, along with a strong side of creativity. At the current time, Kerpen says “We just hired our first CFO who has more business planning experience and financial experience and will in the next year hire more C-level management staff which will help grow the business.” This is a significant step for Likeable Media, since it is growing at such a rapid pace.

Personal Evaluation by Dave Kerpen:

Even though starting a company without a business plan is a bold move, Dave and Carrie Kerpen still succeeded with a great business idea. When asked about going back in time to create a business plan, Kerpen says “I would do lots of things differently – I would plan more. There are pros and cons to jumping right in and doing something, but in hindsight I think it’s better to plan.” Kerpen realizes that starting a business without a set plan could lead to difficult situations. Since Carrie and Dave knew that there was a need for this type of word of mouth marketing, there was no unattainable goal in mind – the original goal was to secure two client contracts to begin building the business. With no high expectations, Kerpen says “I spend more time in the business than I thought I would because the business has grown more than I thought it would.” The Kerpens worked together to fulfill an existing need for customers, which grew to be a great business.

In addition to more business planning, Kerpen also explains that he has learned to focus more on working with the current customers’ social media wants and needs, as well as to bring more clients on board. On customer focus, Kerpen states “One important lesson that I’ve learned is to focus more attention on our current customers. One thing we’ve struggled with with our rapid growth with looking for more and more clients and sometimes paying less attention to our current customers than we should have – we ended up losing some customers. . .” Kerpen realizes that with a growing company, it is crucial to keep your current customers happy while recruiting new ones.

When Kerpen evaluates himself, he explains that his personal weaknesses are execution of an idea and managing people. On this subject, he explains that he and Carrie even each other out with strengths and weaknesses – for example, Carrie is better with managing people. Overall, it is amazing to see an entrepreneur being able to evaluate not only himself, but his entire company also. Kerpen senses when weaknesses and problems arise and when change needs to happen.

Evaluation and Reflection of Likeable Media:

As with any start-up company, there are always items that could have been done differently during the creation process. In reviewing the creation of theKbuzz and the transformation into Likeable Media, it would have been a good idea to create a business plan before the three year mark. This would have created more of a system for bringing on new clients as well as hiring more employees as more contracts were signed. Therefore, as more companies were brought on, more employees systematically would have been brought on at a similar time. As Dave Kerpen mentioned, he has learned to focus not only on bringing in more clients, but also making sure that Likeable Media is doing the best work possible for existing clients. Also, he has experienced difficulty with bringing in more employees. Both of these problems could have been helped by having a business plan in place within the first year of theKbuzz.

In addition, Kerpen mentioned that his weaknesses are managing people and executing ideas. Although he mentions that his wife balances out his weaknesses with her strengths, these problems would have been easier to deal with with a set business plan in place. Over time, it would have been easier to alter the plan than to create a new one.

Likeable Media is a successful venture, not only because of the consistent positive cash flow, but the impact that the company has had on clients and the social media world as a whole. Dave and Carrie went into the company with an idea in mind – to create word of mouth buzz for companies. At the same time, there was a need from companies. The couple has succeeded with this idea and has adapted to the changing times, especially the change from classic marketing to social media marketing. Likeable Media clearly shows that the Kerpens understand the rhythm of business – with the changing times, the couple was able to evaluate the company in order to keep up with the current market, moving from word of mouth marketing to social media.

It is admirable that Dave Kerpen took an idea that he had and just went with it. With no formal business plan, Dave and his wife Carrie recognized a need in the marketplace for word of mouth marketing strategies, eventually transforming into social media strategies. In many cases, people start businesses with profit as the only goal in mind – this was not the case with theKbuzz, as there was a recognized need in the market, with no unrealistic financial goals. Kerpen explains that he and his wife put a great amount of time into developing the business – it didn’t just happen in one week. He says “For many people, they would prefer to have a 9-5ish job and to know exactly how much they’re going to make.” For the Kerpens, this was more of a journey than a classic day job.

Entrepreneurial Advice:

When asked about advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Dave Kerpen said “Seek advice and counsel – ask a lot of questions and find people that have been successful and talk to them.” In order to learn for yourself, you must learn from others’ successes and failures. The following are the top qualities for entrepreneurs, according to Dave Kerpen:

  1. Entrepreneurial spirit – there needs to be a motivation from inside you in order to dedicate your life to the business. Also, start-up businesses require a great amount of risk-taking that one needs to be able to do.
  2. Desire to solve problems – along the way, there will be obstacles and challenges, but a great entrepreneur is one who can come up with solutions and results for these issues.
  3. Ambition – similar to an entrepreneurial spirit, aspiring entrepreneurs need to have a great amount of ambition that separates your personal life from your business life.

In order to learn about successes and failures from entrepreneurial people, Kerpen says

“Social Media, as you know, has made people far more accessible than they ever were before in the past. Any aspiring entrepreneur can find successful entrepreneurs that they want to connect with through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and have a quick conversation . . . Not every CEO would give their time, but a lot of people will.”

Therefore, Kerpen emphasizes the importance of working with others. Finally, Dave Kerpen’s best piece of advice to entrepreneurs is to network – “You learn so much from meeting people – that is my number one recommendation.”

How To Get A Job Using Social Media with Cara Friedman

How To Get A Job Using Social Media  

When people think of social media in the workplace, it is normally a no-no. If anything, being on Facebook and Twitter at work is associated with losing your job. But what if I told you that you can actually use social media to find a job? Here are the best ways to use social media when looking for a job:

Facebook

There are a ton of things to do on Facebook that can help you find a job. To start, ‘like’ the pages of companies you would want to work for. When you engage on those pages, you will stand out to the company. Another fun way to get your future employer’s attention is through Facebook ads. Facebook’s targeting features are so advanced that you can actually hyper-target your employee. With enough information, you can target an ad for only one person to see. Use it to get an interview with the HR representative of the company or to thank an interviewer for their time!

LinkedIn

Employers are turning to LinkedIn to find employees more than any other social network. Since LinkedIn is used to connect with professionals, you want to make sure the people you are connecting with are people you actually know. If you want to connect with the CEO or HR representative of the company you want to work for, chances are you are connected by at least the third degree. Utilize the “get introduced through a connection” button and watch your network grow.

Twitter

Believe it or not, but Twitter is the number 2 search engine in the world. You can use search.twitter.com to find all sorts of job postings. There are tons of people posting jobs on Twitter, all you have to do is search for them! You can also join chats such as #jobhuntchat and talk to others who are looking for employment or possible future employers. Don’t forget to tweet at the CEOs of companies you would want to work for. If you can be engaging and charming in 140 characters, why wouldn’t they want to hire you?!

YouTube

Video is a cool way to stand out of the crowd. Create a video resume to make all those things you have on paper, come to life. Make sure you be yourself and let your personality shine through. Resumes are great but videos can really show who you are. Make sure that in your video you are dressed professionally. Also, don’t make it too long! One and a half minutes should be plenty. For helpful hints, search “Video Resume” on YouTube and see what others have come up with.

This is just the beginning. Hopefully these helpful hints will open your eyes to a world of opportunities! Stop looking on Craig’s List and start looking on Facebook!

Cara Friedman– General Manager at @LikeableMedia. Pop culture princess who loves movies, social media, blogging, Harry Potter, gossip, & the Mets. @UAlbany Alum, @StJohnsLaw Student.

Read my blog
Read my company blog
Follow me on Twitter

Professionalism across Media Platforms with Ashlyn

Whether we like it or not, real life is beginning for many of us. As we prepare to graduate from our colleges and universities, we ready ourselves, with anxious excitement, for the transition into our post-grad lives. Along with newfound freedom, maturity, and worldliness, most of us will experience deficits in our disposable incomes and laundry lists of “adult” responsibilities.

To ease the blow of finding yourselves [in dire financial crises], follow these tips to gain the competitive edge in job seeking and in real life:

Twitter

The cardinal rule of Twitter is this: Even if your tweets are more personal than professional, keep it clean. If your tweets are public they’ll appear in Google searches; profanity and general political incorrectness should be avoided. If you’re only capable of expressing yourself with the help of expletives, do the general public a favor and set your account to private.  Use Twitter to communicate with industry and opinion leaders and to join conversations that interest you.

Facebook

Acquaint yourself with Facebook’s custom privacy settings if you’re unwilling to part with the questionable pictures from your finer college moments. Separate your friends into lists with escalating privacy restrictions, and select individual photo albums to hide; as a general rule, hide the album if you have no recollection of the occasion(s) it contains. Potential employers, friends-of-friends, and your grandmother should only see photos of you shaking hands and kissing babies. Your profile picture should always be relatively conservative, as it is viewable by anyone.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a necessary evil; if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one.  In a post written by Dan Schawbel for Forbes.com, the days of the Microsoft Word resume “are quickly coming to an end” (“5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 Years” http://t.co/qAHZgFd).  Instead, the LinkedIn profile will soon be the go-to resource for employers to search for new recruits. For this reason, the professional networking website is an invaluable resource for jobseekers, as it allows its members to network with professionals within and outside of their industry circles. Those of us eager to begin our careers may search LinkedIn’s job postings for open positions; sometimes reaching out to the right people can produce a similarly fruitful effect.

Traditional Resume

Despite the resume’s impending obsolescence, most employers still require hard or digital copies of resumes and cover letters. Even a complete, comprehensive LinkedIn profile cannot substitute for a polished, well-formatted, syntactically correct resume (yet). At many companies, anything less will be filed in the recycle bin. There’s not necessarily a wrong way to organize a resume, but consistency throughout the document is crucial. Formatting and content hold equal importance, and even the smallest oversight reflects badly on the resume’s creator. Get a second, third, fourth, and fifth opinion on your resume; it should always be a work in progress. Update the document frequently and, with each update, seek the counsel of a resume critiquing professional. Most colleges and universities offer career counseling services to students; for post-grads, specialized companies exist and offer similar services.

Personal Website

Nothing screams “unprofessional” like a mile-long link directing employers to a personal website. In today’s digital society, it’s important to ensure your “Googleablilty” by controlling the content that potential employers will see. This can be done by maintaining [squeaky clean] Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog pages. To organize these accounts – and to equip your resumes and business cards with a clear, concise web address – create a personal website. Platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, and About.me are user-friendly and offer highly aesthetic designs for personal websites. For the social media maven, About.me specializes in linking visitors to other corners of the web (the creation of an About.me site also comes with a free order of matching business cards). Users can link their About.me sites to as many social media accounts as they wish. Whichever platform you choose, link your site to the domain name [YourFirstNameLastName].com. Domain names can be found dirt-cheap, and the extra bit of thought increases your professional credibility tenfold.

The Bottom Line

If you wouldn’t read your Facebook and Twitter posts aloud in a crowd of kindergarteners and elderly people, you could probably reevaluate the level of professionalism that you’re exhibiting. Prior to releasing any bit of information into the airwaves, remember how permanent and available the information will become when you click “Share;” one foot-in-mouth comment could prove to be detrimental as you search for your dream job. When in doubt, follow the three Cs: Clean, Concise, and Clever. Happy sharing!

 Ashlyn St. Ours is a rising senior at Boston University and studies advertising and creative writing. In her spare time, she critiques resumes (@ashnicresumes), laughs at her own jokes (@ashlyn_stours), and naps with fervor.

Comparing Social Networking on Smartphones with Christine

Remember a time before smartphones? No. Well me neither. Smartphones are everywhere. Blackberrys, iPhones, and Droids are connecting everyone all over the globe to one another in more ways than just phone calls and texts. Social networking has exploded since smartphones became “the norm.” Are you thinking of getting a smartphone but are unsure of which to choose for your liking? Here is a comparison for all you unsure social media nerds out there.

Blackberry

In my opinion, Blackberrys are pointless for anyone under the age of 35 who is heavily involved in social media these days. Sure Blackberrys might have helped start the smartphone revolution, but they’ve come behind the Droids and iPhones in this day and age. Blackberry should really do more innovation to its operating system and hardware to catch up. The only advantage to a Blackberry is the battery life. I feel like it lasts for days.

Droid

I have a Droid. I love it. I’m a Google enthusiast, and the Droid is perfectly set up to integrate with all of your Google accounts with email, calendar and contacts. I would recommend it for anyone who uses Google religiously like me. The only negative feedback I have about my Droid is the battery life. I charge it twice a day. If you’re someone who is always out and about, you might want to go a different route. It is also set up with all the apps you need to keep up with your social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. I also love the Flickr integration with the camera’s photo gallery. I’m an avid Flickr user. Google is also releasing a beta of Google Music, which I have an invitation to. I have put it on my phone. It is amazing. Without wires or storage, I can listen to my entire music library on a cloud storage system. Very convenient. Once a Last.fm scrobbler is developed to work with it, I’m ditching my iPod Touch.

iPhone

Now there’s the iPhone. Although I am a Droid lover, I have also fallen in love with the iPhone 4. Facetime and Skype Mobile YES PLEASE. I’m also extremely excited for the new iOS5 software. WIRELESS SYNCING. If you’re a crazy Twitter user (raise your hand with me), you will love the new iOS5. It is ready to integrate with Twitter. Once you enter your Twitter username and password in the iPhone settings, many iPhone apps will be ready to help you share things on Twitter. For instance, you’re watching a funny YouTube video on your YouTube app, you can instantly share to Twitter without copying the link, opening the Twitter app, and sharing there. I can’t wait to see how it performs. Hold tight my Twitter friends.

So which smart phone should you choose? I don’t know. What works best for you? There are pros and cons to all, so I’ll let you sit on it, think, and plan. I know you’ll be happy with any smart phone for all your social networking needs.

Christine Varriale – Amateur photographer, shower singer, and social media nerd

Follow Me on Twitter
Add me on Facebook
Stalk my Flickr photos 

What does your e-mail signature look like?

When sending an e-mail, it is crucial to have an e-mail signature that quickly explains who you are and why you are sending that particular message. Most of the time, it is not thought about because you can just simply sign your name. I find that having an informative e-mail signature can help the recipient find out a few facts about you. Depending on who you’re sending the e-mail to, the signature should get changed. For example, don’t add your cell phone number to your signature when sending an e-mail to someone you have not met before. Here are some general items to add to your signature:

  • Use your full name (no nicknames!).
  • Your school and graduation year.
  • Major/Minor you are working towards or have completed.
  • Positions you hold (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary, etc.).
  • Current job/internship title.
  • Link to your LinkedIn/Blog (whatever you would like the recipient to see!)
This is just a start to making your e-mail signature. It is a quick way to tell the e-mail recipient some facts about you!

Liking my blog?

Hello! While I’m away from my computer for a few days, please make sure to send my blog link (socialmedianerdzz.wordpress.com) to your network. It would greatly help more viewers to see my blog. Also, if you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comment box. Thank you!

%d bloggers like this: