Likeable Builds a Full-Service Social Marketing Business on Facebook

When Dave Kerpen and his wife Carrie founded TheKBuzz in New York back in 2007, the idea was to build a company around word of mouth marketing, he tells us. Then Facebook came into the picture. Since, the company has expanded to Boston and Chicago without any outside funding, changed its name to Likeable earlier this year and set its sights on providing brands with customer service solutions on Facebook.

We spoke to Kerpen as part of our ongoing series of Page mangement profiles. Earlier this year the company changed its name to Likeable. The name change came partly as a result of Facebook’s new Like button, but mostly because Kerpen tells us he wanted the name to reflect global brands.

The Like button goes beyond Facebook, he says, “The way Google organized the web around links, Facebook is reorganizing the entire web around Like. So, to me, Likeable is not just literal, it’s also figurative: Companies need to be more likeable to win.”

Inside Facebook: What products and services does your company provide to clients using Facebook? What types of clients are you aiming to reach?

Dave Kerpen: We are a truly a full service social media company – part consulting firm, part marketing agency, and part tech startup – providing Facebook strategy, consulting, training and execution. (This includes) fan Page, tab, and application design and execution, and Facebook ad creative, buying, and reporting. I believe that the best way to communicate with our fans is to update the stream, we are making sure our clients are communicating with their fans at least once a day. The service I’m most excited about is our Facebook Stream Management for which we develop and distribute engaging content for our clients and respond to comments and questions from fans. We work with a very wide variety of clients, from big brands such as 1-800-Flowers.com, Verizon FiOS and Neutrogena to categories such as consumer products, retailers, credit unions, travel bureaus, hospitals, nonprofits, government agencies and authors.

IFB: Can you share some highlights of how your company has helped clients meet their goals using Facebook?

DK: Last year we drove over 100,000 fans to a 50% increase in sales on “Free Chill Zone Day,” an event created entirely on Facebook. 1-800-Flowers.com has over 10 times as many fans as their competitors and was the first company to sell products directly on the Facebook platform. We’ve helped many thousands of New Yorkers quit smoking (5,300 Likes and 1,300 e-patches sent) and have safer sex using Facebook (12,800 Likes). And The Pampered Chef launched on July 14; it’s organic, no advertisements and the virtual gift app already has about 2,000 users and the Page has 49,000.

IFB: Overall, can you share metrics on the scope of your business?

DK: We were the first marcom agency in the world to have 10,000 fans on Facebook, a goal we accomplished recently. Since our founding in 2007, we have had solid triple-digit growth for three straight years. I believe that the [ed. third-party Facebook] brand business can grow over time to a $50 million business and the local business can grow to a $500 million business.

IFB: What metrics do you use to determine the success of a given campaign?

DK: Every client has different objectives, so it’s really important to define the metrics of success at the outset of work in conjunction with their objectives. Some clients care most about fans, others web traffic, others sales data, and others awareness and buzz.

IFB: What have been your biggest challenges building on Facebook platform? What mistakes have you made and learned from there?