I was not prepared to have my mind blown.
When our company made the decision to attend Social Media Marketing World 2017, I had no clue how awesome it would end up being.
I was dazzled by the great speakers in their lineup, yes, but I desperately wanted to learn something new. (too much digital and social media marketing is just stuff that’s regurgitated)
I didn’t want to go to another overpriced marketing conference only to come back to my office with nothing to show for it.
It was important for me to meet and listen to experts like Gini Dietrich, Michael Hyatt, Marcus Sheridan, Lee Odden, Chalene Johnson, and others, but I wanted more.
So I had a goal.
I sought to learn two valuable lessons: learn about how podcasts resonate with an audience and find out how Facebook Live and live video is critical for businesses.
What’s a podcast?
Here’s what a podcast isn’t: an audio file that’s placed on a landing page.
That’s not a podcast.
A podcast is storytelling over an app.
The technical definition of a podcast is a series of audio interviews called shows that are recorded and published with professional audio equipment, then streamed online.
You listen to a podcast through an app on your iPhone, Droid, Tablet, or PC. The audio from a podcast is streamed or downloaded and allows a listener to hear you tell them stories about various topics.
Podcasts teach us things. Podcasts encourage us. Podcasts share information that can make us better people.
Podcasts have all kinds of topics ranging from faith, struggles with in vitro, how to be successful with home renovations, and how to become better at financial investing.
If you can think of a topic, there’ probably a podcast about it.
But why do people podcast? What’s the benefit?
Podcasts are produced because people listen to them.
That’s why podcasters create them. Sounds too simple, but it’s true.
And this is a really important point for marketers.
Podcasts, like other mediums of content publishing, need to be created because your ideal audience spends time-consuming it. If your ideal persona spends time on a specific marketing medium, then you should have your content published there.
Here’s an excellent example of how this works. Let’s take me and my consumption habits.
- I’m a busy business professional and am part of Generation X, which means my habits have been shaped because of that.
- Professionally, I’ve worked in startups for the past six years, which equates to a lot of activity and stress due to the busy nature of this environment.
- I’m very active, and I don’t watch television. (I actually think that tv is the devil)
- I don’t play video games, and I don’t binge on Netflix shows, House of Cards excluded.
- I read a lot and read anything I can get my hands on.
- Professionally, I write and edit content for our four B2B divisions, and have a personal blog that’s been alive for over ten years.
- And there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t listen to some podcast through the podcast app on my iPhone.
These seven persona traits and behaviors are the reason I listen to podcasts. I listen to them because it’s easy, convenient, and fits my lifestyle.
Podcasts are great to listen to when I travel and because I’m a workaholic, and I can quickly open my podcast app and learn something I didn’t already know from some of my favorite publishers.
That’s why podcasters produce podcasts, and that’s why I identify myself as an addict to the audio that flows through my ear canals.
What Social Media Marketing World 2017 taught me about podcasts
My biggest takeaway is this: it’s hard to produce a best-in-class podcast.
You need to dedicate time, some money and have excellence. If you or your business wants to get involved in podcasting, you need to know a few things that align with this.
First, it takes time and a good plan to produce a great podcast.
Second, you have to understand that there’s no silver bullet in podcasting.
Some best practices may work for your colleagues that may not work for you. There’s not a right or wrong way to produce a podcast, and you need to be comfortable with that ambiguous aspect of podcasting.
Third, as part of your strategy, you need to develop a list of topics to talk about.
For example, if you’re a business owner and want to produce a podcast about things in your industry that are relevant to your audience, then you need to document this and document your process.
Crafting topics that will make your audience salivate is hard, but trying to do it without a documented list of topics and talking points won’t help anyone.
As part of your documented strategy, come up with a plan of how frequently you’ll podcast. Don’t just do it once and be okay with that. You need to do it consistently. From there, you can then identify other things like if and when you’ll have guests to interview and how often.
Lastly, don’t get hung up on the technical aspects. I promise you don’t need to be an engineer to produce a great podcast.
There’s a lot more to podcasting, but these were the big wins that deserve highlighting.
Facebook is constantly changing and evolving.
And change is both a blessing and a curse, isn’t it?
It’s changing because a team of people are coding and developing Facebook to try and further impact your life through the use of their tool.
Whether this impact is because of advertising opportunities, driven by money, or some other motivator, the goal of Facebook is to get you to use Facebook.
That includes Facebook Live.
Facebook Live is a free live video functionality inside of their app. It looks like this.
Facebook Live is free now but won’t be for long
I don’t think live videos on Facebook will be free forever.
Nothing good ever is.
If you’re considering launching Facebook Live video, don’t wait.
But what about the quality? The videos you produce don’t have to be super polished, perfect, or Hollywood quality. There’s no awards category from the Oscars for the best produced Facebook Live video.
Just put a plan together and ship, as Seth Godin says.
There can be a lot of fear involved in live video and a million excuses why you shouldn’t do Facebook Live. We’re great at convincing ourselves not to do things. But there are even more compelling reasons why you should dive in head first.
A video, like podcasting, can be excruciating for some people. The fear of saying something wrong on a podcast is much different than dropping an ‘F’ bomb in front of a live audience of hundreds of viewers through a Facebook Live session.
But you can’t worry about these things. Worrying about those unknowns will grip your marketing with fear and prevent you from creating authentic and helpful content. As long as you’re comfortable with a vague and nebulous marketing tactic like Facebook Live, then go ahead and inspire people with live video.
We learned a lot and connected with tons of people at Social Media Marketing World 17.
I’d highly recommend attending if you’re involved in web design, marketing, or social media. Podcasting and Facebook Live were just the two that stuck out for us.
If you want to learn about the value we got from these marketing tactics from Social Media Marketing World 17, just fill out the form below and we’ll schedule some time to help you make the decision of whether the investment into #SMMW17 is worth it for your business.