Mar 12, 2018
Looking back on social media marketing world, I wanted to share my thoughts as this was the first time I was there and there are some things we can learn from this mammoth event.
The first impression was WOA. I walked in and got my badge and as they started to hand me a swag bag (you know the thing you throw on your bed, leaf through once and then ditch) and they asked what gift I would like. One was a cool cable organizer, and the other was a battery backup pack to charge my phone or tablet. This wasn't a cheap bottom of the food chain device. For me, this was awesome as I was going to buy one at Best Buy before leaving and ran out of time. To me, this shows they know their audience. Either gift was valuable.
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At first glance, one might say that the major draw of SMMW is icing. For example, the opening night you have a networking event on an aircraft carrier. This is not something I had ever done. It made the event unique. Now, you might say, but in the end, you still have a bunch of people talking, drinking, and networking. I see that point of view, but every corner had a sense of adventure. I toured the top of the ship with Ray Ortega and Lou Mongello. If this had been in a restaurant back room, I was still hanging out with Ray and Lou. If I was doing this at another conference, it would be an event. I great event, but throw in that we are talking to a veteran about planes and now this is not only an event - it's an experience. It is a stronger memory than hanging out in the hotel bar.
The second networking event was at a club that had a live band playing Karaoke. It was very loud, but I was walking in with somewhat of a "What am I walking into? experience." I was with Ray so we ventured further into the club and found ourselves on what looked like an outdoor patio except we were inside. This again brought on kind of a "What is this place?" feeling. We then walked through a hallway of white Chrismas lights into a room with booths lit up with neon green. We picked up some awesome cake in a cup and enjoyed our sugar rush. We walked over to one station where they were making some sort of dessert that was part ice cream cone meets cinnamon roll, meets strawberries and chocolate, meets, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING. You could even walk into the giant vault. Did we need an exotic building? No, but did it add to the experience? Sure, as now Ray and I felt like we were in a live dungeons and dragons game waiting to see what the next room would bring.
Their networking room was categorized by subject. There were three tables for podcasters, more tables for YouTubers, etc. It made it very easy to meet your tribe, and then introduce yourself to a new one. The one that was really above an beyond, I was in the speaker's room (a lovely quiet place to go with refreshments and snacks). When the crew I was sitting with mentioned walking over to the place where you could pick up your lunch, a staff member took our order and brought it over to us. This wasn't necessary, but as this was day two anyone had put a few miles in their shoes and this was a super nice touch.
According to Betty Crocker's Website, 2 tablespoons of chocolate icing is 130 calories and 95 grams ug sugar. According to the Fat Secret website, a cupcake without icing has 105 calories. With this in mind, 55% of the calories come from the icing, but I'm pretty sure the part of the cupcake that gets people drolling is 100% the icing. This got me thinking about the phrase, "Icing on the cake" and I did some googling as to items that draw people's attention. Here is what I found.
Although cupcakes and muffins are strikingly similar in appearance, the taste and texture of the two are quite different. Cupcakes are a small, individual cake. They are lighter, cake-like and sweeter. Muffins are defined as a quick bread, usually denser. Another difference between cupcakes and muffins is that cupcakes are almost always topped with frosting and muffins are not.
One of the things at SMMW is I never wondered what was going on. They had an app for your phone and an army of volunteers. I knew when buses were leaving and coming back. I knew where to go, etc. I listen toa lott of podcasts and many of them are like a bus. My friend Erik K Johnson from podcast talent coach says it's like getting on a bus with no name on the front. You have no idea where it's going (so you probably wouldn't get on), and if it took off with you on it you might be a little nervous. At SMMW I felt taken care of. When Emily Prokop of the Story Behind to a Hiatus to have a baby, it was well planned out, and here audience was aware of what was happening. She has some shows in the can to carry us over, and we knew there would be a small break.
I know you are probably saying, "I would love to get my audience involved but I haven't got a single bit of feedback." End your show with a question, and ask them to respond. MAKE SURE you have an EASY way to leave feedback. Did you know that in some apps if you put your voicemail number (say from www.podcastvoicemail.com ) your audience can often click it and it will dial your number? If you do get feedback, RESPOND. If possible play it on the show. For the person that hear's their name on a show, it is a mountain of icing. I was listening to Podcast Junkies with Harry Durran and they ended up saying my name three times before the show was over. Did you notice I counted? Do you know why? Icing. Did you notice what else happened? I just mentioned his show.
Contrary to popular belief, rating and reviews are great social proof, but don't do much for really building your show or boosting you up the rankings of Apple. The muffin, in this case, is "Find me in Apple Podcasts." The icing is having an EASY TO FIND subscribe page with step by step instructions on how to subscribe or do it live on Facebook and embed the video. Guide your audience by the hand.
My gift from SMMW was something I needed. It was so cool, and it made a great first impression. How did this happen? This was their sixth year doing this conference. I have a few conversations with Michael Stelzner and he's no dummy. He doesn't rest on his reputation and tries to make each year better than the last. Keep in mind this means when you first start your podcast it may not be hitting a home run, but work with your audience and you can create a podcast they start telling their friends about.
Jordan Harbinger has a popular show. His interviews are great. Jordon does something that most people don't. Some call it, "the work." For example, if Jordan is interviewing an author, he may put the episode out of few weeks so he can read the author's book. What does this do? First, it is going to be OBVIOUS to the author that Jordan read the book. This will make Jordan stand out in a sea of podcasts hosts who want to do as little as possible in hopes that said author will share their show on twitter. This also leads to better questions and a better interview. Now put yourself in the author's shoes. Which podcast do you want to promote to your audience the one where the host read the book, or the other guy? Who has a better chance of building a relationship with that author? When the author has a new book out in a few years, which podcast is he going to want to appear on. Why? Icing.
I sat in Jason Van Orden's session on how to grow your email list. Jason used a word that really hit home for me. The word resonates. You want your content to resonate with your audience. How do I know his talk resonated with me? Well, I'm telling you aren't I? Exactly. He said when it comes to your content you need to know the following
When you know WHY it matters to your audience it shows you really know your audience.