The 6th Annual Western Mass PodCamp was held on Sat. April 19th at the Kittredge Center (Holyoke Community College). Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this year's event great. It's no secret that I look forward to PodCamp every year and I never miss an opportunity to rave about it with new clients and occasionally even random strangers.
I have been talking about PodCamp a lot with my Women Business Owners Alliance friends and was so happy to see almost twenty WBOA sisters join us this year, many for the first time.
This picture was taken at the close of camp, after seven hours of social media sessions. Can you tell we had a great time?
"People aren't as interested in our brand as we think they'd be. They really want to get to know us in other ways. ~ Jon Reed, @jonerp
I started my day with Jon Reed, one of the founders of Hidden-Tech. His session was on "Creating Free Content That Works". How do we provide quality content? We need to give people meaningful experiences that will help them move toward their own goals. Jon talked about Facebook phasing out brand visibility (I was kind of surprised that many in the room didn't know how little of our content shows up on our followers feeds - currently less than 5%.)
One key point that Jon brought up was to focus efforts on bringing people to our "hub", our websites - where we own! Social media is the outpost, the spokes. Try featuring someone's work, answer questions (google Hubspot Pool Guy). Content is now social objects (google social objects) - things that are freely shared.
If you’ve found a flow, you feel like swimming downstream not upstream. ~ Val Nelson, @valnelson
I was curious about Val Nelson's topic, "Your Sweet Spot, Let Go Of The Shoulds." Her heart-centered approach to marketing helped us find our own balance with how we approach social media. Does it feel right to me? She used an example of three overlapping circles with the "sweet spot" being where the overlap occurs. By identifying our comfort zone, we can begin to move beyond that area with better understanding.
I don't think I've ever taken the time to analyze my social media presence in quite this way, but I was happy to have found my own "sweet spot."
Always take video horizontally on your iPhone. ~David Long
You never know where you'll learn something at PodCamp. In the non-profit session facilitated by Adrian Dahlin (The Conway School), I got a great video tip from David Long (Epic Filmmakers).
It was finally time to kick back, put my feet up and enjoy the last session of the day, "Favorite Productivity/Tech Tools", with Christine Pilch and Lesley Lambert. Not only did I learn that Christine really loves to cook, but also loves a grocery app called "Out Of Milk". Leslie brought up "IFTTT", an app she'd talked about last year (but I obviously forgot about and needed a reminder). It builds recipes to trigger actions based upon a sequence of events. I will check it out now. Promise.
There's an ebb and flow to PodCamp. I've felt exhilarated, sometimes overloaded, and often have left wondering when the scales of social media will reach a tipping point.
This year I felt a recurring theme at PodCamp, one that I've also talked about in my own workshops a lot. In every session I attended the presenter talked about finding our own voices in social media, not feeling like we need to be everywhere, or try to be everything to everyone. And most importantly - we need to find ways to provide quality content to bring people back to what we own - our website and our mailing list. So true.
The pressure to jump on the social media bandwagon is strong for small businesses. While small business owners are rarely afraid of taking on a challenge, learning how to create a sustainable social media strategy can be daunting.
Ask yourself these 6 questions to see if your social media plan is on the right track.
Liz Provo, Mass Marketing Resources.