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.
Morris Partee wraps up another successful Podcamp!
The 5th Annual Pod Camp Western Mass was held on Saturday, March 30,2013 at The Kittredge Center, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, Massachusetts. It brought together 120 camp veterans and first time campers for a full day of social media talk. Pod Camp is a homemade soup full of organic ingredients. The “un” conference-style social media and tech gadget workshops are seasoned with an appropriate amount of hot sauce — extemporaneous sessions that are remembered long after pod camp is over. The Western Mass Pod Camp is now the oldest, continuously running pod camp in the Northeast. I have been fortunate to attend all but the first camp.
So what was new for me this year?
Unlike previous pod camps where early social media adopters salivated at the thought of every new platform, tech tool or gizmo, Pod Camp 5 was not as much about the latest and greatest network or tool, at least in the sessions I attended. There was a lot of re-examination of existing platforms and in some cases re-dedication to some forgotten networks. Choosing fewer platforms, making platforms a better fit, and remaining authentic was something that was repeated frequently.
In the first session I attended, Kelly Galinas (@RedHeadedDiva) spent time explaining the ever-changing Facebook privacy settings, as new features being rolled out and the level of confusion that often results. Facebook’s move toward promoted and sponsored posts prompted learning ways to keep them from creeping into our newsfeeds. Unfortunately, more time was spent on personal pages and we didn’t have time to probe Edgerank or delve into business page insights.
I sat in on Jennifer William’s (@verilliance) session on “Don’t Waste Time With Social Media” which focused on the growing time suck of social media and how to find the right mix and maintain our authentic voice. We shared thoughts on choosing platforms that reflect our audience and Jennifer gave us a preview of her Google+ session to follow.
I was looking for new ways to help me assist clients in their marketing and learned a lot in a session on “creating an e-learning course” led by Nunzio Bruno (@Nunzio_Bruno). This was one of the few sessions that moved a bit beyond social media. Unlike a webinar, which is usually a one-time occurrence, an e-learning course is delivered over a period of time using a variety of methods (written content, video, podcasts, live chat sessions, etc.) I will research Udemy as an online host as well as think about using Constant Contact, my email marketing provider, as a good option for the content delivery.
One of the panel discussions I attended focused on productivity tools and apps we’re using these days. In past years I could barely keep up the number of tools and apps being tossed around. My list was much smaller this year, as more time was spent discussing the pros and cons of more established tools like Evernote, or invoicing software like Quickbooks or Freshbooks. I jotted down CamCard and WorldCard, apps that offer easy ways to grab contact information on the go, but haven’t had a chance to compare them yet.
Have we reached a saturation point for jumping on the bandwagon of every new tool? Maybe there are just too many out there performing similar functions. One thing is clear. Our quest for free images is never-ending. Flickr, Zemanta and CanStock Photo were shared, along with reminders on using Creative Commons licensing. There were also some good photo editing tools shared, like Picassa, Gimp, and PicMonkey for users who do not need the advanced capabilities of Photoshop.
In a word – it’s about relationships, past, present and future. Anyone coming to Pod Camp for the first time this year undoubtedly saw a lot of hugging going on and laughter being shared by former campers getting reacquainted. Social media has given me wonderful opportunities to meet people I may never have met before. Being able to take those online relationships offline is so important. Thom Fox (@ThomasJFox) said it best in his session. Look for his slides. If you’re not doing that, you’re only tapping the surface of social media.
Liz Provo, Mass Marketing Resources.