What I Learned at PodCamp Toronto 2015

What I Learned At PodCamp Toronto 2015

Dear Readers:

Founded 9 years ago as BarCamp, the original concept behind PodCamp Toronto was to have anyone sign up and talk about any topic on a designated day. This simple concept has evolved into an annual two-day unconference on digital media, podcasting, videos, and marketing at Ryerson University known as #PCTO15 in the Twitter-verse. I had the privilege to attend this year’s event in February 2015 and I wanted to share some key findings from my experience.

Your Strategy Is Your Success
Many times, entrepreneurs think that they can post whatever they like on social media and the customers will come. This is the wrong approach! Focus instead on developing a marketing strategy by following these steps: research our audience, find insights with conversations and testing your product, develop an idea on how your product / service can add value to your customers’ lives, then execute your idea with objectives and tactics. Finally measure everything, adjust as needed. Rinse and repeat.

Know Your Audience
It doesn’t matter what medium you use, you must understand your audience – who they are, what they want, where they are. If you’re on social media, this involves conducting research through social listening (think about tools such as SocialMention or HootSuite), face-to-face conversations with your potential or current customers (think about customer validation), and surveys. Ask yourself: What are my future and current customers asking? Why are they going to this particular social media site? What are they looking for? Focus on delivering value and addressing this need when you find out the answer.

Corporate View Of Social Media
Many companies are uncomfortable with the fast-paced and unmoderated nature of social media. Anyone can say anything about a company and this may have negative consequences for a brand and its market share. Case in point is McDonald’s attempt to engage customers in conversation with two hashtags #mcdstories and #meetthefarmers. Instead, the public reached out with negative stories about food preparation and working conditions for employees on Twitter.

Content Marketing Is Alive
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand. To engage your users, you must produce quality, relevant, and interesting content that will add value to their lives. Don’t be boring vanilla, be a spicy jalapeno! Ask: Will this content make a difference in the lives of my users or customers? If not, then you may want to rethink your angle.

The Rare Breed of PodCamps and Unconferences
The concept of free unconferences that allow a community to share ideas on any topic is a dying breed. There are very few PodCamps or unconference models left in Canada or Toronto. If you can, show your support for PodCamp Toronto by tweeting using the hashtag #PCTO15 or #PodCampTO, talking about this event with your network, and attending next year’s event. You can bookmark their official website or just follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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