We’ve been going CRAZY with our new #NJAB Podcast (and it’s the reason that I may seem detached these days, along with some video games that have made it easier to unplug and have more “me” time). The community support has been amazing with Christopher “Merchant of NYC” Flores, Klaudia Jurewicz, and fellow podcaster James Pruitt becoming huge advocates and keeping our live chats bustling. We’ve had many guests to date and many more to come. We want to talk to all small business owners, tech geeks, budding starti_ps, indie game designers, and little-known creatives. It’s great fun and we can learn a lot from each other!
If you’re a small business owner, tech geek, indie game developer, or little-known creative, give us a shout on Twitter. Mention @stjohnmarketing, @NJABpodcast, and @yogizilla on Twitter, using hash tag #NJAB to keep the conversation going!
I’d like to give some behind-the-scenes insight and share some exclusive details about upcoming Triberr features and the vision behind it all. But where do I even start? I mean, we had some amazing conversations and SO much has been covered.. Yet so much more is left to touch upon and revisit.
At this time, we have over 10 #NJAB podcast episodes live in just a few weeks. We have a few “in the bank” too. In fact, we took a little break last week to focus on project work, prepping new show notes, reaching out to potential guests, and promoting existing Not Just Another Business Podcast episodes. No worries, we’ll likely start recording again as early as tonight, Monday October 10th, 2011!
Now let’s look at some of the goodies we’ve shared with our friends on #NJAB…Triberr Growth & New Features
Triberr continues to grow (it’s been out since around March 2011) and people are learning about it.. Yet awareness of what it is really about is still lacking, even with current fans.
We asked Dino Dogan, Triberr co-founder and DIYblogger.net bad-ass the burning question…
Do most people really get Triberr?
He gave a surprisingly PC response but we understand. Any time people adopt your tool or platform, that’s a good thing. Of course, as with any system, there will be hardcore gamers that will exploit the game mechanics and “play the game” in a way other than what was intended.
This actually helps your business grow because you can make course corrections and maybe even find that a new direction for your thing makes more sense. Don’t forget your followers: they often have vision we may lack because we’re too attached to our projects, inventions, and creations.
Now, #NJAB Episodes 3 through 3.99 will give you more insight into Triberr, including the vision behind it and the game mechanics that make it as fun as it is useful!
By the time you read this, dynamic tribes may be in full swing. The idea there is to create temporary groups for short-term marketing campaigns. Dino Dogan gets more in depth about how they work so definitely check that out somewhere in Episode 3.0/3.5.
The new features and refinement of Triberr will continue beyond that. I am particularly excited about plans to integrate StumbleUpon, Facebook, and other social networks. These features will represent the formation of new Triberr groups, including tribes dedicated to commenting (and engagement).
Comment tribes will be awesome because it’s something many of us already do. With Triberr support, you can see everyone’s engagement levels. As the zombie algorithm and karma scores are expanded into Triberr features and off-site metrics, we’ll see the platform become more of a definitive place for serious, non-big-brand bloggers.
If you’re still unsure about Triberr my article on why Triberr rocks (but not for the reasons most love it or hate it) may help. I also have a page on Squidoo that may be of help and it comes complete with videos (How Triberr Changes The Competitive Landscape).
You can be sure about one thing with Triberr, if nothing else:
Triberr is much more than a Twitter automation service like BufferApp or Twitterfeed.
Once people see that, the possibilities for Triberr really open up. Our conversations on the #NJAB podcast will certainly shed some light.
Game Mechanics and Sticky Content
Ah, game mechanics and making your content “sticky”. This is a topic I’m particularly keen on as a gamer and game designer. There’s far too much to discuss here so you’ll want to listen to #NJAB Episodes 3.5 through 3.75 to get a better understanding.
Dino Dogan, James St. John, and I discuss how times have changed. Gone are the old arcades we spent many a quarter on. Games now come in different forms and in places you would not expect.
Are you using game mechanics or are they using you?
Even Stan Faryna, a fellow gamer, sees that game mechanics are everywhere. We’re all playing games, even if we’re not gamers. Social media ROI comes to mind as many still play the numbers game online and offline.
SIDEBAR: We touch upon Everquest (Evercrack), World of Warcraft (WoW or Warcrack, if you prefer), and how MMOs keep coming out and somehow succeed in spite of stiff competition.
Of course, you can’t talk game mechanics without discussing loyalty programs, Facebook, and Klout. There are tons of examples around us. What these games have in common are exclusivity, access, status, power, virtual currency, community, and/or competition. Really interesting stuff.
Take a closer look at games, online video games especially. Consider the marketing lessons there.. There are many, I promise!
What do you look for in a good game? How sticky it is. That is, replay value, “entry” (and learning curve), connectivity, and virality. Those are some of the key components of successful games.
Remember: the theme may attract people but the mechanics are what keep the players hooked.
The Secret Weapons Of Blogging
We talked lots about Triberr but what about the other tools. Most of us know about Twitter and kick-ass third-party Twitter clients like HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Uber Social.. But is there more? You betcha!
I’m a big fan of StumbleUpon, Buffer, and Commun.it but there’s also Twylah, XYDO, Trunk.ly, and other tools worth checking out. Thing is, how many tools is “too many” tools?…
Social Media Saturation… And Spreading Thin
Yet another recurring theme on #NJAB is social media. Dave Gallant believes there are too many social platforms. We can spread ourselves thin easily so what social networks and tools do you focus on?
The easy answer to your overwhelming social media concerns is this:
Go with the social platforms where your audience and supporters/actors are at.
You’ll want to focus on the networks that match your style, tone, and voice. It also helps when your content is visible for more than the typical window. You see, content you share tends to be most visible within the first 24 hours but many social networks tend to bury content within minutes so persistence is key.. That’s where the tools we mention help you out!
Filling The Void
We’re not all (or mostly) business at NJAB (Not Just Another Business podcast, BTW). Our first series of episodes with guest host Stan Faryna were deep. We talked more about human nature, the soft skills, personality traits, passions, values, and desires that drive and shape us. WOW.. Truly thought-provoking stuff here, folks!
Episode 1.0 is where you’ll want to start if you want to hear about real people and often-disregarded topics. Our discussion on game mechanics (sticky content) lead us to a powerful revelation…
Emptiness is not weakness.
We all have an emptiness but how we fill it (and for how long) depends on us. I find that most measure success, joy, and wealth in terms of material things yet we are seeing things with no “real value” become coveted, pervasive, and/or consuming. I’d say we all have a desire, deep down inside, to feel connected, wanted, or perhaps just special.
So, when Stan said emptiness is not a weakness, that resonated with me. It prompted me to take a week “off” to focus on myself and my loved ones. I did some reading, played some games, watched some movies, did some cartooning, and just thought a lot. It’s important to feed your emptiness with the things that make you feel content, if not joyful.
Product Quality and Active Listening
Thinking about emptiness and filling the void, the most successful products and services tend to feed a burning desire or passion. When we think about product quality, we often think about engineering, manufacturing, warranties, and the like.. But the quality or value of something tends to be a lot more emotional.
When people buy into something, they tend to want to feel connected, valued, unique, or needed. It goes back to feeling special, which often boils down to a sense of community, if not exclusiveness, and being acknowledged, if not rewarded, in meaningful ways.
Customer service and a consistent identity across all touch points helps bolster quality. It’s not just being there when things break. You need to show gratitude and keep delivering quality across the board.. Beyond the initial sale.
Mistakes are the road signs to success.
The thing is, we can know all this stuff beforehand but, ultimately, we just need to DO stuff and re-purpose, re-position, and re-brand as necessary. Mistakes are inevitable. Do not fear them, welcome them. If you double your rate of failure, you also double your success rate.. I heard that somewhere. *wink*
Listening actively after you launch and sell is paramount to sustainable success. While I love me some market research, I find that SEO, Twitter, and informal surveys are helpful for active listening. These methods, amongst others, help you push forward and evolve.
Anonymity VS. Connectivity
The social web has all but made privacy and anonymity irrelevant. Still, I see those that prefer anonymity over connectivity. Thing is, even the anon folks want to be recognized.. They just value their privacy more (or are just too paranoid or lazy for their own good). Getting some folks to open up can be darn near impossible but opening up the gateways for communication is something we all have to do if we want to succeed in whatever we are doing.
Are focus groups pointless nowadays?
Here’s what Stan Faryna answered to that burning question…
People have more confidence in masses.. They speak more confidently.
So we see here that you can be connected and be part of collective while still having your voice heard. Some would still prefer being approached individually but this revelation here reminds us why comments, surveys, polls, and other feedback systems are SO powerful.
The challenge here is interpreting data so it means something. Making metrics actionable and meaningful can be tough…
The Heart Of Engagement
By now, everyone has heard about engaging versus mere marketing yet engagement still escapes most. Dave Gallant discusses in #NJAB Episode 2.0 and 2.5 how affirmation and validation are nice, but there’s more to social media than what may be readily visible or most pervasive.
Dino Dogan builds upon this notion by stating that our comments, likes, and share are more part of a big act. We have our real audience (those that “buy” and affiliate themselves with us formally) and our actors (those that help us sell and work with us in other ways).
What we see here is that support, engagement, and value come in different flavors so we can think of ROI in terms of hard numbers all the way. This goes back to my concept of “going deep” versus “going wide”. Quite often, it’s the lurkers, the often quite and mostly invisible supporters, that help us make a living with what we love to do most.
Still, many will put value in visible numbers because they are more marketable. You can hand-pick affiliates and advertisers. You can even sell a web site once it reaches critical mass.. Or you’re just bored with it.
That said, I prefer engaging people to build long-lasting relationships. It takes time and profit is not always immediate, at least not in terms of monetary gain, but I find it makes my work more fulfilling.
The distinction here, to me, is whether you consider yourself more of a business than a thought leader. There’s a huge difference. We’ll be revisiting the thoughts therein because education, awareness, and leadership are giant topics with many tangents.
Puppet Shows Are Cool
Laurinda Shaver joined us for a random discussion about authenticity, enagement, and children. Really good stuff. She asked a powerful question that I think relates to all the aforementioned…
Do we ever really “grow up”?
I’d say no.. Or at least I don’t want to.
I’d also say we can all be brats sometimes. We live in a world of instant gratification. Social media has spoiled us rotten. If we don’t get immediate satisfaction, it’s easy to give up or lost momentum in our efforts. Heck, it’s even happened to James St. John and I recently (eBooks are on the way, we promise).
Think about children more, even if you don’t have or want any. Children see the world with curiosity and excitement. They approach things with great fervor and a thirst for knowledge. Don’t lose touch with that.
We talked a bit about puppet shows and children’s media with Laurinda. It made me feel young and energetic again. We need to have her back on the show as a recurring guest host, along with Stan Faryna and Dave Gallant, of course.
Do you like puppet shows? Look at marketing as a puppet show. Whether you see it or not, we’re putting on a production that is meant to be entertaining or at least emotionally compelling in some way. The biggest (buying) decisions are made during moments of the greatest emotional experiences.
…Which brings me back to creating something remarkable. Invention and innovation tends to succeed when we have a burning desire to bring change. Facebook was born out of great angst and we see where they’re at now. Powerful emotions create powerful stories.
Again, we see an emptiness filled by a great purpose. We feel connected, part of a greater scheme of things, and that leads to a strong push forward. Of course, what sustains us is having a purpose that will live on beyond our fickle emotions and interests.
Biobreaks, Podcasting, And Getting Your Game Face On
A lot of preparation and discussion goes on before #NJAB actually goes live. With Dino, we talked about biobreaks and other random stuff. Most of the silly banter would make good snippets or blooper reals. We need to get on that!
When we discussed biobreaks, for example, we went deep. When recording for an hour or more, do not forget the simple little things like making sure ambient noise is minimized and your bladder is not full. Very important stuff. Dino and I recommend having a water bottle handy, especially if you talk a lot like James St. John and I. *grin*
A common question we get is this:
How do you podcast?
Currently, we use Skype with Call Recorder for recording. Windows Movie Maker and random MP3 conversion tools work well for post-production. There are tools, both free and highly affordable, that can minimize pops or background noise, and level out volume throughout a recording.
We keep our show as raw as possible so most of the stuff happens as we record. That means avoid bouncing around, fiddling with your mic, or coughing when live.. Muting your mic when you’re not speaking is a good fix there. That helps prevent the long editing sessions. Right, James?
Speaking of James, James Pruitt (our other James), has a podcast too. He’ll likely be a guest soon. He asked about promotion and syndication. We’re working on that.
Currently, we’re using videos like this one with Talking Tom to cross-promote. Twitter is huge. I always recommend telling friends and creating an avid fan one person at a time. Broadcasting can work but people feel more welcome when they are invited formally.
We syndicate or distribute via Pod-o-matic and iTunes. In the first couple of weeks, we had 90 listeners, which is darn good for a new podcast. Using embedded players that allow people to feature the podcast on their web sites helps too.
Admittedly, we’re having so much fun finding guests and actually recording that the other stuff is not a big deal for us right now. That said, we try to line up notes three or four episodes in advance so we always have something we can talk about with even the most random guests (beware Twitter – we’re looking at you tweeps and may kidnap you for the #NJAB podcast).
Well, I hope you enjoyed this in-depth behind-the-scenes look at our humble little podcast. If you have questions, ideas, or suggestions, leave them in the comments. We’d love to have your feedback!