Inviting listeners to engage in your show can be tricky business. Many podcasters struggle to get listener feedback and for some who do succeed, all they get is a bunch of comments that they have no idea what to make of. How can you turn that listener feedback into something that actually benefits your show and your business? Tom and Tracy Hazzard take you through some of the most effective ways to get your audience commenting on your blog and social media posts and influence them to do whatever your goals for them are. If you’re a podcaster looking to broaden your reach and use it to monetize your business, this episode is a must-listen.
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How To Get Your Listeners To Engage And Use Their Feedback To Gain Influence
We’re going to talk about how to get listener feedback, win influence, and use it to gain influence. This is the most common question, Tom. How do I get the listeners to give me feedback? How do I get them to engage with me? How do I get to that stage of being an influencer? First off, I think influencer is a dirty term right now. Be careful on how you use that. Gaining influence in your marketplace and influence people to buy or do things, that’s what you want. Being an influencer is a specific job. You could be a YouTube influencer. My daughter put out at school where you had to do a little picture and the whole thing about her career. For her career, she wanted to be a YouTube arts and crafts influencer. That was her career plan. Do you remember the birthday card she gave you?
No, not exactly.
She gave him a birthday card. It said, “Lawyer,” and had a salary range. “Accountant,” and had a salary range. It went up to “CEO of a company” that had a salary range and then, it said, “YouTube Influencer” with a salary range of $1 million a month. You open it up and on the inside, it says, “Way to go, Dad, for limiting my internet time.” It was hilarious. Anyway, that’s not what we’re talking about here. I want to redefine that. We’re not talking about the job of being an influencer. My advice is completely different for someone who wants to do that. If you want influence over the community that you have, that’s what we’re talking about. Same word, different use of it.
We talked in an episode about how to foster listener engagement. We went into that quite a bit. We’re not talking about that same thing in this episode.
Engagement is how you post and how you do these things. This is about getting a feedback loop going. When people are listening to your show and they’re actively commenting on things, giving you feedback, or giving you answers to your questions, that’s a different level of engagement. That’s where we want to get to because it’s valuable. You don’t want to stop with the feedback. You don’t ask people, “Let me know about this,” and then you get a bunch of comments but don’t do anything with it. That’s the worst thing. How can we use it to move people through the process, our courses, into our website, or whatever our goals are of how we want to influence them more? We want to have them go to our Facebook pages, join our groups, or whatever that is. Customer engagement and responding to that engagement is an important and essential part. Asking for feedback and advice from your listeners is great. Do you have some examples from some clients who do that as well?
A lot of them ask for feedback and to communicate with them.
This is not general stuff. If you say, “Let me know if you like the show.” That’s not feedback. It’s not narrow and specific. You need to be narrow and specific. The example that I can think of is that there are some that are doing live coaching. They do this on-air coaching model. They have a specific invite to people to apply to be their next coaching client. They tell them that they have to do something like, “Comment on the group about why you would make a great subject.”
What do they do?
They’ll hot seat them. They force them into their group. If they’re not participating in the group, they can’t be selected to begin with. If they want to be your guest or your hot seat subject, they have to belong to the group first and to actively participate in that group. You’re training them and everyone else to do what you want them to do in terms of giving you feedback and becoming an active listener. The other one that I can think of is Jon Levy. He hasn’t done a show in a long time. His show is called Influencers.
He had one of the best ways to foster listeners communicating with them and giving them feedback. He would give them an opportunity to participate in an actual in-person event. He’s well-known for public influencer events all over, in the style of the French salons of long ago where it’d be a social evening type of thing. He always has these in New York, LA, San Francisco, in different cities, not only around the country but around the world. It’s exclusive. You have to be invited. Somebody has to know you or you have to be connected somehow and be invited. He has one of the best tricks to get people to listen to his entire show at the same time. He would make it so that he had an interview with his guests, who was always a big influencer or somebody that most people in the country would know.If you get your listeners to rate and review your podcast, that’s good. But if you get them to comment, ask questions and give advice, that’s way better Click To Tweet
In the last five minutes of his episode was a portion of interviewing the next week’s guest, except it’s anonymous. He doesn’t tell you who that guest is. He asks them some key questions about themselves. The listeners are invited. He’d say, “If you think you know who this guest is, write to me at this email address, comment on my Facebook page, or send a private message. If you guess who it is, you get an invitation to one of my salons.” He also does these Influencers’ dinners. You would get an invite to one of those in the future.
That’s the thing. Most of the time, we’re being too broad when we’re asking for feedback. “Leave us feedback anywhere. We’re everywhere on social media.” No, you want them to engage where you’re most likely to engage. Whenever I do a shout out or ask for feedback, I tell them that they must do it on LinkedIn. That’s where I engage. I also know that the majority of my clients or the people who might become my clients have a more professional outlook on their business. That means LinkedIn. That’s what I do. If they don’t private message or friend me on LinkedIn, whatever that might look like as to how they start communicating with me there, they’re not the right fit for me. I don’t engage back. It saves me a lot of time with the wrong people. Take Jon’s model and force them into doing the one place or thing that you want them to do in order to give you feedback.
We used to do this with WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast. We used to ask them to go and tell us in the comment section on our website, which is more common to what we did. It forced them into our email list. More often than not, we did it that way. When we were building our Facebook page, we started to have them do it there. That page was @3DStartPoint. It was the same as our website. We weren’t confusing people with the terms we were using. Our URLs and @s are common throughout. That’s also a tactic. When you start switching up names and other things, it’s not good for your listeners. They get confused quickly and they don’t engage because they’re confused, “What was it again?” It doesn’t make sense for them. That’s how we make sure that the consistency allows ease of feedback. We used to ask them things like, “Share your weekend projects,” or, “We’ve had difficulty doing this technique with the printer. What have you guys come up with to shorten the time span or to make it easier?” We would get great stories and, sometimes, tutorial videos. It was awesome.
Sometimes, we would pose a question to our listeners because it was 3D printing. It was still a large community of people experimenting with it at the time. We would ask them, “What have you done to solve this problem? What advice might you have that others could use to achieve a certain goal?” This is something people don’t think about. Asking a listener for their advice is something that makes them feel important and involved. It also gets them to show that they’re listening and committed.
You have to follow that up. You get the people who did it. One of our best, most active, and most engaged listeners is Vicky Somma. I remember her name and I haven’t talked to her in years.
I’m still connected with her on Facebook and I see stuff from her now and again.
When she does something cool, I comment on it still. She got my attention. She was one of the first people who shared some great techniques and asked a question. She shared advice with us in such a great way. What you want to do is make sure you do that shout out on your show and you thank them for the advice. You tell people what they shared and say, “I’ve put it into the blog post for this episode so you can see the actual image, video, or quote of exactly what she said.” You, of course, are naming them in this process. You want to do that.
If you do an entire show based on someone’s advice, that’s even better. When that show comes out, you tag them in addition to thanking them on the show for spurring and inviting this topic. You bring them in. They’re like, “I’m the one who did this. I’m the one who got this going.” They participate even more in both the sharing and the commenting of that episode. Make sure that you do that next step thing. Overall, the mistakes that I see going on from podcaster to podcaster is a failure to follow up. A failure to follow up on engagement and a failure to follow up with your guests. Those are the two biggest things that I see that are hurting the distribution of your show, the expanse that you are expecting that reach.
That’s part of why we started, for our done-for-you clients, communicating to the guests for them with the announcement that their episode published and giving them the graphics, links, and all that stuff. We found that a lot of podcasters weren’t doing it. It was one more thing they had to remember to do. They wouldn’t get to it on time or at all.
Even if you stopped there, that’s not good enough. Often, I see a social post out there, even on my own because sometimes we have the team push them out. I see it and I’m like, “What happened?” They re-shared something, but they forgot to tag the guest. I’ll go in and drop them in the comments or I’ll edit the post if I have access to that. I’ll go in and I’ll do that. I did that with Mark S. A. Smith. Someone from my team had posted the auto redo on my feed. When I don’t get to posting myself, there’s always a stream of things that go in there. It was a great episode I did on The New Trust Economy with him. He wasn’t tagged even though he’s my LinkedIn friend. I thought, “What a miss.” I tagged him in the comments. It got it rolling again.Nurturing listener engagement shows you have tremendous care for your community and your audience instead of constantly being about yourself. Click To Tweet
You’ve got to make sure that you’re mentioning them. They’re appreciative of it. They share that comment back. You’ll get it moving. That engagement helps you in all the algorithms on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or wherever you are when you invite that engagement. Make sure to keep doing that. If you can’t do it in the post because you have an assistant or doing it through Buffer or one of these programs, do it in the comments. Why don’t you check what you post every day? You check other people’s feeds, like your friends and your family. Why can’t you take two seconds to go look at your page, see what you post, and make sure to tag someone? It takes two seconds. I do that every morning. Every morning, I spend fifteen minutes double-checking all my posts that have gone out for the day or a plan for the day or yesterday, if I didn’t get to it.
In the spirit of follow up, Tracy, you also need to keep an eye on who has liked your podcast, Facebook Page, Facebook Business Page, or whatever it is. We have this Brandcasters! group where people will comment a lot. You need to respond to those comments or have somebody who’s responding for you that you trust. It’s important to do that in a timely manner. Not only that, for us, in the case of the Brandcasters! private group, people are asking to join it all the time. We’ll only let customers and certain guests join it. We have to monitor that and accept them as soon as possible. You need to have at least 1 or 2 social media channels that you’ve got to keep on top of if you’re getting customer feedback and getting them engaged.
Some people do a welcome thing. “Welcome, so and so,” and they welcome them all to their page or group. That’s acknowledgment, not invite engagement. Why don’t you ask them and say, “Welcome, Tom Hazzard? What advice do you have for our podcasters group?” You can make them engaged. “Welcome, so and so. Tell us something about yourself.”
It could also be, “What’s the greatest challenge you’re facing that caused you to join this group?” or something like that. There are lots of ways you can try to get them to communicate.
Giving advice is something that people naturally want to do. They want to be helpful.
They want to be heard.
Doing that is a great way in any way, shape, or form. That’s probably the top way that I would do it. It helps everybody want to engage. Making it easy, that’s the next step. Go to the Facebook group. Click join, do it. I know some of you have blocked groups or have groups with questions. Keep it simple to join, just one question. If you need to do that to gate people through, that’s fine but keep it simple and easy. The more frictionless is the process to get feedback, the better off it is. That’s why I’m not a fan of asking people to rate and review your show. I know you want to go out there and do it and you should ask for it. The reality is that at the end of the day, it’s not simple. Those of us with Android phones can’t do it at all. People don’t do it. Most people realize it’s a waste of time. They will comment if they hate it though. That is one thing that they do. They will go in and rate it if they hate it.
We once had a client who launched, Brett Swarts of the Capital Gains Tax Solutions Podcast. He is nichey. He’s talking about capital gains tax solutions. He got together with a bunch of other podcasters who are launching shows at a similar time. He reached out through his entire network and ask people he knew to not only go try out the podcast, listen, and subscribe but to rate and review it. These other podcasters who launched shows around the same time all rated and reviewed each other’s show. He had more than 70 ratings and reviews on iTunes in the first 24 hours. That is amazing.
You’re doing it outside of your podcast.
My point is that you’re not appealing to your listener to give you a rating. You’d like them to do that. Everybody asks for that. The minority of listeners do it, unfortunately. If ratings and reviews are something you’re trying to do, you might want to make a specific initiative to achieve that goal. It’s not necessarily asking the listeners of your show.If you serve first, the influence grows exponentially. Click To Tweet
Absolutely. The other thing I want to mention is to ask for some unusual things. Let’s say you’re looking for guest ideas. I have The Binge Factor. My normal guest is a podcaster who has done 25 episodes or more, has some success tips to share, and is posting consistently weekly. I like to make sure that they have a good show before I’ll accept them. That’s the minimum requirement before they can apply. I was talking to Jen Du Plessis and I was saying, “The Binge Factor is growing.” I’m getting some different perspectives. I brought in some successful authors, some syndicated article writers, and other things like that. I’m starting to bring some of those things in there. I don’t want to do it all the time. I’d love to get a binge listener. She says, “I’ve got one.” She brought her binge listener to my show. She was fantastic. It was one of my best interviews ever. She gave Jen more promo than Jen would have gotten by doing my show. That, in and of itself, was an interesting take on it. Kudos to Jen for thinking that way. It worked out.
Ask someone, “What else would you like to hear on my show besides the typical author, guest, or celebrity guest? Who else would you like to hear from?” Think about doing some hot seating of your clients or your listeners. We once brought Vicky Somma on. She asked me for some advice about where to sell these charms that she had been 3D printing. They were mother and child. They were beautiful. She’d been selling them at farmer’s markets and she didn’t know where to take it next. She wrote in to ask me for some advice. I was like, “Vicky, I can get on a call with you, but I think you could be a great case study and lesson if I brought you on the show.” She said, “I’m not so sure but I trust you.” I was like, “Don’t worry, it’s recorded. We’re not going to air it live.” She came on the show. We talked about an Etsy strategy and some other things. It was great. It was on-air coaching. The listeners were like, “That’s me. Tom and Tracy are helping.”
Not only that, over time, our listeners saw Vicky became a little more vocal. When we posed a question out to our listeners, she had a solution. This is after the story Tracy relayed to you. Vicky recorded a video of herself demonstrating her answer to that question and sent it to us. We ended up using it in an episode. It was fantastic.
When you start to get a little bit of engagement and engage back, you start to create this loop. You create a commitment between the two of you. That commitment cascades into other people wanting that. We’re also training our audience on how we expect them to give us that feedback. We’re training them to work with us. We’re training them on what gets positive feedback from us, as an addition. We’re creating that loop and that chain of engagement. That’s how you move to an influence level. That’s how you get from nurturing that listener engagement and moving into gaining influence. They become your clients and they share you with others. Those others become your clients. That’s how that influence moves around that community and builds through that.
The number one thing that I want to say is it shows tremendous benevolence and care for your community and your audience instead of constantly being about you. Remember, that is something I’m not done harping on. I will continue to do that until I stop hearing too much “I” and “me” in the podcasts and in the posts that follow. If you serve first, the influence comes faster. The influence grows exponentially. That’s what we want. When we show that we’re willing to engage and help someone for free within our group, we’re helping them, engaging with them, taking advice, giving them feedback, and they’re giving us feedback. We’re working in a collaborative way when we demonstrate tremendous care for our community. Care translates into high trust. Immediately, our trust factor goes up. That is the number one thing that matters at the end of the day with someone deciding to do business with us.
I couldn’t have said it any better, Tracy. That could be a theoretical mic-drop here.
You’re welcome. Thank you for following Feed Your Brand. Don’t forget the blog posts on FeedYourBrand.co to get links to any things we mentioned. Go check that out, especially if you’re reading this or watching the video on our Facebook group. That’s it. We’ll be back next time with another great episode. This has been Tom and Tracy.
On Feed Your Brand.
- Jon Levy
- WTFFF 3D Print Podcast
- Vicky Somma
- Mark S. A. Smith – Past episode
- Brandcasters! – Private Facebook group
- Capital Gains Tax Solutions Podcast
- The Binge Factor
- Jen Du Plessis
- Feed Your Brand
- The New Trust Economy
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