Word of mouth marketing is perhaps the most powerful strategy to find the right listeners for your podcast. But how do you translate that on social media and optimize it to skyrocket your listeners? In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard give you useful tips on how to increase engagement with your audience. With the power of social media platforms and the right tagging strategy, you can get engagement and extend your reach before people even hear a single episode! Want to learn how? Tune in to this episode and get the insight that will feed your brand!
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Word Of Mouth Marketing: How To Encourage Your Audience To Share Your Show and Skyrocket Your Listeners?
We’re going to talk about a subject of interest to new and old podcasters alike, even if you’re experienced but definitely, you newbies out there also. We’re going to talk about how to motivate your listeners to help promote your show to share it with their friends and their connections on social media. That is what we’re doing.
I was inspired because I had a meeting with a relatively new podcaster. I’m going to share some about that. They have a podcast called Let Me Speak to a Manager. It’s got a broad appeal, two cohosts like us except its two guys. They are good friends. They banter together and they’re very new. They’re still within the first eight weeks on iTunes. In fact, they’re about a month in. They’ve already gotten 70 legitimate five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts. I was shocked when I saw that so I looked that up. To be completely transparent, they’ve got an average of maybe ten episodes published and they have anywhere from 50 to 175 plays per episode, so about 10,000 total plays.
In context, that is not bad at all for a brand-new show.
It’s very good. In fact, we’ve seen shows that start at that pace getting featured as a new podcast. We’ve seen it. I’ve seen it over the summer and all that. The thing is people are already reaching out to them. That is a little unusual. They’re getting not just social engagement, but they’re getting people reaching out to them through email saying, “I love the show.”
I suspect that’s because they already had a decent-sized email list, to begin with.
They had some following and email list. They certainly used it and announced it, but the people have reached out and said, “I liked the show.” What they did in response to that is say, “Would you mind going on Apple Podcasts and giving us a review?” They replied and made the ask. I know a lot of people in their shows and their intros and outros or even during the show often say, “If you like the show, please go and give it a rating or review.” Apple Podcasts is the only platform that you can leave a rating and review on. That has changed. Others that used to are no longer doing it. On Apple, it’s still a thing. I don’t think it’s the be all and end all to get ratings and reviews.
We’ve seen shows and we have shows that have zero or like a handful of reviews. They get topped ranked and they have tens of thousands of listeners. Ratings and reviews have nothing to do with that in particular, but some people who are review junkies love to see the reviews. That’s a strategy on Amazon. You go, “This thing has 300 reviews. They’re mostly five-star. I’ll check it out.” They don’t always read the reviews, but they do check out a show because of that. The Apple Podcast rankings still have an algorithmic factor that is based on reviews, but it’s not the only factor.
When I checked out their show, I started reading these reviews and what’s amazing is all 70 of them are five-star reviews and they’re all legitimate people. It’s not like they went to some company that has a server farm and have all these different Apple IDs and they’re going and leaving reviews. I’ve seen shows doing that in 2020. People pay very expensive money like $20,000 or more for a high-ticket, high-level program of launching a podcast for you. They guarantee you placement and a top-ranked on Apple, which they shouldn’t guarantee because they can’t guarantee that but they do. They get you a ton of reviews right out of the gate. I’ve read some of these reviews and a lot of them are pretty crappy. They’re obviously written by people that did not listen to the show. We don’t advocate that. We don’t support that. We believe in organic.
I want to show you a couple of things. What you see here is a screenshot of the Apple Podcasts listing for the show. It’s called Let Me Speak to a Manager, Ian Matthews and Frank Cava. This is the first page. What I want to show you is the second page. These are the reviews. Down at the bottom of any listing, you can see few reviews and you can hit See All, then you see these individual reviews. You can see at the top everything is five-star there.
They got one more since you saw them. It’s 72. You said 71.
That was from memory. Anyway, they have 72 ratings and you can see, “Love the podcast. Highly recommended.” If you read through these, these are real people and real Apple IDs. Here’s the brilliant thing that Frank and Ian have been doing. You have to have published your show and you have to have some people reaching out to you before you can do this and/or some people that gave reviews that you know who they are. You definitely want to foster listener engagement in order to learn who your listeners are. If they reach out to say, “I love the show.” Make the ask, “Would you mind leaving a review on Apple?”They’re probably willing to do it if they took the time to reach out to you and say, “I love the show.”
Reach out to them to review it but what do you do next? What can you do with that? We came up with a neat concept. You see here on this next page. I took their cover art, which is fun. It’s a neat caricature of the two of them. It’s in their sense of humor and style. What I’ve done is created an image where you’ve got the cover above and you got the review below. There are a couple of things you can do with this. That is put it out on social media. Create a social post on LinkedIn and Facebook, and tag the person that gave the review. Now you need to be connected with them, so you got to make sure you connect with them first.
It is why I prefer the method of asking anyone who leaves a review to DM you or message you on social media. That way, you are sure that you’re connected and they’re likely to do it on their favorite platform. If their favorite platform happens to be Instagram, they’ll probably private message you there and say, “I left you a review. Here’s the username or whatever that is.” That way, you can make sure that you’re connecting. When you are tagging them, they are followers of yours.Go give a review and let the law of reciprocity kick in. Click To Tweet
Here’s the thing, if you put it out there and you create a post and you tag them, they’re going to see it. They’re going to see, “They’re giving me exposure. They’re talking about me.” They are much more inclined to share it with their followers or their connections or repost it in some way. Now you’re getting them to give you exposure to their entire audience. If they’re listening to you, there are chances that there are other people they know who would be interested in your show as well.
This is the hack for you to go the other direction as podcast hosts. Go leave a review for another show that has a matched audience to yours. Create a post that looks like this. Tag the host of the show saying, “I left you a review.” That’s Ego Bait™ right there. They are going to reshare that with their audience. The key is you want to make sure you don’t waste your time doing that on shows that don’t have an audience match to you. If you do this with ones that have an audience match to you, now you force them to share you with their audience without you having to guest on their show. You’ve saved yourself some time and you’ve given them a bonus. You gave them a review.
Of course, you want it to be an eloquent review that shows you’re in the know and in the niche of the industry that they’re in. You want to write that review very well to make sure that you shine in the review as much as they do. That is going to be critical in that post. This is a great way and a great hack to go the other direction as well. You’re boosting the podcast industry and helping other podcasters get their show reviewed and get them seen, so good for you.
People will reciprocate. If you’re giving them exposure and props, they’re going to do the same thing for you. Certainly, they’re much more willing to.
This is a LinkedIn strategy. I want to go out there and mention this. Many of you are probably already doing this on LinkedIn. The LinkedIn strategy is I go give you a review and the Law of Reciprocity kicks in. When you say, “That was so great. Thank you for such a great review,” then I go, “Would you leave me one?” You feel obligated to do it. That’s the way that goes.
I went to another one. I’ve made a couple of these with some of the reviews. It’s a simple template, cover art above, room for review below that says, “Must listen.” When you read this, the person has listened to the show. As Tracy was saying, if you’re going to go the other direction, leave a review of somebody else and promote it. You are trying to get them to share and promote you. You want to give context. You want to make it clear that you have listened to the show. You know something about this isn’t the casual or passive thing.
That’s right. This show is matched to your audience and you have knowledge in this area as well. That’s why you can properly evaluate it and review the show as being a quality show.
What’s critical about this is to make sure your listeners understand that you’re wanting to hear from them. Invite them to reach out to you, comment, share some thoughts, and propose a future topic they’re interested in. Get them to reach out to you. You can do it in a few different ways. You can get them to connect with you on LinkedIn. You can get them to reach out over Facebook. You can get them to email you or DM you over Facebook Messenger if that’s one of your platforms. You want to get them to connect directly so you can reach out to them.
When you have them connected, you can certainly make a post and tag them. That’s an easy way because it doesn’t take much for them to click that share button. You can also DM them and send them this image that you created of their review with your cover art and then ask them, “Would you mind posting this on LinkedIn or Facebook?” If they’ve emailed you, that’s like gold. You’ve got a direct line to them. They’ve reached out to you and they’re willing to hear from you. Email them that image and a suggestion of a post they could make. Make it so easy that they can just copy and paste it into social and share it.
I want to say that I’m not a fan of trying to get listeners to share your show in that passive way that so many of you do it where you go, “If you like the show, share it.” Keep in mind that binge listeners and listeners who care about podcasting who are deep in the industry aren’t going to put themselves out there if they don’t think your show is quality just because you asked them to.
At the end of the day, they have to have gotten value from your show. If it’s early on, it’s too soon. They may not know yet that they get value from your show yet. They may have enjoyed an episode but they don’t know if they’re going to get enough from it. Doing it too soon can also be a problem, so keep that in mind. You may have to do it for a while. When you’re out there asking for listeners to share it, it’s a onesie-twosies thing. You’re sharing it with one single person at a time. If I’m going to share a show, chances are good that Tom’s friends do not read as I do. If I shared a book with them, they’d be like, “What? That’s not my style.”
If I’m doing this, I need to tag the right friends. I might only share a show with a few people at a time. I might only share a show with 2 or 3 people that I think might enjoy it. You’re not getting as broad an audience as the strategy of using the reviews and using your listener feedback by tagging it on social media and getting to share with that broader audience of who they’re sharing it with.
It’s not likely that I’m going to go out there and make a mass message unless it’s something where you’re tagged and you’re pushed into engagement in the process. By that engagement, their natural audience will see it and hear it. That’s important to be thinking about because you want to get a broader reach of listenership. You don’t want to get just 1 or 2 at a time. You definitely don’t want to put a ton of effort into doing something that’s only going to get you 1 or 2 at a time. We want to do something that’s going to have more value.If you’re going to take the time to get reviews, give them more power by using them on social media. Click To Tweet
If you’re going to take the time to get reviews and do all that, then make it have more power for you by using it on social media, by doing a rich tagging system, and by engaging with that. With that being said, I want to go one step further on something that is so rare that people don’t do enough of but does get you because of the engagement process. It gets your posts seen when you’re sharing your podcast, but it also gets you more listeners by doing this process. That is to not just tag the guest of your show and not just say, “Thank you for being a guest.”
What I try to do is my team post out for me. It’s all scheduled in through either buffer or through Meet Edgar, Hootsuite, whatever you use. My team uses Meet Edgar. Whatever that is, it’s scheduled in there. I don’t pay attention to it as it’s posting. When it comes up, what happens is I’ll see, “That’s what posted today,” as I go into engaging in my LinkedIn or my Instagram or whatever it might be. What I do then at that point is I reach out and I make a concerted message to the guests of the show.
I might say, “Thank you so much for being on the show. The thing that I learned the most about you was this and I appreciate the time you took to share that,” and then ask a follow-up question. I was like, “I should have asked you this,” and I asked the question. They’re tagged and they’re in front of this promotional that they’re supposed to be participating in because they promised to promote the show. Now they have to answer. Usually, their answers are great and sometimes you can create this great dialogue that then gets listeners or viewers of the post to start diving in.
From that, what I find a lot of times is someone will tag someone else. They’ll say @friend and all of a sudden, some other friend is like, “I should comment on that. I’m an expert there.” You’ve created it without them listening to the show yet. They have to come back, find the post and comment on it. You create an engagement and conversation without the show being heard yet. That’s great and important, and it helps you create that listenership. The other thing I try to do, because Binge Factor is for podcasters, is I try to tag some other podcasters who might have been previous guests on the show or who are clients and say, “@ScottCarson, you’re going to love this. There was a great tip here you might be able to use.” That’s how I try to do it.
That’s how I try to do it. It’s to also engage people who maybe don’t listen to every episode, but you know they are probably listeners or at least subscribers of your show. You can do that. We used to do that on our 3D Printing podcasts. We used to do shout-outs to a couple of people and say, “That’s a great tip. So-and-so from Brazil would love this idea.” When we made the post, we tagged that listener. We knew that because they reached out to us and we knew they were our binge listeners. They’d listen to the episode immediately, start commenting and share it with some friends. That’s how you create this richer engagement, which eventually what it’s doing is increasing listeners, but it’s increasing the right listeners. That’s the important part because they were increasing with more active people and that’s whom we want at the end of the day.
One of the things I want to share with all of you is the graphics that I made. I want to tell you all, I made these in about five minutes literally. It did not take much, no special equipment. Every computer has the ability to take a screenshot of something. I went on Apple Podcast. I looked up the show. Even though I could get the cover art and download it somewhere, I took a screenshot of it. There was a screenshot of the review, put one over the other and save it as a JPEG. It’s super easy. It doesn’t take a graphics degree or a specialist to do it. Any of you can do this.
There are other programs. Sometimes the screenshots on your computers are not in high enough resolution so that when you blow it up and you try to put it into social media, it doesn’t look as good. It’s grainy. There are other programs that you can use. What’s that screen capture one?
It’s a plugin for Chrome browser if you use Chrome. It’s called Awesome Screenshot.
Awesome Screenshot all of your reviews. You’ll be able to cut and paste the sections of them easily and the resolution will be much higher. That’s a pet peeve for some people who are serious about their Instagram accounts. It’s going to be grainy if you try to use a screenshot. Go ahead and use other tools out there.
Another tool on Windows 10 that works great is called Snippet. For those of you that are on Windows 10, that’s important for you to know as well. Anyway, it’s simple, not complicated, and anybody can do it. We’re trying to give you some practical tactical tips that you can take action with yourself to increase the number of listeners you have to raise awareness of your podcast. I don’t know a single podcast host that doesn’t want to do that and isn’t looking for ways to accomplish it. That’s why we thought we would share this.
Increasing listeners and encouraging engagement are the two things. When you can do them simultaneously, you’re helping yourself do less work, which we always want to do here and be more effective. Those are the two things from all the Binge Factor interviews that I’ve done that I hear from very successful podcasts. This is where they all feel weakened. They’re always trying something new and trying different things. What I have to say is it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Some audiences are not going to be okay with that. If you’ve got a podcast that’s on something about deep healing and pain, people may not be willing to go out there, make the reviews and do what you need to do to share the show. However, I guarantee you, behind the scenes, they are direct messaging people who need you. Your encouragement might be in a different way than something so public. Keep in mind that this is your show.
There are contexts that are probably unique to every show, but there are opportunities for every show to take action on your own, being the host or anybody else on your team to help raise awareness. That’s what we wanted to cover. Thanks so much for reading, everybody. We’ll be back with another great episode next time. This has been Tom and Tracy Hazzard on Feed Your Brand.
- Let Me Speak to a Manager
- Apple Podcasts – Let Me Speak to a Manager
- Meet Edgar
- 3D Printing Podcast
- Awesome Screenshot
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