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The Social CRM Value of Podcasts

No company using social media or Social CRM should overlook the value of podcasts. A podcast is an audio file that listeners can either directly download to their computer (or mobile device) or stream (play) online. It’s most likely formatted as an MP3 file. (In this definition and the research that follows, songs are excluded.) Podcasts allow companies to vary the content format.

When podcasts were first introduced early in the 21st century, the technology wasn’t perfect, and downloading was difficult. As the technology improved (including the introduction of the iPod), podcasts became more popular.

Now, most companies understand that podcasts have value, but they don’t always use them to the extent that they could. The problem isn’t hard-to-use technology, but finding people who are willing to speak at length in a nonrehearsed way. Just like any public speaking, discussing a topic in a podcast requires the willingness to try.

To understand who podcast listeners are and what social media they consume, a survey, The Current State of Podcasting 2010, by Edison Research, found that the average podcast listener is

  • Male: Fifty-three percent are men.

  • Neither young nor old: Twenty-two percent fall into the 35–44 age range.

The percentages of people on social networks who listen to podcasts are as follows:

  • 66 percent of Facebook users

  • 19 percent of LinkedIn users

  • 15 percent of Twitter users

Apply the preceding statistics to your company’s podcasting strategy. For example, because a high percentage of Facebook users listen to podcasts, if your audience is on Facebook, consider linking to a podcast via your company’s Facebook page. Is your audience in the 35–44 age range? Then podcasts could be your medium.

As you develop your podcasting strategy, don’t go by these statistics alone. Do testing on your own by tracking them in Google analytics or other analytics package. This way, you will know if your assumptions about your audience are borne out by real-world tests.

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