Social Media Commerce: Develop Your Own Podcasts - dummies

Social Media Commerce: Develop Your Own Podcasts

By Marsha Collier

Podcasts may or may not be considered “social media,” but they can be useful building an audience and getting your message out. When talk radio turns into a multimedia digital file that is available for download from the Internet, it becomes a podcast.

You don’t have to be at a computer to listen; every smartphone can download and play podcasts by using an app such as iTunes (for iOS) or Google Listen (for Android).

People don’t always have time to read but they can listen and learn while they drive a car, work out at the gym, or sit on the beach. A great deal of information is consumed via audio these days.

Would your customers benefit from your podcasts? Rosen Law’s Divorce Talk Radio produces weekly podcasts on divorce issues that target his audience. Could you talk for 20 minutes about a particular topic weekly or bimonthly to embed in your website or host on a podcast service?

All you need to get started is a microphone, but you should also use headphones to avoid feedback. Better microphones do make a difference! If you get serious, you might add some low-cost, professional-quality software such as SAM Broadcaster for a real radio station feel.

Do not use your Internet ISP to host your podcasts. Instead, hire a company that specializes in podcasts and their particular needs. Spreaker and Liberated Syndication are a couple of reliable podcast hosts that have offerings in varied areas.

Social media commerce: Use Spreaker to host your podcasts

A newcomer to the Internet radio scene, Spreaker (see figure) is shaking things up. The platform enables you to host and broadcast a live Internet radio show from their online platform at your desktop or on their mobile app for Android, iPhone, or iPad devices. Spreaker apps have an online mixer and an intuitive interface.

Home page of Spreaker.

You can stream your show live and record it for embedding on any website. The podcast is also archived on your show’s home page on the Spreaker site. You can prerecord shows, but note that a live broadcast enables you to interact with your audience in a chat room, on a social media network, or through Skype call-ins.

In addition to its ease of use, Spreaker provides high-quality audio, streaming on 128 kilobits stereo (64K each for the right and left channels). Most other sites stream at 32 kilobits.

When deciding on a podcast provider, be sure to listen to multiple samples of existing shows on various platforms (computer, smartphone, and tablet). Be sure that the sound you hear is the sound you want to represent your business.

You can also download broadcasts as MP3 files and use iTunes-compatible RSS feeds to syndicate your podcast anywhere in the world. A statistics page enables you to see information on your podcasts and listeners calculated every hour.

Spreaker offers a free plan that you can use forever. If you catch the podcasting bug, however, you might want to upgrade to their broadcaster account, which is $199 a year.

Social media commerce: Use Liberated Syndication to host your podcasts

Liberated Syndication (see figure), which is known as libsyn, was the original pioneer of the system to host and publish podcasts in 2004. In 2010, libsyn was the largest podcast network, with more than 1.6 billion downloads and more than 15,000 podcasts.

The Liberated Syndication home screen.

With libsyn, you do not live-stream your podcast. Instead, you record your show (they have experienced tech support) and then they host it. Further, they help you with managing, distributing, and monetizing your content.

All hosting plans (including the basic plan) provide the following:

  • Media hosting for audio and video

  • Your own webpage for your show

  • An iTunes-compatible RSS feed for your podcast

  • Flash and HTML5 video and audio player

They developed their own flash player, which can be configured and customized for audio and video podcasts, to embed on your website. Thanks to HTML 5, the podcast also works on mobile devices.

You can subscribe to include an app for your podcast, which helps you increase your audience. Your app could also enable monetization by running ads from Wizzard Media’s advertising platform. Visit the libsyn site for plans and pricing.

Start with the libsyn $5-a-month plan to see whether you like being a podcast host.