By Jonathan Ashton, Integrated Industrial Marketing Communications Professional
I had the good fortune last week to be part of a new [LinkedIn audio event] series called 'Masters of Measurement,' focused on bringing people together to discuss the importance of measurement and metrics to gauge success and guide investment in future activities. The first episode was about success in B2B marketing and communications and had some great speakers.
Apart from getting the chance to connect with new perspectives and lovely people in general, it also gave me a chance to use the LinkedIn Audio Event format for the first time. I haven’t had much experience with Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse to date but am a huge fan of LinkedIn as an engagement platform in my work, so wanted to give it a try. Here are some things I learned I wanted to share.
Audio vs video
In my previous lives, I have been a radio DJ and an occasional podcaster (before it was cool), so obviously love the sound of my own voice. When discussing launching a podcast with friends in the industry last year, there were some folks (@Fahad, a creative genius) who really pushed us to produce a video version to host on YouTube alongside the audio on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, and the rest. While I have to agree, for SEO reasons, that you cannot ignore YouTube’s massive reach, the additional production value required to put on a video version can sometimes defeat even the most enthusiastic podcaster. I see myself as more of a network broker than an expert in the field, so prefer to offer the lowest barrier to entry to encourage more people to join than less, and have even less reasons in place not to proceed. For me, audio-only is the preferred option and requires less cosmetic preparation too.
The hope is that, with audio using less data bandwidth, you can expect fewer technical glitches, although two of our four speakers had connection issues and my own line was deemed “crackly” during the 15-minute pre-session drop-in. Also, I wanted to judge the audio format for bringing more voices in than the announced speakers, a feature of this kind of formats that I know the panelists were keen to leverage too, as a real-world sounding board for their behind-closed-door discussions with clients.
Somehow – perhaps it was two weeks of shameless promotion on LinkedIn and Twitter? – the event received nearly 400 attendees signed up on LinkedIn itself. Brilliant numbers for a first stab at a new format with a new topic and a new moderator on board. Having worked in the industry for a few years, I was expecting roughly a third to maybe tune in if they had the time, based on LinkedIn’s automated alerts for people who had signed up and also in my network. In the end, we had a steady audience number of 50 listeners for our four speakers with another two people raising a hand to add their valued perspective from the floor too. I was particularly pleased that our discussion ranged across various topics, from budget restrictions to lack of commitment to metrics throughout a campaign and how we gauge a good influencer from a not-so-good one. The alchemy of audience participation combined with solid expert speakers confirmed on the panel helped navigate a nervous first outing with confidence and, having received some feedback since ending the broadcast, it seems the listeners got some good insights too.
The audio event theme was all-around measurement and will continue to be, in whatever context we care to explore (suggestions and requests welcome!); so it makes perfect sense to go a little meta and understand whether or not the LinkedIn Audio Event itself was indeed a success.
Let’s look at the numbers: 346 attendees registered in advance, 483 attendees listed by LinkedIn at its close with 761 total unique visits overall. With 4 + 2 speakers and an average 50 listeners in reality throughout, it feels like a much lower than anticipated number of engaged people, but assuming we do a second and third episode, perhaps we can then judge if the format and subject matter is really worth it. Bear in mind there was no paid promotion to boost interest and registrations, partly because LinkedIn wouldn’t allow me the option and partly because I am from the north of England and prefer to do things for free where possible.
The event page is still accessible but it doesn’t keep a recording of the session which would have been beneficial for those people unable to attend the live broadcast or looking to revisit, or even those speakers who might like to publish to their own LinkedIn page for posterity.
Would I do it again?
I want to test the format and topic some more, stretch it out beyond my comfort zone of marketing and communications, and apply measurement and metrics discussions to [topics] like ESG, work-life balance, sports, and other areas I am extremely unfamiliar with but want an excuse to reach experts to talk with.
I might not host it on LinkedIn Audio again as I do like to create sticky places that can be revisited and have a longer tail of engagement beyond the one-off hit. Any recommendations or suggestions on other options for this are much appreciated. The easier the better, for everyone’s sake.