Jeff Widman: Prepare for his backpacking adventure through Facebook!

It’s Meet the Speaker time again on BOLO the Blog. Next up is Jeff Widman from PageLever, who will be participating in the Facebook Super Forum at BOLO next month. He’s hogwash free and curious to boot – here’s a taste of what you’ll get when you meet him in October!

BOLO: What do you like to discuss with close friends?
Jeff:  I like to ask how my friends are doing and just hear what they say. Beyond that, our conversations often turn to outdoor backpacking adventures, trading tips about running a tech startup, or how our Christian faith should impact our lives as businessmen.

BOLO: What do you love about the marketing industry?
Jeff:  I only really interact with folks doing online marketing of one form or another, so I can’t comment about offline marketers. But I love that most online marketers I’ve met are so curious. I think this is particularly true in the online space — if you’re not learning constantly, you’ll fall behind and be out of a job within just a few years, so the industry self-selects toward people who are constantly curious.

BOLO: What do you hate about it?
Jeff:  I get really, really frustrated when marketers write blog posts giving erroneous information. Marketing problems rarely have a single definitive solution, but there are always clearly wrong answers! I’m particularly sensitive to this in the social media space because I’ve seen so much hogwash bandied about.

BOLO: Why do you think your BOLO topic is important in today’s marketing climate?
Jeff:  I’ll be talking about Facebook Analytics [in the Facebook Super Forum]. In the past six months, I’ve seen a shift in the questions marketers ask me about Facebook. They used to ask a lot of questions about creating content — how do they create a tab, how do they get a vanity URL for their page, etc.Now the questions are much more focused on how do they create effective content — what is the best time to post content, what type of content generally gets engagement, how can they drive revenue from their page, etc. We’ve seen this before — the first wave of the internet was about creating content. Write some HTML, put up a website, and you’re good. The second wave was about creating effective content — use an analytics tool, measure what happens, tweak it, and measure again. I think the same thing is happening in the Facebook space. Marketers are trying to figure out what they should measure and how to measure it, so they know whether a campaign is successful or not.

BOLO: List 5 things about you that only your best friend/spouse/dog knows about you?

  • I never went to high school
  • I love spontaneous outdoor adventures. I particularly love to hike in the mountains, and my multi-day backpacking kit weighs less than 10 pounds without food and water.
  • I write on my blog less to show the world what I’m up to, and more to help me process my thinking. (That’s why I haven’t posted anything publicly in a while, because a lot of the difficult problems I’m working through relate to business things that I just can’t make public.)
  • I think about reaching people with technology all the time, even when I’m not working. It’s just what I love to do.
  • While I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I spent 6 summers working at a summer camp in North Dakota, and I’ve got incredible respect for the work-ethic of mid-west farmers and ranchers.

BOLO: If you’ve attended BOLO before, what was your favorite memory? If you haven’t attended, what are you looking forward to the most?
Jeff: I’m looking forward to two things:

  1. Understanding the agency world a bit more, since most of the time I just talk to agencies in conference calls, and we’re both very business focused on improving their Facebook marketing. At this conference, I’m looking forward to hearing a bit more about how they get clients, what they spend their time in the office doing, what motivates them about the agency model, etc.
  2. I’m really looking forward to meeting people in person that I’ve previously only interacted with online.

BOLO: What other BOLO speaker(s) are YOU excited to hear/see/drink under the table?
Jeff: Jay Baer. That guy is a master communicator, and always on top of the latest trends.

Jeff Widman is the co-founder of PageLever and has been cited an expert in Facebook EdgeRank and analytics by the Wall Street Journal, AdAge, Wired Magazine, and InsideFacebook.