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How Important Are You On Social Media?

Posted by on Feb 18, 2012

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.”

Over this past week I decided to try a little experiment; y’all know how I like to try experiments from time to time. Going into this one, I was betting I knew how it would turn out, but still had some hopes that maybe I was wrong. In the end, there are some interesting lessons to learn.

What I did was fairly simple. I decided that for the week I was not going to initiate any conversations or share any information on Twitter besides the automatic posting of my blogs once they go live. This means the only caveat I had was that if someone wrote me first I would reply. But if nobody wrote me, I wasn’t going to post a single link, or do a retweet, or reach out to comment on something anyone said, including just saying hello. In essence, I wanted to see if anyone would miss me.

This might have seemed like a narcissistic endeavor, but I had an interesting premise and intention. I have written about the aspects of social media marketing and how it gets to be difficult because once you start examining the process you realize that you just might have to inundate the market with messages, depending on which social media platform you’re using, to try to get the word out and to try to reach as many people as possible. Since I have passed 50,000 tweets on the site, and figured I had a significant number of people following me that actually knew who I was, including some friends, that someone might wonder where I’ve been.

What happened is exactly what I was expecting unfortunately. For the entire week I got three messages, all of which I responded to. One was through private message, which means and public that for the week people would have only seen me respond to two people. That is, if anyone was paying attention. I did have some people retweet some of my posts, and I was included in a bunch of those Follow Friday type posts, but overall nothing.

What lessons did I learn, and what lessons can all of us basically learn from this little experiment? Let’s take a look:

1. Very few of us are important enough online to be missed by anyone. I think there would probably be less than 20 people who would be missed if they stopped doing anything on social media for more than three days without telling people they were taking time off. So it’s not that I’m supposed to be anyone special, it’s just that there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss when someone suddenly is around.

2. Staying in the minds of people you’re trying to reach through social media means you have to be ready to dedicate either a lot of time or a lot of effort or a lot of technology to get the job done right. Strangely enough, although I’m not going to do it, I’m starting to get a better sense of why some people either use plug-ins that promote their stuff all day long, sometimes seeming like once a minute every single day, or have periods throughout the day where they’re going crazy posting all sorts of stuff on all the social media platforms. Some of us might get irritated by it, but my bet is that the overwhelming public doesn’t notice it the same way that someone like me does.

3. Even though social media marketing is one of the easiest things to do when compared to traditional marketing, and definitely more cost effective, it’s harder to establish a loyal and recurring market unless you can figure out what capture someone’s attention enough for them to miss you, share what you have to say, comment on what you have to say, and then pay for whatever you’re hoping to get people to pay for, even if it’s only to pay attention to.

4. If you want loyalty, get a dog. 🙂 Okay, let me expand on that one. Dogs are the only creatures alive that we’ll miss you from the day they come into your world until the day they leave this world. No other pet does that, and no person does that, no matter how much in love they tell you they’re in with you. This doesn’t mean that people don’t like you, it doesn’t mean they won’t miss you, and it doesn’t mean that some of them might not love you. What it means is that it takes work and consistency to get the world to listen to your message, to create your message, and to share your message with regularity. However, if you can figure out why there’s such a strong connection between people and dogs, and apply it to your life and your business, social media or not, you will never want for anything.

I will say this. During the experiment I did get more things completed than I normally might because I wasn’t checking Twitter all that often. I did post a few links on Google+, because it was totally hard to go cold turkey, and even though it helped supplant most of my Twitter cravings, it just wasn’t the same. I also put more links on Facebook than usual, and that wasn’t the same either. At least now I have a better idea of what needs to be done towards my quest to become more influential, while also given the something to think about as far as whether I’m ready to put in that much effort for the goal.

There you go; use the information as you can.
 

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33 Comments »

Julie:

Thanks for the useful information, you did a really great article! I think that is normal that nobody can be really missed on the social media, because there aren’t any strong communities. That’s how it is, there aren’t any physical communications and that’s why there aren’t any boundaries and communities. Everybody is expendable:)
Julie recently posted…cosmetic dental surgeryMy Profile

February 18th, 2012 | 2:10 PM

Thanks Julie, although it’s still sad in a little way. I’ll have to admit that the thought of being missed is nice in its own way.

February 19th, 2012 | 12:22 AM
Mark@RUTHLESS INCOME:

Well knowing your place in the social media world has some advantages. First is that you get motivated by it if you are top or bottom of the game, next is that you stay focus on the goal and lastly it helps you become a better marketer.
Mark recently posted…RUTHLESS INCOME Review-BUYER BEWARE?-Read What Adeel Chowdhry and Jamie Lewis Says…My Profile

February 18th, 2012 | 5:42 PM

Interesting points Mark, especially that last one. At the very least it makes you understand what you might have to be willing to do in order to become a better marketer through social media.

February 19th, 2012 | 12:30 AM

Mitch, I think it mainly depends on the content, trend and momentum of particular social network. Personally I try to automate the process of sharing links, so as soon as there is post on my blog it is syndicated to my FB page, Twitter wall and my LinkedIn group wall. And again it depends very much on the topic. In the last few months I am trying to figure out the trends in topic and searches exactly on social media. In those 3 months, 3 articles went viral without even expecting that and get so much response on those 3 and the traffic to the articles as as much as the traffic for the rest of the website. So I doubt that anybody will miss me, but I think people that being consistent with quality and quantity to some extends, people are expecting to get something new.
Carl recently posted…Website Design: Cleveland Businesses’ Top TipsMy Profile

February 18th, 2012 | 8:30 PM

It’s an interesting thing talking about going viral Carl. I don’t know that I can say I’ve done anything that’s gone viral, though maybe one day it’ll happen. What I really found is that I missed talking to people probably more than they didn’t notice I was gone, which probably says way more about me than them.

February 19th, 2012 | 12:26 AM

I have always tell to my customers that the key to social media marketing success is to be social. I also advice them to give some time to employees everyday to enjoy social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Stimulating this process works very well and helps brand building a lot. Of course of us, one man band professionals the best is to keep top networks open in browser tab all the time, just to show our friends that we are online.
About the viral part, nobody really knows that something can go viral at least everybody need at least 10 good friends to share something with their friend, unfortunately this rarely happen.
Carl recently posted…Finding the Best SEO Reseller ProgramMy Profile

February 20th, 2012 | 2:59 AM

I always find it amazing that so many of your clients don’t accept comments on the blogs you post for them. I’ve stopped going because that’s irritating as sin; you know how I am. If you’re going to participate in social media then participate; that’s how I see it. And if you’re not, then we’ll go elsewhere, and any importance that might have been had is totally gone.

February 20th, 2012 | 9:00 AM

Hi Mitch,

Very interesting test. I’ll be chewing on this.

I think there is a science to how and where to post. I’m not one who automatically posts the same items to all of my social media accounts. They aren’t all for the same purposes and certainly don’t have an equal tolerance for how often one posts. You have planted the seed for me to run my own tests and as I get them sorted out, I’ll share what I learn.

Thanks for a great post. I’ve already tweeted it.
Phil Ammendolia

February 20th, 2012 | 1:32 PM

Thanks Phil. I post every blog post to Twitter from all my blogs, but I have one specific blog that posts automatically to LinkedIn. Anywhere else I have to decide what fits where, so like you none of it is automated. The question that has arisen is am I, or anyone else, really doing enough? And is there a true balance between being effective and being irritating?

February 20th, 2012 | 5:37 PM

Hey Mitch,
I’m glad you did this experiment because it proves my theory. You have to “initiate” conversation in order to expect to receive it in return.

As you know I use my “romper room magic mirror” to connect with others. I believe once people see that YOU recognize THEM they are more likely to step up and re-tweet and be more engaging. It’s about having a “hook” that allows you to connect effectively with others.

That’s one of the “Killer Tips” in my new book 🙂

February 18th, 2012 | 11:30 PM

That’s one of your great concepts Bev, and I commend you for coming up with it. I’m more apt to find something through Twitter that interests me and either share it or comment on it there and then. Sometimes it gets conversation going, while other times it gets me just a thank you. But I’ve started noticing that I have more things retweeted than I could have thought to hope for so maybe it’s not such a bad method to use.

February 19th, 2012 | 12:27 AM

Gutsy move Mitch. Not easy either. I really applaud your honesty and ability to self reflect without flinching (well only a little bit). What you say is, I believe, an accurate representation of the whole media thing, but it takes courage to face it full on.

Mitch, you are a breath of fresh air in all this media stuff!!!
Sue recently posted…Is it time to address the imbalance?My Profile

February 19th, 2012 | 2:32 AM

Thanks Sue. Every once in awhile on my quest for more influence I tend to step back and experiment on things to verify that not only am I not all that important, but pretty much no one else is either. I think many of us hope we are. And yet, for those folks, which kind of includes me, hoping for more influence or more sales through marketing, this kind of experiment proves that one has to go a long way to make a dent in social media for real.

February 19th, 2012 | 7:09 PM

Hey Mitch,

Thanks for sharing your experiment. It can be hard to be missed on such a huge social media network, that is true. It still is important to utilize social networks, but your experiment proves that our time can be better spent elsewhere too.

Thanks for sharing,

~Jeremy
Jeremy Ruggles recently posted…Enough about me – How do YOU make money online?My Profile

February 19th, 2012 | 3:13 AM

Thanks Jeremy. It’s the kind of experiment where one has to be ready to eat the humble pie and realize you’re not all that important and that it really is all up to you if you want a better presence.

February 19th, 2012 | 8:07 PM

Wow. You really know how to make someone feel guilty. But in reality, social media time last week was spent on clients. Yup a real busy week.

You must remember that social media is a stream and the only way anyone knows how hot or cold that stream is running can only be determined when someone is standing in the middle of it. Tell me do you regularly receive comments from your blog, twitter and Facebook accounts? Do you have clients willing to pay for your talents when it comes social media? Have you been asked to speak about social media in a public forum in the last year? How many face to face encounters have you had in the past year with people who follow you? If you answered yes to any two of these. You are doing better than most when it comes to influence on the web.

If you are doing all these things and you are doing it without the help of being a college Proffessor at a prestigious communications school, senior vice president at a major Advertising agency, a television or movie actor, noted author or business guru….You are doing very well.

How much influence do you want to have?
Bill Pfohl recently posted…What a Game!My Profile

February 19th, 2012 | 10:35 AM

Bill, I can respond to this and have the answers be pertinent to your main two points. Yes, I get a lot of responses on this blog, but my other blogs don’t get that much commentary, not even the Syracuse blog.

Truth be told, I don’t have clients paying me for social media except the couple that pay for me to write articles for their blogs, and none of those people hired me because of my blogs or websites. Truth be told, I need to have enough influence to be invited to speaking engagements where people pay for me to go and even to speak.

I need to have enough influence so that I do get real social media consulting requests, especially locally. Two years ago when I did my live presentations locally I didn’t get a lot of people to come. Last year when I gave my presentation at BizBuzz you were the only friend of mine that came to hear me if you remember.It was great to have the room packed but it would have been nice to have a few more people I knew show up, and it would have been nice if I’d had even one person who came to the presentation become a customer, or to even have someone call me to explore something.

Now, I’m not complaining, even if it looks like I am. What I’ve done is experimented to the point where I now know that social media marketing takes a lot of work, way more than what I’ve done, and I’ve told a lot of people that in this post. It changes things a bit, and truthfully, I had one of our mutual friends tell me that when I market certain things that I should be putting their names into my Twitter posts. I’m not sure I want to go that route across the board but you know, it would make sure people people see things. You and I have talked about the difficulty in reaching people locally unless we work at the university.

Anyway, now you know a bit more. Thanks for your comment; I appreciate your stopping by.

February 19th, 2012 | 8:24 PM

A gusty move Mitch, but I applaud your quest for experimenting. I know I do have the presence I want so would hesitate to do this. thanks
Michael Belk recently posted…Can a narcissistic manager be a good leader?My Profile

February 19th, 2012 | 12:52 PM

Michael, you don’t have to do the experiment since I did it already; lucky you. lol

February 19th, 2012 | 8:30 PM

This does really make you think. You have to be consistent and sometimes people don’t always have that kind of time. I try my best to stick to a schedule that works for myself and my family because outside of our blogs we all have a life. But even if I don’t post, I still love engaging in conversation and just checking in people just to say hi, leave some comments and let them know I was thinking about them.
Sonia recently posted…How to Get A Custom Logo On A BudgetMy Profile

February 19th, 2012 | 2:40 PM

Thanks for stopping by Sonia. You know, on this blog and one of my other blogs I talk about social media and the opportunities it offers for businesses to be able to compete with each other. It can work okay for blogging, but for everything else it seems that one might have to work much harder or be more of a pest, if I can use that word, to really get noticed and not be forgotten. But we all still have to determine just what we’re ready to go and what makes us uncomfortable. I’m not the guy to have automated software that will put out links to my blogs and websites 24 hours a day. I’m not the guy who will follow everyone just so I can build up my follower counts so more people will see my blog posts. But I am a guy who could be comfortable with making sure I put out links to new posts and some old posts here and there 4 or 5 times a day… if I have the time. In the long run it’s what we need and what we’re willing to do to get what we want.

February 19th, 2012 | 8:35 PM

Hi, Mitch,
I completely agree-we are hardly to be missed by anyone in social media. So many persons and followers are out there and it is hard to be so popular that others can notice your absence and react accordingly to it. Actions will create reactions, while inactions won’t create anything!
EleonoraEOF recently posted…Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer ReviewMy Profile

February 19th, 2012 | 9:29 PM

True Eleonora, and unfortunately it applies to your friends as well it seems.

February 20th, 2012 | 1:31 AM

LOL! Mitch, I agree with you man on the number 4. No offense to anyone, but yes, dog is way more loyal to us rather than our fellow humans. Thanks by the way Mitch, for sharing this with us.

February 20th, 2012 | 3:06 AM
Simon Duck:

I have to say I never really notice the person who is sending out the actually tweet, I just read the tweet and if the article they are linking to sounds worthwhile I click on it and follow everything from there.

There are so many people out there that one person going isn’t probably going to be missed, maybe we should carry out a mass week off and see what happens then!

Regards,
Simon Duck
Simon Duck recently posted…‘there isn’t enough time in the day’My Profile

February 20th, 2012 | 5:22 AM

It’s an interesting proposition Simon but I don’t think anyone has enough authority to actually pull that one off. Unlike you, though, I do pay attention to people, since I’m fairly judgmental in who I allow into my Twitter stream to begin with.

February 20th, 2012 | 9:02 AM
George:

All the time there are new things being introduced in social media and people will usually not notice us being absent even for a long time. The best thing to do is to continue being consistent and provide fresh updates. Social media requires a lot of patience and time which I can rarely provide.
George recently posted…DTS HomeMy Profile

February 20th, 2012 | 12:40 PM

That it does George, and it is something tough to mentally overcome. It’s probably the same with regular advertising as well.

February 20th, 2012 | 5:35 PM
Rene@googleranking:

Wow, that is a bold move Mitch but for a good cause.
I’m trying to get my head around how you actually managed to go cold twitter turkey.
You can hardly blame people for not missing you though. I think we’re all so bombarded with so many social media messages these days that even the good ones can sometimes go by unnoticed.

February 21st, 2012 | 6:33 PM

Rene, since Twitter’s my favorite I’d have to admit it wasn’t easy. And yet sometimes we find that we’re capable of more than we imagined. As for the rest yes, the world does move by fast, but it was still a lesson that had to be confirmed.

February 22nd, 2012 | 4:40 PM

Thanks for being so honest about social media Mitch. I can’t agree with you more! Social Media seems to attract numbers rather than loyalty. It is hard these days with the multitude of online sites/blogs to attract people’s attention and to keep them attracted. I guess this is where creativity comes into play. As you suggested, loyalty is probably better achieved if we adopted a dog. Thanks!
Jordan recently posted…Quinoa Salad and Cider VinaigretteMy Profile

February 25th, 2012 | 7:22 AM

Thanks Jordan; and no, I’m not about to adopt a dog. lol But I won’t lie & say I wouldn’t mind trying to figure out how to attain the loyalty part better. Overall I’m never scared to try an experiment; better to know the truth.

February 25th, 2012 | 2:22 PM