Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 21, 2012
This past weekend I went to a local seminar on motivation. I don’t get to things like this all that often, but every once in a while it’s a good thing to go hear someone else talk on a subject that you also talk about because, when all is said and done, even those who motivate others sometimes need a bit of motivation as well.
It wasn’t a bad turnout, but the group was very diverse, to the point that I’m not exactly sure the presenters got who they hoped to get to come. Still, it was an interesting day, and I got out of it what I think I needed to get out of it. I knew one of the presenters, and had seen enough pictures of the other presenter that I felt I knew her as well.
During the seminar, when it was my turn to speak the lady that I knew threw out a statement saying that maybe I hide behind my social media activities when it comes to doing business. I agreed with her on that, although in my mind I was thinking how I have so many more connections through social media than I do live. But she continued by saying that we should talk after the seminar and I quickly agreed.
When it was over she and I walked across the street to a park and sat down on one of the stone benches. She then told me that out of all the people that had shown up, I was the only one that had come because of social media. She had put out the event on Facebook, and out of the nine people that said they were coming, I was the only one that actually did. Everybody else who was in the room was the result of either a book signing that she did or came because of a couple presentations she had put on locally and mentioned it.
In one way I was shocked, but in another way I wasn’t. I ran into the same thing last year when I tried to promote a local four hour seminar that I was going to put on. I reached out to all of my social media contacts, and I reached out to an overwhelming majority of other people through e-mail. In the end, I had to cancel because I only had one person who had signed up for.
At the same time, there was another event last Friday I found out about that was being held at a hotel about 10 minutes away from me. The guy who worked at the hotel had put it up on Facebook, but really hadn’t invited anybody. So I went through the process of inviting a great number of people who I knew lived in the area, many of whom I knew wouldn’t be able to come but I wanted to give them the opportunity. Just by doing that at least 9 or 10 people showed up that wouldn’t have if I hadn’t reached out to them on Facebook.
Still, her point was valid. Even though social media is the fastest growing medium for people to connect with each other, there’s still something about face-to-face communications that seems to help to encourage people to interact more with you. It might be because, though social media is easy to say something to make someone feel good, just as it’s easy for people to say bad things because they’re hidden, they can say something and not have to follow through. In being truthful, I hadn’t decided I was going to the seminar until the Monday before, even though I had known about it for three weeks. I had put a “maybe”, which is mainly a noncommittal way of saying no, before changing my mind.
Social media marketing is definitely an important thing that all of us need to get used to. But at this point in the decade it’s still not strong enough to really get people juiced up to do anything. You might be able to get people to come to your website, or to read an article or blog post you’ve written, but getting them to take action is still going to be really tough to do. We all need to acknowledge that in order to figure out ways of getting people’s attention, especially if we have as an intention the hopes that we will possibly generate some kind of income from our actions.
How do you see your social media marketing initiatives going?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 8, 2012
Back in January I wrote a post titled Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves. One of the things I talked about in that post was how so many of us miss out on opportunities to get publicity that don’t cost us any money, maybe only a little bit of effort. And I added that I’m the same way often, which is easily true.
Enter HARO, which stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. Its main purpose is to connect reporters with people who might have information they need and the urge to gain publicity. From our end, the non-reporters, we can sign up to receive email 3 times a day with requests from both news and magazine reports to respond to any of the multiple links that may be something that describes us. This isn’t like a job where you respond to things that don’t quite fit what you do but you have the skills for. The needs are very specific, and thus if it’s you, you’ll know it.
This is my second foray into HARO; I don’t even remember when I was a part of it the first time around. I also don’t remember why I signed up to try it again, but somehow I’m thinking I have to blame Beverly Mahone in some fashion because of her talking about PR and getting publicity for your business. After being with it for the last 3-4 weeks, it’s time to ask the question “Is HARO for you?”
As I mentioned, you get email 3 times a day if you sign up for it. The email always starts off with an advertisement, but it’s totally text. I don’t have a problem with that, and you shouldn’t either. Next comes the requests, and I’ve seen as few as 25 and as many as 60. They’re categorized to help you get through them quicker, although it’s possible that you may be able to address the interests in categories that aren’t specifically geared for your business. For instance, I once responded to a query from someone looking to talk to dependents of military personnel who traveled a lot, since I certainly lived that life.
What’s my issue? Including the first time I was with HARO I’ve never had one person ever respond back to me. Now, one could surmise that they found what they were looking for beforehand, and that’s obviously true. Still, how do you feel when you visit a lot of blogs, leave what you think are pretty good comments, and never get an acknowledgment?
You feel like you’ve just wasted your time, that’s what. And that’s how I often feel with HARO. I’ve tried it a couple of different ways. A few times I responded and gave my story entirely, thinking that if they saw everything up front they’d at least contact me to ask for more, whether they used it or not. A few times I’ve gone minimalistic, giving some information but not going into any details, seeing if the “tease” was enough to get their attention.
Nope, nada, zip. Now, the site tells you that all these big time news sources use their services in looking for people to talk to and get information from, which is pretty enticing. But when you look at the emails, the majority of what you get certainly isn’t coming from big media. However, I didn’t sign up expecting NBC to come calling to ask me about anything. My hope was to possibly get into a couple of magazines, where people can read what you have to say and hopefully like it enough to look for you online.
So, is HARO for you and me? I’m not really sure yet, but I remember I had the same feeling the first time I left, and I’m getting that same feeling now. I mean, going through potentially hundreds of links and responding to some via email only to hear the sound of a vacant room without the echo as a response… is it worth the time? I’m thinking I learned better methods from Bev’s book How To Get On The News Without Committing Murder, and have made a couple of local contacts because of it.
Still, I’m not ready to let go just yet, so I’m going to give it another couple of weeks to see if I’m getting more irritated or whether I feel it’ll all work out in the end. Right now, I know which way I’m leaning, and I bet you do as well.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 16, 2011
Best Buy seems to be at it again. Of all things, they seem to have forgotten a big time rule in business; have a sense of humor and roll with the punches. Some folks never learn.
All of this comes on the heels of a post I read by Adam Singer of The Future Buzz titled Best Buy Meets Streisand Effect. In it, Adam explains how Newegg, a technology products company, did a commercial where they poked fun at Best Buy. Best Buy decided to respond with a cease and desist letter, which was pretty ominous stuff. Newegg responded the way most of us would; they popped the letter up on their site. You can see a copy of at the link I provided above.
In many communities these days Best Buy is almost the only game in town. Here in central New York, unless you want to find a small store or an office supply company, you can only pretty much get everything you might possibly get at Best Buy. In my opinion it’s one of the reasons they’re one of the worst companies in the country when it comes to customer service. I don’t say this lightly. I know a little bit about customer service and often I have stood or sat at Best Buy waiting to buy something only to be ignored.
At least I’m not blaming them for being racist by ignoring me since I know they do the same to pretty much everyone. My friend Pat wrote about them, calling them WorstBuy, which is a pretty neat play on words, and of course I’ve had my own issues with Best Buy, once writing about it in a newsletter. I even briefly mentioned it when I was talking about my purchase of Windows 7; waiting around while being ignored seems to be a common complaint about them.
Anyway, what’s happened is there’s been an online backlash against Best Buy for the strong arm tactics. It’s showing up in many places including The Consumerist, Techno Buffalo, 404 Tech Support, WebProNews, Maximum PC and a host of others. I’m wondering if they’ll end up getting a threatening letter for posting it like I did with Finish Line.
Here’s the thing. It seems that the companies that are ready to quickly threaten or sue over stupid stuff like this are the ones that deserve to be outed the most. Best Buy could really care less about most of us, but if they ever do decide to try, customer service needs to be the first thing they work on. Sure, when you’re buying a $2,000 TV or a $2,800 set of LG washing machines they’ll genuflect quite nicely to try to get the sale. But when it comes to almost anything else, the employees don’t care, management doesn’t care, and obviously the administration doesn’t care.
By the way, I’m not giving any link love to Newegg either since they killed their affiliate program through Commission Junction, a company I didn’t talk about in my rant against some CJ affiliates because if an advertiser expires, they take out everyone and not just me. Nothing personal this time around, but hey, they took money out of my pocket as well. lol
Anyway, in the long run, social media will be Best Buy’s Pandora’s Box because once the masses start rising, there will be a competitor, one that learns from the bottom up how to treat customers. That’s what killed Comp USA, and what will eventually get Best Buy.
Of course, if Best Buy is listening and it needs a customer service trainer…
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 16, 2011
I’ve often talked about not making any money off this blog. Well, it’s a little different with one of my other blogs. On my finance blog, I get plenty of advertising. I can’t say I’m turning into a mogul on that page, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s doing pretty well, and combined with the Adsense money I make off one of my other sites I’m not doing all that badly.
The thing about accepting advertising, though, is making sure that whatever you accept fits in with what it is you want to accomplish with your blog, or how you want it all to look. I thought I’d talk about this a little bit because you can find yourself gushing with a little bit of pride the first time someone comes to you asking if you’ll accept an ad without thinking about how it might eventually affect the look and structure of your blog.
For instance, when I first had advertising on this blog, I hooked up with Text Link Ads. And I made money; one month I made almost $100 while I was accepting it. Then Google learned about it and I lost my page rank. I wouldn’t have cared except it seems those advertisers stopped wanting to advertise on this blog because of it. And since my Alexa rank wasn’t as good as it is now I didn’t have anything else to keep them interested, so that was that.
These days, I don’t accept link ads on my blog except within a post. I also don’t accept any advertising that doesn’t have anything to do with the topic of the blog or website. That’s actually the most important thing you have to look at if you decide to accept advertising; relevance. Now I know I’ve said this blog will be about almost anything, but I do concentrate on a few things here and there. So, unless I’m popping up one of my own affiliate ads, you won’t see shampoo ads on this blog. I almost said you wouldn’t see Duncan Hines ads on this blog, but y’all know how much I love cake. lol
Okay, maybe not so much for this blog, but for my finance blog if the ad doesn’t concern something financial or business related it’s not going on there. I don’t accept any advertising on my business blog except for my affiliate ads. On my local blog I don’t have any advertising there yet, not even Adsense; I’m going to have to take care of that one of these days.
Then there’s the types of ads one will accept. I don’t accept any text link ads on the sidebars or on the first page, but I do accept banner ads of some type. If you decided to check out my finance blog you’ll see there’s this neat widget at the lower left. I get paid well to run that sucker and it’s finance related, although it’s geared towards a UK audience, which is one of the strangest anomalies for me. Most of the advertisers are from there, but they pay well and quickly and I don’t mind all that much, though it’s still confusing.
I also will allow someone to buy into an article, or write an article and pay for their ads to be in it. That’s one of the best parts of allowing guest posts there, and it’s the type of thing that can bring in cash here and there. For instance, yesterday I had a company ask if they could write an article about their website and their product. That’s a first, and the reason I turned it down was that it wasn’t a company geared towards an American audience, though it was financial. Since the blog is geared towards Americans it didn’t quite fit. However, I’d have gotten paid nicely for that guest article, which would have been a total advertisement, and I’m not above that.
I do allow ads within posts as long as they’re related to whatever the topic is on that post. I allow that kind of advertising on my other websites as well. Though I’m about to remove the links in a week because their contract is up, I have some linked advertising on my anti-smoking site, which ran for a year. Of course, the rate’s going up for anyone else who might want to advertise, but I’d grandfather them in for now.
Anyway, the overall idea is that money can be made on blogs or websites in more ways than one. It helps to think about your advertising rates and the type of advertising you’d like to accept if you’re ever asked. I hope you get asked as well; trust me, it’s kind of cool.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 4, 2011
Do you “like” many websites you visit? Are some of those sites really big ones, sites that sell stuff or give you news and the like? Maybe sites that belong to big companies that have promotions offering free or reduced stuff? And of course you have a Facebook account, you have friends following you and of course you know that “like” means you share that with the people who follow you and many people who follow them?
If so, get ready to be in some advertisements. It seems that Facebook last week quietly launched a new program where, if you “like” something and it happens to be one of Facebook’s advertisers, your image just might show up in an advertisement for that company or product, whether you asked for it or not. Actually, no one gets to ask for it so you could suddenly be a star without realizing it, helping the company make money.
And you want more? It doesn’t have to be a website for that to happen. Say you happen to like Glee and you’ve indicated that on Facebook. That automatically puts you into the Glee group, whether you participate or not. Well, if there’s an advertiser that only advertises towards that group (yes, they can do that), then your image could find its way into the stream of other people who like Glee, or any of the people who follow those folks.
You might never know until one day one of your friends contacts you and asks you how much money you made for the ad and you’ll be asking them “what ad?” That’s because, at least from what I’ve heard, an ad you’re in isn’t supposed to show up in your stream. Now wouldn’t that be a hoot. Actually, it’s happened before, about a year ago when Facebook first started testing this. A woman showed up in a dating ad, only she didn’t know about it. But her boyfriend saw it and asked her about it, and she was stunned. It turned out he had a good sense of humor, but I wondered at the time how many other people had the same type of thing happen to them.
I mention this with the expectation that you didn’t know this was coming, although if you keep up with Facebook news like I do then you’d have known it was coming. At least advertisers knew it was coming, and I had an inkling it was coming based on what they’d said last year when they were testing it. It’s one reason why I’ve never “liked” any page.
Having said that, there are some things you can “like” without having to worry about it. For instance, most blogs aren’t advertising on Facebook, so that would be okay. Certain news sources, such as CNN, might not advertise, although I’m betting they have a page on Facebook so it’s possible they target people through there. But if you like Prada shoes, Gucci bags, iPads and the like and “like” someone’s site… well, you could be the next Old Spice man; wouldn’t that be a hoot?
Someone had to tell you, right?