Why Don’t Social Media Sites Want You To See What You Want To See?

Yesterday I wrote the below on my personal Facebook profile:

I’ll admit that a bit of this is self serving while being helpful at the same time (since I have a page with quite a few of you subscribed to it who probably never know I’m putting anything out).

social media vision
Do you see me?

If you have “liked” a page here on Facebook and want to be notified whenever there’s something new on the page, what you have to do is go to the page, click on the arrow next to Following, and then go to Notifications and click on it.

If you don’t want to go quite that far, still click on Following and then click on Default. That’ll give you a better opportunity to see that page in your stream without being notified all the time that there’s something new there.

I figure if you’ve liked a page that you might want to see some of the things that show up there from time to time; that’s why I’m sharing this information. That’s also my helpful tip of the day; now back to your regularly scheduled program…

Are you wondering why I wrote that, and why I’m sharing it here? That’s actually the wrong question. What you should be asking is why I had to write it and share it.

When I first created my Facebook business page, it was telling me that almost everyone who had liked it was getting whatever I put on there. That’s actually kind of a misnomer. What they tell you is how many people were reached. That doesn’t actually mean all those people saw it; just that the impression of it showed up somewhere on that many people’s newsfeed. You’d be amazed at how much stuff shows up in our newsfeed that we didn’t see; I’ll come back to that one.

As I was saying, early on the reach for my page was at least 80%. I’m not going to pretend that I understood how things worked then but in my mind that was a pretty good percentage. Over time the numbers dwindled to a point where these days most of what I put on the page gets maybe 10 views if I’m lucky. If it’s just an image with a motivational message they might send it to 100 people, but that’s still less than 25%. These are people who subscribed to the page; what the hey?

I have to give Facebook a little bit of credit though. At least they have a way for us to have the opportunity to be notified that a page we’ve liked has added something new… even if they don’t go out of their way to tell anyone. You don’t get anything like that from Google Plus or LinkedIn; now that’s a shame.

There’s absolutely nothing on Google Plus. You have to visit the groups you’re in to see anything new. Actually, because their feed is hard to keep up with, even if you’ve created specific circles, it might not be a bad thing if you haven’t joined a bunch of groups. If you have… well, you’re on your own.

Creative Commons License Brandon Satterwhite via Compfight

There’s nothing on LinkedIn either as far as receiving group notifications. The best thing I found is that you can allow groups to invite you to join them; no thanks!

Of course they have that second troubling feature, which is that they allow you to follow people and people to follow you without being friends with them. However, they still don’t tell you when they post anything, and obviously aren’t telling anyone when I post anything either since supposedly there are over 1,200 people following me… and I’m only connected to 900 people.

This is irksome because I’m following James Altucher; I just love the way this guy writes. But LinkedIn never alerts me to the things he’s putting out, and since he doesn’t have a blog on his website I miss almost everything; sniff!

I actually stopped posting articles on LinkedIn sometime last year. What I still do is post my latest article from this blog and my business blog, as well as any new videos I create that I think might be business centric. Other than that, I gave up posting articles specific for the page after they shut down the numbers that were seeing them. I can get 10 views on my own blogs (luckily I’m getting more than that lol).

Before I answer why social media doesn’t want us to see what we want to see, I want to go back to what I touched upon about the Facebook feed. Per Facebook themselves, only 15% of our “fans” are even eligible to see our feed without some kind of promotion. You can boost those numbers if some of your subscribers actually come to visit the page and even moreso if some of them actually share something you put up.

It also depends on whether you’re posting something directly there as opposed to posting a link. For instance, links to my blogs or from YouTube usually get less than 10 people reached, but if I upload a video directly it gets up to 35 people, and uploading images will get between 30 and 50%.

In the case of both Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s all about the money. Facebook is a bit more blatant about it. On my business page, they’ll actually tell me how much to spend to reach a certain number of people. They want $5 for my blog post links to reach upwards of a whole 35 people. Frankly, I’m not sure whether I should be happy the dollar amount is so low of insulted that 35 people isn’t even 10% for that 5 bucks.

LinkedIn offers extra things to people who pay for the premium package, but based on what LinkedIn tells us they still don’t do anything to help us see what they want us to see, even though they’re trying to become Facebook. Maybe Microsoft will figure out a way to offer this as a premium service one day but it doesn’t exist yet.

This pretty much means that, except for Facebook, we’re not going to see what we really want to see… whatever that may be. I guess I’ll just have to be happy in not seeing what I don’t want to see on Facebook for the moment; I’ll take what I can get.

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The Concept of Social Media Marketing

The concept of social media marketing is one that’s missed by a lot of people. Some people assume it means trying to sell products online by sending out a lot of spam email. Some people believe it’s related to those late night TV gurus who tell you that they’ll have you making millions of dollars within weeks if you learn their system.

Mo Riza via Compfight

There are a few differences between social media marketing and internet marketing, which is what a lot of people might be thinking of.

With a lot of internet marketing, there is little attempt to actually make a connection with someone. The idea is to push products, whether they’re products created by the marketer or not. Their push is to try to get big email lists of addresses and pound the masses to earn their 1 – 3% of sales and live off that. Some internet marketers do really well with that concept, while others fail because they were too late into the marketplace to truly be effective.

Social media marketing is much different. Its purpose is to establish a long term relationship with an audience in some fashion and hope to drive those people to them. If you have a traditional business location, social media marketing can help get people to come through the doors if done properly.

It can help you reach an audience who might have never heard of you. It can give you the opportunity to show some expertise in your field that people might relate to and thus help you build sales. At the same time, since it’s mainly done over the internet, and can be much more comprehensive, being known as an expert by more people works better.

How can it do a lot of these things? What kind of purpose can it serve? I’m going to say more, but first I’m going to share some links where I talk about social media marketing in some detail. Here are 5 links to articles on social media marketing in general terms that might help you understand what it’s all about.

Using Social Media To Grow Your Influence

What Is Influence?

Social Media And SEO

SMM – Audio And Visual Options

Social Media Marketing Won’t Work If…

Here’s what I see more of unfortunately. Though things might seem slightly better than they were in 2009 when studies showed that Twitter was mainly blather, spam, aka advertising, seems to have caught up, or possibly is just slightly under. It depends on what category you want to put advertising one’s own content, blog or otherwise in. Much of the automation that’s out there is to get the word out for an individual or specific company.

Just last week someone who’s known as a big time player on Google Plus actually posted the same link 6 or 7 times an hour between 6 and 9 in the morning (unfortunately I was up; ugh…). He did share a couple of things from others but in my timeline he was kind of irritating. To me, that’s spam to the nth degree.

On the other side, there are people who retweet others all day and never share anything they do; is that less irritating? In the last month I’ve dropped people I was following who only do that, or only post pictures or only post quotes. Is that engagement? Is that social media marketing?

I’m certainly not going to say I’m perfect at it but I think I’m pretty good. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve started sharing a lot more of my present and past posts from this blog and my business blog, as well as some quotes I’ve made in blog posts over the years from my business blog that I think might be motivational. I’m also sharing some of my video links. But I share as much content from others, moreso than my own stuff, and I add a comment to at least half of that, which sometimes leads into conversation.

To me, that’s what social media marketing should be about, adding in the concept of social media engagement. If you’re not giving yourself a chance to talk to your audience then why not just stick to email campaigns? Do you really think anyone is reading your posts on Twitter or Google Plus or Facebook if they know that you’re never reading any of their stuff, or that you’ll never respond to a comment they make back to you in those spaces?

Of course, this is my opinion. I ask you now, do you agree with any of what I’ve said, do you have your own thought on it? Let me know; I’d love to hear it.

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Is Social Media Giving You Everything You Need

My wife and I always seem to have the same discussion about me and one of my particular eating habits. She says that I don’t always have a filter for portion control. When I’m hungry or thirsty, my mind doesn’t quite see that maybe “this much” is all I need to get rid of either of those things. At least not all the time.

um, chocolate milk!

Thus, sometimes my mind will say “I can eat that entire pizza” when logically I know I can’t. It’ll say “you need to heat up 20 chicken nuggets” when I know I can only eat 13. And yet, every once in awhile I hear her words jumping into my mind saying “that’s going to be too much, restrain yourself, which explains this picture of chocolate milk that I made in a 32oz cup, bypassing the 48oz cup I initially grabbed; yeah, that would have come close to taking the entire carton of milk. lol

I know what you’re wondering; what’s that got to do with the topic above. The thing about social media is that most of us can define it based on what we think it is and what we think it should do for us. Most of us believe it’s supposed to be everything we want it to be, no matter what the limitations or realities might be.

I’ll own up to it; I’m one of those people. I have my own idea of what social media is supposed to be, and I want it to be that thing, and yet it’s not that thing. Let me explain.

I enjoy much of social media, but I find it lacking. I love Twitter, which you’ve heard me mention before. I’ve enjoyed Facebook, and I keep trying to make Google+ work for me the way I want it to work. LinkedIn, well, I can’t say I’ve ever gotten any business from my participation there, even though that’s what it’s supposed to help us with, connecting with those people who may be able to use our services.

What is it I want from social media? Truthfully, when all is said and done I want more engagement, and I want it more immediately. As an experiment, last night I decided to try an experiment. I announced around 8:30 that I was going to hold a Google Hangout at 9PM and that anyone who wanted to come was welcome, as I could take the first 8 people who asked to participate. I posted it on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

I wasn’t expecting much, and for the first 10 minutes that’s exactly what I got. No one came; not even a hint. So I decided to invite some people, and invited 8 of them. Two people popped in surprisingly, and two others acknowledged it on G+ but neither could come. The two who showed up were Michael Belk and Beverly Mahone. Shocking to me was that both of them showed up via their smartphones, both then tried to get on through their laptops and failed, and Michael came back to the phone, while I never could get Bev back on. I thank both of them, and Michael and I had a good conversation for awhile after he got back on.

I know some people would say that I should have put that message out way in advance but I had to try an experiment first. Here’s my take on it all. If there are a billion people on Facebook, 500 million on Google Plus, and 300 million or so on Twitter, and all of these sites have people on them 24/7, and 9PM Eastern time is only 6PM out west, I should be able to post something 30 minutes before its time and have some people show up. Of course, I don’t have that many people following me so let’s look at it this way. If I have almost 700 people following me on both Google Plus and Facebook and another 3,000+ on Twitter, that’s almost 4,500 people, and if that’s the case I should still be able to get at least 3 or 4 to show up, wouldn’t you think?

Yum… lol

That’s what I thought. As Michael and I were talking, he said that the problem with social media is that it’s not really social. On Google Plus most people seem to be interested more in promoting themselves than in talking to anyone. For the most part the same is true of Twitter. On Facebook, people love playing games and sharing images, and you might be able to get a conversation going that takes place over a number of hours, but for anything immediate you have to use that chat function, and most of us don’t like that.

Isn’t that thought provoking? Social media not really being social? Goodness, for most people it’s not even a great way to market, no matter what we try, and when I think about it, most of the people on Twitter are marketing more than communicating, and I have to share in that one, although I only post my links twice a day at most. I try engaging people when I share some of their links & quotes and occasionally talk to people, but not all that often, and that’s my favorite platform.

Is social media giving me everything I need? Not even close. But what about you? Are you getting everything you could possibly want out of it? I’m not talking marketing wise now, so don’t answer that question. And I’m not talking blogging either, since I consider that part of social media, though more indirectly. How do you view what you get out of social media now? Is it enough, or is there something else you wish you were getting?

Oh yeah; that other picture is of… well, you know what it’s a picture of. I ate all of that as well, in one day but not in one sitting. My wife is right; sometimes I just want too much. 🙂

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Is Google Plus Actually Better Than Facebook?

I know, you’re probably asking yourself if someone else has already written a post comparing Google Plus to Facebook. I haven’t read any of them, but I wondered myself. So I went to Google, of course, and put in “Google Plus versus Facebook” and I came up with 30,200 results; ouch!

Since I see 50 links on page one I did a quick scan to see what I might be up against. Turns out that out of the top 50, 39 of those articles were written in 2011, and of those remaining articles only 3 have been written after September 1st. That makes me feel pretty good in thinking that my post will be fairly original, even if it ends up covering some themes others have touched upon.

Besides, this really isn’t a “versus” post as much as a comparison of the two at this point. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve written a bunch of posts lately about Facebook, but it turns out the last post I wrote about Google Plus was back in June; wow. Thus, it’s time to bring them back into the discussion and ask if maybe they’re better than Facebook.

The first question brings the wimpiest answer; what’s the criteria for determining which is best. The answer is “it depends on what you’re looking to do.” Isn’t that a horrible response? And yet, it’s the most accurate response.

Are you looking for the best one to use for business?

This is now a tougher one to respond to than in the past. With Edgerank, you’re going to have to work harder to get people to see your content on your business pages. Not only that, but your initial reach is limited to the people who have decided to “like” your page. Sure, if they like something you write it might show up in their stream, but once again that Edgerank will limit how many people actually get to see it. So those billions of people on Facebook… they ain’t seeing nothing!

What about Google Plus? Turns out you have a better opportunity to have your stuff seen by more people there than on Facebook, even if you don’t have as many people following you. There’s a setting called “public”, which I talked about in that link above, which means that if you haven’t set your privacy settings so that only people in your circles can see what you share then it’s possible for anyone to see your post. And if anyone likes your stuff, not only will it show up in some of the circles those people have, but it highlights your posts in Google’s search for those who are signed in and have any kind of connection to you or the person who +1’d your post. Whoa, talk about reach!

Are you looking to use it for personal stuff?

This one is and isn’t so easy to respond to. Facebook is presently killing it when it comes to personal use. Grandparents are signing up in droves (the fastest growing user is between 55 and 62) because they can check in on what’s happening with the family, see pictures, and connect with old friends, especially high school friends and acquaintances. It’s also easier to sign up on Facebook. And the games… tons of games to keep people entertained all day long.

Google Plus has over 100 million users, and yet it’s not the place where families have decided to sign up just yet. I don’t have a single family member using Google Plus, whereas I’m connected to at least 20 of them on Facebook. They now have some games, and you can store images on there via Picasa, but overall it’s limited in images. You can’t even say circles is a strong motivator anymore since Facebook created Lists, where a person can group all their family members and thus keep up with each other.

Having said that, I find Google Plus is a better place to share news items than Facebook, though still not as convenient as Twitter is. There are some things that I don’t necessarily want to share with friends and family only, who are more apt to see what I post than anyone else, and I don’t have that issue on Google Plus. I don’t have a place on Facebook where I’d feel comfortable posting even a link to this blog post but on Google Plus, it would go over really well and possibly find new audiences that want to comment on it. The strange thing about Google Plus is that I have 3 times more people who’ve got me in a circle than I’ve included, which is what it’s like on Twitter for me, but it doesn’t quite work that way on Facebook as easily. Just because someone’s connected with me on Facebook doesn’t mean they’ll ever see a thing, whether I’m connected back with them or they’re just following me (Stalking me? Can’t remember the real term lol).

So, is Google Plus better than Facebook? You’ll have to decide that one for yourself based on what you’re looking to do. In my opinion, I’m thinking it’s time to look at Google Plus a bit more than I have to date and possibly give it a bit more of my business time. That would be the best way to evaluate things for sure.

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Google Authorship – Pretty Cool!

Last week on our Hot Blog Tips newsletter, Brian Hawkins talked a little bit about the new Google Authorship program and how, with a Google Plus account, you can how have your image show up next to your content in Google search, along with some other cool stuff. I wanted to show you what some of it look like and just how cool it really is.

First, check out the image below:

That’s what comes up on Google when someone is lucky enough (lol) to put in a search term that brings up my blog, in this case my business blog. You notice how it not only brought up the post along with my image, but it brought up more links from my site highlighting the same post in different ways. It also brought up some of the other posts that I linked to, but I didn’t want the image to go on and on. Truthfully, this is really cool, and to make sure it wasn’t a fluke because I was signed in on my Firefox browser I pulled up the same search terms on 3 other browsers on my computer and the same thing came up, with my picture, in the same order. Trust me, that’s pretty cool.

There’s the thing though. Because I have to many different blogs I wondered if it would pull up my picture for those blogs as well under my name. Below is one of the topics for this blog:

I posted the same link on Google Plus some days later and this comes up:

I’m not mad at that. But there’s one more thing that I thought was pretty cool. By having that Google Plus account, it also accessed my YouTube channel and pulled this up for one of my more recent videos:

I don’t know about you but I’m uber impressed and think this is the coolest thing. Two of my other blogs have images as well, and only my local blog won’t show the images. Why?

The only way G+ will do this is if you’ve verified the email addresses associated with those blogs. I have all the email addresses on my G+ profile except that one because I didn’t create a separate email address for it, using my personal email address that I subscribe to newsletters and the like instead. I don’t want that one out into the public so it only comes up if I have to write someone from that blog, which to date I never have. But I can live with that.

In our never ending quest to be better known, I have to say this works great for me, and the thing is that if someone just put in my name and a topic I might be associated with, it works out as well, as the example below shows what came up when I typed Mitch Mitchell Leadership, no quotation marks:

It listed a bunch more articles as well because, well, I have written lots of articles on leadership on my business blog.

Anyway, I wanted to share that with you in case you want to think about doing it for yourself. By the way, if you’re wondering why Google looks like this for me, check out an old blog post I wrote about Stylish.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell