Posted by Mitch Mitchell 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.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 30, 2011
Last year I wrote a post titled What Message Are You Trying To Project where I talked about things people do in public to try to get you to do something they want you to do and how those actions can be perceived in a negative light even if your intention is otherwise. It seems that I’m compelled to write on this subject again, this time concerning something I saw online. I’m not going to link to it because, well, you’ll see as I go on.
I came upon a post that someone shared on Twitter. The guy who wrote the post was complaining because Google Plus had removed the image he’d put up of himself. Their issue was that he had his middle finger sticking out in front of him and considered it objectionable based on the standards they’ve created for the site. His gripe was that he felt their standards were petty, that he had freedom of speech, and while he was at it he stated how much he hated that G+ forces people to use their real names.
I’d say it was an interesting rant, but for a different reason. What I can’t figure out is why someone would want to go to a site like G+ and put up an image of themselves that immediately projects themselves in a negative light. In my opinion, the picture makes the guy look like a jerk. The image I saw made me think this was a guy I’d never want to meet or talk to, and if he had a business of any sort I’d never even think about working with him or asking him to provide any services for me.
Of course my perception is probably incorrect but that’s not the point. The point is that my first impression of the guy is that he’s a jerk. You know the old saw that you only get one chance to make a first impression? And this guy happens to be fairly connected; he runs a venture capitalist company and writes for TechCrunch as well. This isn’t a dumb guy by any means.
How many times have I written about the topic of influence and consequences on this blog? I take those things seriously. If I decide to be controversial, I do so in a certain way because I know how I want to be perceived, even if I don’t always care if someone agrees with me at those moments. Being perceived as a radical or as a complainer because of a rant, I don’t mind. Deliberately putting up an image that’s antagonistic before anyone’s had an opportunity to know more about me… nope, not me.
Still, maybe the old ways aren’t always the best (no, I’m not really believing that in this instance) so maybe I’m not seeing it as someone else might in today’s world. What say you on something like this?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 16, 2011
For me, another experiment has ended; I’ve given up Klout. I haven’t gone the route that many have and totally deleted my account, but I’ve done pretty much everything else. Now let’s see what happens.
Klout, as you know, is a ranking system that supposedly tells people how influential you are online. I’ve written about it a few times and have to say that I haven’t always been a big fan; actually I never was a true fan of the site. I felt that its rankings were pretty arbitrary and somewhat hard to figure out.
It expected activity, yet it penalized certain types of activity. It expected you to engage with others and yet it would penalize you if you engaged with people whom it had ranked lower than you. And if you stepped away for even a few days, your ranking would fall; I mean, what the heck is that?
Anyway, I talked about this concept of influence versus wasting time and I mentioned them in that post. Subsequently I read two posts by other people on the idea of killing your Klout account. The first was by a guy named Rohn Jay Miller, who was pretty adamant about deleting your Klout account. I thought it was a bit extreme and harsh, though I understood his point. The one that pretty much convinced me was an article by a lady named Sharon Hayes titled 10 Reasons Why I Opted-Out of Klout. Of course I had problems commenting on both blogs because of their comment systems, which is why I wrote this post instead.
As I said, I’ve decided to check out, but I didn’t delete my account, mainly because both of these articles gave ways to do it but I never saw the links they talked about. Instead, I did it my way. I stopped allowing them access to my Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook accounts. Since they don’t do blogs I didn’t have to bother with that. Now they can’t track me “effectively” anymore; I’m not playing the game. I guess my name will still be on the site but without getting any help from me, their score will be even more capricious than before. If it drops 20 points in a day or rises 20 points in a day, I could care less. I’m giving up Klout for “clout“.
I also got rid of the Firefox plugin I was using that tracked Klout scores. I added it when I wrote my post on 21 Black Social Media Influencers, as I needed a tool to help me create this list and my second list. What will I use now? No clue; I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it.
I’ve shed another heavy cloak that’s been holding me down just a little bit; I wonder what’s next?
Update – If you look at the comments, you’ll see that Vernessa figured out how I could kill my account, so I did; now I’m totally out of it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 1, 2011
Anyone who’s been checking out this blog for at least a year knows that I talk about the concept of influence on a fairly regular basis. I’m one of those people that believes that not only will influence allow you to have a voice in what goes on around you, but it offers you the best possibility for future financial success. You probably find influential people a happier lot as well, though I know someone’s going to pull out “I know so-and-so who’s not very happy”. Doesn’t apply to everyone but I’m betting it applies to the majority.
As this post goes live I’ll be at a live event that I briefly mentioned in this post hoping to increase my influence locally by hopefully giving a presentation that will at least put my name into the light. It’s a long and hard road to get yourself known by more than just a few people, isn’t it?
The same goes for being online. It’s really hard judging how influential you are online. Sure, there are lots of ranking services, but none of them seem to agree just how well you’re doing. One of the problems with being a social media consultant is having clients and potential clients wanting you to tell them all the things they can or should be doing to become more prominent online. I’ll say this; no matter what it is one hopes to do, it all takes time. And some of that time, in my opinion, is wasted time. What do I mean? Let’s take a look at some of these major time wasters.
I’ve talked about Klout a few times now. It’s supposedly one of the top online ranking systems to tell people just how influential you are “across the board.” I put it in quotation marks because it doesn’t look at a lot of things. One, it doesn’t look at blogs or websites at all. Two, it doesn’t follow your comments, even on sites that it checks on such as LinkedIn and Facebook. And three, if you’re engaging in conversation but with only one or two people on Twitter at a time, it doesn’t give you any bonus points for that. It pretty much follows two things; how much you’re participating in the couple of things it’s following and how much others are passing your stuff along if you happen to put stuff out there.
And no one really knows how it works; I’m not sure they do. Back in the summer when I had my post on 21 Black Social Media Influencers, my Klout ranking soared. Now, they’ve made a change and my score has dropped drastically. Not that it wasn’t slowly coming down anyway because who could keep up with the amount of activity needed to keep a Klout score high? How much time would I have to consistently waste on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, doing specific things, to get my score up? And I hear there are employers that are judging people based on this; ugh.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about Empire Avenue. At that time my score kept going up, but truthfully I had no real idea what it was all about; I still don’t. Turns out that the only real way of keeping your score up is to promote your site and have people buying “stock” in you. Sure, you earn your fake income by acts you do, but that doesn’t influence what your stock price is.
I mention Empire Avenue because in my previous post I wondered how it helps with social media, or even if it was supposed to help. On that front I’d have to say it has helped some. My Facebook business page has had a lot of folks from Empire Avenue sign up, and a few people have visited this blog and left comments; that’s pretty neat. So it hasn’t been a total waste of time, but for the amount of time one would have to put into promoting yourself, which in essence is promoting the site, I could write 3 blog posts for each blog I own.
Then there’s Technorati, Delicious (is it still going by that name?), StumbleUpon, etc… all those intermediary sites that people seem to love but I seem not to love. Like many other people, when I first started trying to get more recognition for my blogs I tried social bookmarking. And once again I found myself spending lots of time trying to get good rankings on these sites, only to learn that it not only takes a lot of time but you never know what any of those rankings mean anyway.
For instance, I just took a look at my Technorati account. This blog has an authority of 450; my business blog and finance blog have an authority of 101. I’ve never listed my other two blogs and won’t. Traffic has drastically gone up on my finance blog, but the way Technorati works, people have to “name” your blog, or at least a post, for you to get recognition. You can add a link on your own, but it still only works if others decide to tag along.
The same goes for all those other sites. I hate when I click on a link on Twitter and it takes me to StumbleUpon or any of those other sites, with those big clunky toolbars. And it’s people posting their own links; why not post the link to your blog instead of one of these other sites? Isn’t that a major waste of time? Someone please school me on this one because I’m missing it.
There are so many other ways of spreading your influence online that don’t take a lot of time wasting. And of course one can spread their influence without worrying about these rankings all that much. We all get so caught up in the numbers; I know I can from time to time. But you know what? This past Saturday I took a day and basically sat in front of the TV watching DVDs. I had my laptop, but I rarely checked it. And it felt good; the chase was over for at least one day.
If you’re going to waste time, waste it in making yourself feel better. If you want influence, don’t restrict it. Find ways that fit into your schedule that don’t become overwhelming. Get out there and have fun with it, while getting things done. This is one of those dreams/goals I’m shooting for as I retool what I hope to do in 2012.
I’m Mitch Mitchell and I approved this ad.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 22, 2011
Yes, once again I’m talking about this topic of influence. It’s been an interesting last month or so and it just seems like it’s time to talk about it again because, believe it or not, it’s not all about me.
Of course having said that I’m still going to start with something that is about me, that being an interview I did with someone who comments here often, Carl, on his blog Webmaster’s Blog. It was a long interview and a lot of fun, and I hope y’all check it out and give him some love. Just so you know, it seems you have to have a Facebook account to leave a comment. I don’t normally go this route but in this instance, since I was the guy it was about, I made an exception. However, I’m still waiting for someone to tell me how or where it shows up on Facebook.
I’ve spoken about how I wanted to spread my influence more because I equate more influence with more opportunities for a great income, as well as the ability to potentially have a say in what goes on. Well, one doesn’t go places on their own. To whit, I’ve conducted some interviews on some of my blogs in the last couple of months that I think deserve way more attention than they’ve received. I’ve also put out a lot of offers to people here and there for interview spots on some of my blogs because, as I said, it’s not only about me. I think it’s a good thing when you can bring someone who deserves it to the attention of others.
I’ve also tried to go out of my way in the last month to retweet and talk to a lot of people I’ve never communicated with before. These are people in my Twitter stream, people who for the most part haven’t really reached out to me, but I don’t blame them because I hadn’t really reached out as much either. The best thing about using the cellphone for Twitter is that I can use it anywhere, and it’s relatively easy to go way back and zip through a bunch of messages.
In the movie The Secret they talked about this concept of giving to bring positive things in your life, and how giving when you may not have all that you want is sometimes the best giving of all. Just last night I went to the store and while there in line grabbed a ticket off the counter to donate $2 to feed children. I do that often, thinking that for a lousy two bucks I can help to feed someone or allow someone to have a place to say for one night. It’s a small thing but a big thing, and for the first time ever, the checkout clerk thanked me for my donation. I thought that was pretty special, and I thanked her for saying it.
So, just for a recap, I’d love to reissue some links that I’d love you to check out that highlight others on this blog and other blogs; hey, it’s a great way to start a Monday: