Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 24, 2015
There are a lot of great relationships that can be made via social media. I have met people from all over the world who I can talk to at any time and have great conversations with. It’s always possible that I could potentially do work with some of them, and I have hired people from other countries here and there to handle some of the small things with either a website or blog that I wasn’t in the mood to do or didn’t have the time for.
As with anything in this world, there’s a whole lot of mean people also. Sometimes, the mean people are actually pretty nice most of the time, and then suddenly out of nowhere they look like they’ve just lost their minds for one reason or another.
Unfortunately, you don’t always know what will trigger someone into being mean. Over the years, I’ve had people show their mean streak on things I’ve posted that should have had nothing to do with them. Other times they internalize something you’re written as though you’re talking personally about them. If you saw them every day and wrote something that might make sense. But I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve written commentary about parenting without knowing that they might be parents.
You know what? Sometimes the truth hurts, yet we all need to be ready to deal with the truth. A few weeks ago I posted something on Facebook that looked like a case of racism that occurred in Arizona. One person, who didn’t live in Arizona and had no reason to comment at all, decided it was racist of me to post such a thing without knowing all the details. The argument made no sense whatsoever because I hadn’t made any commentary on it, though I certainly could have, and whatever her trigger was prompted her to need to comment on it; no idea why.
Then there’s a guy I’m connected with on Facebook who’s kind of a passionate person. Every once in a while he gets something in his head that just consumes him and he starts writing in caps to make his point. That’s known as flaming in the online world, and it’s frowned upon almost everywhere you go. I finally asked him why he did that because it made him look like he’d lost control, wouldn’t ever make me see things his way because of the delivery, and that he needed to learn how to calm down because almost nothing in this world is that serious.
Why am I mentioning all of this? I always advocate that almost every business should have an online presence. I say that social media can bring both joy and business. I also have stated that one needs to be careful in how they say certain things if they decide to be controversial; if you dish it out you have to be ready to take it.
Yet, sometimes you can put up something relatively innocuous that gets negative attention by someone, even if it’s something positive. When that happens you have some choices to make, and some of those choices are better or worse than others.
You can decide you don’t want to be on social media anymore and go away; that’s never good.
You can decide to fight every single person who disagrees with a position of yours. Sometimes you have to do it, but other times you can ignore those people.
You can decide to make sure you never say anything to upset someone. The problems with that are one, you never know what will trigger someone, and two, if you go out of your way too much your online presence is going to be boring; no one will want to read anything you have to say.
You can decide to call this person out, bash them on your blog and throughout social media, post copies of everything you can find on them and try to ruin their lives. You might succeed but you’ll also fail because people will know if you can do that to one person you can do it to anyone, including them.
You can act like it never happened and continue doing what you’ve been doing. Sometimes this is the way to go, but as I said above, you might have to take some kind of stand or even think about deleting comments and such, and then deal with that as an issue.
Overall, there’s only one right answer, and it ties in to all of the above. You always should take some time to think about your response before making it. I’ll admit I’m not always good with this, but I’m good at least 95% of the time.
You shouldn’t make too fast of a decision unless you were prepared for someone to dislike what you had to say, but you also shouldn’t wait too long to respond. Whether you know it or not people are watching; if it can affect business in any way making the best choice possible needs thought behind it.
Are you scared? Don’t be. Sure, bad things can happen, but for the most part if your goals are pure, you’ll be just fine.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 9, 2015
In May 2013 there was an incident online that culminated in a fairly well known online personality losing her gig as a spokesperson, two other people losing their jobs, and a fairly well known conference losing its luster. In the long run everyone was tainted, everyone was to blame, and it ends up giving us some lessons to learn about just how powerful social media can be. And, for once, it involved someone I know, so I hope I present this as fairly as possible.
Here’s the general overview. Two guys were at a conference sitting in the audience and saying some things to each other that weren’t quite proper in public. The person in front of them heard it, didn’t appreciate it, turned around and called them on it. They apologized for it and maybe all should have been over then and there.
But it wasn’t. The person in front, who happens to be the person I know, turned around and took a picture of the two guys and uploaded it to Twitter, with a brief report. That’s when things got out of hand.
The two guys were representing a company that was advertising at the conference. Once they were recognized they were fired.
The person who took the picture was representing someone as a personality who was sponsoring the event. Many people felt she went overboard with the picture, especially since the two guys had apologized, and that made the sponsor genuflect and relieve her. And since a lot of what she did involved some of the talent of the conference, the trickle down meant having to now scramble for someone else to handle what she’d been doing, someone not as well known and not as skilled.
Would you say that everything that could go wrong went wrong? Who’s at fault here? Is this cut and dry, or is it pretty complicated?
It is and isn’t complicated. Let’s run down a few things here.
1. In this day and age, people tend to believe they can say whatever they want to say whenever they want to say it. The loss of decorum is problematic, but that’s a separate issue.
2. The real issue is that almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera, and they could have been recorded being stupid as well as having their picture taken. If you’re in public, even if you’re not well known, you can’t afford to be saying overtly stupid things. We never found out if it was sexist or racist, but if this person I know reacted that badly to it, it had to be one of those, as she’s a black female.
3. Based on what was said, did she go too far, not far enough, or not in the proper manner? It’s hard to say. As I get older I let more of that type of thing roll off my shoulders, though I’d have said something, but when I was younger I’d have gone for the jugular, knowing I was right whether I was or not.
4. Still, being in her position, she had to know that something was going to happen, at least to the two people. What she didn’t count on was the reaction of other people to what she’d done. Do apologies overcome all bad behavior? Not even close. Is there a time and place for everything? Absolutely.
5. The thing is that even being known by people at that event, she wasn’t on the level of a TV or movie celebrity where everyone would have immediately sided with her. Even so, do you think if it had been someone like Selina Gomez that she’d have been treated much differently?
6. The company that fired her; did they over react or do the right thing? They were not being tainted by bad publicity but did they stop to consider her feelings? Should they have? Did they consider the consequences of how it could affect the conference? Did it matter?
At this point there are no more answers to be found. The two guys were fired and their 15 minutes are over. The person I know has gone into a self imposed exile for awhile. The buzz has died down so the sponsor is probably going to be fine, and the conference will probably survive for another year but it’s been diminished a bit because even though there were some people who felt what the person I know did was wrong, there were a lot of people who said they’d have done the same thing.
The major lesson is that if you’re representing someone, even just yourself, in a public space for business purposes, your decorum has to be higher than normal. Even if you’re in the right, you could end up on the wrong side of things in the long run. Think about this cautionary tale; what are you willing to risk your reputation for?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 18, 2014
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 13, 2014
Twitter is my favorite social media platform after blogging. Believe it or not, I actually try to talk to every one of the 3,000 plus people following me every once in a while, though not as many talk back. I also just passed 1,000 people I’m following for the first time since I joined Twitter in 2008; that’s pretty amazing. And with just over 87,000 tweets, I like to think I know a thing or two about Twitter.
However, there are people who don’t quite get the nuances of Twitter. There are a lot of people following way more people than I am and have a lot more people following them. But are they effective? Are the communicating or just putting out a lot of noise? Some are, some aren’t, and some are just irritating. Let’s look at 5 mistakes people make on Twitter… in my opinion of course…
1. They either only post links or chatter all day long.
If someone keeps up a diatribe all day long of what they’re doing or just posts links, it often means they’re not trying to communicate with anyone. Unless you’re someone I need to follow because you’re giving me exactly what I need to succeed (which means almost no one), I’m not following anyone that selfish, and not too many other people will either.
If they do, you can bet they’re either bots or people who aren’t reading what’s being put out, and are only in it for the numbers. Do the numbers really mean anything is no one is actually reading?
2. They never respond when someone writes them directly.
Twitter sends you a notification whenever someone writes you directly. If you don’t respond it means you’re not paying attention, or you’ve possibly turned it off, in which case you’re showing you don’t care. Someone like me will unfollow you pretty quickly if I notice it; then again, someone like me checks to see if you ever talk to anyone before I even think about following you.
3. You never put out anything original.
Many people find that they can get a lot of followers by retweeting the content of others. Retweeting basically means sharing what someone else has already posted with the people that follow them. It’s not a bad strategy unless you never put out anything original, which means someone you write, or ever offer an opinion about anything you share. That often means what you’re doing is automated, and even though some people appreciate it no matter what, others know they’re missing the chance to engage you personally.
I’ll grant you that sometimes a tweet is so long that there’s little room left to add a comment. As much as I can I’ll not only alter comments so I can add something, but I also try to do what I can to include the Twitter handle of the person I’m seeing the tweet from, especially if they’re retweeting something. Don’t ever be afraid to manipulate something to make it fit, other than the link, as long as you try to keep the basic message intact.
4. When you do engage people, or share your thoughts, your language is that of someone who doesn’t know any better.
I hate cussing; have never uttered a single word. I’ve gotten used to seeing it here and there online, but some people use bad language as a badge of honor. It’s not, and it makes you look ignorant, even if a few people laugh.
If you’re on Twitter for any business purposes you’ll want to restrict that kind of language. Remember, everything you say on Twitter stays on the internet forever, and now is being recorded by the Library of Congress; how’s that for forever? Remember, people and businesses have lost clients for less.
5. You haven’t set up your bio properly.
When you set up a Twitter account you get to create a very short bio. If you’re there for even a little bit of business you need to remember to put a link to your website or blog, and not a shortened or hidden link because that looks suspicious. Some people don’t put a bio at all; that won’t do.
Some people try to get cute; if it’s for personal use then by all means have fun, but for business tell people what you do, even though you don’t have a lot of characters to get too deep into it. On my Twitter bio I have a link to one of my blogs as well as my main business site. Also, put up a picture or an avatar of some kind; no one likes to follow the little egg they give you when you sign up.
Are you failing in any of these areas? Got anything you’d like to add? By the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter look at that big blue bird on the left and click on it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 14, 2013
The last 7 days have been illuminating to me. In the second half of last year we kept hearing about all these changes that were coming to Twitter. It’s always been and, kind of even now, is still my favorite social media platform. So I figured that things could change but none of those things were going to change me, or change on me if you prefer. Man, was I wrong.
The first thing I ended up having to change was TweetDeck. I’ve extolled the virtues of TweetDeck for years and thought it was the easiest and most customizable platform for accessing Twitter. At some point near the end of the year it started going a little wonky; yes, that’s my technical term. It would hang up here and there on both my main computer and my laptop.
Turns out Twitter, which had bought the company last year, had decided they were going to change the entire platform around. They had started trying to move everyone to a browser version but then decided to allow a standalone version as well. I had heard nothing but bad things about it so I figured I would just continue running the old program; what could they do?
Turns out they could actually just stop it by changing how Twitter worked. I decided I didn’t want to wait until the last minute so I downloaded the new program to the laptop first to test it. It’s not so bad; not as easy to use overall as the original program, and you can’t change colors or do some of the things you could do before but it’s doable. Why they took away the ability to hit Enter & have your message go is puzzling but they’ve set up some shortcuts you can use to get it done. It’s taking some getting used to after almost a week but I’ll get there.
The next surprise was something else I talked about here called Friend or Follow. This allowed you to run a process on their website to see who you might be following that was no longer following you. That way, you could decide if you still wanted to follow those people. It’s still around but now you have to become a member, and it says some other things have changed as well. It actually might be good but right now I’m not in the mood to have to sign up for anything new. I’m probably going to have to get over that one of these days because everything’s changing isn’t it?
Then last night the final straw came when I tried to access something else I’ve talked about over the years, Twit Cleaner. What this process did was go through everyone you were following on Twitter and rate them and how they performed on the site. In other words, were they even participating, were they just sending out links all day long, were they using certain platforms to send everything out, were they blathering all day, etc. Then you could select which people you didn’t want to follow anymore and over the course of an hour or so, depending on how many people you were following, it would remove those folks; plain and simple.
Alas, I guess this last Twitter change was too much for the creator, especially since he wasn’t making any money off the thing, thus he decided to shut the entire thing down instead of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out all the changes and recode the entire thing. And he stated that he’d had to do it previously; wow. You never know the dedication that someone else puts into something you get for free sometimes, and most of us don’t know the behind the scenes stuff for much of what we use. In leaving though, he left us with these words, which are prophetic:
Never play football when someone else owns the field.
So obvious in hindsight.
Think about that one for a minute because it’s deep, deeper than you might imagine. Remember the question I asked last week on is social media giving you everything you need? It’s been an almost unanimous “no”, yet when you think about it, none of it belongs to us. We didn’t create it, we don’t own it, and we don’t pay for it, and even if we did pay for it nothing says we’d still get everything we wanted because, as with everything else, unless we can code it we never quite get everything we want from anything; that’s deep also.
Sigh… I’m lamenting all these changes to Twitter and yet I have to acknowledge that other social media platforms are changing as well.
If you’re on Google Plus you’ve noticed that the image you can use has increased in size, to the point where your image can be as big as what we’ve always called “the fold” for websites.
YouTube is changing as well, going to something called OneChannel, where not only will your background look different but you can put up a much larger profile image there as well (Google owns both, as you know).
The final thing is that Facebook is also changing things again, first to the one column format and soon, since I’ve heard a few folks already have it, its interface will look like, at least to me, what Google Plus’ interface looks like, with much bigger images showing in your space and fewer “business/fan” page insights showing up unless you’ve proven you want them; sigh again… As speculated on Hot Blog Tips Facebook could be moving towards a paid model for business/fan pages even moreso than they’re pushing now. If that actually does happen I’ll abandon my page fully; it’s not something I often think about doing for anything but I will.
As Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are ‘a changin’“.