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The Case Against DM’s On Twitter As A First Contact

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 11, 2016
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Timing is everything. Last week I was thinking about writing this particular article and trying to figure out how I wanted to start it. Then, out of nowhere, the opportunity came and literally slapped me in the face. I said I was going to write about it at the end of our conversation; this is that article (folks, realize that with writers, every encounter is a potential story lol).

Humping Mr. Richmond To Day, Terry
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As I’ve mentioned often, whenever someone connects with me on Twitter I check out their feed to see what they’re all about. I’ll admit that I’m probably a bit more discriminating than a lot of people. There’s a lot of things that will keep me from connecting with someone because I decided I don’t want to see certain things in my stream; so sue me.

Last year when I decided I was going to increase the number of people I’m connected to on Twitter I opened my vision just a bit more, looking for people who were into things I was interested in and overlooking a few more things. Thus, I’ve added a lot more people than I was connected to last year. That number would be a lot higher if it wasn’t for DM’s.

A lot of people I connected to would have something automatically coming back to me via DM. It might have been within minutes, or it might have been within a few hours. You could tell which was which, but I didn’t like either of them, which prompted me to eventually write a post asking people not to Auto DM me on Twitter and saying that if it happened I would immediately unfollow them.

I’ve stuck with that for the most part. A couple of times I’ve asked someone who did that why they did it, and I’ve never gotten a legitimate response other than “I thought you’d be interested…” Sorry folks, but that’s not enough. Twitter’s supposed to be about engagement, like most of social media (although it doesn’t quite happen that way most of the time), and as the top engagement platform on the internet I’m of the opinion that people should talk to each other in the open first, or at least make the DM (direct message) a real post, without a link or a sales pitch to be… gasp… social!

Then a couple of days ago someone else sent me a link as a first contact. It was slightly different than the standard DM sales pitch, but I wasn’t clicking on it. Folks, this is 2016, and if you’re still clicking on links from people you don’t know you’re taking a mighty big risk. Since everything I do depends on my computer, I don’t take those kinds of risks.

Relationship Status Update
Joe Lazarus via Compfight

I wrote the guy back saying I didn’t know him and that I didn’t click on links from people I’d never talked to previously. Then I followed through with my normal pattern, which was unfollowing him, and thought I was moving on with life.

Only he decided to write back. Twitter now allows that from people you’re not connected with, although I didn’t expect it. Suddenly we were in a conversation about it. He said I was sending a negative vibe in my approach to the subject. I said my Twitter profile asked people not to send me auto DM’s; he said his wasn’t, and that he thought I’d be interested in what he was sharing. I asked him why he couldn’t send me that same message in the open, or at least write to ask me first if he could send me a link and he said:

I don’t have time to worry about people’s sensitivities…

After that, there really wasn’t all that much to say. I did say, especially since he decided to add that if I was that worried that I should change my profile to private. I said that I’d been on Twitter almost 8 years and that people who really cared to reach out to me usually greeted me first or asked if they could send me a link, and that someone on the same day had actually done that and I answered in the affirmative.

His response to that was he would take what I’d said to him as something he’d think about as a learning experience and that he hoped we could both end the conversation having learned something. I said all was good and that it gave me something to write about… which is this. lol

The first thing I did after that conversation was to go to my profile and change the wording to say “Don’t DM as a first connection; talk to me first.”

The second was to think about this article I was already going to write, how I was going to incorporate the above into it, and how I was going to address my gripes with DM’s on Twitter as a first contact. By the way I’m not alone on this thought. Marji Sherman wrote a post titled Kill the Auto-DM. Please, and thank you. Melissa Culberson actually . A company called Sales Blend write about Auto DM’s in 2014. Goodness; there are thousands of articles telling people they shouldn’t do it.

Twitter: Update!
Emily Chang via Compfight

I decided it was time to think more about the subject… why did I hate these things so much? Is it just the automation? Is it the impersonal nature of the overwhelming majority of them? Is it the perception of laziness, the uncaring of my time, the push to sell? Am I really worth even thinking about in the eyes of these folks, and should that bother me?

Bother me… since I can’t identify what others are thinking, I can only look at myself and figure out what I’m thinking. I thought about it and I figured it out… the same reason I want more gun control… the same reason I want more oversight of police… the same reason I stay far away from people who seem overly religious…

I don’t trust them. Yes, that’s it; few of the people who are vociferous about these things have earned my trust. Not that they have to so they can live their lives… I’m all for people being able to do what they want to do if it makes them feel good. But when it intrudes into my life, such that I have to deal with it… yes, my trust must be earned.

How do people earn trust? What makes me different in the trust area? For that matter, am I really different?

Let me start with this, for those who haven’t been reading my blogs for years now. I have three major convictions that are the standard I live my life by. In this order they are: loyalty, trustworthiness and honesty.

If I allow someone to be a true friend of mine it means they’ve passed all 3 of these tests. I learn that over time and it’s tested by my being this to them as often as possible. I’m of the opinion that we teach people how to treat us by treating people how we want to be treated; morality is strong for me, which surprises some people because I don’t have any faith to back me up on it. All I have are my ethics; they’ve gotten me this far in life.

If I look at the process of a DM from someone I haven’t really even met yet, what I see is someone who seems to be showing me that they can’t be trusted with my friendship. Heck, they didn’t even try; they just sent me a message, many times with a link, trying to tell me they’re sharing an ebook or a blog post or a course… sometimes free, sometimes not… but does it really matter?

Maybe it’s my age… maybe it’s my background… maybe it’s my race. I’m not really sure, but I’m not that trusting of people after 56 years. People get burned on a lot of things I don’t because I’m not so trusting. When I get burned I’m very hard on myself for allowing it to happen, even if it’s a rare event; I owned up in this blog’s first post of this year how hard I am on myself.

What I see are a lot of people who don’t really care about engaging with anyone, and that includes me, with those DMs. A few try to tell you they care, and maybe that’s their way of showing it, but it doesn’t fit my sensibilities.

A couple of years ago Kim Garst wrote a post about DM’s where she said she felt there was a place for them, but instead of selling people should actually write in their own words (write like they talk), ask a question to try to encourage engagement, and then actually engage with those who respond, creating a relationship before anything else potentially occurs. Of course, she’s still sending these things out via automation (at least she was at the time she wrote that post), going against the advice of the venerable Gary V in the process; now there’s chutzpah! lol

I had to think about this one for a few moments… then decided I didn’t like that either, especially because she added in her post that thing about not having enough time in the day to do it the other way. Then again, she has 437 thousand followers and is following 285 thousand, whereas I have 4,337 followers and I’m following 1,255; could I actually talk to that many people without automation?

Shirt made by @iAlbert
Amanda Gravel via Compfight

By the way, it turns out there’s also systems that automate messages to people in the open… but since people like me can block them (I block all messages from TweetJukebox, and a few others), but one can’t do that with DMs, I suppose it’s one reason not to even try sending automated messages in the open. Still, if you really care…

Enough of that. I’ve laid out the issue, given the major reason why I dislike it, and now, if you’re still with me, I’m going to lay out my belief on how a true personal connection should be made on the way to helping to gain someone’s trust:

1. If you’re going to follow someone who isn’t following you, try sharing something they’ve posted and include them in on it (like adding “via @name” or something like that. BTW, actually look at it first, just in case…

2. If they connect with you, send them a quick message either saying hello or telling them you liked what you shared. If there’s room tell them why.

3. Whether or not they follow up with you, if you still want to make a connection send them a quick message asking if you can share something with them and ask if you can send it via DM or if they’d like it in the open.

Are those steps really difficult? Are they really all that time consuming? Actually, they might be for someone like Kim with all those followers, but I guess the follow up question would be if she looks at what has to be thousands of DM’s coming her way with links and such, or if she’s ignoring them. Remember my alluding to the “do unto others” thing (teach people how to treat you)?

That’s all I’ve got, so now it’s your turn. Am I really all that far off base or do you understand and agree with me? Am I a product of my age (fearing Commies), my background (military kid; always lived behind fences with guys with M-16’s guarding the gate) or my race (a guy in a documentary was once asked why he kept his blinds closed all the time and he said “Because I’m black”, and I understood what he meant)? Let’s find out!

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Promoting Ourselves On Social Media – Take Two, Twitter

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 19, 2015
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Two weeks ago on my business blog I wrote a post saying that I don’t fully give everything away when I’m writing my blog posts. I give away a lot of information, that’s for sure. What I don’t give away is a lot of implementation techniques. I also give advice that’s at a surface level; after all, every person and situation is different, so I can only give global information. For more specific help, I have to be contacted; that’s what a consultant does after all.

Emerging Media - Twitter Bird
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In last week’s post talking about how we all need to promote ourselves on social media, I mentioned that I would be giving a more detailed account of some of the things I’ve been doing lately that seem to be helping me get over the hump as far as being better known. In this post, I’m going to be giving a lot of detailed information away, as opposed to what I mentioned above. You might ask me why; don’t bother because I’m about to tell you.

I’m not going to lie to you. Doing what I’ve been doing is going to take a lot of work and a lot of time. If you’re efficient, it won’t take as much time, but it’s still going to take a significant bit of your time in general. Also, you can’t do all of it at once, although some of it you can.

I’m going to cover Twitter today, part of which I’ve mentioned before as it pertains to Twitter and Tweetdeck, but I’m going further now than I was. At a later date, probably next week, I’m going to cover LinkedIn and Facebook and how they relate to some of my blogs; how’s that for a full cross promotion?

The one place I’ve been deficient is Google Plus, so I’m not going to talk about it in this article. Heck, even I can’t do it all. Maybe another time; we’ll see.

Let’s get started with Twitter. I’m not going to repeat what I wrote in that previous article about it, so if you want more details, the cost to you is going to be a little bit of effort in going back and reading it; while you’re there, think about commenting on it as well. :-) I will start off by saying that I’m still using that process; I’ve just expanded it a lot.

Back then I had a list of 20 posts from this blog and 20 posts from my business blog. At this juncture, I’ve expanded that a lot… I mean a lot! lol In my Word file I’m up to 9 pages of links that include articles from those two blogs, my other blogs, and interviews I’ve conducted that are on my YouTube page. I only go back as far as the blogs will accept comments; that means this blog only goes back 1,000 days, but the business blog will accept comments going back 5 years. That’s to limit spammers, who love putting things on older posts (suckers lol).

But wait; there’s more (a homage to products bought on late night TV) lol. I have a second file that’s about 8 pages long of quotes from the early years of my business blog (which I’ve been writing for 10 years) that are geared towards topics I cover there that will help me reach an audience I’m looking to touch base with. Many of them have hashtags related to the topic, some don’t, but overall they’re another important asset I use.

Twitter addict at Web 2.0 Expo 2009 - 001
Steve Rhodes via Compfight

If you’ve read the other article, you understand the need for the blog posts so let me explain the quotes. A lot of people love inspirational quotes. If you go to Twitter you see them all over the place. However, a lot of people not only are automating the process, but they’re all posting quotes by other people, famous people whether you know them or not. Almost no one is posting their own original quotes, and I think they’re missing out on a major opportunity. Not that I don’t also share some of those things (I’ll be coming back to this), but I also share a healthy dose of me; turns out I’m pretty quotable when I look back. :-)

The first thing I do is decide the starting time for my daily posts. I start them a different time every day of the week… well, Monday and Thursday start at the same time, as do the posts on Saturday and Sunday, but otherwise I diversify the time. Trust me, the only people who are going to notice it are those who read this post; go ahead, share it and I’ll bet a lot of people still won’t notice it.

The reason Monday and Thursday started at the same time came about because I was writing two posts a week for this blog; since I’m not doing that anymore I could have changed the time up, but I’m leaving it alone for now because it makes programming everything else mentally easier to do. Tweetdeck is my platform of choice, but I’m assuming you can do the same on whatever you’re using.

This part is manual but it needs to be. If I write a new post, it’s the one that gets posted first every morning. Those are scheduled to automatically go out when published, since I write them ahead of time so I can plug them into their slot. There are 5 days and I have 5 blogs, so each blog has its day. If I don’t write a new post for any particular blog I pop something else in there.

I schedule blog posts initially with two hour periods of separation. The reason I do that is because every new post gets shared the first week at least 5 times (if I like it); sometimes more often. Well, almost every post; the one I wrote on September 11th this year was shared 3 times on that date and hasn’t been shared again. It was for a specific date and reason; those posts and sales posts follow a different standard.

The reason I space posts out 2 hours apart is because it gives me the opportunity to plug these posts into those other slots, since I’m usually scheduling everything 2 weeks in advance. Since this blog starts on Monday, it’ll get posted 5 more times during the week, including later on Monday night. If I really like it, I’ll pop it into a slot during the weekend also, and possibly a couple of times the next week. Otherwise, I don’t have an extended schedule for the new posts; I just plug them in when I feel like it.

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I use a manual process is because Twitter won’t accept the same post more than once in a 24-hour period if it’s identically written. I also don’t put hashtags on the original posting of it; it would make my titles look messy. So, it gives me the opportunity to add the hashtag later on and either move it around if I need to or just make sure the posts are scheduled further apart than 24 hours. For instance, after I’ve written this post, I’ll be able to go ahead & paste it 5 other times into Tweetdeck for the week and be done with it, since I’ve already scheduled the other blog posts for the next two weeks; whew!

By having a file of older posts with the hashtags already in place, it makes the process of putting them in Tweetdeck move pretty fast. Popping those links in takes me between 30 – 45 minutes. The only slowdown is if I select a day where I want to revisit some of the newer posts, which I don’t have on the file because some of those I want to highlight more than what I have in my file. The file always goes in order based on which blog I’m sharing. The two most voluminous come from this blog and my business blog; that would figure since they have the most posts.

Now, you could just do that and stop there… but I don’t. I mentioned my quotes file previously. Now it’s time to schedule some of my quotes into Tweetdeck. I’ve also added some of my favorite quotes from other famous people and, well, characters from entertainment I like. Most of those quotes are those others aren’t using all that often so, in a way, I’m keeping up with my originality goal while giving some people names they might recognize like Dumbledore, Captain Picard and Yoda; y’all know them right? :-)

These quotes I only schedule 4 times a day except for Mondays. I space them out 4 hours apart, but I also schedule them 30 minutes after a blog post. Let’s use Thursday as an example. The first post will go out at 9:45 and the first quote will go out at 10:15. Then there will be a quote at 2:15, 6:15 and 10:15. I never post anything during the times I know I’ll be trying to sleep, but since I stay up late, often I’ll post something live if I’m on Twitter at that time. I schedule those out two weeks in advance as well.

That might take me anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes because every once in a while, for some of my shorter quotes, I’ll go through my archives and add an image to the quote. If you have at least 22 characters left, you can add an image. If you have enough characters left and you want to add a topic specific hashtag, do it. That’s how you’ll best reach the audience you’re gearing something to.

Whew, that’s a lot of work isn’t it? Sorry kids but we’re not done; not even close! This is where many people mess up, but I’m not going to let you do it. If I did, then I’d be contributing to the noise I see on Twitter and I’d hate myself. Remember, even if it’s supposed to be about you, it’s not ALL supposed to be about you.

Next, it’s time to go through my Twitter lists to see what’s going on and what people are sharing. I have 4 specific lists: Friends of Mine; People I Want To Follow; Syracuse Folks; #Leadership.

The first is a listing of my online friends whose posts I want to share on Twitter more often than others. I don’t share everything, and, so you know, if I’m sharing a link I always go and look at the post to see if I think it’s fine before I share it; my reputations on the line after all. I always start there, and it’s not an overly large list of folks.

What are you doing?
fave :) via Compfight

The second is the most transient list I have. There are a few people who will always be on that list, but it’s the list I use to alternate people in and out of that, for the most part, I’m connected to on Twitter. Sometimes there’s something I’m not connected to that’s not local that I’ll put in there for a while, just to see what type of thing they’re posting. If I like it, they stay; if not, I remove them and put someone else in. The one permanent person in that list that I’m not connected to is Neil deGrasse Tyson. If you don’t know who he is… why not?!?!? Go look him up; I consider him the smartest and most eclectic person in the world today. However, this is the 3rd list I look at.

The second list I look at is third in the line, that being my local Syracuse peeps. This includes friends of mine who may have moved out of the area but I met them here. It’s a bigger list than the other two, but they don’t post a lot of stuff for the most part, and usually by 11PM they’ve stopped posting for the night; wusses. lol

The last of my created lists is my #Leadership list. Every post that’s on Twitter that uses that hashtag shows up here. This gives me a rotating list of people, most of whom I don’t know, who are posting things I like to see. If I like it, I’ll share it.

The last list I look at is that all encompassing list of everyone I’m connected to. At this juncture that’s about 1,150 people; whew! And yet, it’s not as daunting as you might think it is; I’ll tell you why based on the next step.

I do a couple of things with these lists. First, I open up a Notepad document. For the first 3 lists I mentioned I go back over a 24-hour period and look at everything that’s in those lists. Since they’re not voluminous, it doesn’t take as long as you might think. For the leadership and home columns (the column where everyone I’m connected to is called Home; not sure if I called it that or not lol). I only go back 30 minutes. Trust me, there’s so much content that 30 minutes is plenty to look through for both of them.

Tweetdeck allows me to use the mouse to copy whatever’s in the box for those people and paste it into Notepad. I mentioned earlier that if there’s a link to a post I open it up and look at it. The secondary reason for doing that is some folks paste without having the links shrink, and copying doesn’t retrieve the entire link. So, if I like it and want to share it, I have to copy the link from the browser and replace the truncated link that showed up in Notepad. I accumulate all links I want to share this way.

The second thing I do is just go ahead and share some of those links while I’m looking at them. I do this for a lot of the local links so those folks will see that I’ve shared them during the night; it seems to make them happy when they wake up. lol If I share them once, I don’t share them again. By copying and pasting later I get to control what they look like, but if I share them immediately they’re formatted differently. Thus, if they’re retweets and I want to give those folks credit, I have to type in their Twitter handles if it’s live, but if I copy it then I get their Twitter handles on the file.

How I schedule these depends on how many I get. This is the one area where I might have to revisit the columns at least one more time during the week. I’ll post at least one of these once an hour, and at an “off-time”. Every post of mine is scripted based on either ending in “0” or “5”. The others can be at any time of the day, at long as I’m awake, but the caveat is that there has to be at least 10 minutes of separation, more if I can get it. This regulation doesn’t apply to anything I’m sharing while live, but if scheduled I stick to this rule. Because of the live sharing, I end up somewhere close to a 50-50 split; that’s pretty fair.

Picture 86
Are you tired yet?

If during a period where I’m scanning the columns I end up with a lot to share, then I schedule way out. If not, I’ll revisit that again during the week, possibly a couple of times, and plug them in. Because I know what my general posting schedule every other day, I can actually post some of these in before it’s time to post my blog articles if need be.

Yet, I’m still not done; what else is there?

Because of the time I’ve spaced out, it allows for new content I might create independent of the blog posts. For instance, if I’ve posted an article on LinkedIn, I schedule that. If I create a new video, that gets scheduled. I advertise my products, mainly my two books at least 3 times a week for each of them. I pop my Facebook business page link in there every once in a while. I also pop in articles for two other sites I write for, my accountant and my consultant’s group. I don’t write weekly for them, so they’re easier to plug in later on. Finally, if I get ambitious and have more than one post on a blog in a week, I’ll still have lots of space left to pop those links in.

All of this sounds like it takes up a lot of time doesn’t it? Well… it does and it doesn’t. Usually I can knock it off within a couple of hours in one shot or I can break it up over a couple of days on a weekend. Because I schedule two weeks in advance, it gives me the free time I need during the weeks to do other stuff like writing blog posts, marketing my business, creating other stuff, etc. Frankly, by planning I save tons of time while getting my name out there… and it’s all free! :-)

One last thing; what, you thought it was over? Well, this part isn’t anything you can plan in advance, yet it needs to be part of what you do. You have to interact with people who interact with you. So, anytime someone shares any of my stuff, I thank them. If they make a comment I comment back, sometimes engaging in longer conversations. After all, Twitter really is about engagement, and when other people see that you’ll talk to them they’ll be more willing to talk to you. If they’ll talk to you, they’ll follow you… most of the time anyway. :-) By the way, this is my favorite part of using Twitter, and why it’s my favorite social media platform.

I know the question you’re asking me now, and I’m ready to answer it; what’s my ROI, or return on investment?

I haven’t made much money yet; we’ll get that out of the way. I have sold a couple of my books by doing this, especially my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, because some folks get intrigued by all the stuff I’m posting, go take a look, and decide to give it a shot. Now if I can only get more than one person to admit that they’ve read the whole thing I’ll be even happier. lol

However, I get a lot of people sharing both my articles and my quotes. I’ve increased traffic on my sites, though not dramatically. I’ve had a lot more people follow me there and I’ve had a few people who’ve connected with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and have gone to see some of my videos. I’ve also had a lot of people adding me to their lists, which is pretty cool as it means they’ll at least see my stuff moreso than if I was just in the general population there.

That’s about as comprehensive as it gets. Yes, it’s work intensive, but it can be a major benefit if you’re ready to do the work. That part is up to you; however, if you actually read all of this I’m going to ask you to retweet it for me so it’s not just me doing it. After all, I didn’t write this particularly epic post to read it on my own. :-)

If you think I’ve left anything out, or you have any questions, please feel free to comment. Now I’m tired so I’m going to bed. lol

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Scheduling Posts On Twitter Via Tweetdeck; My Process

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 29, 2015
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In the beginning of March I wrote a post titled Promoting Yourself In Social Media; My Personal Study. In that post I talked about how I was doing a lot of things to try to get myself noticed more. That’s because I knew I needed more traffic, and I wanted more people to recognize me as someone who might know something about blogging, social media, etc.

Follow us on Twitter - Open Atrium
Creative Commons License Todd Barnard via Compfight

In that post I mentioned how things had been progressing for me, and a lot of it had to do with Twitter. At that time I mentioned that my traffic had gone up 15%. Right now I can tell you that, in a comparison of the period I compared to after my initial test that my traffic has gone up 100%; that means it’s doubled. Twitter is now my 4th largest referrer overall but my #1 referrer from social media; that’s pretty cool right?

Now, to be fair, that same progress hasn’t happened with my business blog, where traffic has actually come down, even though I’ve had lots of people adding me to lists on Twitter. However, for my business website, traffic had gone up 200%, or 3 times the level it had been before. A lot of that might have been due to the marketing I’ve been doing for my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, which has the package available only 2 more days; after that I’m only selling the book on its own (gotta get that last plug in lol). Twitter is my #2 referrer; there you go!

Anyway, in that previous post I talked about scheduling posts but didn’t say how I was doing it or where I was getting my stuff from. I decided to talk about the process I go through and why I do it this way.

Obviously, I’ve already mentioned Tweetdeck in the title. There are lots of clients out there that people use to connect with Twitter. I was originally using Tweetdeck before Twitter bought it & changed it up. I fought using it for a while but realized that, overall, it still fit my needs best. More about that later.

The next thing I did for both this blog and my business blog was start with 15 to 20 posts that I thought highlighted myself best on the topics I initially wanted to be known for. For this blog it was blogging and social media; for my business blog it was leadership. I went through all of 2014 for these posts, but for my business blog I had to dip back into 2013 to find enough posts to get started, since, while I was on the road, sometimes I only wrote one post every couple of weeks on there.

The easiest way to capture the information you need after you select your articles to share is to use the social share buttons on your post (you’re using them right?) for Twitter and copy it into something like Notepad.

You’re doing this for two reasons. The first is that it’ll give you the title and the link, though you might have to remove your “via ‘yourname'” if you have it on there so you’re not tweeting yourself. The second is because you’re going to want to add hashtags to it. Add the hashtags before you move to the next step; a hint is to add the tag, and then add a space after it. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Hashtags are a big deal when you’re trying to show yourself as an authority on a certain thing. It seems that not only do a lot of people specifically look for certain hashtags, but many of them have lists they’ve created so they can follow their favorite people on those topics. For this blog, most of the hashtags are either #blogging or #socialmedia (remember, never add spaces on a hashtag). For my business blog most of the hashtags are #leadership or #motivation.

You’re doing all of this up front so you don’t have to type it all out again, and it’ll be the beginning of your database. Yes, I said the beginning, as you’re just starting.

Bird 2
Eva the Weaver via Compfight

Next, I go into Tweetdeck. Before I go that far I want to mention that I notice a lot of people using a plugin called Tweet Old Post. In my opinion, either people are using it wrong or they don’t have the ability to set up the posts they want the way they want. Using my way, you have a lot more control over everything. Also, it’s possible you can do what I’m doing on other platforms; this is just the one I use.

What you do is go into Tweetdeck and act like I’m about to write an original tweet. Then I go to my file, highlight one post, copy it and paste it into the message window. The reason I put a space after the hashtag is because if it’s a common hashtag it’ll come up as being highlighted in the message window and you’ll have to go the extra step of having to push the spacebar. It might not seem like much but if you’re going to be doing it often, like me, eliminating a keystroke makes sense.

After pasting that in there you’ll want to go to “Schedule Tweet”. The reason we’re doing it this way is because you’re going to postdate all your sweets; in essence, you’re creating a schedule so that posts are going out all day, or multiple days, when you may or may not be around. You get to pick the date and the time, and it must be in the future. Once you’ve picked the date, if you’re going to do multiple posts for that date you don’t have to select it again until you’re going into a new day.

Here’s something I don’t do all that often with the posts but you can do it if you prefer. As long as what you put into the message window leaves you at least 22 characters, you can add an image, which is just above the Schedule Tweet bar. The reason I don’t do it with most posts is because the first image I’m using in the post is a Flickr Creative Commons image, and I don’t feel comfortable using someone else’s image. If the first image is something I own, then I may use it.

I space my articles out over a hour, and I base it on Eastern time. Every day I start at a slightly different time, anywhere between 9:30 and 9:55, in 5-minute increments. I usually go until between 11 PM and 11:25 at night. Every once in a while I’ll post something later in the evening/early morning, since I tend to stay up late.

My purpose for doing it this way is twofold. One, I get to select what I consider is the best of my articles. Two, Twitter is one of those places where you need to promote yourself more than once and often enough without being too much. It’s estimated that for the majority of people who are actually using Twitter a lot, a tweet might have impact for maybe 20 minutes… after that, it’s like it never existed with your audience.

This is how I started, but I haven’t stopped there. At this juncture my blog posts file is 15 pages, and I’ve moved it to Word. I’ve done that because I can highlight what post I want to start with the next day, or whenever I start the process again. You can’t do that in Notepad. Also, I can segregate the post between blogs easier in Word. I started with only the two blogs but I’ve added posts from some of my other blogs.

I also go back at least 4 years, but not further. Once again, I’ve done this for two reasons. The first is that some people don’t like reading old posts, even if the content is evergreen, so going back only 4 years pushes the boundary without overdoing it. The second is that I shut off comments at 4 years to help protect against spam, since a lot of it goes after older posts.


One final thing with the blog posts. You’ll want to mix your latest posts in with the marketing of all your other posts. The reason I start between 9:30 and 9:55 is that I set up my newest posts to go out between that time. I usually have new posts on Mondays and Thursdays for this blog and Tuesdays and Fridays for my business blog.

I want those to be my first posts of the day from my blogs. I will also schedule those posts again later in the day but with a hashtag, since Twitter won’t allow you to post the same exact thing in the same exact way more than once every 24 hours.

What this does for me is make it seem like I’m always around, which in a weird way I am. If I get comments on the links or someone retweets it, I get alerts on my smartphone and can check in if need be. I think that’s a big part of what’s helping, acknowledging people who share.

Earlier, I mentioned advertising my new book. What I did with that was create multiple marketing messages to share in a file, along with the link. I have 11 links, although they will be changing on Wednesday once I’ve finished marketing the package deal and it’s only the book. What I did initially was pop a link in every 2 hours in the half hour between the blog posts. In the other half hour I post motivational messages that I obtained from my business blog. Now I post the links in 4 hour increments, although for Tuesday I’ll probably post the links hourly since it’ll be the last time I use them in the format they’re in now. Those posts have been shared a lot, and since it’s always the same link I’m sure that’s helped my site gain a bit more traction.

There you go; that’s my process. Like I said, I’m not sure why Twitter isn’t driving as much traffic to my business blog as it is to my website, but I’ll figure it out one of these days. If you have any questions on all of this, or just want to share your opinion, go ahead and leave a comment. And above all, share! :-)

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Why I Hate Auto DM’s And First Contact DM’s

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 22, 2015
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This wasn’t going to be the post I had for today. I decided to push the one I was going to write back to Thursday and put this one out because, frankly, I’m irked and it’s about time I wrote about this topic, which of course is about DM’s, or direct messages, on Twitter.

Air Drop of Humanitarian Aid Delivery to Port au Prince, Haiti
Creative Commons License Beverly & Pack
via Compfight

Not that I expect anyone to listen to what I have to say on this subject. After all, no one’s listening to a true expert in social media, Marji J. Sherman, who actually wrote a full post titled Kill the Auto-DM. Please, and thank you. She said nothing but great stuff in that post. This is my take on it, and I hope not to intentionally steal anything she said, though we agree on a lot of it.

Here’s the dope. I was gone for an overnight trip to my mother’s this weekend. I didn’t take my laptop with me, so all I had access to on my phone and Nook were actual messages and nothing else. I don’t know why Tweetcaster, which I use, doesn’t tell me when I have new followers, but it doesn’t.

So, when I got home and got on my computer, I had around 12 or 13 people who had decided to follow me while I was gone. I have to admit that’s a high number of folks connecting with me in such a short period of time, but 3 of them were… well, a big dodgy for one reason or another. Two others were basically only retweeting other people; nothing new, and not talking to anyone. You know I don’t like that.

Thus, I connected with 8 of them. Out of those 8, 2 sent me Auto DM’s and one person sent me a DM after maybe half an hour. That irked me to no end. Why?

First, because on my Twitter profile, I specifically ask people not to Auto DM me, and I say I’ll unfollow; I did. To me, if you’re not checking people’s profiles and then seeing what type of thing they’re posting then you don’t really care about them, only your own numbers. I don’t have time for that.

Second, overwhelmingly most people connect with me first on Twitter, which makes me think that possibly they’re interested in what I’m sharing and might want to talk to me. Yet, when those folks send me DM’s, almost all of them are sending me links to their blog, their product, or some other such nonsense.

Sorry, but where did I indicate that I wanted my Twitter account to be like I opted into your product or newsletter? Why didn’t you ask me in the open if I might want that information? Actually, I know that one; because you didn’t want to be embarrassed by anyone who might be looking at our communication watching me probably turning down your offer.

Let’s face it; you’ve never tried just talking to me and you’re already marketing to me? Either way, I’m turning you down, but in the open I’m probably not unfollowing you immediately like I am with the DM; I’m nice like that.

Faisal Photography via Compfight

You know, I’m pretty nice on social media. If I visit a blog that one of my online friends recommended and I liked what I read, whether or not I comment I’m probably going to share it on Twitter. After that, if you want to connect with me I’ll possibly be pleased… unless you DM me. Once again, that shows you didn’t care enough about me to look at my profile or what I might share with others; I’m dropping you and probably never sharing your stuff again.

Why does this bother me so much? Because overall Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I actually have periods where I’m talking to someone live, whether it’s local or somewhere across the world, and that’s pretty neat. The initial idea behind social media is to be social… what a concept!

You can’t do that with Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn. Maybe there’s some chatting app where you can do something similar but it’s not going to be me using it. Twitter’s my dog; that’s where I’m heading.

The Auto DM’s and first contact DM’s… impersonal to a fault. I get it though, because there are so many articles written telling people that we love receiving free stuff and that marketing should be a 24/7 thing. Maybe… but give me the opportunity to seek you out first okay?

This isn’t a B2B (business to business) thing; this is a B2C (business to consumer) thing, only it’s not because you haven’t vetted me, you haven’t tried to learn anything about me, and even if I respond to your DM immediately we both know you’re not there and I’m not going to hear from you for hours. Thus, you’ve just wasted my time.

A few days ago I contacted someone I’ve been connected to on Twitter for a couple of years now. We haven’t talked often, probably not at all in over a year. But I wrote something and thought it might be something her particular audience might like.

I sent her the message in the open, not in a DM, and I asked if I could send her the article link either in the open or via a DM. No, I didn’t hear from her, but in my mind that’s how that type of conversation should go since I don’t know her well, especially in this day where Twitter now allows people to send DM’s to folks they don’t know (ugh!). If she never responds, I haven’t lost anything.

That’s my Monday rant; stop the DM’s like that folks. Course, you’re not going to listen to me, but obviously it’s not stopping me from asking you to… just like Marji.

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It Only Took 7 Years To Follow 1,000 People On Twitter

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 16, 2015
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Okay, it’s not even quite 7 years yet but it’s pretty close.

I joined Twitter in May of 2008, not having any idea what to do with it or even whether I wanted to do anything with it. I was kind of reluctant at first… now I’ve come to love it.

Tim Dennell via Compfight

Why do I love Twitter so much? I’ve talked about it often on this blog but I love the idea of engagement. I’ve talked to a lot of people on Twitter from all over the world. I’ve talked to some famous people also, most of whom followed me first. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about good people and bad people and see some folks crash and burn. I’ve seen news break on Twitter before the media got it. I’ve seen so much…

Why do I hate Twitter? Because there’s a lot of hatred and mean things that a lot of people say. Luckily, one can block those folks. There’s also a lot of noise, aka blather, which means lots of people selling stuff constantly; you can block those folks also, especially the bots.

I have over 3,800 people following me. At the time I’m writing this I’m actually following 999 people; I expect that when this drops I’ll probably finally be at 1,000, since I’d never hit even 999 before. Milestones aplenty this year. :-)

What’s changed? Well, to get there we have to look back at why I’ve been so perspicacious with the people I’ve been following.

Engagement; remember I mentioned that earlier? For all these years, after the first six months or so, I decided I had to have criteria for the types of people I was going to follow. I’m big on criteria; gotta have rules so I’m not just adding people I could care less about and who I know could care less about me.

The criteria for people I wouldn’t follow? Here we go:

* listing your religion in your profile
* listing your politics in your profile
* listing stuff I had no interest in on your profile
* posting nothing but pictures
* posting nothing but sales links
* not having an avatar
* never talking to anyone

That’s it; those 7 things have governed the people I’d follow on Twitter… although I’d modify from time to time.

For instance, I’d follow some local people who might have violated some of the criteria because I knew them. Also, if I’d talked to someone elsewhere I might go ahead and connect with them on Twitter, even if something irked me.

Twitter Stream
Dan Slee via Compfight

The criteria has served me well. I’ve been able to talk to all sorts of people, have fewer people to follow, and pretty much move on with a pretty good Twitter life. Also, I never had to worry about Twitter wondering if I was only following people who followed me and dinging me for it; I didn’t even know that was a thing until I saw people complaining about it, including a couple of friends of mine.

For the most part I’d kept the number of people I was following under 900; I took pride in that in fact. Even at that number, I could keep up with anyone I wanted to see, and sometimes everyone. Pays to be a speed reader, and also that not everyone posts at all the times I was looking at the entire stream.

What’s happened to change things?

My post on March 2nd talked about my new social media strategy to help increase my online influence and get more people to know who I was. It’s been working wonders; way better than I could have imagined.

What’s happened is that on both LinkedIn and Twitter I’ve had a lot more people wanting to connect with me. As it pertains to Twitter there were suddenly some fairly well connected people who were noticing me and wanting to connect with me.

That was pretty cool. I had a couple of problems though, based on my criteria.

One was the religion thing. It’s never really occurred to me how many people feel the need to put their religion in their profile; trust me, it’s a lot. I had to figure out if that was criteria enough to stay totally away from people.

The second one had a lot to do with figuring out the first. The second criteria was engagement. I had to ask myself if my criteria of engagement was too strict. I mean, it wasn’t that people had to talk to me, it’s that I wanted to see people at least talking to someone. Then, as I started getting more attention, people sharing more of my stuff, people adding me to lists… I wondered if that could count as engagement.

Also, a lot of folks whose pages I was looking at had some pretty cool things they were sharing. Frankly, I found myself interested in a lot of it. And, as part of my new strategy, I wasn’t only sharing my own stuff but stuff of others, and I found that there was a lot of content I could be sharing with others that I was interested in. And, while going through the pages, I looked to see if any of the people who listed their religion mentioned it too much for my comfort.

IFA 81
Blogging Dagger via Compfight

Some did and I didn’t follow those folks. Others were fine; I could handle it here and there.

I decided it was time to open myself up a bit more and started following more people. A fully thing happens with that; more people start following you that are following some of those other folks. Yeah, I knew that happened already but it wasn’t something I dealt with in a long time.

Still, I did what I could to keep it down, kind of my own challenge. I checked to see who wasn’t following me that I was following and dropped those folks. Turns out it’s almost no one; just one person actually, and he’s my favorite Syracuse University player ever so he stays. lol

Then I started dropping people who hadn’t been on Twitter for a while. That worked some but it turns out I’ve been good at following people who still participate on Twitter over all these years, even if I don’t always see them; wow!

So… I had to talk to myself, smack myself across the face, stuff some cookies into my mouth (okay, that I enjoyed) and decide that this arbitrary number of less than 1,000 had to come to an end. If I’m going to expand, I have to be willing to expand everything (except my waistline; I’m still working on bringing that down).

There you are; the tale is complete. I’m breaking down the bonds. Some of my criteria remains steadfast. Some of it is now modified. Time to connect with some of the bigger names on Twitter who connect with me first. I mean, I’m not a snob! :-)

What do you think of this? Do you have a Twitter strategy? Let me know; comment!

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