Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 16, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.