Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 29, 2015
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.
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.
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!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 22, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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?