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You’re Not A Social Media Expert If On Twitter You…

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010

One day last week I felt it was time to trim the number of people I’d hooked up to follow on Twitter again. So I opened up the link to Twit Cleaner, ran the sucker, and stopped following nearly 100 people.

by Dalbera

I don’t say that to be smug; I lead with that to get to this. Out of those 100 people, probably half of them indicated they were some type of social media expert. I like to use the term “specialist”, but I may have to revamp my thinking on that word one day. But I digress…

The issue at hand is that the people I decided to stop following had, in my view, in some way violated the concept of what I feel social media is all about. What were the sins? Let me point them out:

1. Not posting on Twitter. To me, it’s okay if people don’t want to use Twitter. However, if someone says they’re a social media expert, they need to be doing more than just having a Twitter account. What possible advice could they give to a client if they’re not using one of the most popular social media outlets in the world? By the way, this also goes for not having made a post in months, whether you used to be active or not.

2. Not being social on Twitter. One of my biggest gripes with some people on Twitter is that they never talk to anyone. Thanking someone for retweeting your post is not a conversation; neither is just saying “thanks” (that part also goes for responding to comments on blogs). Something Twit Cleaner does is asks if you want to see how your account is seen via its tools. I decided to check, and it said I was fine and perfect; well, I don’t remember the actual words. However, Twitter really was set up to be a communication device, for people to talk to each other. Sure, we can’t do it 24/7, but if you’re claiming to be a social media expert, you have to show that you indeed know how to talk to people.

3. Talking to yourself. Goodness, there is a lot of this! It basically takes 3 forms. One, the person keeps posting links or quotes, whether it’s links to their sites or the sites of others; two, the person keeps writing about everything going on in their day, only pausing minutes here and there for a breather; three, consistently marketing, talking about themselves… all 3 of these never including talking to a single person at all.

4. Not having a true link back to their website. This one I usually forgive early on if I’m following someone, but after awhile I won’t let it go. If you’re some kind of expert, which means you’re doing this for a living in some fashion, you need to have a website or blog or something you link back to showing some of what you do. If you’re linking to your Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook account instead, well, I’m the kind of guy who’s going to be suspicious of that.

5. Doing the “Follow Friday” (FF) thing all the time, whether it’s Friday or not, and only doing that, posting all those names without every doing anything else. True, appealing to someone’s vanity is never a bad thing, but if they see it all the time without any substance it starts falling on deaf ears; y’all don’t have anything on Eddie Haskell!

It’s true, there are no officially written rules for Twitter. But it’s obvious that there are things that help people stay engaged in some fashion. I still follow more than 1,000 people, and I have a lot more people who follow me. Everyone knows that if they actually write me about something I’d said I will respond to them. I don’t always respond to the people who just retweet me, especially if they do it often, but if it’s a new name, or someone I don’t see often, I will thank those people. I also don’t always respond to those “FF” things if it’s listing a bunch of names all at once.

Of course these are just my opinions, which means someone else might have a different thought on this one than me. If so, lay it on me; after all, I’m not calling myself a social media expert… yet. 😉

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Jessica Sieghart:

I’m one of a rare breed…I freely admit that I am not a social media expert! haha! I used to like Twitter. I don’t know if I started following too many people or what exactly happened, but I find it exhausting now. I really don’t like reading quotes. Sometimes, they’re ok, but I already know what Mother Teresa and Einstein thought. I’d much rather know what these people themselves think. I also tend to lean towards personal exchanges on Twitter. I just like that so much better than news links which I can read on my own elsewhere. I think that’s the reason I prefer FB to Twitter. It’s so much more personal.

November 22nd, 2010 | 10:03 AM

Jessica, all social media isn’t for everyone, but there are people who could possibly ruin it for others. I check the folks I’m following on Twitter on a regular basis to see if they’re “behaving” and make my decisions accordingly. I don’t mind the occasional quote and other stuff as long as the person is also engaging here and there.

November 22nd, 2010 | 10:11 AM

Hi Mitch

This post is so on topic for me. I spent the other day unfollowing about the number you quoted; maybe slightly more and I did it all manually! I knew there were people who automatically had me follow them (without my permission) and why should I? Reckon they were bots or people obsessed with having thousands of followers regardless.

I have deliberately taken my time following people. I want to interact and have some sort of conversation. I love Twitter and if used correctly can be a great tool. I have found some great posts there to read and been introduced to new sites through friends RT the posts.

I don’t expect cos I follow someone that they follow me although they usually do. The blogs I visit regularly are added as I realise these are quality blogs and I want to know when they are posting more material for me to read and go comment about.

Patricia Perth Australia

November 22nd, 2010 | 10:26 AM

Great stuff, Pat. You’ve definitely figured things out, even if you claim you’re still learning. I need to “learn so slowly”. lol

November 22nd, 2010 | 10:53 AM

Damn straight, Mitch! So, how long until you do call yourself a social media expert? I have been on twitter for at least 1 year, but never figured out how to use it to really work for my advantage. As of the last few weeks, I have taken a new approach, and am looking forward to a lot of twitter conversation, connections, and traffic back to my site. OOOps did I say that last one out loud? I will be sure not to just “talk to myself” all day! HA!

November 22nd, 2010 | 11:33 AM

Susan, there’s no real time frame for expertise in any field. I know people who’ve done something for 20 years and have no idea what they’re talking about, and I know people who invested 3 months into something and have learned everything there is to know about whatever it is they researched. It’s not always what one knows as much as what one shows they know. But “experts” have to show something. And you obviously won’t be talking to yourself all day; we talked. lol

November 22nd, 2010 | 1:43 PM

I know I claim ignorance on a lot of things, and I was saying I’d never get into blogging as recently as seven months ago, so I won’t repeat what I’ve said about Twitter. You obviously think it’s important and a useful tool, and many of your readers do, as well. That’s good enough for me, and I’d like to look into it again. Any suggestions about where to start? I’m sure there’s a “Twitter for Dummies” out there, but those books don’t seem to help me anymore (I must have fallen below the Dummy level).

Happy Thanksgiving, Mitch!

November 22nd, 2010 | 2:07 PM

Charles, you must have missed this post:

November 22nd, 2010 | 3:25 PM

Usually of I type in a quote it has to be an original, ie something I just made up that I hope people will find interesting.

I have to admit I’m not that much of a conversationalist though. I do tweet links that lead to interesting posts and I feel this is a great way to show others a little about yourself and how you think.

I do jump in on conversations if I have something to add though. Usually I only dump those who have dumped me. Obviously they only followed me in the first place in the hope I would follow them.

November 22nd, 2010 | 5:55 PM

Sire, you don’t claim to be either a social media expert or an expert on Twitter. Those that do need to show that they have some competence with the format at least.

November 22nd, 2010 | 6:54 PM

Actually Mitch I’ve always found it best never to claim to be an expert on anything. That way I never put my foot in my mouth and there may even be an occasion or two when I surprise people with my Aussie brilliance 😉

November 23rd, 2010 | 1:08 AM

That’s the safe way of doing things, Sire. Course, I don’t always want to do things the safe way. lol

November 23rd, 2010 | 9:33 AM

I had actually stopped using Twitter shortly after it got popular, then started tweeting again a while back…

I just get so sick of knowing people’s every move…

I had one woman on Facebook that would leave 5-10 quotes in a row on my wall- aaaaahhhhhhh………….

November 22nd, 2010 | 10:50 PM

I saw people like this, Carolee, and I dropped them rather than dropped Twitter. I’m glad I did.

November 23rd, 2010 | 12:56 AM

I’m just dipping my toes in the Twitter pool. I’ve had an account for each of my businesses for a while, but have no clue what they’re supposed to be for. I don’t even know the language and syntax yet. I’m looking for a “Twitter For Idjuts” guide to help with that.

One thing I just don’t understand is this: if you’re following 1,237,864 people, don’t the tweets just go screaming down the page so fast you’d never see any of them anyway? It amazes me how many people some folks follow.

I have yet to experience a “conversation” with anyone on Twitter, but I’m sure it will be covered in the Idjuts’s Guide.

November 23rd, 2010 | 5:40 AM

Allan, you need to look at the link I gave to Charles in an earlier comment; just for you, and I guess him. 🙂

As to the other, first, if you were following a million people you’d be a fool! Second, I use an application to follow people and I set up different columns so that I could segregate the folks such that those I really want to follow closely I do, and the rest I check on here and there. I don’t worry as much about what I miss as much as what I actually get to see.

November 23rd, 2010 | 9:39 AM

Hey Mitch,
I am actually not all that active on twitter and I don’t really expect people to follow me, although strange enough some do, so I guess I am kind of a social media beginner from that point of view.

November 23rd, 2010 | 2:35 PM

Alex, I’ve never seen you claim you’re a social media expert, so you’re good. It’s when one claims to be an expert on something yet doesn’t show it that I think it’s illogical to make such a statement.

November 23rd, 2010 | 3:14 PM

I am admittedly one of those people who do not really talk with other people on Twitter (because all I seem to see is spam and automated links), Mitch, except if they are saying something really meaningful about marketing, graphic and web design. I usually just tweet, retweet and answer direct messages that do not seem automated. Does that make me one of the bad guys? 😀

November 23rd, 2010 | 8:49 PM

I don’t really know, Wes. Thing is, are you telling people you’re a social media expert or not? You sound well rounded to me.

November 23rd, 2010 | 10:03 PM

I’m glad I sound well-rounded to you, Mitch and I am definitely not a social media expert. I may profess at being an expert at graphic design, but never on social media…I am still feeling my way around that. 😀

November 24th, 2010 | 7:59 PM

Wes, whatever you can do really well, go ahead and feel like the expert, especially if it makes you money in the long run.

November 24th, 2010 | 9:00 PM

With a bit more than 12 years in Internet Marketing and SEO, I can advice, to do not overestimate twitter about traffic and followers. It really depends on the nature of website and niche. Most of the times twitter works well about videos, funny pictures and money business. The other option is heavy syndication which takes time and a lot of expensive plug-ins and software. Nowadays, I feel very disappointed, because people that do black hat marketing are the only one that take advantage of twitter and social networks, creating multiple accounts and spamming.

November 24th, 2010 | 8:18 AM

Carl, I think black hat still works with websites, but I’m not sure how well it works with Twitter, although one should beware if you get a message from someone you don’t know with just a link in it.

November 24th, 2010 | 10:24 AM

I am glad I always refer to myself as a “social media enthusiast”, ’cause it’s frankly what I am. I have some knowledge of it, I like to spit out suggestions and tips – as you know – but expert? Nah, hardly.
Enthusiast suits me well.
And now I am off to check that Twit Cleaner link you posted, seems interesting 😉

November 27th, 2010 | 5:39 AM

“Social media enthusiast”; now that’s not a bad term, Gabriele!

November 27th, 2010 | 10:20 AM