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

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.

Portrait
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.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

Ask By Ryan Levesque – Marketing & Selling – A Book Review

At the risk of making Holly mad by violating her rules of disclosure, I still indeed plan on doing a book review today. The disclosure part is that I got the book for free in the mail last week. There were no conditions on my writing the review, so the opinion is my own; y’all know how I roll.

Ask by Ryan Levesque

The book is obviously called Ask by Ryan Levesque, and basically it’s both the story of a guy who developed a marketing and sales process based on surveys that help you drill down to what your audience might want to see and buy from you, and the full process itself. When I was explaining part of it to my wife she got me to buy the Nook version of the thing and lend it to her so she could read the case studies, and she’s in love with what she’s read so far. There, I’m done. Nah, I guess I should say more.

Ryan is a guy with a lot of intelligence. He got a degree in neuroscience while learning Chinese, decided to go into finance so he could work in China, and was doing really well. Then he realized it wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore and decided he wanted to see what he could do for himself. Thus, he decided to get into online marketing; how many of us have thought this?

This is a guy with a thirst for learning, so he read a lot of books on sales and started out with a product that did okay… until it wasn’t doing okay anymore. By doing more reading and meeting a guy named Glenn Livingston Ph. D., who’s also known as a sales guru, he eventually came up with a way for businesses to figure out what their clients want, and then works with businesses to help them figure out how to deliver it. He decided, after a medical crisis where he almost lost his life, that he wanted to share what he’d learned with others; thus this book.

The book is in two parts. The first part is more about his background, what drives him, and all his adventures. Frankly, I loved reading it because I like knowing more about the people I’m reading about, and on Amazon, the only two 1-star reviews were from people who didn’t like this part. To me, if that’s the only gripe you have with a book you’re not worth worrying about.

The second part is where the meat is, and truthfully, you’re going to have to read it more than once to understand it all. Levesque even admits that you might not need all the steps he points out in the book, but believes if you follow them that you’ll be more successful in the long run. He also suggests you initially skim the entire process, then go back and start taking notes. That’s the part I have to go back and do next.

rl_01
Ryan Levesque

Basically, he’s created what he calls the Survey Funnel Strategy. The basics of the strategy come in 4 parts:

1. The Deep Dive Survey

This is the first step, and it’s very basic. You send out a survey that’s fairly open ended. Your questions are designed to illicit general responses, which you want because without these answers, you’re not really sure where you want to go.

2. The Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey

With this survey, you’re hoping to get more information from your audience, which includes tightening up and getting the permission to send them whatever you’re trying to market. His suggestion for how to do it is pretty brilliant, but I’m not giving it away now. 🙂

3. The Do You Hate Me Survey

This is the point where you’ve sent your sales letter out, hopefully you’ve made some sales, but there’s a group of people who either visited and didn’t buy or didn’t visit; they might not have even opened the letter. Thus, you’re now sending something out to find out why they didn’t take the action you were hoping for. The way he suggests you do it is clever; I like it.

4. The Pivot Survey

The final email (by the way, this is all via email) you send is for those people who didn’t take any action after you did the first 3 letters. This not only gives you another chance to market and to gain information you might not have received earlier on, but at this point you might determine that this person might not really want what you have to market and you can remove them if that’s your preference.

Obviously I’ve just sketched things out here to give you a taste of it all. After the first two parts he shares a couple of case studies and, if what he shares is accurate, you’re going to think “WOW!” That’s what drew my wife in.

I’d recommend Askicon, and obviously I’d love you to buy it via my link above (you can also click on the book), which is via Barnes & Noble. At that link you can get either the regular book or the Nook version. However, if you wish you can buy it from Amazon; I couldn’t find it on his business page. He was giving away free copies back in April, but I didn’t know about that otherwise I’d have certainly shared this information way before now.

My overall take is that it’s a great system for long term success, especially if you know how to create products and informational packages. Some of the ideas can be done by everyone, especially the first one, if you have a responsive audience. Go ahead, take a chance and have a good read!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

Writing Styles For Others – Subtitles, H Tags, Etc…

A couple of weeks ago I thought about trying to write for one of those sites that accumulates posts on a lot of different topics; nope, I’m not even going to tell you the name of the site because I don’t want to even give them the hint of new writers they can take advantage of. Anyway, that’s not quite how they had advertised themselves. What I saw was them looking for someone who could write on specific topics that I know pretty well. Once I went to look I saw that’s not what it was at all. Still, I thought I might be interested in giving it a shot to make a little extra chunk of change.

Smoking as Fiction
Frederic Guillory via Compfight

That is, until I looked at the requirements for the site. In essence, it was formulaic, not unlike years ago when I was trying to write for Demand Studios. In essence, they wanted all this stuff instead of just an article, and they wanted at least 1,500 words for the honor; ouch!

What kinds of things did they want? Well, in general, for some folks it might not seem like all that much of a big deal. However, for me it was, and I decided that they didn’t just want articles, they wanted a lot of extra stuff that, for what they were going to pay, it just wasn’t worth the effort.

Is it worth the effort on your blog posts? For me, rarely. For you… let’s look at some of these things to see.

1. Subtitles.

They wanted multiple subtitles in the article, at least 3. Here’s the thing, at least from my perspective. Unless one is writing a list post of some type, like this one, or a monster post, you’re not always going to come up with at least 3 subtitles. Goodness, some of my articles don’t have a subtitle at all. Sure, I know newspapers do it all the time but how many of us want to write like we’re reporters?

2. H tags. For those who aren’t familiar with this, H tags are code you use before specific sentences that tell search engines what you’re supposed to be writing about. In essence, they look at what’s in the H tags and then match it up with your content; that’s the easy version of it all.

You can have H1, H2, H3 and, if you’re feeling really happy about things, H4 tags. You can even have multiples of each of these tags in your article. Frankly, that gets a bit goofy and, in my opinion, it can look like you’re trying to game Google.

Here’s the thing. Most articles use H1 tags for the title. That’s because that particular tag changes the size of your font. You can use other code to reduce it but if you’re using it for your title then you’re good. On WordPress blogs, the software automatically adds H1 tags so you don’t have to bother with it, although some people like doing it twice; ugh.

In any case it’s not really natural to writing, and if you don’t know coding all that well you could royally mess things up. You’d probably use H2 – H4 tags for your subtitles. Still, it’s another element that’s not really part of writing, which makes the process bothersome.

Immagine 120
en- ri gioca sott’acqua via Compfight

3. Images.

This one is interesting. We all know (lots of folks, including me, have written about this) that images can help enhance a page. For these people, because they wanted the articles long enough, they wanted you to find at least 3 images for each post, and you had to make sure they were allowed to be used. No problem in doing that except that it’s always hard finding the proper images to use when you’re doing something for someone else.

For instance, on my blogs, if I use my own images people just have to deal with figuring out how, or if, the image fits what I’m writing about. For these folks, they want it spelled out in a way that shows the image is related; that’s time consuming and, once again, not really part of anyone’s writing style. If you know how to create images and such maybe you’re ahead of the game; I’m not close to being that creative.

4. Authority links.

These folks requested at least 3 links that could support what you’ve written about. There’s two problems with doing something like this.

One, they want links from sites ranked pretty well. How many people know how to find links that are ranked well? Actually, it’s not overly difficult to determine link strength because when you do a search on Google they put things in order based on your search terms, thus they’ve determined the high links for you. The problem is that just because a link ranked high doesn’t mean what’s behind the link contains what you need. Thus, you might have to look through a bunch of links to find what you need to confirm what you wrote.

Two, what happens if you happen to be an authority on the topic you’re writing about? In that case you probably never considered looking for links because you knew what you were talking about. Now you’re in unfamiliar territory, looking for something that validates your knowledge.

What if it doesn’t exist? That’s what I ran into years ago with Demand Studios; I was writing on health care finance stuff, one of my specialties, and none of the confirming information was online because insurance companies like Medicare didn’t put that stuff online. The only way you’d know it is if you were in the industry. Ugh!

Now… you decide to try to do all that and you’re successful and submit the article. Now you have to go through a waiting process while someone goes through to see if you’ve done everything right, and of course checks your article out for typos and language and all that other stuff. If they turn you down you have to fix whatever they don’t like… with the caveat that since that happened you can still submit your articles but you have to wait at least six months before you can apply to get paid for it.

If they approve you… you’ve just earned $20. Yup, that’s right, $20.

Before twitter and facebook...
Beatriz Gil via Compfight

Let’s look at this more thoroughly. Luckily, I tend to write pretty quickly if I know what I want to write about. So, let’s say that it takes me even 10 minutes to write an article, which this one is probably taking me. To find 3 images their way might take me 15 minutes. To find links might take me 30 minutes. I know the coding part of subtitles but I’d have to figure out where to put subtitles, which means I’d have to be prepared to rewrite some of my copy to match up with them.

This would mean that, if I got paid, I was earning, if I’m lucky, about $12 or $13 an hour. Since this type of writing isn’t the kind where you could possibly pound out 5 articles a day, and since those articles would take time to put together, you end up basically having to work at least 12 or 13 hours a day.

How do you get there? Because writing isn’t just “writing”. You have to come up with an idea, maybe do some research (after all, even if we know our topics we don’t know it all…), rest, eat… rinse and repeat. All that and you could be turned down; ouch!

So, that’s writing for others. What if you’re writing for yourself? I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately by people saying we all should be trying to write these mega posts. Many of those articles are recommending some of the same stuff I mentioned above, only they’re looking for articles of at least 3,000 words; ooooo, I’m dyin’! lol

How many of you feel like you have that kind of time all the time? I mean, writing can be hard enough for some of you; are you willing to go through all that other stuff? Well, maybe if you’re writing only one article a week and don’t have anything else to do, and you’re actually making a living off your blogging it’s possible.

But in general… oy!

Maybe I’m crazy so I’ll ask you your thoughts on all of this. Meanwhile, I’d like to share this little video I did where, believe it or not, I compare Kool Aid to long posts. I know you’re gonna want to see this. 🙂
 


https://youtu.be/Z7OlnUz_T5A

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

Why It’s Hard To Do Business On LinkedIn

I have to admit that I have a love/dislike relationship with LinkedIn. It’s not the site’s fault; it’s all mine.

IMG_0899


Jo Chou via Compfight

I mean, I’m the guy who wrote a post talking about ways to use LinkedIn effectively. I’m the guy who wrote a post about marketing on LinkedIn. Heck, I’m the guy who recently wrote a post about writing articles on LinkedIn

It turns out that I’ve written 8 articles specifically about LinkedIn over all these years, and included the site in 96 articles in total. Not all of them have extolled its virtues because, like everything else, not everything is good there; not all the time anyway.

Still, you’d think that after all these years (I was one of the first 600,000 members there; they even send me a letter of thanks lol) I would have a handle on how it works, how to get business there, how to make true connections and the like.

You know what? I haven’t learned anything. Okay, that’s not quite true. I obviously have learned a lot. But I’ve never gotten any business via LinkedIn. I’ve never generated a single thing that would help me make any money. As I start to close in on my 14th year in business, I have to figure this out, and it’s better to do it sooner than later.

What’s the problem? Truthfully, I’m not quite sure.

It’s not that I don’t talk to people, because I have. It’s not that I haven’t had some nice conversations in the groups there because I have.

It’s that I get the wrong people connecting with me there. Rather, the wrong people who connect with me and then send me a message.

Y’all remember my post on Monday on blog commenting? Remember my very first point on that post, where I said “try reading the article?

That’s something it seems that no one who sends me something does… not read my articles, but not read my profile.

LI_profile

Maybe it’s me, either expecting too much or not wording my profile properly. Either way, the messages I get are either from people who want me to market their product or services as part of what I do, or want to sell me services that I can’t use because I’m a sole proprietor, which they’ve missed from reading my profile.

You know what else? At least half the people who write me put some derivation of the same title, which is “Business Proposition.” Wow, that’s inspiring isn’t it? And in the message they send, they don’t say anything except “I’d like to present a business proposition to you. When would you be available to talk?”

That’s kind of bold, pushy and in a way insulting isn’t it? Those messages always immediately raise the hackles on the back of my neck (linking to the definition for folks not familiar with that term like folks talking to me about MLM stuff (more definition stuff). You know, when they won’t tell you what it is but try to play on your emotions and give you all the platitudes about how much money you can make?

The issue for me is that I don’t want to be pushy. Truthfully, though I’m connected to nearly 1,000 people now (that’s a big jump in the last year), I’m not connected to any of the people I need to talk to that can use my services. Those of you who know me know that I offer lots of different types of services, but my biggest two are leadership and health care finance (linking to something you might not understand, but in case you’re interested…). Through this blog I offer writing services.

The folks I keep hoping to attract and those who can hire me for those types of services. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, I don’t get those folks.

Instead, I get people who either want me to sell for them or want me to teach them what I know so they can progress without wanting to pay me for it. I used to give up a lot of my time in trying to teach people some of these things, which can get pretty technical, and I realized I was giving up a lot of time and not getting anything back.

Linkedin

Mambembe Arts & Crafts via Compfight

I offer lots of advice on this blog about a lot of things. I offer a lot of other advice on my business blog. I will talk to anyone about business in general, people who are thinking about going out on their own or young people who are graduating and would like a bit of advice here and there.

I don’t mind that kind of thing; heck, that’s who I was looking for when I first went into business on my own, and no one would talk to me. I’ve actually talked to some of those folks on LinkedIn, even locally; that’s been fun.

But business? Nope, nada, zip; not even a request for a speaking gig via LinkedIn.

My fault… all my fault.

What to do… hmmm…

For once, instead of giving advice, I’ll ask for some. My friend Peter says that sometimes we give so much information away in our posts that people aren’t sure what to comment on or what to say.

So, here’s your chance. How do you do LinkedIn? Have you been successful in getting any business there, and if so how did you do it? If you haven’t, what’s holding you back? If you’ve never used LinkedIn don’t even comment on this one; I’ll save you time and effort in saying “I don’t use LinkedIn…” I mean, after those words or anything similar, there’s no purpose in commenting this time around if you ask me.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be thinking about how to rewrite the beginning of my profile because that part must be deficient. At least parts of my page look pretty cool, if I say so myself. 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

5 Things You Should Do Before Commenting On A Blog

In March of 2014 I wrote a post titled 5 Commenting Courtesies. That post talked about some things that are fairly common that people who aren’t used to commenting seem to miss. Well, those people and spammers, but we’re not going to change them any time soon.

Mr & Mrs WordPress
Nikita Kashner via Compfight

This time around I’m looking at the process before you comment, not necessarily being courteous, although it’s in the same vein. In essence, I’m going to teach people how to leave a blog comment. This comes from when I wrote a post about blogging 10 years on my business blog at the same time I was part of a blog carnival. A lot of the comments I got were… well, they just weren’t all that good (our buddy Troy was a part of it and he’d agree).

So, my intention is to hopefully give 5 nice tips on how to address the process of writing better comments on blogs. You don’t have to write War and Peace, but if you want people to take you seriously and decide to visit your blog you’re going to have to put forth a little bit more effort. Here we go!

1. Try reading the article.

You wouldn’t think I’d have to say that but I know I do. I get lots of comments to posts where I’m doubtful that the person read the post at all. I mean, one or two lines addressing a post that ran close to 1,000 words, even 500 words, is kind of disappointing, especially on those posts where someone has taken the time to explain something. So many comments could pertain to almost anything someone writes; I delete a lot of those here.

2. Find something in the post that you liked and mention it in your comment.

This is a great way of making sure your comments have at least a modicum of respect for the writer. For instance, if the article points out 5 things, 9 things, 20 things, finding something you believe has touched you in some way and mentioning it works wonders in boosting a writer’s mood. Try not to always make it either the 1st or last point; that’s so passé.

3. Don’t tell people what the article means in your comment.

If I write an article about good SEO principles, your comment shouldn’t say something like “following good SEO principles is crucial to a blog’s success.” Really? Didn’t I just say that? Maybe you didn’t read the post; see #1. Maybe you’re trying to help reinforce what the article meant; trust me, it’s not needed.

4. Offer an opinion on the article when you can and not the author so much… unless the article is about the author.

On the article I linked to about the 10th anniversary of my business blog, many of the comments said something like “there are some valuable lessons here that will help me blog better.” Really? Like what? One in particular? All of them? I know I gave you #2 above, which is pretty good advice, but how about some feedback on it, whether you agree with it or not?

5. Read the comment policy.

Not just my blog, but a lot of bloggers who’ve had blogs for a long time add some kind of comment policy to their blog. Mine is just above the box where people can leave their comments, and I even made the text a pretty dark blue and bolded it.

Although there are a few people who end up going to spam because of some kind of conflict between Chrome and my blog (odd thing, but it’s not only happening to me), a lot more end up there because they violated one of the principles contained within the comment policy. Of course, these days the majority of first time commenters end up in the spam filter because they haven’t added a gravatar to their email address, but that’s also in the comment policy.

Here’s the overall thing about commenting. People do it for 3 reasons. One, because they have something to say. Two, because it’s part of their strategy of either getting links or trying to get people to come back to their blogs. And three, because they like the person blogging and want to offer some encouragement.

If your reasons are #1 or #2, then you should be taking more time and devotion in leaving your comments. If it’s #3… well, we all forgive our friends and are just happy they stopped by, because most of our friends and family don’t read what we have to say… come on, we all know that’s true! 🙂