All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Giving A Workshop

As y’all know, I’ve been doing some workshops on social media marketing. I expect to do more, and I’m working with my friend Renée to possibly do a local workshop the first weekend of October.


To Be Taught
by Katrina Lopez

It’s actually the first time I’ve done the same exact workshop more than once, and if I’m going to be doing it more and more I need to continue to refine it to a degree. This is different than a one-and-done, which I’m usually used to doing, mainly because some of the participants might talk with other potential visitors, and thus you want to always try to be better each time you do a live presentation. However, sometimes it’s not all that easy. Here are 10 things I’ve learned from the first two presentations.

1. You can’t control the traffic. Of all things, there was a major tractor/trailer accident on the major highway to get to where I was giving the presentation. It took them 6 hours to clear things up, which of course meant that all the people who were on their way were going to be late, since it seems none of them had listened to the news to know the accident had already occurred. The seminar ended up starting 80 minutes late; oh well…

2. There’s a different between a formal group and a nonformal group. With the first group, I didn’t know any of the people who came. With the second, I knew everyone who came. The first group listened intently, asked questions when they had them respectfully, and all was good. The second group had a couple of people who wanted to try to share what they knew about some of the things I was talking about and basically just blurted out things as they saw fit. That made for a rough day, especially since they still insisted on finishing at the same time even though we started late.

3. People form their own expectations of what they think they’ll get out of your presentation, no matter what you tell them. I think the flyer was very clear on our objectives; you will learn what you need in order to create a social media marketing campaign of your own for your business. First time around, one lady said she came to learn ways to keep people from asking them a lot of questions. This time around, one guy said he was hoping to learn how to find time in his busy schedule to do this type of marketing. Both said they didn’t get what they came for; that was expected since I wasn’t teaching what they were expecting, and didn’t come close to indicating that’s what I was going to do.

4. When people think they know your topic, they actually don’t most of the time. One guy at the last workshop said he used LinkedIn a certain way. When I made a suggestion based on my material and knowledge he said he didn’t want to use it that way. I said that was fine, went on with my presentation, and he kept interrupting to counter how it wouldn’t work for him, which was disruptive, until I got to one point when he finally said he got it. Another guy said his impression of Twitter was that it was writing things on the internet via one’s cellphone. He also said he’d spent the previous day participating in a webinar on social media marketing. Either he missed that part or it wasn’t very good if his impression of Twitter was so bad. But early on he’d been someone who said he didn’t want to talk about Twitter much, and it was based on his misperception of what it was. He’s still not going to do it, but at least I now know he understands what it’s really about.

5. When people think they know you, sometimes they just don’t understand how to respect you. I’ve thought about this one a lot over the past few days. One of the people there does presentations around town, and I’ve seen him in action a couple of times. I know his topic, as I’ve read many of the same books he’s read. I’ve written about his topic on both this blog and my business blog, and in other articles in other places. Yet, whenever I’ve seen him present, I’ve never interrupted him or called him out on something I’ve read, and rarely offered anything else. In my mind, he’s the presenter, the professional at that moment, and it’s not about me but about what he has to share, and if I can get a nugget then it’s all good. However, it seems many people aren’t like that, and thus you have to work on building up a thick enough skin to deal with it at the time, and figure out what to do with it later on. I’m still working on that second part.

6. It’s always nice when you see someone have an “aha” moment. At the first workshop, I happened to mention Meebo and how I use it for business. This one guy thought it was a great idea, and on the spur of the moment he figured out many ways he could use it in his business and the customer service benefits of it. And the thing that felt good is that he was a marketing consultant who came to learn about social media marketing and actually got something really beneficial out of it.

7. Doing a workshop is like trying to teach someone how to play a musical instrument. I play piano, and while I was in college, people would ask me to teach them how to play. So I’d start by telling them where middle C was, and they’d invariably say “I don’t want to learn all that, I just want to learn how to play a song. In music, you can’t learn how to play anything until you know a couple of foundation pieces to help you know where you need to put your fingers. With social media marketing, if you have no idea what it is or why it can be beneficial then it does me no good to tell you how to use it. A couple of times I got interrupted by someone asking me how they could use something when I was still building the foundation as to why it was important. Since they already had my presentation in their hands, they knew what was coming. I would always have to say “I’m going to get to that”, which is irritating, but you do what you have to do.

8. Building the foundation is important. Why? Because at the end of each workshop there was at least one person who came to me and said they didn’t know any of the stuff I taught them, and how much they appreciated that I took the time explaining it all and then giving them ideas on how to use it. That’s what it’s all about, and the thing anyone who gives a presentation of any kind has to remember. Because…

9. You can’t please everyone. Well, if they’re open to what you have to say maybe you can, but in general you’re going to hit some home runs, and you’re going to have to bunt to get on base a couple of times. I go to very few things where, in the long run, I didn’t think I made a good decision. That’s called evaluation, and if you have everything you need, you should be able to evaluate whether something will help you or not. I know that the two workshops reached the majority of the people who came, and I’ve always been a numbers guy, so in my mind they were both fairly successful.

10. Rehearsing is paramount. I can’t believe people will put together a presentation and not rehearse it, then wonder why things didn’t go well. The first presentation went six hours including a 45-minute lunch break. The second one went 4 hours and 45 minutes with a 30 minute lunch break. I presented over 4 hours both time, yet ended up not quite giving the same presentation each time. Without rehearsing, timing different concepts to see how long they would take for me to talk about, building in what I considered was legitimate question time, I wouldn’t have known how to change things up to achieve my objective. And I really needed that skill the second time around.

I could add more but this post is already long enough. Suffice it to say I’m definitely doing more of these, and hopefully each time I do it, I’ll learn something else I can use the next time.

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Businesses Without Websites

Many of you know that I write blogs for others. One of the sites I write for is a massive real estate blog. It concentrates on home communities and home builders, though I also get to write some commentary here and there.


World Wide Web
by Anthony Mattox

What surprises me is just how many home builders and contractors there are that still don’t have a website. Sure, they’re listed in some fashion via Yahoo maps and Google maps and Manta and other phone number tracking sites, but beyond that there’s no further information on these companies.

It’s frustrating for me because I try to find out more information about either a community or a home builder, and there’s nothing there. In many areas around the country they don’t have home communities, just neighborhoods, and sometimes it’s hard trying to figure out who built those homes. And when you can find them, there’s nothing about them, just a phone number. You don’t know if they build single family, multiple family, condominiums, townhomes… nothing.

Of course it’s not just home builders, but many brick and mortar businesses in general. My wife and I were trying to research snow removal companies that were in our area, but there were only two online, and neither one specifically near our home. Sure, there are plenty of numbers on the search engine, but it would be nice to know which specific neighborhoods these snow removal people like to work in because my wife leaves the house by 5:30 in the morning and it doesn’t do us much good if the builder is on the other side of our town most of the time.

I wrote an article on my SEO website titled Should You Have A Website, and of course I come out on the side that says “yes”. However, I also mentioned some reasons why a business might want a website, and though I could see why someone might, my bet is that most of these companies that don’t have websites do so because they just never thought about it.

In this day and age, when so many more people are internet savvy and would rather look information up on the search engines as opposed to grabbing the Yellow Pages and looking at an ad, it would behoove any legitimate agency to have a website, put up some examples of what they do, and let their online marketing serve their business in ways they’ve never imagined before. It’s the wave of the future; heck, it’s the wave now!
 

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10 Posts That Deserve More Attention

Something that’s hard for a lot of people is self critique. We’re either too easy on ourselves or too hard on ourselves.

I’m no different, although my parameters change depending on what it is. When it comes to this blog, I know that there are a few throwaway posts, where the post isn’t necessarily important to anyone but was entertaining to write. That’s part of my quest to give visitors something different to look at.

However, there are times when I write something that, in my mind, didn’t get enough attention or enough visitors for whatever reason. Every once in awhile, I like to go back to some of those posts and share them in one specific post, hoping that maybe newer visitors will see those titles and say “hey, I must have missed that one”. At least that’s what I hope. So, here are 10 posts of mine over the last 2 months of 2009 and first 6 months of 2010 that didn’t get many visitors that I feel deserve more attention.

5 Ways Poker Is Like Blogging – This was my attempt at being creative by comparing two of the things I love doing most, one of which is playing poker.

An Interview With Marelisa Fabrega – Marelisa is one of the top bloggers in the world, and I was able to secure an interview with her. This needs to be read by everyone.

Twitter Marketing – Do You Have A Plan? – I found myself again some days ago explaining to someone what Twitter was about and how it could be used for business, and this wasn’t at my workshop either.

How Can You Prosper Through Publicity? – Everyone who has a blog needs to understand just how much more prosperous they could be, either monetarily or personally, by figuring out how to handle their publicity better.

What Do We Expect For Free? – We all like free stuff, but are we taking it to the extreme for some things?

Are Writers Taken For Granted? – As someone who’s been writing to make a living for the last year, it seems that people devalue just how much of a commitment it is, even when they can’t do it themselves.

Content Is An Electronic Emperor – This was my response to a comment made by Rupert Murdoch, partially one of the most hated men in the world.

Web Courtesy – Don’t We Deserve That Much? – With so much hate that people spew in blogs and especially when responding to news stories, I question whether there is any courtesy anymore.

Are You Using Social Media For Promotion? – I wrote this last year, way before I ever started thinking about doing workshops on the subject.

My 10 Favorite Blog Posts Of 2009 – Okay, this isn’t quite fair, but at the end of the year I posted 10 blogs posts I liked that I wrote in 2009; so now you have 10 more to check out if you’re interested. 😉

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Sunday Question – What Do You Hope To Accomplish In The Last 3rd Of The Year?

Man, that’s a tough question, isn’t it? Even though there’s one more week to go, the reality is that we’re 2/3rds of the way through this year. There’s so much more to do, but we’ve done so much already, haven’t we?


Goals by Craig Quimby

When I took a look back to my goals for 2010, I can’t say that my progress towards them is all that pretty. However, it’s not a total loss like it was for 2009. So far, I have reached one of my goals, that being to get at least 3,000 real visitors a month coming to this blog. At the time I’m writing this, I’m averaging 3,200 visitors a month, which is pretty neat. And my Alexa rank did get to 106,000, so I was pretty close before it started going back up a little bit. But I still have a shot at that one.

I’ve also taken on some things I hadn’t planned on for the year as well, so it all balances out at some point. Still, I’d have to say that overall I haven’t quite accomplished what I was hoping for, though on 4 of the 5 I’ve improved over the beginning of the year.

What do I hope to accomplish by the end of the year? I hope to take my social media marketing workshop to another city. How I’m going to do that is still up in the air, but it’s a goal. I want to hit another milestone figure, that being $300 in one month online. I think my highest month was around $225, so it’s not totally out of range. Yeah, my goal for the year was much loftier, but at this juncture I just want to show progress. I have ideas; no I’m not sharing them. But if something succeeds, you’ll be the first to know.

I’m backing off my goal of 500 RSS subscribers for the moment and I’m going to shoot for 200. That might be attainable, as I was at 161 one day last week, and as of January the highest I’d ever had was 126. It will take a lot of factors to happen, but one can hope.

I also want to continue working on growing my influence locally, since, at least for now, I think I’m covered online. I think that if I can do better locally, my financial standing would drastically improve, and I’d feel more free to take time off to go to Barnes & Noble here and there just to have some time to myself out of the house. I work a lot; rather, I sit here at the computer doing a lot.

So there’s my bit of sharing; what would you like to share?

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Would You Be Missed?

A couple of weekends ago I took a little test on Twitter. I wanted to see if I didn’t start off engaging anyone if I’d be missed. I did know that one of my blog posts was scheduled to post late morning, but I was curious if anyone would pick up on the blog post or send me anything.


photo by By PaDumBumPsh

When I finally looked later in the day I did have messages. A couple of people had retweeted the post. A couple had responded to the post. And one person had written me a welcoming message to the day. I felt pretty good because I think it shows I do have at least a little bit of impact, or influence, online. Of course, my local influence is still nothing, as everyone who wrote me was from somewhere else, but that’s okay; I’ll take what I can get.

Our lives are so much different now than they used to be. In the past, there was some sense of community, of knowing the people who lived in your community. You’d see people in the neighborhood and know everyone’s name. You’d shop at the same stores and see each other there.

Nowadays, we have more ways to communicate with each other, yet instead of spreading the sense of community, for the most part it’s become more restrictive. You only message so many people because you don’t want to pay for extra time if you go over your minutes. We don’t have to leave our homes to go meet people because we can bring people into our homes electronically.

It’s a shame, but that’s pretty much my life. I work from home most of the time, so I don’t have a need to leave the house all that often. I’ve learned that my wife and my elderly neighbors across the street think that I’m getting old before my time because I don’t leave the house. My mind says not to spend money unnecessarily, and that includes gas for my car. It’s less expensive to stay home, so I do. I leave when I have something specific to do; just getting out for the sake of getting out makes no sense anymore.

This leads me to wonder sometimes if I would be missed by many people if something happened to me. If I stopped twittering, left LinkedIn alone, got off Facebook, and pretty much just withdrew would people notice I was gone. Sure, I know a few would; I do luckily have a few friends, and of course my wife, mother and grandmother. I do have my newsletter. But would any of the “masses” really miss me? Would I even have a legacy that someone would say “that was a good guy”. Unless my wife sent something out, and that’s not going to happen, would people reach out and say “hey, where are you”, or would time just move on?

It’s an interesting question. The second question is if you’d want that sort of thing in the first place? As I’ve talked about this concept of influence I’ve thought about the second half of that, which is once you have some influence can you ever have a private life again? Then I came to a resounding “yes”. We had this CEO of Hewitt Packard have to resign and get out of Dodge because of an alleged sex scandal, and I realized that I had absolutely no idea who this guy was, yet one could imagine that his influence had to be pretty high. If it wasn’t for the scandal, he’d have never crossed my mind at all. And yet, because of his influence, his indiscretion (alleged; yeah, right) was big news, and plastered all over the media. Almost Tiger Woods bad, but that kind of thing is hard to top.

Do you think you’d be missed by the masses if you suddenly stopped writing or doing whatever it is you do online? Do you care? Or would you like something mixed, like the treatment Ben Vereen gets from the Muppets in a performance of Mr. Cellophane?

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