All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Using Social Media To Grow Your Influence

I have a nice little series going on here concerning the topic of influence. I started out asking how influential we were online, and followed that up with what is influence and how can we use it. It’s time to go in a slightly different direction, that being how to grow influence, and since I’m trying to turn myself into the social media marketing guy, I’m going to use that as my premise for how I could possibly grow my influence. By the way, part of using social media marketing is also to grow your local influence, so I’m going to be considering that as well. I’ve been assuming this is all a part of marketing and branding myself at the same time; I hope you’re thinking along the same lines.

Before I go any further, I have to give credit where credit is due. Though I’ve been thinking about the subject for awhile, it never really hit my mind to start writing about it until this young lady named Mandee Widrick kind of started making it her business to grow her influence. Oddly enough, she’s trying to become what I’m trying to become, but I don’t see it as a sense of competition, hence I’m not afraid to talk about her. Anyway, she wrote a blog post titled Fast Company’s Influence Project, where a site is doing a project trying to help people figure out just how influential they are. You sign up, get a link, then you send your link out, trying to get people to click on it so that you can find out just how influential you are. I thought about it for a brief minute, then my mind said it was a lot like the Alexa Toolbar used to be considered, only I’d have to work at it. And I figured if I was going to work on something I’d rather work on my own stuff. Still, her site is good reading; so says I.

Back to the subject at hand; just how am I going to use social media to grow my influence? This time I’m going to start with talking about Facebook. Last Friday my business page finally hit 100 members, and I’m proud of that fact. I want it to continue growing, but I really worked on promoting that bad boy on Twitter and on Facebook itself. I’ve talked about it here, but not on my other blog, and I’ve totally forgotten to mention it on LinkedIn, so that’s coming as well. I’m going to begin using the fact that I’m up to 100 members as a promotional tool to get even more folks to join. Of course, I need to keep updating it with my information, which is mainly my blog postings, but I also need to occasionally pop something in there that touches upon a topic I discuss for business, which I try to do.

Next, I’m going to use this blog. Remember last week I said this blog was linked to around 14,000 other sites? Well, when I was going through that list a bit I saw I was on sites I knew nothing about. So I’m going to check those sites out, and if there’s a possibility to do so, I’m going to post a comment on those posts, and I’m going to then link some of them here so folks can see that I’m elsewhere in the blogosphere. I just hope they’re not scraped sites. lol Overall, however, I believe the mix of both business and personal topics has worked well with this blog.

I’ve already started a Twitter strategy, and I’m going to keep it going. This blog has a lot of topics on things such as SEO, blogging, and writing, some of them a couple of years old, and people have missed them. So, I’m going back, looking at them, and the better ones I’m popping on Twitter every once in a while. I’m doing the same thing for my business blog. I figure I have nearly 15,000 links between the two blogs, so why not use them? I’ve also popped an occasional oldie but goodie from my business blog onto my Facebook page; I just remembered that. And I’m posting links to articles I’ve written on other sites as well to Twitter; trying to show I’m a well rounded guy.

Here’s the thing about Twitter, if I may. It’s my best chance for growing my influence with the local people, who really don’t know what I’m all about. I talk to more of them all the time, and if in some fashion I can get them talking about me more, and not just because of the potential Syracuse wiki project, it can only turn out good.

As for LinkedIn, well, the best I can do is keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is going in every 3 or 4 days and posting something, anything to keep it live, and now I can post the thing about my Facebook business page; whew! And I’ve been trying to be a bit more active in some of the LinkedIn groups, which can be difficult because often there’s really nothing I’m in the mood to comment on. But it has to get done, as I work on this influence campaign.

Oh, there’s one final piece. One thing I haven’t really done is create a business profile of sorts. I have a bio page on my main site, and an about page on my second business site, but I need something a bit more business professional and direct that I can either print up or send as a pdf to potential clients. I need to work on that, with an image, and get that going, hoping to circumvent calls for a CV for interim projects. I hate producing a CV; I’m an incorporated business person after all, with a business license. But in this case we do what we have to do. But I’m not going to give up my humanity either; no, that’s not my daughter. 🙂

Have I covered everything? Probably not, but it’s a process that I’m going to begin. And though it’s going to be ongoing, I’m going to see if I can figure out a way to track progress over the next two months. This could be a great case study and could turn into a seminar of some type; let’s see what happens.

The Superman Syndrome — The Magic of Myth in the Pursuit of Power: The Positive Mental Moxie of Myth for Personal Growth








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What Is Influence?

On Saturday I wrote a post titled How Influential Are You Online, and I ended that post with this: “what is influence anyway, and how does one use it?” I said I would tackle that question this week; this is me tackling it.

influence
Sean MacEntee via Compfight

In general, influence is the power to make an effect of some kind. It can be positive or negative, which of course isn’t good, but that’s just how it goes.

If you think about Star Wars for a quick minute, Emperor Palpatine is a great example of influence. He’s a bad guy who does good things and gets people to believe in him and want him to become supreme chancellor. At the same time, he’s the most evil thing in the universe, the emperor who can get Darth Vader to do anything he wants him to do. In essence, he’s leading the same people he’s fighting against; how’s that for real power?

Reigning it back in, since none of us are going to be either of those things (thank goodness), we’re left to look at ourselves to first determine if we have any real influence over others, and if we do how are we using it. Parents, we’re keeping the discussion of children out of this one for now, so I don’t want to hear any “I’m a parent and I influence my children” stuff. Trust me, for the most part it’s not true anyway (yeah, I said it).

Let’s go back a bit to my previous post on the subject. I mentioned this thing about social media and the question that was asked about people locally. No one mentioned my name, yet I just did that workshop. What’s funny is that two days before, I went on Twitter and said I knew everyone already knew about it, but I just wanted to put it out there one more time. Two people actually wrote me to say they didn’t know I was doing it. I mean, I posted it every day at least once a day, mixed up the times, and wrote 4 blog posts about it, and still people didn’t know? And, to be truthful, not a single person I talk to locally on Twitter came, or said they were coming. Influential; I think not.

Last year when I did the webinar on social media and SEO, the product of which is sitting there at the top left, I actually had a little bit of influence, as a couple of people paid to sit in on that conversation. One I drove there because of this blog, the other because of email. Renée drove people because of her association with the Liverpool Chamber. Neither of us drove tons, but we got enough people there to make putting the event on worthwhile.

This leads us to the next part of my question, which is how do we use influence? For me, I’m looking to use my influence to get people to sign up for my workshop, at least locally. Online, I’m looking to drive people to buy or at least look at the few products I’ve created so far.

I’m also trying to use my influence to drive traffic to my blogs and some of my websites; after all, what I really want to do is to continue growing my influence as much as I can for my ultimate goal as a professional presenter, traveling the country talking to people about a host of things. I actually love doing that; standing in front of people is a rush that I know a lot of folks hate. For me, getting paid, and paid well, to talk to people would be just great.

So, I need to increase my influence so I can use it when I get there. And how am I going to do that? Well, I’m not quite sure, but I have a plan. I’ll talk about that next time.
 

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CPAP Adventures

I have a CPAP machine next to my bed now. I first mentioned it when I was talking about disasters a few days ago, and then I mentioned it again yesterday when talking about getting healthy.

What is a CPAP? First, it’s that little thing there to the right. I had a CPAP machine 4 years ago, almost to the day when I gave it up, and it was much larger than this thing you see. It was also much heavier; this thing weight almost nothing. And what you’re seeing is the heaviest part of the thing, because it comes with a small tank that holds water to help keep your nose and mouth moist when you’re using it while you’re sleeping.

Okay, more details first. CPAP stands for “continuous positive air pressure”, and basically the machine helps you breathe at night. Sleep apnea means you pretty much stop breathing during the night. It’s a little different from just snoring because when you stop breathing, your body starts to struggle a little bit to get you breathing again. It often starts before you get into the deepest sleep, and what this means is that you kind of wake up many times during the night. I say “kind of” because you probably don’t remember it most of the time. You might snore if you have sleep apnea, but not everyone who snores has it. And it can be life threatening; professional football player and Hall of Famer Reggie White passed away from it; that’s what initially got me thinking about it.

As I said, I had a machine back from near the end of 2005 into July or August of 2006. I kept having problems getting used to the different masks, it was heavy and getting on my nerves traveling with it, and frankly I didn’t feel all that much better after such a long time. The biggest problems I had then were the masks. The first mask I had must have leaked somehow, and it caused massive scarring on my face; couldn’t have that. The second mask kept blowing air into my eyes, and waking up every morning with at least one red eye certainly wasn’t pleasant. The final thing I went to was a nasal cannula type of mask, which you’d think would be nice and easy, but I kept having panic attacks, and thus wouldn’t sleep at all. It reminded me too much of sick people in the hospital; that just wouldn’t do at all. That’s the reason I gave it back.

Unfortunately for y’all, unless I knew you back in 2005 and 2006 you missed the entire story of the sleep test, then the subsequent dumping of the machine, as it went out through email. I can tell you that when I went back to the doctor this year, he had me take another overnight sleep test, and this time it went much smoother. Not as many wires, none wrapped around my neck, and the initial mask the guy put on me was fairly light. I obviously had some issues overnight, as the guy woke me up 5 times, but otherwise I made it through the night unscathed.

This is the mask I have now. It’s much different than previous masks because it covers my mouth and has the two things at the top that go into my nose. They never used to have masks that covered the mouth, and that was a major issue in the past because you’re supposed to keep your mouth closed, and if you don’t your throat can take a beating, and if you’re like me you’re still waking up all the time. They have this strap you can put around the top of your head and under your jaw, but trust me, not many people enjoy that at all. Now, if I open my mouth, the machine will still blow air into me.

Oh yeah, the air. What happens is you get tested to see if you have apnea. Then the doctor looks at all the results and estimates how much air pressure the machine should be blowing into you. If I knew what the pressure part meant I don’t think I could explain it, so I’ll just say that the higher the number, the higher the pressure. The machine starts low, which gives you a chance to get to sleep before it gets to its highest level, which is preset by the people you get the machine from. Get this; you can buy the machine (they’re not cheap), but by law, at least in the U.S., you can’t do anything with the pressure unless you get a prescription. That’s changed, because you used to be able to alter pressure but you weren’t allowed to buy the machines; I wish people would make up their mind. I don’t have to worry about it; seems it’s all covered 100% by insurance. 🙂

Anyway, so far I don’t feel much different. It affects people differently, it seems. Some start feeling great within a week, others it takes 90 days. Since I don’t have air blowing in my eyes anymore, I hope within a month that I can report I’m feeling better. I guess we’ll see. If you have any questions or comments, just talk.

SleePAP CPAP Pillow with Pillowcase






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Sunday Question – How Much Do You Like Yourself?

This is one of those weird topics because I know what I’m expecting to see from those who will even think about answering the question, and a lot of it probably isn’t going to be all that honest. Yeah, I said it, and now I’ll add why.

In deference to the memories of all those mentors I love in The Secret and all points above and below, we’re all taught that if we don’t love ourselves we can’t really love anyone else. We’re told that we should be happy with who we are because, well, it’s who we are. We’re told that we should be happy with how we look, even if we believe we can look better, because that’s who we are. Heck, we’re told a lot of things.

I’m not all that different when it comes to trying to motivate people. I tend to believe that all of us have to have confidence in our abilities, and if we don’t then we need to take actions to build up those abilities so we can have that confidence. I tend to believe that we all can be better, live better, have more money and the like, but we have to think positively about our lives or at least our direction, because on one ever achieved anything thinking “it can’t be done”.

Anyway, a lot of people will come out and say “I feel great about me,” and for most people, that’s not going to be an honest answer. I could say the same about me as I’m writing this, but I know it wouldn’t be fully true. Like most people, I can list a litany of things I want to change about my life, my appearance, my wealth, etc. If I liked myself 100% I wouldn’t have any of those things on my list. I know that about me, and you probably know that about you.

Now, does this mean I don’t like myself? Not on your life! But there are things I don’t like, things that I’m working on. I need to lose weight. I need to lower my glucose. I need to sleep better. I need to learn how to relax. I need to have a more consistent and vigorous income. I need to spread both my local and online influence a lot more.

How much do I like myself? Truthfully, I’m probably at 70%. I give myself that high (or low) a rank because I haven’t given up on anything yet. I’m going to the health club. I’m eating a little better. I now have a CPAP to help me sleep better. I have plans and goals with the intention of dealing with both my income and my influence. I’m a major work in progress; I can only hope I have enough time to get there.

Okay now, give it to me straight; you don’t have to give details. How much do you like yourself? Really?

30 Inch Cat Tower with Scratcher

30 Inch Cat Tower with Scratcher


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How Influential Are You Online?

On Twitter yesterday, one of the folks I followed asked who they thought were the most influential Syracuse social media people. There were a few names bandied about, but I have to admit that somewhere along the way I was hoping that someone would mention me. However, it wasn’t meant to be, and as disappointing as that was, it seems to follow an interesting pattern.

We as bloggers spend our time writing our posts, hoping to drive visitors to our sites to read what we have to say and see what we have to show. Some of us hope to make a dollar or two here and there, if not necessarily through the blog itself, then by doing speaking engagements, workshops and the like, or having someone see what we write about and decide to pay us for it. However, to get all of that, it takes influence, because that’s what’s going to determine just how many people are going to come see what it is you do.

What I’ve noticed is that I’m more influential outside of my home area than within it. Though I’ve lived in this area for 35 years, I find that I’m kind of the great unknown. Now, a part of that is my fault because I don’t get out all that much anymore, and in the days when I did get out, there was no internet. It’s hard becoming a local cause célèbre, if you will, at age 50. Indeed, the local net community in general probably didn’t even know I existed until I went to my first tweetup last year. Oh, I had a local client here and there, but all because I participated in this consulting group; any local work I’ve done has come through them.

Just to spread this even further, most of my consulting assignments in my main profession have also been out of town. Do local facilities need the types of services I provide as much as out of town facilities? Yes. Do they even look at me? No, I’m pretty much ignored, even at health care networking meetings (I finally decided to drop out after being a member for 15 years), though I do still market to them from time to time. Not memorable enough? Me?!?!?

Back on the 22nd, I did my first workshop on social media marketing in central New York. It’s actually the first time I’ve given a presentation in this area that I’ve been paid for, and I’ve given enough presentations. Goodness, I’ve been in the local newspaper, local business newspaper, once on local radio (I don’t count seeing myself in the background on the local news, though I did laugh), and it seems no one really knows who I am around here; that’s a shame.

Of course, I kind of see it as my fault. One of the things about social media marketing is that when you do it, unless you’ve finitely targeted yourself to your local area, your message tends to spread everywhere, and let’s face the fact that there’s a lot more people “everywhere” than at home. The most consistent comments I get on this blog or any of my other blogs come from people “elsewhere”. The people who have bought products I’ve created are from “elsewhere” (well, I did have one guy I knew who bought one of my products, but he’s the only one). Any web work that didn’t come from my consulting group, or writing work, that I’ve gotten have come from “elsewhere”. Goodness, the article I wrote about one of our tweetups, where I mentioned about 30 names, only got 2 comments, luckily from local people, though I know a few more did see it at least.

Ah, I know what you’re asking; what about the topic about influence online? In that fashion, we at least have some tools we can look at. For instance, I’m sitting at an Alexa rank of 112,591 for this blog. My main business site is around 392,000, my other site is around 1.3 million. For my main search terms on my main business, I come up in the top ten, if not at #1. For my other business, I’m in the top 40 for half of the terms, but if Yahoo was the main search engine I could actually claim a bunch of top 10 slots; I’m going to figure that out one day. For my main business site, it’s linked to more than 3,000 other websites, and my other business site almost 3,000; for this blog, more than 14,000 links elsewhere. As a point of comparison, I popped in some other domain names, and I don’t see anyone else linked to that many sites that I know.

So, in a weird way, it begs the question what is influence anyway, and how does one use it? I think I’ll tackle that one next week. But I’ll ask this question again; how influential are you online?

Ultimate World War II DVD Collection

Ultimate World War II DVD Collection


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