All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

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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Social Media And SEO

At the workshop I put on last week with my friend Renée, one of the interesting questions that came up was how social media marketing impacted a business website’s search engine optimization. I thought I’d answer that here as I did last week because if I was asked there, then someone else might want to know that answer as well.

One of the things you often hear about what helps you rank higher on Google, and I’m not talking page rank here, is getting one directional (I’m debating as to whether it’s “directional” or “direction”; have to think about that more) inbound links. By that, it means you’re getting a free link from someone without necessarily giving one back. Supposedly, search engines love that, because it shows that outside people are giving you love without your asking for it. By the way, that’s also why they hate paid links, even if you use the “rel=nofollow” attribute, because they think those advertisers are trying to game the system, if you will.

So, let’s look at a few of the social media sites where you might do some marketing to see how it all works. If you use Twitter, you have to create a profile, and if you’re smart you’ll put your business link in there. Mine has my business link instead of the link to this blog. Now, the only link I have back to Twitter is to my name on Twitter so people can follow me. I have nothing on my business site that goes to Twitter except for the same thing. Now, every blog post I make pops up on Twitter, which means all of my blogs get immediate link love. If someone clicks on the links, they’ll go to my sites. Even if they don’t, I still get link love, and I get more if someone decides to retweet it. Not a bad deal for a quick post.

LinkedIn and Facebook work in a similar way. When you create your profile, if you pop in a link to your business website, you’ll get the benefit of an inbound link. Both of those websites are pretty prominent, so that benefits your site. But then you go further. On both sites, posts from my business blog show up like they do on Twitter. This means I’m generating one directional links to my blog, which is attached to my website, and thus I’m helping to increase my SEO. Even with my creating a business page on Twitter and linking it to my blogs, like you see there to the right, my SEO is intact because every time I write something on that page, or anyone else does, it gets shared with everyone who’s decided they “like” my page, and if they’re commenting on a link I left, that gets spread around as well. By the way, on Facebook I’ve included links to all of my sites, whereas on LinkedIn I’ve only added links to my two main business sites and my blog.

The concept pretty much works with all the social media marketing areas you might try. If you create a YouTube account and set it up properly, you’ll get an inbound link. Every email you send where you have a link in your profile you get a little bit of that, but you get more if it goes to a place where someone has to log in online to see their email. If you participate in forums, you should make sure you have a signature file with your link in it.

Now, I have to say this one thing, and it’s important. Just getting links means nothing. If your website isn’t optimized correctly, those links aren’t going to help you one bit. If you don’t have any real content, the search engines still won’t know what you do, and neither will people who eventually might come to your site. So, you have to have a well rounded SEO program going for any of this to help your site and your business.

KODAK Zi8 Pocket Video Camera / Aqua

KODAK Zi8 Pocket Video Camera






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

A Syracuse Wiki?

Some weeks ago, I was doing some research online and I happened upon the wiki page of a small town I’d never heard about in this state. It got me to thinking about my own home area and whether we had a wiki page or not.

Turns out we did, but in my opinion it’s not very good. It looks nothing like a wiki page, based on what I saw on the other page and of course the big Wikipedia site. I started wondering what it might take to have a better one for this area.

Then I was at the health club and one of the guys I know from Twitter, Keith, who also does computer stuff, showed up. I broached the subject with him and he mentioned that when he lived in Rochester, NY, that they’d had a wiki page and he loved it. I took a look at that page, and though it’s kind of plain, it worked much better than the one for Syracuse.

I started thinking that maybe we needed to build a brand new page to get it right. However, I knew it would be a major undertaking, and I decided I wanted to put together a dream team of sorts to discuss the issue. Besides me and Keith, there’s Josh, Patrick, and Chris (only first names because I can’t spell Patrick’s last name, and I’d probably get Chris’ last name wrong as well). We all met at a Chinese buffet on Erie Blvd near Thompson Rd (the local folks will know it) to talk about it.

The main discussion fell into two categories. One, whether locally people would care all that much, and then whether they’d want to try to build up the one that’s not great (that is if we can find the originator of the site, because we’d like to really dig into it) or go about creating our own from scratch. I purchased one of the domain names to protect it, but I’m willing to share it with everyone else, and Chris has server space he’s willing to donate so there won’t be any other costs associated with it.

What we all agreed upon is that we would put out a survey and ask Syracuse folks if they’d complete it and give us our opinion. The link is on Survey Monkey, and it’s 3 simple questions. It should prove to be interesting, no matter the outcome. And who knows; this post might get some of the rest of you who aren’t in Syracuse to think about one for your area. I’m definitely no community organizer, but this will be my entry into the market, and probably my only one.

Wiki


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Where Would You Go In A Disaster?

Today I got a CPAP machine, and that will be a story for another time once I start using the thing. Instead, I want to talk about one of the questions that I was asked that came from left field.

The question was “where would you go in a disaster?” I found the question stunning, so much so that I was lost for words for about 15 seconds, which doesn’t happen often for me. I said it was an intriguing question, and asked why they would ask me that. She said because the CPAP machine needs electricity, and that many people, once they start using it, find they never want to sleep without it again, and thus if the power went out where would they go to still be able to use their machine.

Of course, me being me, my mind had gone elsewhere. I’ve always had the scenario in my mind that if I heard about something happening like we were being targeted by a nuclear bomb that I would just hop in the car and drive as far west as I possibly could to try to outrun it, since we’d have some notice that something was coming. And I live within 35 miles of a nuclear plant, but it’s recommended to be safe trying to be 45 miles away, so I always figured I’d hop in the car and head south if I knew something had happened there.

Yet, when all is said and done, how many of us have thought long term about where we’d go if a disaster struck? For that matter, wouldn’t your believe be like mine, that it would depend on what the disaster was? For instance, since my house is a mixture of gas and electricity, if the electricity went out I could stay in the house, keep warm, and eat just fine. But if it was a flood obviously I’d have to get away, but where?

Have you given this one much thought? By the way, I answered eventually that I would probably go to one of the local hotels about 2 miles away, hope they had power, and get a Jacuzzi room and just chill for a few nights if I needed to. That made them happy, and all was right with the world. Weird, right?

Luxury Car Booster Carrier Seat Belt Safety For Pet






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Why Businesses Should Be On Twitter

In deference to my online buddy Mike CJ, he wrote a post earlier in the week which he titled Why Businesses Shouldn’t Be On Twitter. His main point was that instead of businesses being on Twitter, they should have individuals representing the business on Twitter so that they can show some personality and communicate directly with people.

Whereas I agree with the last point, I disagree with the initial statement. In my opinion, businesses definitely need to be on Twitter, and for multiple reasons. Let’s take a look at some of these.

1. Branding. Businesses having a Twitter account get to make sure their logo is out there front and center whenever something is being written for the company. One should never overlook the importance of branding.

2. Customer Service. Last week I had an issue with one of my affiliates not paying me so I kind of called that company out by name on Twitter. Within 5 minutes I was being contacted by the company, or whomever was representing the company account on that day, and we got my issue resolved. I’ve talked in the past about other companies responding to the same type of thing, and last week my friend Josh Shear brought it home again.

3. Protection of name. If a company doesn’t sign up for their name, you can bet that at some point someone else will sign up and start using it, and unless they abuse it there will be nothing the company can do about it.

4. Marketing. Yeah, we all say we hate seeing marketing on Twitter, but what we really mean is we hate seeing someone pounding marketing message after message. If Sony had a Twitter account and suddenly announced that they were having a special one day sale where their 50″ HD TV’s were going on sale for $200, who wouldn’t want to know about that? Okay, I’ll admit that’s one of my special pipe dreams. 🙂

I agree with Mike that Twitter users should have personality. I’ve written about that often enough as well, how I’m looking for more “social” than “selling”. But I think any major business that doesn’t have a Twitter account is allowing their competition to get the leg up on them, and allowing those few people who might complain about them to get the message out without having the chance to offer any assistance and hopefully stem a bad situation.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell