All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

How Are You Using Social Media For Promotion?

In my previous post, I asked Are You Using Social Media For Promotion? This time around, I’m asking how people use it, and I’m going to tell how I’ve been using some of it.


First, let’s start with Twitter. Since I signed up with Twitter, the number of visitors has gone up. I know it’s because every post I write on all my blogs shows up on Twitter.

But that’s not nearly enough. What I do with Twitter is participate in the full process. That means I talk to other people. I retweet what other people post or say that I feel is pretty good. I post news articles I like that I want to share with people, even if it’s political. I post people’s blog posts that I like to Twitter, though most people don’t know it. Every once in awhile, I promote something I do, like writing or executive coaching. Also, every once in awhile I post that I’m holding “office hours,” although to date no one has taken me up on a visit during that time.

I figure when there’s really nothing to say, it’s time to share something that’s caught my interest at the time; it’s amazing who will respond to certain things at certain times. I even got to participate in what’s known as a TweetUp, which means I met people in person, twice I might add, through Twitter. And I ask people to follow me on Twitter, which of course helps me reach even more people, though I’m not making a large grab at followers. All organic; that works best for me. Now, if you’d like to follow me, you can click on the link above, or click on the bird to the right.

Through Twitter, I’ve gotten many interviews, one of which ended up in the newspaper, and some I’ve shared here and on my business blog. I’ve met some very interesting people, including Guy Kawasaki, who, because of our association, listed my business blog on his Alltop site under “leadership”; that was pretty cool. And I’ve learned some things as well; there really are a lot of smart people on Twitter, once you work your way through the noise.

Next, LinkedIn. Years ago, I couldn’t quite figure out how to use it. Back then, they didn’t have groups like they do now. Eventually they did start something, but it’s really only taken off in the last year. I’ve fully gotten myself into the LinkedIn experience also. My profile is totally complete, including an image. I belong to 10 groups at this juncture. I have 159 direct connections, which supposedly means I’m within range of tens of thousands of other people through a direct connection with some of these folks; freaky. I’ve had 21 people recommend me for something, which is pretty neat, as I’ve also recommended some people. The groups thing has really been interesting because it allows me to engage in business conversations with people around the world. I’ve even had the opportunity to meet two or three people in person through LinkedIn; wild! If you click on that link above, you should be taken to my LinkedIn profile page.

Next, Ryze. At one time Ryze was the premiere place to be, but it lost its way when the powers that be stopped updating things and listening to its members. I had a lot of business connections there through the years, some of whom I’m still in contact with, but they just fell off the wagon. Every once in awhile I still avail myself of their advertising area, just to get a backlink to something, but it’s rare. Of course, the best thing about Ryze is that it lets you set up your own homepage in any manner you’d like to, and that’s really the coolest thing of any of the social media sites I belong to. If you click on the link above, it might let you go to my page without joining, but I can’t guarantee that.

Facebook is an interesting animal. I’ve tried to mainly do business things there, but man, it’s just hard to do. I don’t participate in a lot of the goofy stuff, but I do play two versions of Scrabble there. And I talk to people, mainly individually through the feeds that pop up in your news feed area. I’ve met some great people there, and I’ve been reintroduced to old friends, and I mean people from college and high school; that’s always pretty neat as well. I set up two groups, neither one of them actually business groups, but neither does all that well. I’ve given thought to creating a fan page, but I hate joining them myself, so I feel like that would be hypocritical of me to do it. But I know I’m missing out on a great marketing tool, so I have to think about it some more. Once again, I think if you click on the link it’ll take you to my Facebook profile page.

Quick hitters on the rest, since this is getting fairly long. Obviously I blog, and I talked briefly about that in the last one. I use instant messaging, though not as often as I used to. I’m signed up with 8 forums, but I visit one way more than the others. But on each forum, I have a signature line of some sort, driving people to either a couple of blogs or a couple of websites. It’s about backlinks and SEO, but forums are also about participating and talking to people. All of it is a process for publicity, which I talked about recently also.

I think that’s enough. You’ve seen what I do; now, how are you using social media for promotion?

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Are You Using Social Media For Promotion?

This is the first of a two part series on social media. The first article is asking if you’re using social media to promote yourself, whatever that “self” is supposed to be. The second article will be asking how are you doing it, and it’ll be more than just asking which sites you’re going to. Of course I’ll be telling some of my stuff also, but with the opening, I now give myself a place to do an internal link once I’ve written both posts. Method to the madness; and so we begin.

imagekind

By now, everyone should know what I mean by social media, but I’m not going to take any chances. Social media is where people have the opportunity to interact with each other within a controlled environment of some type. Actually, back in the day, we used bulletin board systems to talk to each other, and in many ways that was the earliest bit of social media out there. Then we had early chat rooms, and Usenet, which was a lot of fun initially.

The problems were interesting back then. You could only spend 30 minutes to an hour on bulletin board systems before you got kicked off. Chat rooms weren’t close to being private, and one night I tried talking to over 30 people at the same time for almost 2 hours; never did that again. Usenet was interesting, but sometimes it took too long, got strangely heated, you’d see posts in multiple groups, and eventually it got taken over by pornographers and spammers.

Today’s social media seems to be more social, strange at that sounds. Instant messaging is more personal. Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Ryze can be more personal, with options of being more participatory. Second Life actually allows you to be something else entirely different. And Twitter is instantaneous gratification if you want it, and that actually works best if you care to build up relationships. To a degree, blogging in today’s world is also a form of social media, because fewer people are using blogs as diaries, instead either talking about issues, points of views, or selling something such as products or their business knowledge. And of course there are forums I also belong to.

I participate in all of the above except Second Life. There were other sites I had joined, but none of them really did anything for me. Even Ryze isn’t doing much for me these days, as I’ve cut back from my high ever of 11 groups to only one. However, the other sites are doing some interesting things for me, as long as I’m participating in some of the processes that I’m being afforded.

Now, can I say I’ve made any money from any of them just yet? Not definitely, that’s for sure. Well, I’ve made a little bit from blogging, so I do have to throw that in there. I got a speaking engagement once because of my business blog. Two of my blogs have generated a little bit of Adsense money, and this blog actually got a sale of a CJ product once. And I negotiated a writing assignment with a couple of people through IM (instant messaging for the uninitiated), which means I made money there also. And Digital Point forum has garnered me a few clients that I still have as far as writing goes.

As for promotion, Twitter has gotten me quite a few interviews. Both my business blog and this one got me other interviews. Though this blog lost its PR (page rank), it’s still looking pretty good on Alexa, though I still want to crack that 100,000 number one of these days. I mentioned all those followers on Twitter, and I’ve talked to many of those people, including Guy Kawasaki, whose book I helped edit, then got a signed copy of.

And I continue to try to figure out more ways I can use these different social media opportunities. So, I ask once more; are you using social media for promotion?
 

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A Political Health Care Rant

The last time I did a rant of some kind, I touched upon a lot of issues that really weren’t related to each other. This time, though it might not seem like it, it’s all mainly about one thing, health care, though I might go off the range a couple of times. It’s time for this, though; I’ve written about it often enough in posts on my other two blogs, but not this one. I just need to clear the air, so here goes; and no, the image has nothing to do with this post, as we all know by now.

Nutrition in the 1,000 Days
Bread for the World via Compfight

On Saturday night, the House Democrats finally pushed through the first stage of what will be a very massive and comprehensive health care bill. Well, at least they pushed through a bill, on a vote of 220 – 215. How comprehensive it will be is still in dispute by everyone outside of the House of Representatives.

Why? Because we have no idea what’s really in the bill. What is it going to cover? We already know it’s not covering abortions, but we have no idea what it’s going to cover. We’ve heard that it’s going to be funded by fees and cuts to Medicare. What kind of cuts to Medicare, and why? What kind of fees? I know that if it still has that stupid provision I heard about back in late September about charging individuals $900 and families $3,800 if they decide not to get onto a health care plan, I don’t support that at all. After all, the President said that any health care bill he signed wouldn’t hurt the middle class; just who do we all think those fines, or fees, will be laid upon? The rich have enough money to not have to worry about it, and the poor have Medicaid.

What I have heard is that they won’t allow insurance companies to not cover someone for preexisting conditions, which is a biggie because I got caught under something like that back in 1984 (and still have my tonsils because of it). They also won’t allow insurance companies to drop you if you’re already sick under the plan, unless insurance premiums stop being paid. That’s actually another good thing. I tell you, in general I don’t trust insurance companies and it’s because of stuff like this. However, in my mind, they should have passed these laws years ago, instead of tying it to a health care plan.

Okay, let me go on the record by saying this; I do believe this country needs to have a health care plan to protect everyone who doesn’t have insurance. Having said that, without knowing what this plan is, I don’t know if this is the plan we signed on for. The President said in his 8 principles that any plan Congress came up with has to NOT increase the deficit. Suddenly, this plan is coming with a $1.2 trillion price tag over 10 years; how the heck is that not going to raise the deficit?

Now, raising the deficit is something the Republicans seem to be hanging their hat on, but those phonies and hypocrites were responsible for getting this country into the mess it’s in now, with unemployment finally reaching 10.2% and more than 15 million Americans out of work. They say that they’re worried about the financial burden on our kids; yeah, they’re worried about the money but they could care less about the environment, which they say doesn’t matter to them and that they don’t believe there’s anything wrong with, as Greenland is about to lose its ice mass and glaciers, Alaska has already lost much of its glaciers, ice is melting at both the North Pole and Antarctica at alarming rates, and the snows of Kilamanjaro are disappearing rapidly. Sure, there’s no threat of global warming; please!

And, why is it that these same Republicans, the party of NO, the party that just today supposedly came up with its own version of a health care plan that not only isn’t a health care plan, but is something that half the states in the union have already had in place for nearly 30 years, couldn’t decide to work with the Democrats and actually voice their concerns about portions of the bill while the debate was going on? Why didn’t they offer anything? Oh yeah, because their lobbyists would have had a field day and their political funds would have dried up (I just dropped receiving email from the lobbying from my local Chamber of Commerce because these people obviously have no compassion for anyone except businesses). Someone tell me how rich people are supposed to care about anyone else being able to have health care? Heck, months ago a Republican representative said health care was a privilege, not a right; who elected this moron?

Also, just who were these idiots (yes, I’m name calling) who were showing up at these town meetings over the summer and screaming about the potential for a health care plan instead of engaging in some kind of civil discussion. Here’s the thing; no one took you seriously except for the Republican politicians who were hoping that some kind of public outcry would scare people off this plan. Most of you who were being convinced that a health care option would be a bad thing are the very people who probably need this health care. Rich people don’t march, so they didn’t care. You made jerks out of yourselves and no one heard a single thing you said. I tell you this, it’s certainly a good thing I’m not a politician because I’d have walked right up to you, got in your face, and dared you to keep screaming at me. Threatening? You bet! People tend not to act stupidly when they’re called on it.

One final point; this idea of a public option. Folks, let’s just call it what it is; a government sponsored health care plan to compete against other insurance companies. I’m not sure whether I’m for it or against it, but I don’t think it’s needed. Instead. what would spur competition of prices would be to lift the lid on insurance companies across the country to be able to market their insurance in any market they saw fit. Too many communities have only 2 or 3 insurance company options at the most from which to choose from, and all of them have somewhat inflated rates. For all these people griping about how much the government health care plan is going to cost, who hasn’t at least a couple of times this decade had double digit insurance premium increases at work, where the average seems to be at least 8% every year, and the cost of pharmaceuticals going even higher? With more competition, prices would naturally have to come down, and that might solve some of the problems instead of the government funding their own insurance plan, which they already do through Medicare and Medicaid.

Now, if people were complaining that, instead of a health care plan, we should have been concentrating on improving the economy, I’d have gotten behind that. Sure, we had this stimulus package, but most of that was undercover, to the point that some people are just getting their stimulus money, and others have used it in ways that weren’t its purpose. This wasn’t supposed to save jobs; it was supposed to help create new jobs. But, in my opinion, most of these politicians had no idea how to create jobs. I had my ideas on how to create jobs, but no one ever asked me. What happened to our money czar? Oh yeah, she couldn’t take the job because she had illegal help that she didn’t pay any taxes on; sheesh (okay, we actually do have a new money czar, but I was on a roll here)!

By the way, I had my own version of a health care plan that a colleague consultant didn’t like, saying it wouldn’t be effective, and he came up with his own health care plan, which would have been effective. However, in retrospect, my plan over 10 years would have come to $500 billion at the most, while his would have come to $2 trillion; I still win fiscally.

Morally, this country needs a health care plan. Only the United States and Italy don’t have one for its citizens. Financially, I’m not sure we can afford this one, especially if the figures I mentioned earlier are still a part of the plan. And also, if it’s taking money away from Medicare, which is going to end up closing hospitals at the same rate, eventually, that banks are closing now, a health care plan won’t matter because we won’t have anywhere to go. That plus there’s already a shortage of doctors and nurses in this country because reimbursement is too low and malpractice insurance is too high.

I keep wondering if I were in Congress how I would have voted on this bill. This is something that most people don’t think about; these bills that get put before our elected officials almost never have everything we want in them, and sometimes have stuff sneaked in that has nothing to do with the bill. That’s how the anti-gambling statute got pushed in, through another bill that protects our borders, and why every American who’s paying to play poker online is actually breaking the law. With the little bit I know, this bill wouldn’t be close to my first choice. I might have had to hold my nose, but I think I’d have probably voted for it in the end.

Nope, glad I’m not a politician. Certainly glad I’m not a Republican (I’m not a Democrat either, by the way), since it seems that, so far, in this year they haven’t come up with a single proposal to try to advance something. Think that’s the wrong way to look at it? Prove me wrong. At least they did come together last week with the Democrats to vote for an extension of unemployment; can you imagine how bad that would have looked?

Okay, off the soapbox now. I’m not expecting this one to be read that much, so back to the lighthearted fare most of us are used to tomorrow; whew!


eVitamins

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No-Self Pings

As y’all know, I’m pretty good with my internal linking. One of the problems with internal linking, though, is that I’m always pinging myself, so to speak, and getting all these messages that turn out to be from me on those older posts.


Not only is it somewhat irritating, but lately a bunch of those things show up in the spam filter, which is freaky. That didn’t used to happen, but a couple of months ago I was testing another WordPress plugin on my business blog. I don’t even remember what it was, or what I hoped it would do. What it did overall, though, was start sending my self pings into spam on all my blogs; ugh. I think that’s one of the problems with having everything on the same hosting service.

Anyway, I was going through Kristi’s last Fetching Friday post, and one of them was a link to a guy talking about WordPress plugins you might not know about. I went to the link, and in that guy’s post he had a separate link to another blog. Followed that one, and came across a plugin called No-Self Ping.

Now, if this thing works, it’s perfect, and just what I wanted. I had to write this post so I would have something to link back to so I could test it. This means I don’t yet know if it works, but as soon as I post this, with the couple of internal links I have above, we’ll know for sure. Here’s hoping for great things.

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Do Images Increase Readership?

There’s been some conversation I’ve been reading lately about the effectiveness of adding images into one’s blog posts. Many people think it’s absolutely essential to add an image of some kind to break up all the white space of a post. Others think that if the images don’t match the content then what’s the point.

I have to admit that I’ve always belonged to the latter. I’ve rarely added images to my posts unless I happened to be talking about something in particular. Mainly, it’s because it’s just one more time consuming thing to try to do when I could be doing something else, like internal linking or eating dessert.

I decided to try something new. For my next seven posts, I’m going to be posting an image. The image probably won’t have anything to do with anything I’m writing about, because, well, most of the time what I’m writing about doesn’t have an appropriate image. Of course, me being me, I’m doing something a little bit different than many of the other people.

Y’all should know by now that one of my affiliate programs is Imagekind. That image to the left underneath my two books is from their site. People put up pictures on that site to sell them as prints, framed or not. They have all sorts of different prices. It’s actually a pretty neat little deal. I’m not a photographer, but I know what I think looks pretty cool. So, every image, or at least every image unless I say differently, for the next 7 posts, which includes this one, is going to be from their site. If you click on the image, it’ll take you to their site, where you can purchase this image, or search around and find something you like. I’m going to be posting some images I thought were particularly cool.

I’m only doing this initially for 7 days. I want to see if images really do bring more traffic, drive traffic away, or has no effect whatsoever. Also, I’m hoping that someone at least clicks on a few pictures, and who knows, might even buy one. Not only me, but the people who created the pictures will probably be extremely elated.

Of course, I’m also going to have to tweak the sizes of these images from time to time, because I need to make sure they don’t overwhelm the page. This one fits right into the middle of the content. I’ll have to figure out if it should be at the very top of the content, where I see a lot of images, or maybe shrink it some and make it a part of the content in some way, like I usually do. What do you think about this one, if you’re inclined to share?

Anyway, enjoy the images; it might be a recurring thing later down the road, or it’s a 7 post experiment. Let’s see how it all goes.

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