All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Inequality – Blog Action Day #Blogactionday

We have another Blog Action Day upon us, one where I get to share in my little space my opinion or story about the main topic of the day. I hope some of you are writing and participating as well on this day, though I know it’s not going to come true because it never has before. Oh well…

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Today the topic is inequality; where do I begin? There’s so much of it and so many levels of it that if I tried tackling it all I’d either go nuts or wouldn’t be able to finish writing this at all. And since some of my posts are overwhelmingly large I don’t think we want that for this one.

The thing about inequality is that, for the most part, it’s not the majority that’s actually in charge. When first reading that it might look strange until you remember that the top 1% as far as wealth is concerned has more wealth than the combined wealth of the remaining 99%.

What this means is that if I just said, as I could, that white people have all the money and all the benefits in this country, I’d be wrong. Some of the poorest people in this country are white. Poverty doesn’t know color, it only knows inequality and limited options for getting out of it.

It also knows limits apply to women, who are 54% of the population and yet make 68% of what men make (or something around that figure; it’s always changing but it’s still low), which, though higher than minorities across the board, still isn’t fair.

And it’s not just in this country. Every single country has the same thing going on, where the elite are drastically in the minority but have all the power. Some might think that politics could change that but when it comes to who gets in office in those positions that really matter it’s all about money. The number of people in every country who are in top positions are all rich. In the United States, I don’t think there’s a single senator now who’s not a millionaire, or pretty close to one. You just can’t get there nowadays without lots of money. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere else, even in Communist countries.

There’s even inequality when you look at the critical jobs that our countries need and the money they make, although there’s really nothing one can do about that and, overall, I don’t have a major issue with it for reasons I won’t get into here. Law enforcement, teachers, people in the military, fire fighters… find a position that’s critical and also needs a lot of people and you’re going to find low pay and long hours and no possibility of getting it all done, let alone getting it all done properly.

For once I’m not sharing a story from my own life, although it would be easy to do. Have I seen it? Yup. Have I experienced it? Yup. So I could go down that road. Instead, I’d like to offer 3 ways to try to end inequality, which will never happen but I can dream right? Here we go:

Clampdown, We are the 99% (27 of 27)
Glenn Halog via Compfight

1. Level the playing field. What the world needs is more fairness, not necessarily equality. In essence, people need to get the same education, have the same chances at jobs, and have the same possibilities to live a better life. How does one do that? Raise the poverty level to a living wage, more training programs so more people have skills that don’t require full school educations, still work on creating better education based on real world needs for the majority of people and of course feed the poor so it’s one less thing they have to worry about. All this costs money, lots of it; ain’t happening is it?

2. Put a cap on yearly wealth for individuals and spread it around to others. This isn’t me hating on anyone but does any one person really need to be earning $10 billion dollars a year? For that matter how about $500 million a year? Put a cap on wealth with the caveat that if anyone reaches that cap and the rest is distributed, that person doesn’t pay any state or federal taxes, and if they use any of their faithfully earned income towards charitable causes they still qualify for refunds. What cap would I put on? No idea, though it would still be pretty high, and it doesn’t matter because it’s not happening.

3. Any company that has a salary difference between men and women or the majority within a country and its minority population of more than 15% has 3 years to reduce that or gets fined heavily, with half of that money going to the disenfranchised within the company and the rest to the country to fund diversity programs or things such as feeding the poor, funding bad schools, etc. And those fines have to be heavy so it behooves companies to get it done. I would make slight allowances for companies that employ a lot of mothers if they create daycare with medical benefits so that a big chunk of their income isn’t going to pay for those things.

As I said, none of this will happen, and I’m not even sure if it’s feasible, but it would go a long way towards reducing inequality all around the world. For now, I’ll say that I hope more people will do their part with the people they know and those they don’t know that live in their community to see what they can do to help. I’m on the board of an organization that works to protect the rights of the disabled and helps them live independently; that’s how I help, as it’s a group that definitely suffers from inequality in a major way.

What are you doing to help?
 

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What Does Social Media Engagement Mean?

Often on this blog, and in comments I make on other blogs, I talk about the concept of engagement. I use this term when I’m talking about meeting people and networking on social media because I tend to believe that it’s the most important thing anyone could ever do online.

2014 WLS Welcome and Networking Event
United Way of Greater St. Louis
via Compfight

What do I mean by engagement? Overall I believe it means that you have to either talk to somebody every once in a while or actually comment on something so that if either the person who generated a topic of conversation responds to you or possibly someone else sharing that information responds to you, that other people who may see it after the fact might respond to you.

This doesn’t mean that if you put something out first that you have to actually add something extra to it to get people to talk to you. As a matter of fact, other than blogging, even though you’re hoping that people will respond to things you put out that are original, the reality is that, for the majority of us, more people will respond to things that other people initially put up that we share.

Let me give you some examples.

On Twitter, I like to share different things that people post. Sometimes those things are a retweet from someone else. When it’s a retweet, I try to do what I can to get the name of the person I’m connected to who is retweeting the item into the tweet. If there is no room for me to make a separate comment then at least I’m acknowledging the person who I’m connected to and in my own way thanking them for sharing that information.

Also, at least half the times that I retweet something I will add a / and then comment after it. The person I’m retweeting will definitely know that I’ve commented on what they shared, and it’s my hope that other people will recognize that extra comment as mine.

By doing each of these actions, every once in a while someone will start talking to me. Whenever someone talks to me first I always respond, although I don’t get that back all the time. Still, at least the attempt has been made to get to know someone better and to generate conversation. Thus, the beginning of engagement.

As it regards Google Plus, I try to do the same type of thing even though it’s slightly different. Sometimes I just comment on what someone puts up. Other times I’ll reshare it, and when I do that I always have a comment before I share the item.

What sometimes happens is that people will come by after seeing I shared their item and give me a +1. Every once in a while they may thank me for sharing the item. Most of the time if I at least comment on the original they may just say thank you or they may start a conversation with me. That’s actually what I’m shooting for because, once again, I tend to believe that engagement is the key to getting to know one another. That’s what true networking is all about.

The last one I’m going to touch upon is blogging. If you read this blog often enough you know that I am always saying that you should respond to comments. I also say that there are times when people leave lousy comments, or comments that there’s really nothing to respond to.

There’s someone who’s been leaving comments on this blog that, by the time this article goes live, I’ve either started to delete or the types of comments have changed, where the words “thanks for the informative post” are in every single comment. Even though my name is used, since there’s never anything else that’s new it looks like a spam type of comment.

Engagement begins when someone leaves a comment and mentions at least one thing in the article or addresses at least one thing that was in the article that either they want to agree with, disagree with, or specifically say whatever they want to about it. Without addressing anything that’s either in the post, or give a point of view on something that’s related to the article, or even telling a story that the article reminds you of, you have lost your opportunity for any kind of engagement and look like you’re just trying to get a backlink.

Maybe I’m just being a bit pigheaded when it comes to this concept of engagement, so I’ll ask you. Do you write your blog, or produce anything else that you send out to the masses, hoping for engagement, or just because you want to talk to yourself out loud and hope others will check it out? If you don’t want to engagement, then how do you know they’re even reading anything you put out? If you don’t care then it’s no big deal. If you do care, then you have to follow the concept of giving to get.

Let me know your view on this topic.
 

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Freedom Of Speech And Controversy On Your Business Blog

In the past I briefly talked about the controversy surrounding Chik-Fil-A. I’ve talked about controversy and having to deal with it often. I figured this was as good a time as any to talk about freedom of speech and controversy as it pertains to business blogs as opposed to general blogging.

Pitbull or Victim?
cobalt123 via Compfight

When businesses are thinking about being controversial, they shouldn’t be thinking about being controversial on social issues such as politics or religion. Those types of things can take away from the reason you created the blog and your business as well.

Unless those issues are what your blog is about, it’s best to stay away from them; at least on your business blog. If you feel the need to express your opinion about other things, it’s best to create a personal blog, whether you use your real name or not, and go that route.

However, negating the benefits of going against the grain, which is what controversy is all about, as it pertains to your business, means you’ve giving up an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. For instance, on this blog, I’ve taken some contrary views to the norm as it pertains to backlinks. All that does is set me apart from others who do some of the same type of work I do and starts a discussion point. In a way, it also establishes me as a free thinker, someone who sees things from a different perspective, and potentially helps me get clients who have some thoughts that lean my way.

Using another example, let’s say that I do kitchen remodeling. Most people in that industry recommend granite counter tops because they’re sturdy and pretty, and they come in multiple colors. If I wanted to be like the majority, I’d also advocate granite counter tops.

However, I’ve seen a few people that advocate slate counter tops, saying they’re also sturdy, easier to clean, won’t stain and that you can even cut on them without worrying that you’re going to cut them up. So, maybe someone else starts writing about the benefits of using slate instead. It goes against the norm, but you can bet that someone out there doesn’t like granite and likes reading something where an expert in the field has a much different opinion. And let’s face it, even those that advocate using granite can’t say slate is horrible, even if it wouldn’t be their first option.

Now, I don’t know whether slate is popular or not; I’m just using this as an example of how it might be controversial within the remodeling industry because everyone else goes in a different direction. As long as it’s related to business, controversy could end up being a good thing. Now, if you were advocating paper counter tops, that wouldn’t be controversial; it would be crazy, and you’ll never work. So you have to pick your options based on your own business.

Final point. Freedom of speech means that everyone can say anything they want to, no matter what or where it is. It also means that others can disagree with you however and wherever they feel as well. Hopefully it only stays at a verbal level but that’s the thing about some controversial topics. You’re probably never going to have two social media consultants coming to blows over whether Twitter is better than Facebook, but social issues are a much different animal. That’s why it’s best to avoid those topics where your business is concerned.

So, have you started blogging yet? Come on, be controversial, say something!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

10 Business Social Media Tips In 2 Minutes

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of a meme, but that’s where someone starts a theme of some sort and other people adopt it and do the same thing for a day or two (my buddy Peter says he doesn’t do memes; let’s see if I can goad him into the challenge lol). Well, it seems I’ve created my own meme where I’ve written 10 quick tips that shouldn’t take most people long to read. I’ve got a bunch of them on this blog, including one on writing and one on blogging and a few others here and there, including on my other blogs.


Make A Social Media Splash!

The plan is simple; write a post that gives information that hopefully the reader can digest in 2 minutes. I think this works great and should be something that everyone should be able to do. I sometimes like writing something like this to follow up a relatively long post.

Anyway, giving it another shot here so let’s get going:

1. Create a blog so you can communicate often with the masses, which includes your potential customers.

2. Have at least a LinkedIn account, but it wouldn’t hurt to be on the other social media platforms.

3. Don’t always sell; be engaging here and there, at least 50% of the time.

4. Don’t say social media is worthless if you’ve never given it a try.

5. Be nice, even when you’ve got a gripe you want to get off your chest.

6. Every person is a potential customer or lead; remember that.

7. Nothing says you have to do it all in social media. Find what you feel comfortable and do just that.

8. However, you must be in social media; trust me, your competitors are.

9. If it didn’t work the way you thought it would it’s not anyone’s fault; when has anyone gotten everything right every time?

10. Be yourself; sometimes you only get one chance to impress people.

That’s it; enjoy the challenge!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

5 Benefits Of Interviewing Others

It’s my bet that most of you wish you had more visitors to your blogs or websites. It’s also my bet that you’re not taking advantage of things you might be able to possibly do to help get your name out to the masses. What am I talking about?

Thomas Shahan (and a Salticid) on NBC's The Today Show!
Thomas Shahan via Compfight

I like to add interviews to my blog, whether they’re written interviews or video interviews. The reason I like doing them is because I think it adds a new dimension to my websites in general, as well as helps expand my presence in social media.

Right now I have 4 requests out to people who said they’d do the interview for me. I sent them the questions and I’m waiting… and waiting… and waiting. I had two people actually follow through on this, one for my local blog (who I also interviewed here, the other by my buddy Brian Hawkins, who also came through with a video interview.

On the first one, the guy asked me to interview him, and since I know him pretty well I did, and he did a little promotion and that was it. Brian came to the page, addressed all the people who commented on it, and even held a contest on his own blog in trying to help promote it. That was kind of neat and it proved a point.

Too many people lament that no one knows who they are, but they don’t step forward to handle the easiest things to help them along. Things like responding to comments on their blogs, writing comments on other blogs, promoting their missives or interviews on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook… Just asking, but how many of you have the link to your websites or blogs in your email signature? Yeah, I thought so.

This isn’t an invitation for you to write me asking me to interview you; truthfully, if you do that I’m ignoring it. I’ll ask those who I want to interview if I can do it. However, I’m always available for an interview because I know I can use it for “my” greater good.

Back in June I wrote another post about lessons learned via an interview I did with Cairn Rodriguez and I also shared the video. I followed that up last October later by sharing my own interview with Meloney Hall in a post talking about blogging and social media marketing. Meloney also interviewed me and posted it to her blog, which I found pretty cool, and I keep sharing that interview of me and other interviews I’ve done with others multiple times because, after all, they’re all a great representation of me.

The thing is that you have to be willing to at least try to do something for yourself if you’re looking to get known or to make money. People aren’t just going to find you; well, maybe they will, but if they don’t know you then why would they buy from you? What better way to help promote yourself than to be found on someone else’s digital real estate?

However, this post isn’t about you yourself all that much; it’s about adding someone else’s interview to your digital real estate. You’re probably thinking “I don’t want to promote anyone else on my page”. Trust me, you’re missing the point. How? Five points below:

1. Interviewing someone who does what you do can help confirm that you know what you’re talking about.

Strange as it might seem, some people who read what you have to say might not fully trust you, especially if they’re unsure of what you’re talking about. However, if someone else comes along and says the same type of thing, you start looking smarter. If you don’t believe this one just tell your spouse something, then have them ask someone else the same question. lol

2. Interviewing someone about aspects of what you do that you don’t talk about often helps highlight just how comprehensive what you do can be.

I did a podcast interview with a guy who does some group leadership training in Florida. In that interview I brought up some things that he himself doesn’t do, but he got it and helped to enhance it with his own words. It makes him look strong because even if he didn’t know anything about what I was saying up front his comment helped to show others just how difficult leadership training can be.

3. Sometimes you can interview someone who was a client and have them tell others how you helped them.

Talk about a coup! All of us in business have some sort of testimonials but you want to know a truth? I know quite a few people who actually write the testimonials themselves and then have someone sign them, making them authentic. Frankly that’s dismaying, and yet I’ve had the opportunity to do the same thing; I just couldn’t do it. However, having someone like that do a video testimonial while it being in the form of an interview… can you think of anything better to help enhance your business?

4. Interviewing someone on the fringe of what you do or are interested in can show you have some depth, thus showing you can be flexible.

I have done some social media consulting here and there. What I find is that depending on who you talk to they always think you talk about only one thing, yet each person has their own thing they’re thinking about. So when I’ve done interviews with other people I’ve expanded the conversation by having them talk about social media platforms in general, and invariably they’ll always bring up something I don’t use or I’m not signed up on. I’ve also interviewed people who have blogs but don’t consider themselves as bloggers; for instance one lady is a lawyer, another a 3D digital artist for media outlets.

5. This is the biggie; you have a major marketing tool that you can use over and over in multiple places. I’ve used my interviews on my blogs. Obviously the video interviews are on YouTube, but then I can embed them in blog posts and share them on every social media platform I have. I can also send links to people via email and, if I so chose to do, I could send out a link in traditional marketing mail and post cards.

There you go; how many times do I have to initiate conversation about interviews, giving them or interviewing others, before you’re ready to take the plunge? Maybe this will help some:
 


 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell