Tag Archives: influence

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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Facebook Like Button For WordPress

In my continuing quest to work on spreading my influence, I figured I may as well add another thing to help figure out just what kind of influence I have, at least through this blog.

Back in June, before really thinking much about this project, I added Topsy, which allows people to retweet my blog posts if they like them without having to sign up for a service like TweetMeMe. This time I’ve installed the plugin called fbLikeButton. You have to put it in just like that, because there are a lot of plugins for the like button for Facebook. However, this one was the highest rated by people who have tried others, and I know why. It was the only one that didn’t require me to go to Facebook and set up a script to use it.

You’ll notice at the end of the post that the “like” button shows up just under my copyright notice. You have the choice of having it at the top or bottom or in both places, but I chose the bottom because it interfered with my “listen” button, and I figured having it at the end of the post make it easier for anyone who liked it and didn’t want to go back to the top. Of course, it would be nice if my Topsy allowed me to do that as well, but I think I like it just the same. You can also make it wider or thicker, so to speak, and you can select “recommend” instead of “like”; I stuck with the regular one. And if people click on it, their names and image will show at the end of your post as well; you get to determine if you want faces to show, and I decided to go that route for now.

What the like button does… heck, let’s just show what Facebook says it does:

When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website.”

And there you are. I hope you “like” this post.
 

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Blog Ranking Systems; Do They Mean Anything?

Suffice it to say, I’ve been writing a lot lately about influence, especially influence online. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that there are ways of tracking how one’s blog is working online. Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure that most of these are all that effective.

I’m not sure if y’all remember my post talking about Technorati’s new ranking system some time ago. Before they made the change, you knew that if you could get your blog into the top 100,000 that you were doing pretty well. Then they changed it and, at least for me, it became impossible to know what was good. However, at the time they made the change, this blog was ranked at 491, and since the high was 993, I figured I was at least in the top half. It’s been awhile since I took a look at Technorati, and where am I now? I’m at 128; what the hey?

I don’t know how Technorati works, but I can’t believe this blog has fallen in influence that far. A look at my Analytics stats says my traffic has drastically increased over the last six months, and my ranking fell? My Alexa rank has improved and my ranking fell? Now, comments have stayed the same, but do comments actually drive Technorati that much?

It’s reminded me of other blog ranking systems that at one time or another I’ve belonged to, including Sire’s Cool Blog Links, where out of not so many sites I’m ranked down in 6th place. What’s even weirder is that his blog is ranked 10th on that site, and his Alexa ranking is 30,000 points better than mine. Strange, right?

There have been other blog ranking sites that I’ve joined and unjoined over the years, mainly because the rankings seemed, well, arbitrary. On one I was in the top 50 out of 250 while in another I was sitting around 315 out of 400, and one other I was around 275 out of 500. What did any of them mean? I didn’t have a clue.

There’s also always the question as to whether the measure of a blog is the amount of comments it gets. I even debated another blogger through my blog when he stated he believed that people’s content stank if they weren’t getting a lot of comments. I love comments, as I feel it means I’ve connected with someone on a particular post, but Seth Godin gets people quoting him all the time and he doesn’t even allow comments; I’m thinking that’s proof that comments aren’t a measure of influence at all.

I believe blog ranking systems are fairly arbitrary in what they mean to bloggers in general. If there was one standard that all the systems agreed with, then it might mean something. I get locked into Alexa because it’s not a blog ranking, but a website ranking, and at least it gives you a real tool of comparison to use. Don’t get caught up in blog ranking systems as a true measure; use them for entertainment purposes only, and you won’t get caught up trying to rank for things you can’t control.

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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.

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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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