“+” What Is It Good For? Plus More!

I was sitting down contemplating exactly how I was to go about with a few projects I’m currently working on such as my next book, audio/video projects, speaking projects and more.

As I sat gazing and daydreaming for some reason Google™ popped into my mind, then its “plus” service; and almost immediately I began channeling Edwin Starr’s classic song WAR (Whitfield/Strong -released1970 Motown) as I inserted the word “plus” for “war.”

And yes, daydreaming is a valid and productive process to do, and far too many have forgotten just how important it can be for they have replaced it with unproductive busy work. i.e., Checking in on their social status every 10 seconds. But I digress.

The more I thought about the service, the louder the song seemed to grow in my head. And with that I decided to delete my account and I thought I’d share my reasoning why, for as many of you know I like to use myself as the example where appropriate. Not the all too prevalent…

They read in someone’s book where they read in someone else’s book, that someone wrote about someone else, where they were reading someone else who was writing, where they chronicle a group of other books written by someone else. And while they’ve never done any of it, they’re now writing about what they wrote, so that you can now go out and buy their writings – on what they think you should do. Even though they themselves have never done it. Sorry, once again I digress. But I believe wholeheartedly that point is not made near enough.

So getting back to my reasoning and trying to stay clear of a rant, here is what I’ve both noticed, believe, and other details that have been borne out in absolute fact, not conjecture, or “a reading of tea leaves.”

First: During what is now known as the “social media revolution” you won’t get 1 out of 100 people disagreeing that today the only way to get known, promote, sell, and more is: via social media. In other words you must be on “all” the platforms. e.g. Pintrest™, Facebook™, Twitter™, YouTube™, et al. You must have followers, likes, comments, write for SEO and more. If not – you’re not only “not serious” you’re probably doomed for failure. Only problem with that? It’s bunk. Pure unadulterated trash. Period.

Now why can or do I make such a statement? Easy, it’s because ever since I started – I’ve done none of it.

Oh yes, like many I too at first opened an account on many of these platforms. But after posting maybe once or twice (if at all) I instinctively felt it was all just a waste of time, especially in a true business sense. And so far it’s been proved out my thoughts and realizations were correct. And again – I backed up that argument by not doing any of it. (I can hear the gasps from new readers thinking “That’s blasphemy!”)

However, for those maybe not familiar with my thoughts on this subject let me add to this for there may be a little confusion. i.e., “How do you say social media (SM) is worthless yet you have sharing buttons?”

I didn’t nor don’t say SM is useless or worthless for everything. There are very valid uses as well as fantastic ways for things to be shared, talked about, and more. But (and it’s a very big but) as far as the way its been touted for use to help businesses and entrepreneurs? Not so much.

And I’ve been adamant from the get-go and have stated unabashedly “The only people making real money on social media, are the people selling you their products “on how you need to use social media.” And I still stand by it. It could change, but as of this writing that’s still my viewpoint.

So I thought I’d change the discourse from me just typing to something more along the lines as if you were watching me on stage using some real answers I give when I’m asked very direct and pointed questions from the audience on this very topic in conversation form.

I believe it will help in facilitating as well as giving more understanding of where I’m personally coming from; for there is probably no other topic that people want to try to “skewer the speaker” with as to prove them wrong.

And maybe it will help you also should you decide to follow an even different path because you will be called out as to “explain” yourself.

So with the help of V.V. from StreetCry we put together the following. Just suppose you’re a person in the audience and you were to hear the following questions directed at me from the audience:

Question: You say you don’t use SM yet you have share buttons on your site. Can you explain this?

Me: Sure, I didn’t say there is no purpose for it. I said as far as basing a business on it is what’s getting people in trouble. If people find something on my site that they find interesting and want to share it on say FB or something else, I’m pleased. And I have them there for just that reason. Yet me wasting my time to get them to read me on FB – rather than my own site – seems counterproductive does it not? Thanks, and next question…

Question: In a world now seemingly dominated by the likes of Twitter, how can you be serious about people not using tools such as Twitter?

Me: I didn’t say there isn’t a place or need. What I’ve said is, it’s all purely about business and in just how one is using poor metrics, and wasting a lot of time chasing those metrics. Rather, than doing and focusing on where they should. And that is; getting one customer to actually spend money with you where they are satisfied and willing to not only do it again, but rather, will tell one of their friends that they should also.

That’s where the power is – of sharing or tweeting as it’s called is in my book. Not you trying to build followers for the sake of just “you have X amount of followers.” When one is engaged in doing that for the near exclusion of all else that’s what I mean when I talk about “busy work.” Thanks, next question…

Question: It’s been shown with the “right” strategy Twitter can be a more powerful medium than what traditional platforms once offered; and there is proof of this. So to say one should disregard these seems a little arrogant or at the least a little near-sighted, and maybe, just applicable to your own situation. But for many others it might not be the case. Do you want to try as to explain the difference or at least acknowledge that point where you might be wrong?

Me: Great question, and my first answer to your last statement is – No. But let’s not take “my word” for this. Please let me ask you a question for I feel it demonstrates exactly what I’m trying to show. Let me ask, Do you have a Twitter account?
Response: Yes

Me: And how many followers do you have currently?
Response: Over 35,000

Me: Fine. Can we all be in agreement 35K is a considerable amount especially for an individual? And for this purpose let’s use the “individual” criteria regardless if it’s a business or not because that gives it the highest intrinsic value as a number. Can we all agree on this?
(Everyone responds yes in agreement)

Me: Fair enough. So, how long have you been building up that following?
Response: About 3 years.

Me: Fair enough, so correct me if I state anything wrong. What you’re telling me is over the last 3 years or so you’ve used a strategy that as far as you believe it to be, is working correctly. And, as proof of that work and strategy, as evidenced by it, you have 35,000 people to read your thoughts or hear your ideas. Is that correct?
Response: Yes, that’s about right.

Me: Again, fair enough. Now I on the other-hand over the same period of time have also worked by my own strategy which entails not having an account and having zero followers. Yet, at any given time as we stand here today my thoughts, or my articles are sent directly to other Twitter followers in documented provable metrics of nearly 2,000,000 (yes that’s two million) and hundreds of thousands of others in ancillary metrics such as re-tweets and the like to their followers, etc.

Now let me clarify as so no one thinks I’m being coy with those figures using some cumulative example. That’s at any given time pertaining to any given article or news I might make. So I must ask you – whose strategy seems to be bearing more fruit?

And I’m not trying to show you up or make you feel uncomfortable. However, what I am trying to do is make you think about what you’re doing. Maybe what you are doing is absolutely perfect for your situation. I have no clue on that, only you can answer it. However, if it’s just a “numbers” thing, than you have to weigh it against that evidence and think if you’re getting the results you really want or better yet – need. And if not, maybe be open to other possibilities. Thanks, and next question…

Question: You balk at writing for SEO and other things yet how will you be found on the net if the search engines don’t or can’t find you?

Me: Great question. First, even the most astute SEO developers have found all their work over last few years nullified with changes to Google’s new algorithms and updates as to “help make a better search experience” they say. Some businesses that based their business models solely on SEO have found themselves out of business near overnight. And it’s still happening as we speak.

However, it has been by my own experience “search” as we thought it to be just a mere year ago is irrelevant and useless. The results, the listings, the priorities, all of it just don’t make any sense as far as I’m concerned. Again, all I know is what I see on my side. However, I have enough material as well as intellectual property on the web to base that argument on an informed opinion and analysis where I personally can see changes as I’ve grown, and how results are now laughable as my team or myself look at them when we conduct our own fact-finding missions.

Let me share the latest revelation I had that I believe will help illustrate what I’m trying to convey.

For the last few years as I’ve stated I didn’t involve myself in the whole SM thing. However, the one thing I have done is share all my articles in a Google plus account I had. My thoughts were, I have some Gmail™ accounts I use and it probably wouldn’t hurt to at the least re-post my articles there where it might help with search. I never followed or shared with + as people use it. I just re-posted them there in a “can’t hurt” attitude.

As many of you know as well as you probably do yourself there are things you can do such as set up “alerts” where if your name comes up on the web you’ll be alerted too it. Again, I just like many of you have thought and maybe still do, this is/was a great feature. So I’ve been using it ever since and now it’s going on many years.

What I now can state as far as my experience is that it has become absolutely worthless. Here’s just one example to illustrate.

Both my name, whether it be in a byline from an article I’ve written, or quoted by others on major media sites (such as papers of record) where their readership is in the millions so it’s not as if they wouldn’t be or are not scoured by the search engines. The results in my alerts? Squat, as in zip, zero, nada.

As my reach has grown to where I literally at times am in front of an audience of millions with gusts to 10’s of, at any given time around the globe where I’m referenced by my actual name (and yes spelled correctly) I receive absolutely nothing in way of my name being out there.

Even now when we do our own “search” and look for corresponding results in a query as to try to give an accurate measure as to see where or when. Just over the last year this has changed so much with its responding results; they are not only frustrating – they are by even more accounts downright laughable.

Here’s just one of the latest in a long streak that caused me to rethink a lot of what I’m doing as it pertains to the “web” or “Search” in general.

I was quoted in a major publication. This time it was the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch™ which is far from some outlier news site. And once again nothing. And that’s not counting the 5 other top sites that also carried me in varying ways to an easily quantifiable audience of about 30 million.

Like I said, it’s not like I was asking to be “alerted” if I was found on someone’s personal blog. These are major media sites with worldwide followings. But this isn’t out of the norm…this is, and has been – the norm.

Over the last few years I have been probably alerted less than a handful of times. And here’s the kicker, of those times, it’s been to things on my own blog! Things which by their own policies or dictates will tell you are not supposedly counted. For if you follow their policies or dictates this is not supposed to happen (and I do by the way) as to make sure they don’t “ding” you. And yet – there it is. Like I said earlier you can’t make this stuff up, but what’s worse is that’s it’s so laughable it really isn’t funny any longer. It now borders pathetic. But that’s just me.

Not that long ago I would be alerted even if I only showed up on someones blog. An example of this in my earlier days I used the example of showing up on a coffeehouse blog in Salt Lake City as to demonstrate I never knew where my thoughts might end up next. Now I can be quoted, or carried by name in some of the largest media sites across the globe and….pffffffft!

So I know this is a long about answer and has gone a long way, but I think it’s important to illustrate as I try to answer your question clearly. In today’s day and age the way I think about search and all the rest is, the very way I think about my home, phone, or email address.

It must be on the web just like your home must be on a listed city street not in the middle of the woods, and your contact information must be plain, readable, and precise so that people when they leave can send a letter, or call you and it will reach you. Just like if you moved to another city you could tell people where you are and how to find you. Just like we thought years ago about being in the telephone books.

You need to focus your attention that people looking specifically for you – can find you. For find you they will. And the way in which they’ll do that you can’t even begin as to try to game play every option. There are far too many. But if you make it so they can. i.e., Have the actual location properly marked with signage, a clear address, contact info, etc. Whether it be physical or web-based is the most important thing bar anything else.

If you have just those things alone not only will you be found, but you’ll have a more accurate profile on the web than I would garner to say more than half of what’s currently out there. Most sites are down right pitiful. Even those that are supposed to be “open for business” sites.

Then as you grow via your own efforts and word of mouth being spread with other happy customers: expanding that is easy.

But far too many are focused arse backwards. They’re trying to set up for “the millions” when they don’t even have one satisfied customer first. And that’s all I’m trying to relate as far as this topic is concerned. I hope that helps shed some light and with that I have time for one more.

Question: So one must assume that with all your saying or implying the traffic at your own site must be rather large. Can you tell us how much traffic your own site receives?

Me: First let’s get the “assume” or “imply” thing right off the table for it get’s in the way. For numbers mean different things to different people and confuse issues rather than give clarity in some example.

So for the base of this answer let me use this number because it demonstrates what I’m saying more clearly and this way I can’t be said to be “conflating” or “inflating” numbers where the point is lost. So with that said…Let’s say the total traffic to my own site is 1, and I mean that, just one solitary person in a year.

Now you might be aghast at such a thing, especially if I followed up with, “And that’s perfectly fine with me.” And the reason I would be fine and you might be stupefied is for this underlying reason.

The one person that may come to my site might do well over $35,000.00 in a solitary business transaction as in to hire me speak. That’s what I’m concerned with. Getting that one, than another, than another, so on and so forth.

Far too many are worried about getting to 35,000 followers, or “hits” on their site and do absolutely ZERO business in the form of transactions. i.e., Legal tender that will be accepted as deposit by their bank.

That illustrates what I believe is the core fundamental business difference I take that nearly too a person doesn’t. I’m in business – they’re in the vanity business while calling it something else. It may be something else, but what it ain’t – is business.

You can do either/or and there is absolutely nothing wrong with either. But you can’t fool yourself thinking one is something that it’s not.

You must determine first what you are. i.e., a business – or a hobby because both have fundamental differences.

Then once you do that you’ll inherently do the things necessary to advance one or the other and eschew anything that’s not pointedly applicable for the advancement of either. For again. There’s business, and then there’s a hobby.

Many have hobbies they believe are a business, and there are just as many businesses treated as a hobby. This is where most confusion on strategy and tactics not only frustrate people, they can cause real distress in both family life as well as your health.

Just the realization in “the knowing” which one you are, sometimes clears 90% of the things out-of-the-way near  instantaneously you were frustrated with earlier. Don’t let that seemingly small point get lost on you. It sometimes is something that small that makes way for all the big changes you want to happen going forward.

Thanks for some great questions, and thanks for being here!

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr