CATEGORY: Social Media

3 social media tips for your WordPress blog


You’ve worked hard to create quality content for your WordPress blog or website, and now you want to make sure people actually see that content, right? One channel for distributing your website’s content will obviously be social media, but WordPress themes can be hit or miss when it comes to presenting you with great social media integration options. Here are some basic guidelines for giving your WordPress site a better social media presence, and some suggestions for plugins that will get the job done.

How to: Use Vine to Extend Your Brands Social Media Reach


Vine is a social video app that was developed by Twitter and launched in January. The app is effectively a video version of Twitter because it only allows for you to create brief 6-second looping videos. At first it sounds boring, but it gets oddly addictive trying to create a perfect looping clip. Vine seems to be doing well and catching on fast because, just like Twitter, it’s an extremely simple concept that’s very easy to use.

Twitter just announced that Vine has crossed the 13 million, which shows just how fast the medium is growing. Twitter also just released Vine on Android yesterday which means that almost everybody who uses a smartphone has the ability to create a quick 6-second video story.

A new medium always brings marketing challenges to light, which is why we decided to give you a few tips on how to effectively use Vine to promote your brand:

American Express is Killing it with their Digital Media Strategy

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American Express went from having almost no social media presence to having an extremely strong one in just a few years. The credit card giant is continually launching carefully crafted social media promotion after social media promotion, allowing the brand to build a strong and passionate online community of cardholders.

American Express is active on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ — and is continually experimenting with new and emerging social networks.

The credit card company doesn’t just randomly post content. Instead, they carefully tailor each message targeted toward users on that specific medium.

Mashable spoke with Leslie Berland, SVP of digital partnerships and development at American Express, to learn about how AmEx develops its online strategy:

Customer Service is at the Core of the Strategy

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American Express began using social networks back in 2009, but didn’t really utilize social media until a bit later on. The company launched its social media initiative with a Twitter account called @AskAmex. The handle focuses on answering customer questions and concerns. Soon after the launch of @AskAmex, @AmericanExpress came to fruition.

Berland explained to Mashable, “Our mission is to be everywhere our Cardmembers and merchants are. To engage with them, service them, deliver unique value that’s shareable and create seamless digital experiences that surprise and delight.” She added, “We spent a great deal of time listening to the community. The community interests and feedback defined our strategy.”

Celebrating Small Businesses

The American Express social media strategy appeals to both consumers and businesses. AmEx goes beyond its core mission of enhancing the customer experience online by also creating content that appeals to merchants.

An example of how American Express reaches out to small businesses is with the Small Business Saturday campaign it created. AmEx used both online and traditional media channels to promote its Small Shop Movement. The company encouraged consumers to head over to their favorite local business on Small Business Saturday to makes purchases between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Berland told Mashable that the program was a huge success, explaining, “In 2011, more than 2.7 million Facebook users ‘liked’ the Small Business Saturday Page –- more than doubling the 1.2 million Likes in 2010. Nearly 195,000 tweets were sent in support of Small Business Saturday in November, many leveraging the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #SmallBizSat.”

Another example of American Express reaching out to small businesses is when they partnered with Twitter to open up the Twitter self-serve advertising platform to cardholders. To promote the partnership, AmEx offered up to $100 in free advertising for the first 10,000 businesses to sign up.

Yet another example of AmEx working to help small businesses is when they partnered with Facebook to create a contest where five small businesses were given a Facebook makeover and $20,000 to grow their businesses. This was part of the Small Business Saturday initiative.

Transforming Corporate Culture

Social media often forces companies to rethink corporate culture. Some companies embrace social media, while others resist and fight it (see Amy’s Baking Company). AmEx decided to embrace social media, hunting down every opportunity imaginable to increase its social media influence.

Berland explained, “The digital transformation occurring at American Express cuts across many business units, and it has to because of the breadth and depth of our business.” Adding, “From customer service to merchant services to our entertainment and travel business units, to corporate affairs, as well as our newly formed digital partnerships and development team, social media is a company-wide initiative.”

American Express was founded in 1850, so it’s anything but a new company. With over 160 years of business behind them, the company continues to evolve. The most current business trend that AmEx is embracing is figuring out how to mature in the digital space and figure out how to build a true member community online. Community and membership are at the core of the American Express business model and it shows by the way they strategically utilize the growing digital media landscape. The friendly, inclusive, and easy-going vibe that AmEx shows online makes people want to be part of the American Express experience.


Social Media and YouTube Secrets we Stole From Corporate: Part 2 of 2

This is Part 2 of 2 and the more useful of the pair. As a matter of fact, this could be the most useful blog entry ever.
You could be like us, a group of passionate nerds pouring their heart and souls into creativity, but not getting the traction you believe it should get. We could be delusional, and our videos and tweets and blogs may not deserve the attention we think they do. But then we all must be nuts, because everyone on the ‘net is clamoring for eyeballs. Well we visited our new corporate owners, Demand Media, and despite bristling at the word “corporate” (and “Demand” can be a bit harsh), we fell in love with their brains. How could we not? The company was started just seven years ago and already owns some of the biggest brands on the web. But to stay true to our hippy geek ways of our founder, one Mr. Bill “way better than Gates” Mushkin, we’ve decided to share what we’ve learned.
  • What are you doing with those thumbs? Your thumbnail picture is the front page of your video. Is it enticing? Does it offer some insight/benefit to the viewer?youtube playbook
  • Are you appealing to YouTube’s younger demo? You can’t be Mr. and/or Mrs. Salespitch Pants. You have to offer entertainment and/or information. If you are going after an older demographic, then find the right place for your video to live.
  • Engage your viewers.  Tell your viewers exactly the action you want them to take. Use YouTube annotations for shares, comments, likes and subscriptions.
  • Use the new YouTube layout to your advantage. Have a top banner made that explains your video schedule and what viewers can expect. Use the regularity to train your growing audience of informed viewers.
  • Get the right keywords up front in your title, in your description as well as in the keyword section.
  • Review the YouTube playbook!  Seriously – they tell you exactly how to maximize your use of the service.
  • Look up the popular hashtags on Twitter and, when you can, naturally piggyback off relevant topics/trends with all of your outgoing media.
  • Pose questions. People respond to questions that include them such as, “What do you think of the new homepage?” or “Who do you think will win today: Michigan or Louisville.”  (question with a trend = bonus!)
  • Less text is more.
  • In your ads, such as on Facebook, make sure there’s an image of a person. Females seem to work best, but make sure it’s not porny. A direct gaze from a trustworthy woman works best.


  • Google+ is great for credibility with its search engine sugar daddy. When you post on your blog, get the G+ link that connects it to your profile.
  • When you post often, Google gets a signal that you are generating content.

Search Engine Optimization: SEO HAS KEPT ME UP AND MADE ME SAD

  • First off, you should try our cool do-it-yourself SEO Tutor. Corporate would really like that.
  • Make sure your website has a site map! This makes the Google bots very happy (and it’s handy for your own site search.)
  • When you post a video on your site, add a transcript of what is said. It should be rich with the keywords you want bringing people to your site.

Those are just some of the tips and tricks given to us by corporate. We’d all love it if you came back for more (and there will be more.)

And if you’d like, you can always go into the mind of the dude who zones out in meetings with a visit to Part 1 of our Corporate Secrets Series.

Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with these Engaging Tips

Engagement.  It’s just a little buzzword for describing how you interact with your online audience, both online and even offline.  It’s also measurable with the ultimate goal of bringing traffic back to you.  It’s funny how the Internet has taken a normal human ability for socialization and has us quantifying our interactions with others, then measuring the outcome of those interactions all in hopes that we can maximize our impact with future interactions.  But that is a philosophical debate for another time. Simply, engagement is no different from brick and mortar stores where they talk to their customers, call up their mentors, visit surrounding businesses, and participate in various business associations.  All in hopes that the more you put yourself out there, the more business will come your way.  Let’s talk about just how to do that on the Wild Wild Webs with our new buzzword – Engagement.  (pssst – all methods are FREE)

But before we jump in, I wanted to remind ya this is part of a series for driving traffic to your blog or website – all for FREE.  First, we gave an overview of 4 basic tactics for driving traffic.  Then we continued the series, by delving into the specifics of our first topic: Social Media.  Next up is today’s topic: Engagement.  A lot will refer to social media as engagement, which it certainly is part of it, but I’ll provide other, more creative ways of engagement.  That discussion begins now…..

5 tips to try today to engage your audience and bring traffic to your site:

1. Blog and Forum Commenting

I’m pretty sure you already are reading blogs that are similar to your niche as well as reviewing specific topics in helpful forums.  Get to commenting!  Every time.  By commenting on other’s blogs and participating in niche specific forums you are interacting with an audience that is targeted to your niche.  While commenting use these tips:

-Hopefully you’ve already created a Social Media presence.  Most blogs will allow you to comment as your Twitter self – for example. This way, if people are interested in you, they click your avatar and find out information about you -maybe even leading back to your site!

-Leave a thoughtful comment.  Avoid: “great post” or “good job”.  State specifically what interested you or how the blog enlightened you. These details get attention and give someone a reason to reach out to you.

-Avoid placing a link back to your website in your comment.  Most blog commentators or forums will delete your comment if you appear ‘spammy’.  Your avatar for commenting should have details on how one can find you online.

If you don’t already have a blog roll you follow, try social sharing forums such as Reddit or Stumbleupon.  You’ll quickly come across some you’d like to follow.  Bonus: don’t forget to register your blog to these forums to get found.

2. Link back to other sites from your blog or website

If they are checking their analytics, they’ll take notice and most likely visit you.  This may lead to a link exchange if they find you relevant. Linking back to you is the ultimate goal here.  In this way they share their audience with you, meaning eyeballs to your site.

3. Attend your industry events

Remember our analogy of how brick and mortar stores attend their area business meetings and industry events?  Well this is one offline form of engagement that still matters.  Begin interacting in person with those who are similar to your niche.  With everything so automated lately, a little emotional human interaction will help you to stick out in their minds.  People are more likely to work with those they know.  Maybe a joint development will come about that shares the audience between you and your new business partner.  More visits to your site! Added bonus is the energy you pick up on from the events.  You’ll return to your site motivated to make it the best.

4. Install a RSS feed/email subscription on your website or blog

Use the feed and email subscription to remind your traffic that you’re still there.  Send them website updates or an email newsletter. Keep in touch with those who are already your visitors in hopes that they will return and just maybe, bring more people to your website.  Need help in developing an email newsletter?  I got the details for you here:  Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter

5. Guest Post

Guest posting is where you write a blog post for another blog.  This is in hopes that others will take notice, become interested in what you have to say, and then visit your website or blog.  Be careful not to be sales-y in your guest post.  It should remain objective and helpful to the audience of the blog you are writing for.  Instead, make sure your avatar and ‘about me’ section of the post contain your expertise and the link back to your site or social media channels.

Again, all methods above are the online and offline replacement of the socializing that brick and mortar stores do for bringing in business.  Take advantage of these engagement tactics for visits back to your site.

Want more free ways of getting traffic back to your blog or website?  Check out the previous two articles in this series.

Part 1 of 5: FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 2 of 5: Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Next up: We’ll detail some ways of using the various services Google offers for getting your traffic.

Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to add to these tips or ways I did not mention.

Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with Social Media

Recently, we outlined 20 FREE ways to drive traffic to your site.  The methods were broken down by category, but I realized there is so much more information to these tips than just listing them out.  First up, are the Social Media methods.  By consistently employing each of the methods below, I promise you will see more traffic to your site.  Let’s get started….

1. Twitter

Just in case you need to be reminded of the obvious – Twitter is a great place to engage an audience and promote your brand.  Use this strategy as you begin:

  • First you need to get a following to have someone to promote your blog/website to. Shoot for 5-7 daily tweets.  A couple your own content, maybe a retweet, a couple that share or comment on others content, (the more relevant to your niche the better) and asking one conversational question seem to be the norm.
  • Make sure tweets with your own content contain links back to your blog/website.
  • Make sure to follow people everyday and engage your new followers through the tweeting rules above.  It’s best to follow those that would be interested in your brand as you start.  A keyword search within Twitter can help you to get started.
  • Certainly follow back anyone that follows you
  • Add you blog/website URL prominently to your Twitter Profile.
Keep in mind this is just a beginning strategy.  Expect it to morph as you gain popularity. As you dive in, you’ll realize the need for other Twitter resources, but you have to start somewhere!  Begin here!

2. Pinterest

It’s time to add this to your social media lexicon.  According to @BethHayden, Author of “Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest”, Pinterest is the “second largest referral of traffic to websites and blogs – right behind FaceBook”.  Got your attention, yet? Here’s a sample strategy to try as you begin….
  • Before your first pin, do some research and identify your target audience.  You’ll want to use keywords in your pin descriptions as well as images that will speak to them.
  • Then use your blog post or website images to create your pins.  This is where interesting, original images will come in handy. Consider infographics – even if they are not part of your post, but as a way to summarize it. Consider even just text – choose eye-catching fonts and colors to state your blog title or website page title.
  • Remember that research you did with keywords?  Well make sure to include those keywords in your pin description so others can find you. Include your blog or website URL as well in your description.  You’ll notice that you can type a whole lot there in the description, but I suggest just enough to captivate your audience and get them to click-through to your blog post or website. Keywords can be used with #hashtags similar to Twitter.
  • Make use of the Pinterest Social Sharing button on your blog or website images.  Your able to control where the image directs and initially,  the description.
  • Similar to Twitter, get social!  Don’t just promote your brand, but pin other’s relevant posts as well.  Your building a community of viewers to your site as well as developing and sharing your visitors with one another, in an effort to attract more visitors.

3. Facebook

 Your tactic here is more about sharing information.  Create a Facebook Fan Page separate from your personal account for creditability. The game is changing with Fan Pages as now there are costs involved with the fancy tricks.  But remember, we want FREE ways, try this sample strategy to get started…
  • Make sure to share your blog posts and any brand news.  Look helpful by sharing news and articles that others in your niche may find relevant.
  • Comment with care on pages similar to your niche.
  • Remember one of the strategies of Twitter was to share your own content with a tweet?  To add credibility to your blog or website with another social media outlet, consider linking your tweet back to the blog post posted on Facebook.  Use sparingly as remember, you’d rather they direct back to your blog or website.
  • You can be a little more casual on Twitter, but try to keep Facebook only about content regarding your blog and brand.
  • With your personal Facebook maybe consider updating your “Work and Education” section to represent your Facebook Fan page for your blog or website.
  • Now that you have a Fan Page don’t forget to review your Facebook insights.  Visit while logged in.  You’ll get a look at how others are engaging with your posts so you know what kind of content to keep providing your users so they’ll keep coming back.

4. Google+

We all wanna be liked by Google – well, they seem to pay attention more to those who participate in their Google+ network. Sign up and realize this is one network where it’s not the quality of your followers, but the quantity of your followers  Try these tips:
  • Just like the other networks will pay off if you research your industry keywords, do so here as well.  Use those keywords when completing your “About” section of your profile.
  • Google+ activity will show up in a search result over other Social Media activity during a Google Search.  Again, post often in your + account and pay attention to those keywords most relevant to the audience you wish to attract.  They’re likely to find you when your content is ranking high.
  • Take advantage of the Google+ Hangouts.  It’s a way to interactively mingle with those who are interested in your blog or website niche topic.  Try providing informative advice on your niche in general to attract the most viewers – don’t use it as a session to promote your blog or business.  And guess what?!  After the experience, since you directly engaged someone,  guess who they will be talking about after. :)  It’s such a cool, new thing that people will definitely be talking about their Google+ Hangout experience.  (hopefully with you)
  • There’s this little thing called Google Authorship that happens naturally as you link your Google+ profile to your blog and vice versa.  Google Authorship means it begins to trust you as a source on your topic.  You’ll begin to rank higher so others find you.  Bonus: You’re Google+ Profile pic may show up in Google Search results along your blog post or website!  So make sure your Google+ Profile pic is best representing you or your business.
  • Engage, Engage, Engage.  Use your Google + profile often to find new followers and interact so you attract more followers.  The benefit here over other social networks is that you will eventually begin to rank higher in search results (meaning greater chances of people finding your blog/website) as your network grows.

5. LinkedIn

This little network is not the same resume sharing network you experienced last time you logged in.  Did you know you can upload blog posts, list your products, upload videos, and give status updates?  Give it a second look and overhaul with these tips to hopefully bring traffic back to you:
  • Make sure to upload your blog posts here.  Especially the more polished of your posts that would be helpful to those in your niche.  For your website – provide your project status updates or any new developments.
  • Take advantage of the “Recommendations”.  Did you work with someone who maybe helped by guest posting, or provided design services?  Give them an honest ‘recommendation’.  These recommendations show up on their profile and get you views to your profile.  Now sell ’em on your profile to bring traffic back to your site!
  • You can import other social media streams to your profile.  Try a widget for uploading your Tweets.  Just be careful not be sale-sy as you Tweet.
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Answers resource.  Browse through your industry Keywords to provide expertise on other’s questions.  When you post your answer, there’s a link back to your profile and you may gain creditability.  It works by asking questions too.
  • Update your Business Skills.  By choosing wisely, you’re bound to attract viewers as well as appear in the “Related Companies” for the skills you choose.  For each skill set there are also groups to join.
There you have it!  Quick tips to get started on all of these social media networks and encourage traffic back to your blog or website. For each of these options make sure to add sharing links and follow links to each of your blog posts or pages of your website. Also consider containing a link to your profile for each in any email or marketing newsletter you send.  The more aware your audience is of your presence, the more likely you are to receive traffic to your site.
Got any success stories you want to share?  Prefer one social network over the others? Any quick, beginning tip I forgot to mention?  Then get busy in the comments below. :)
Next up in the “get traffic” series: Engagement.  By paying attention to your niche and engaging with others outside of social media, you’ll bring more traffic to your blog or website.  I’m excited to share!



A Social Media Makeover Coming To Your Colorado Business

My name is Jared and I work here. I handle social media, blogging, video and anything outreach. I’ll also be speaking next Thursday morning (9/20, 8AM) at the Denver SMB Makeover. I’ll co-host an open Q+A session with Erik Wolf from Zero-G Creative, which promises to be informative and maybe even entertaining. This forum also has speakers lined up from Chipotle, the Denver Broncos, ReMax, and more — it’s a seriously impressive list and we’d love to see you all there.

Register now and get discounted tickets with promo code NAMEMAKEOVER.


One Morning to Change Your Life: Business Owners Get a Social Media Makeover

Denver and Colorado Businesses!

Learn how to revamp your social media strategy, generate leads, improve content, measure performance and demonstrate ROI.

All you need to do is kick back, eat breakfast and learn, as top social media experts from the Denver Broncos, Comcast, Chipotle, RE/MAX, Frontier Airlines, Zero-g and (among others) give you social media advice for your small and mid-sized companies.

When: Thursday, September 20 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Where: Daniels College of Business,
University of Denver, 
2044 E. Evans Avenue, 
Denver, CO 80208

What? Get Your Social Media Questions Answered from Denver’s Leading Brands

How: Register here: (Breakfast included!!)

Why: Sweet poppa, this is a quick, easy and fun way to:

1. Expand your business and make more profits with simple tricks to better engagement.

2. Enhance your customer service with the free tools you already have.

3. Get the feedback you need to improve and increase your business.

4. Increase morale and get your employees involved in promoting what you’re doing.

5. Make your kids think you are cool.

And right now get a SPECIAL OFFER:  Receive a 10 percent discount off the $75 regular price by using promo code “NameMakeover” when registering.

We’re pretty stoked about this, and we’ll see you there!

Progressive Goes Backward: We Can learn from the Auto Insurance Company Fail

When I first read the story about Progressive Auto Insurance and the death of one of their clients, a woman named Kaitlynn Eileen Fisher, I was pretty perturbed. I wasn’t alone. The Internet lit up. The tragic accident and ensuing court debacle was being retweeted thousands of times per minute. From a mere human perspective, death takes a toll, and as a father I can’t fathom what the parents of the young John Hopkins graduate have endured. But from the point-of-view of a business, and a company that thrives  on great customer service, it’s painful to see such a large company stumble and fail. Repeatedly.

It all began with a guy running a red light. His SUV plowed into Fisher’s Honda. A split second shredded everything those families knew, and in the scrambling for answers, the least they could hope for was the compensation they’d secured to help cover those suddenly trivial accumulations, like Kaitlynn’s student loans. It didn’t happen like that, and according to the now viral blog post written by her brother, Matt Fisher, Progressive Auto Insurance failed to follow through with what was expected from her policy.

Here, Matt explains what went from the typical death claim, to that of an arduous legal battle.

progressive auto insurance debacle

His accusations go so far as to say Progressive’s lawyers defended the man who ran the red light. Progressive has now denied that (and Fisher countered), but–and here’s where they defy the odds and continue to screw up–they’re doing it two days after the blog came out. Two days in insurance lawyer land is an eternity on the web. Progressive finally put humans out front to explain themselves. That’s only after the auto-responses on Twitter made them look even more like assclowns.

Here’s the frigid Twitter outreach conducted by an Autobot:

progressive auto insurance

So here we are with young life gone, a family shattered and an insurance company not prepared to deal with being caught as Satan’s puppet. There are so many things wrong here that I’ll start post-mortem, actually even post trial, and suggest that a company that boasts on their website that from 1996 to 2005 they “grew an average of 17 percent per year, from $3.4 billion to $14 billion” should be able to afford someone to sit on their Twitter and make an actual human response to a tragically human situation.

Even more importantly though, is that social media has pulled back the veil on this creepy marriage between big money and poor service. There’s a helplessness that people are supposed to feel when they are confronted by a team of lawyers from a behemoth oligopoly. But now…maybe not so much. We know that the chance of something going viral is insanely small, yet the odds that people truly care, people not even being paid a premium, are big. And now Progressive needs to know that. All companies should.

To do that, give your insurance company a call and ask about their policies. It’s time to put their customer service to the test. If we can be up answering tweets about ten-dollar domains, then the least they can do is comfort those paying thousands for something as precious as piece of mind.

Things Your Website Should NOT Do:’s Facebook Friends Focus Group

At we do domains, websites and hosting. You get a domain and some hosting and then you’re all set to burst onto the web, but before you put a whole lot of work into a snappy Flash intro, or have your friends in the bongo/zither duo make some awesome home page music, pay heed to what some experienced web users have to say about what NOT to do:

Do not do this to your websitewebsite don'tswebsite don'tswebsite don'ts

Like a free focus group and you didn’t have to provide finger food. Although we’re not sure what a couple are talking about, and I think Kelley Bryant is actually selling auto parts, but this is good info to keep in mind for the best presence on the web.