How to Remove Spam Referral Sites from WordPress.Com Reports

If you’re using WordPress.com as your blogging engine you’ve probably noticed an increase in spam referral sites in your reports over the last few weeks and months. Sites such as buttons-for-your-websites and best-seo-offer are showing up as referrals on most new WordPress sites and are pushing down legitimate referral traffic, skewing your numbers and making a mess of your analytic reports.

If you’re using WordPress.com there’s an easy way to remove these. Here’s how to remove spam referral sites from your reports.

1. Visit your WordPress.com Dashboard and click on View All in stats.

Wordpress stats

2. Click on Summaries under Referrers

Wordpress referrers

3. Hover over the spam referrer site. You’ll see the option for spam? display next to the site.

Removing Spam referrer sites in WordPress

Click the option for “Spam?” and WordPress.com will automatically filter out those referral traffic visits from your reports.

This is just another way WordPress.com makes it easy to start and maintain a blog without needing a lot of technical knowledge. If you have other WordPress.com shortcuts like this let me know in the comments!

Social Media Contests: Ideas, Prizes and Customer Engagement

Social media contests can drive customer engagement

Social media contests can drive customer engagement

According to social media scheduling tool Buffer, 35 percent of fans like a company’s page on Facebook so they can participate in a contest. Contests drive customer engagement, increase your social media influence and collect valuable feedback from your target market. Even businesses with small budgets can take cues from powerhouse brands on how to run a powerful social media contest. Take a look at what big brands are doing to engage fans and redefine themselves as leaders in their industries.

Dove

Dove brands itself as a company committed to their customers’ personal beauty potential. This translates to ads and social campaigns that promote self-esteem and the use of models that look like everyday women. The company launched a “Real Beauty Should Be Shared” Facebook contest, enticing fans to share a photo and list two things that made their friends beautiful in that picture. The winners got to be the next face of Dove. Their savvy, low-cost prize made a big impact and can be duplicated by businesses small and large. Look to see what your business can offer winners, whether it’s a free service or giving them a job as a product ambassador.

SportsCenter

SportsCenter asked its millions of Facebook fans to rank their favorite “This is SportsCenter” ads. Jason Sudeikis from Saturday Night Live appeared in numerous promos to help spread awareness for the campaign. Fan votes then determined the order of the top 10 commercials that aired on an ESPN special. While you may not have the same budget to give away thousands of Burger King gift cards like SportsCenter did, you can use unique gift cards and other products to entice involvement.

Eggo

Waffles aren’t exactly known for being innovative or especially creative, but Eggo managed to infuse new life into the industry by teaming up with International Waffle Day to launch an “Eggo Your Way Contest.” Fans submitted their own waffle-based recipes to win cash prizes of up to $10,000 or to be one of the eight winners receiving a year’s supply of Eggos. The contest went viral and resulted in more entries than the brand anticipated. Businesses can replicate the success that Eggo received by offering cash prizes and products, but more importantly they can give their fans a unique way to win.

Kryptoz Media & BitPages

Facebook contests don’t have to be complicated or involve much fan interaction. For example, Kryptoz Media and BitPages teamed up to give away a Bitcoin car. Users were only required to like the company’s Facebook page, sign up at BitPages.co and refer the contest to their friends. They also included an email sign-up form to capture leads. This type of contest is easy for companies looking to break into the world of Facebook promotions while simultaneously generating leads. It also simplifies the process for fans to enter. You may not have a car to give away, but you can offer free products, a seminar or helpful services for your new customer base.

Harlan Coben

Mystery and thriller novelist Harlan Coben used a personality test on Facebook to give away his books as prizes. The test gave the author insight into his fans and what they wanted. Users were also required to sign up for a newsletter and explained why subscribers would find it useful. This type of Facebook campaign can offer insights about what customers want from your products and services and also give you a way to reach out to them in the future.

R+L Carriers

Every December during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl my social team runs a game long contest, giving away bowl gear like t-shirts, footballs and even gift cards to college libraries. It’s a great way to expose the brand to a new audience and ramp up engagement around the game while gathering user-generated content for next year’s promotions.

Before running a contest be sure to check with your legal department or research online the rules for running a sweepstakes in your region. You’ll need to draft rules of entry and explain the value of the prizes, among other guidelines, and post them where they accessible to anyone entering the contest, preferably on your website.

Have you had success with social media contests? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @suereynolds. I’d love to hear from you!

8 Ways to Spruce Up Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

Social Media marketingRunning a profitable operation presents its own set of challenges for small business owners. And if they’re not in an industry that’s appealing to the masses, chances are they’ve struggled at some point or another to successfully market their unique products or services. Fortunately, social media presents the opportunity to increase brand awareness in a fun and engaging manner.

Here are some ideas to consider along with ways in which certain companies have used social media to expand their reach.

1. Post Useful Content

Your followers are crunched for time, so you must post content that captivates their attention and adds value to their lives. Otherwise, they will simply overlook future posts or unfollow your company page. Identity theft protection, for example, isn’t necessarily a sexy industry, but LifeLock has a sizeable social media following because their posts provide useful tidbits of wisdom regarding identity theft and ways to protect yourself. And with identity theft rates on the rise, who wouldn’t want to have access to this pertinent information?

2. Skip the Sales Pitch

Consumers dislike the idea of being sold. Instead, they prefer to be in charge of the purchasing decision and move at their own pace. But if you’re constantly shoving sales pitches down their throats via social media, they may become irritated and take their business elsewhere.

3. Encourage Feedback

Even if you’re in an industry that may not be exciting to the average consumer, loyal supporters take pride in knowing you value their opinion and want them to be a part of the conversation. In fact, Starbucks has taken the solicitation of customer feedback to another level by creating @MyStarbucksIdea, a Twitter page solely dedicated to customer experience.

4. Switch It Up

Not only should you avoid posting identical content across platforms, but what you post should also be diverse. Some followers prefer videos while others take a liking to infographics. The idea is to provide a little something for everyone. And don’t forget to share useful content from other pages.

5. Mascot or Spokesperson

It doesn’t take a massive marketing budget to implement a mascot or spokesperson into your branding strategy. To effectively do so, consider creating a Twitter and Facebook profile for your new symbol and infusing it with a dose of humor so your followers can connect with it. Just think of Mayhem from AllState, who not only serves up a good dose of amusement via television but has his own Twitter and Facebook pages where he keeps the laughs going.

6. Infuse a Little Humor

There’s not much one can say about toilet paper beyond its texture, but that didn’t prevent Charmin from creating a strong social media presence. The clever Twitter hashtag, “tweetfromtheseat,” has soared Charmin’s following to new heights and changed the way consumers nationwide view toilet paper.

7. Product Giveaways

Host a contest or giveaway to attract new customers. But remember, the key is to get participants to spread the word about your brand as a condition of entering to win. Encourage customers to do so through a testimonial, product review, or simply by sharing the company page with friends.

8. Consistency is the Key

If you’re crunched for time or considering ditching your social media efforts altogether, take a step back and develop a posting strategy. Once you’ve done so, use a social media management platform like HootSuite to Tweetdeck to schedule your posts in advance to ensure you remain on schedule. It may take several months to see results, but the effort and hard work won’t be in vain.

What are your ideas for sprucing up your brand? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @suereynolds. I’d love to hear from you.

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