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Social Media

Treehouse Networkshop finds success with unique blend of social media + live promotions

meeting of the minds

By Danni Eickenhorst

I first met Wesley Hoffman in the flesh at the 2014 Donut Day celebration with Kuva Coffee and Strange Donuts. He recognized me from Twitter and greeted me with a big hug. Something about that introduction was disarming in the best way and we were fast friends.

At the time I met Hoffman at the event, I knew very little about Treehouse Networkshop. I knew it was a relatively recent phenomenon – and that it was clearly more than a networking group and more of a movement. The general tone and heart behind the social content coming out of Treehouse demonstrated an enthusiasm for life that I find myself seeking out on a daily basis.

Treehouse Networkshop started out as a monthly networking event series with the philosophy that we should make connections as people first, and then determine how we can help each other. At the very least, new connections mean new friends. Treehouse promotes making connections with people via the world wide web, but truly believes in the power of meeting in person. Treehouse provides motivational content via video, audio (#StrangeHousePodcast), and social media. In addition to monthly meetups, we also hold a quarterly panel series called “Meeting of the Minds.”

As an entrepreneur determined to find long-term success, and whose success has been squarely tied to collaboration, idea-sharing and positivity, I knew upon connecting with Wes that I surely needed to become more involved with Treehouse and the people tied to it.

wesleymoderateMonthly meetups are held at different venues and neighborhoods around St. Louis. The meetups are open to anyone looking to make professional or personal connections in a positive environment. People from all industries and walks of life meet together as people to find ways to help each other succeed. Meetups are held during the 3rd full week of every month on a Wednesday or Thursday.

October 22nd is the next Meeting of the Minds event, and I am honored to be one of the panelists for this event. Only 100 spots are available. Click here to reserve your ticket now.

Treehouse began with Wes grabbing coffee with anyone who would take the time after he was laid off, and quickly set Wes apart as a connector of people in the St. Louis region. He found himself able to help others find opportunities and to take advantage of opportunities coming his way as well.

Wes has blended real life and social media promotion to find incredibly impressive success very quickly – even leaving the world of full time employment earlier this year in order to focus his energy on Treehouse Networkshop. Read on to learn how he got started in social media, how he’s utilizing it for Treehouse and what’s next.

When did you first get into social media personally? What was your first platform? What made it stick for you?

I first got into social media in the late 90s. There was a website in St. Louis called It was for local bands, venues, and their fans. At first, only your band could have a page, and you could comment, but you were not able to have a profile. You could also post anonymously (which caused some trouble). I loved the fact you could connect with people you didn’t know then meet them in person at shows. In the early 2000’s I also took to Xanga, a blogging site. I loved how you could get to know people you had never met, but also share your thoughts.

tumblr_inline_n9h7hgdLO01s3u7o0When did you get into social media professionally? What were your experiences and platforms used for marketing?

Professionally, I started using LinkedIn in 2008. But really started using it in 2013 when I was self employed. I started using twitter and Facebook to stay connected and in the know with people I wanted to work with. I ended up using twitter to get a job as well as promote my personal brand.

Tell me about the events that led to Treehouse Networkshop and what inspired the name.

Treehouse events came from my passion for in-person and digital networking. I love bringing people together, and then seeing them collaborate. I was going to a lot of networking events myself, but after others had approached me, asking how to network, I decided to throw together my own events. The events are based on the philosophy that we should meet each other as people first and professionally second. I loved the name Treehouse because that was always the place you went to when you were a kid to make plans about how you were going to build something, or take over the world!

How did social media fold into what you were doing? What channels did you find the greatest success on initially? Are they still true?

Social media plays a huge part in Treehouse. We use twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote the events. We use hashtags on twitter, so people can find others who were at the event. Or, people who aren’t at the events can find people who went, and get a feel for what the events are like. We use Instagram to take pictures while the events are happening.
I’ve used tumblr to blog, then push the content from there to other social media channels (mainly Twitter, and Facebook).

What do you think is the single most important thing you’re doing on social to fuel your success? What would you do differently?

The single most important thing doesn’t have to necessarily do with social media, but more how it ties into meeting people in real life. I make sure to respond to every tweet, but also connect with those people in person. I do my best to bridge the gap between digital and in-real-life connections.

What are you trying to accomplish on social? What is your most important accomplishment so far with Treehouse in general?

I’m mainly trying to start conversations on social that lead to in-person interactions at Treehouse events or beyond. My most important accomplishment with Treehouse is growing it, and helping people. If people are able to further their careers or social lives through Treehouse, we’ve reached our goal.

If you’re trying to change something/create something – what problem are you working to solve and how do you hope that social media plays into that?

One thing I’m trying to change is how networking is view traditionally. How can we use social media to start conversations, or get to know something about a person to make in-person conversations happen more organically?

If you were to start over today, what would you do differently?

There’s only one thing I’d do differently – I would’ve started sooner. I would’ve kept up with twitter earlier, and started my business sooner than I did.

What’s next for Treehouse? What are your future plans/hopes for social and how it plays into that?

Treehouse will continue to find ways to use it’s platform to help to help other people. We’re looking forward to creating a new way to bridge the gap between physical and in-person interactions. Treehouse will find new ways for conversations and interactions to start through digital mediums. Those interactions will then strongly encourage people to take the next step to planning an in-person meeting.

SOCIAL SCHOOL: 3 things Taco Bell can teach us about social media marketing

By Erik Schwenke

Does the plate of food above look familiar? Thanks to social media marketing efforts by the fast food giant,  there’s a good chance that one or more of your friends has been talking about Taco Bell’s new breakfast items, and an even better chance that curiosity has piqued your interest enough to try one of them! It certainly worked on me (and I can vouch that they all taste pretty good, albeit quite greasy).

But, why is this fast food so popular all of a sudden? Plenty of other restaurants have launched campaigns recently to attract customers to their new breakfast trends, but none have been as wildly as successful as Taco Bell’s latest campaign. The secret to the waffle taco doesn’t lie in the syrup, but rather, the marketing. Specifically, how Taco Bell has established its brand voice and willingness to interact with fans. What can your business learn from them?

1.  Photos are everything in social media marketing.

It gets said time and again, but your best avenue for telling a great story and building customer engagement is by being creative with your camera or smart-phone. Taco Bell knows this, and is constantly finding unique ways to present their food to you, the consumer. Search through their Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything  stock-looking or seemingly “plain” about their posts. Nearly one third of their tweets are pictures, ones that evoke emotion, such as the sunrise imagery above.

Whether your business offers a product or service, there’s always an opportunity to showcase what you do in a way that will resonate with your audience as well. The key takeaway here is to be spontaneous—have an interesting interaction with a customer? Is there something going on in your area that your audience can relate to, such as the weather? Take a photo and tell a story!

2. Your best content comes from your fans.

Social media users are just like businesses—they love having their content shared and retweeted. In fact, they are often willing to create content just for your business, for the sole purpose of being recognized and responded to. If you view Taco Bell’s Twitter, you’ll notice they constantly retweet other users, and they aren’t picky when it comes to sharing someone with a large following versus someone with a not so large one.

Would you rather promote yourself, or have someone else do the talking for you? Keep this in mind when developing your content strategy, and don’t be afraid to ask your fans for photos and feedback that you can share.

3. Supporting your community will help build your community.

Over the years, Taco Bell has been no stranger to taking action in charitable events and giving back to their community. Their dedication has helped them to grow to the 10.4 million likes that they currently have today on their Facebook page!  One such campaign they’ve taken part in is their “Graduate Mas” program, which provides scholarships and partnerships for teens. Last summer, they encouraged users to upload photos of themselves on Instagram, and made a pledge to donate $100 to their charity program for each photo uploaded. Those who uploaded a photo also had a chance to see their photography displayed in Times Square.

You can employ a similar approach as well. In fact, many businesses already have programs in place to support charities, but rarely mention their efforts on social media! Take the time to develop a campaign, and showcase what you’re doing to help your community. Even if your budget is small or non-existent, you can find ways to make a difference. For example, poll your fans and make a pledge to volunteer for a day at a charity of their choice if you reach a certain social milestone. You’ll not only increase the amount of fans you have, but also their trust in the long run.

Want more ideas to jump start your small business on social media? Give us a call and set up a professional strategy session to help find your brand’s voice. Click here to schedule a time that’s convenient for you.


Some images courtesy of the Huffington Post.


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Listen to Danni on Social Media Unscrambled!

FANGIRL ALERT! Danni is a big fan of the podcast Social Media Unscrambled! She got to be their featured guest earlier this week! Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comments below.

To connect with Social Media Unscrambled on social media:

Join their Facebook Group, Fans of Social Media Unscrambled.

Like the Social Media Unscrambled Facebook page.

Follow Social Media Unscrambled on Twitter: @smUnscrambledOn Google+ add Social Media Unscrambled to your circles.

How I botched sharing social ROI – and how you can learn from it

tune out roi jargon

Early in my career, I worked as a freelance writer for companies who needed ad copy, research writers and web content. As social media grew up, I was growing in my profession as well, and quickly learned the potential power of this medium for my clients.
I can proudly say that many of my clients were the first in their respective industries to adopt social media – and that I was able to generate customers and revenue for them relatively quickly.
My BIGGEST regret in this part of my career, however, was that when I went to report these successes – and I mean HIT-IT-OUT-OF-THE-BALLPARK SUCCESSES– that I didn’t communicate these in a way that they related with. Instead, I presented leadership with social ROI and analytics jargon.The result?A group that was already skeptical about social media value quickly became more confused and defensive about digital marketing. Without realizing it, I was feeding into their preconceptions about digital marketing – (“She’s being paid to play on the internet.” is one I heard a lot) – even though I was doing excellent work.
This Friday, we are offering a FREE webinar at 12pm CST/1pm EST. I hope you can join us. I’ll be  sharing information on how to effectively and quickly measure your social media ROI (Return on Investment) – AND I’ll talk about how you can communicate these successes (or failures) in a way that your executive team or board of directors will understand – and support.
If you register by Thursday, we’ll also give you our Blog Content Checklist and Guide for FREE.

Social Media Day Live. Learn. Luncheon Recap

This past Monday, June 30th, was Social Media Day and we partnered up with our friends at The Rocket Group in Jefferson City to celebrate!

Did you know that Social Media Day was officially declared by Governor Nixon here in Missouri?

Read more about this on Mashable!

To honor this we worked together across the state to provide a hands-on training on how to use social media in business and how to create meaningful real life interactions with your prospects online. At Centerco Office Suites here in St. Louis we hosted a live presentation from Danni Eickenhorst, Blank Page President and Founder, a presentation via Google Hangout from Gus Wagner, Founder and President of Rocket Group, and a brief Twitter chat afterward using hashtag #SMDMidwest where participants joined in conversation with our friends halfway across the state.

We also all enjoyed a nice lunch together which always makes cramming a ton of information into your brain way easier! This event sold completely out in St. Louis and we are working on some new ways to bring extremely current, practical social media training courses to you more regularly so stay tuned!

Looking for more marketing tools and tips? Click here to sign up to get inbound marketing lessons delivered direct to your inbox with Social School.

Looking for help with your next campaign? Click here to review our inbound marketing packages.

Or just come hang out with us on Facebook, we’d love to see you!


digital marketing classes

Digital Media Course at UMSL

By Danni Eickenhorst


Social media has quickly become an integral part of a business’s marketing strategy. It’s a fast, easy way to reach a large audience and engage with current customers. This Fall, I’m teaching a 3-day digital media course through UMSL on Social Media Marketing. In the course, students will learn about :

  • Creating a brand presence
  • Understand the differences between earned and paid media
  • Tools for interacting with and listening to customers
  • Crisis management
  • Rules of engagement for high profile individuals and corporations
  • Various ways to measure engagement
  • Etc.


Most of the polar social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. will be discussed, and tools like Netbase, HootSuite, and TweetDeck will be explained.

It’s important to know the difference a social media presence can be in a marketing strategy, so real world case studies will be examined throughout the courses.

If you’re interested in how social media can further your business, or want to learn more about the role of social media marketing in a business plan, sign up to reserve your spot.

social media marketing st louis blank page consulting

Social Media: Same Rules Apply

By Danni Eickenhorst

At Blank Page, we’ve been offering Social School courses for several months now, focusing on basic Facebook and Twitter strategy, advanced Facebook advertising and messaging. In our beginner level courses, the one consistent comment we hear is that people are afraid to blog, confused by Twitter or overwhelmed by Facebook. To each of them, I inevitably say, “Social media is just a new platform. Not a new world. The same rules apply that have always applied.”

social media1. Be where the people are. Social media allows you to cast a wide net for your audience – most especially Facebook. Conventional wisdom has always said that you should be where your audience is. An added benefit to being active in social is improved search engine rankings, allowing you to be present in a place where more than 40,000 searches happen every second.

2. Know Your Audience. This goes hand in hand with being where people are. Taking time to identify who you’re targeting will be crucial to any efforts you make in digital marketing. If your ideal customer is female, note that Pinterest is now more popular than Twitter among internet users and that women are four times more likely to be engaged on Pinterest than men. If your product, content or message has a sharable visual component, Pinterest may be an ideal platform.


Oreo has done a phenomenal job of branding their Facebook page with consistent graphic standards across app buttons, timeline banner and their profile photo.

3. Brand yourself

Basic marketing strategies from days gone by put heavy focus on branding and visibility. Concepts like “top of mind awareness” and “name brand recognition” are still relevant in social media – and are now more easily measurable. The end goal is still getting people to remember your company when they’re looking to buy, hire or execute on a transaction. By branding your Facebook timeline cover, each image, video and post, you’re increasing the number of exposures a potential client has to your brand and thus increasing the likelihood they will think of you when looking to buy.

4. Create opportunities for real connection Marketing has never been successful in a vacuum – not in days gone by when marketers devised strategies in smoke-filled rooms and not today where everything is fluid and digital. In order to make real and meaningful connections with your audience, you must facilitate real life interactions. These may be happy hour events, attendance at a seminar, mailed product tests or a phone call, but the idea is that they involve an intimate in-person interaction with your brand – ideally, with your people.

For more on how to translate your traditional marketing strategy into a digital one, contact us or sign up for an upcoming Social School class. We offer St. Louis social media classes and online webinars.

5 easy ways you can help Go! St. Louis on #GiveSTLDay

24 hours. 250 kids.  Let’s GO!!! 

by Danni Eickenhorst

The Blank Page Marketing Team is proud to help Go St. Louis today with their #GiveSTLDay campaign on May 6, 2014! We’re working 24 straight hours to help support the Read, Right & Run Marathon!

This program works with St. Louis area school children every year to motivate them to run 26.2 miles, read 26 books and do 26 good deeds during 1 school year. The experience these kids get every year through this program is inspiring and we need your support to help fund 250 more kids TODAY on GiveSTLDay!

5 simple steps to give a life-changing experience to 250 St. Louis area kids TODAY:
You can help by doing 4 simple things:
1.) Download this ambassador kit and share our banners on your personal Facebook & Twitter pages today. We have even pre-written your Facebook & Twitter posts for you!
2.) Donate to support the Read, Right & Run Marathon in 2014-15. Our goal is to fund 250 more kids to participate! $25 funds 1 child. Donate here.
3.) Visit the Go! St. Louis Facebook page and share the post with the graphic from Great Rivers Greenway on your personal pageFor every post shared, Great Rivers Greenway will donate $1 to Go! St. Louis up to $500 today!
4.) Share this campaign on Twitter with #GoSTLKids today and Fontbonne University (@FontbonneU) will donate $1 up to $500! Find Go! St. Louis at @GoFitnessSTL!
5.) Forward this email to your friends & family and ask them to support in whatever way they can.
Thank you to all of you for supporting our work today and always!
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Facebook launches enhanced behavior ad targeting

Do advanced options equate to a Holy grail of Facebook features for marketers?

By Danni Eickenhorst

Facebook-Behavior-Targeting-AdsFacebook has quietly rolled out a new layer of targeting on Facebook ads with enhanced behavior targeting.

In addition to more tailored demographic targeting, including options that target by degree and specialization, Facebook advertisers can now target their advertising to users of the platform based on their purchase behavior, intent, ethnic affinity, device usage and more.

Advanced Behavior Targeting Advanced Facebook targeting features rolled out this week stand to have powerful potential for non-profits and small businesses in particular. The new tools now make it possible for advertisers to target their audience by:

  • Category of non-profit the user has donated to in the past (animal, illness, etc)
  • Types of services or goods purchased
  • Technological savvy
  • Type of vehicle owned, and whether they’re presently shopping for one
  • Amount of purchasing activity engaged in through Facebook or from Facebook-connected third party tools, and more.
  • While some of the data for this feature is onlSome of the data is only available for U.S. users at this time. We have reached out to Facebook for details on when a larger scale rollout of this targeting will be available and are still awaiting details.

The data has been gathered from consumer self-reported data and surveys taken in connection with reports and donations.

Business-to-business marketers take note that you can now tailor your ads to owners of small business pages and to those who frequently create Facebook events.The new “Buyer Profiles” targeting option allows you to target your marketing based on your intended customers’ personality with options such as DIYers, Luxury Brands and Services, Healthy & Fit and more.

To view the expanded offerings, visit Facebook’s Create an Ad page. Browse options under “Behavior.”

Expanded Facebook Demographic Tailoring for Ad Targeting

Net worth and financial targeting Looking to tailor high-end fashionistas or perhaps a lower-income demographic to assist with credit counseling? Income targeting is now available with tiers from $40,000 to $125,000+. According to Facebook, this data was either consumer self-reported through a survey or estimated based on a variety of demographic data such as age, occupation, home ownership, and median income for the local area.

Ethnic Affinity Long hailed for their neutrality in ethnically-targeted advertising, Facebook previously only allowed tools that you could utilize to piece together a picture of the general likes, hobbies and interests of a certain demographic target. The rollout of the newest tools allow advertiser to target by “ethnic affinity.” While Hispanic remains the only clear choice, the addition of the category alludes to additional targeting options to come.

For marketers willing to do the homework to learn about their ideal customers and clients, the expanded offerings make most other marketing tools look anemic by comparison. Combined with tools like Facebook’s built-in graph search, the power of Facebook’s data truly seems limitless.

Once you’ve had a chance to tailor your ads with this new tool, let us know what type of success you’re seeing by commenting below!

Looking for training on social advertising? You don’t have to be a large business to afford professional marketing assistance. You can book time with one of our social strategists in increments as small as 45 minutes. Click here to schedule.Enhanced by Zemanta