Hello all

sorry it’s been so long since I posted in here. I finally got this great app where I can do speech to text, which will now enable me to start posting again. I just found that I never had time to sit down at the computer and type anything, but I really wanted to. So this speech to text option works really great for me.

it’s time to pick things back up again hope you’re still around to hear it.


Traffic Report for Seattle

Drivers need to plan ahead for their weekend travels
SEATTLE – Multiple events are planned for the coming weekend (today, through Sunday, March 2) at both the Seattle Center and the CenturyLink Field Events Center. Motorists should expect normal congestion associated with the events around both facilities.   There is, however, inspection work and one event that could slow you down if you don’t make plans: The Hot Chocolate 15k and 5k run on Sunday morning,  which will take advantage of the weekend semi-annual inspection closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct; the run will also close SR 99/Aurora Avenue N up to N 48th  Street,  just south of the Woodland Park Zoo.  For more details, please see the following schedule.
Seattle Center activities:
Thursday, February 27
Seattle University vs Chicago State Men’s Basketball:  7 – 9:30 p.m.
Key Arena, Seattle Center
3,500 attending
Expect heavier traffic on the west side of the center grounds.
Friday, February 28
Seattle Opera Performance of The Consul:  7:30 – 9:55 p.m.
McCaw Hall
2,900 attending
Expect heavier traffic on Mercer Street.
Saturday, March 1
Hot Chocolate 15k/5K Expo and Packet Pick-up:  10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Exhibition Hall
8,000 attending
Expect heavier traffic on Mercer Street.
Seattle University vs Idaho Men’s Basketball :  7 – 9:30 p.m.
Key Arena, Seattle Center
3,500 attending
Expect heavier traffic on the west side of the center grounds.
Seattle Opera Performance of The Consul:  7:30 – 9:55 p.m.
McCaw Hall
2,900 attending
Expect heavier traffic on Mercer Street.      
CenturyLink Field Event Center activities:
Friday – Sunday, February 28 – March 2
Seattle Golf & Travel Show:
CenturyLink Field Event Center
Attending:  Approximately 1,000 Friday and  2,500 per weekend day
Expect congestion surrounding stadium.
Northwest Outdoor Adventure Expo:
CenturyLink Field Event Center
Attending:  3,000 Friday and approximately 3,500 per weekend day
Expect congestion surrounding stadium.
Sunday, March 2
Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K: 5k run – 6:45 a.m.; 15k run – 7:40 a.m.
Gathers at Seattle Center
7,000 participants
Motorists should keep the follow closures in mind:
Closed 6 – 11 a.m.:  SR-99 between the Western Avenue off-ramp and N 48th Street (includes Aurora Bridge)
Closed from 6:30 – 11:30 a.m.: all other streets along the route
 5k route: Starts on Second Avenue N on Seattle Center campus; moves south on Second to Broad Street; west on Broad to Elliott Avenue; south on Elliott to Western Avenue; south on Western to approximately Pike Street; makes a U-turn, then goes north on Western to the northbound SR-99 Bell Street on-ramp; north on SR-99 to Republican Street; east on Republican to Dexter Avenue N; north on Dexter to Mercer Street; west on Mercer to Fifth Avenue. N; south on Fifth to Thomas Street; west on Thomas onto the Seattle Center grounds;
15K route: Starts on Second Avenue N on Seattle Center campus; south on Second to Broad Street; west on Broad to Elliott Avenue; south on Elliott to Western Avenue; south on Western to Spring Street; makes a U-turn, and then moves north on Western to the southbound SR-99 Battery Street off-ramp; then north on SR-99 to N 48th Street; does a  U-turn and goes south on Aurora to Republican Street; east on Republican to Dexter Avenue N; north on Dexter to Mercer Street; west on Mercer to Fifth Avenue N; south on Fifth to Thomas Street; west on Thomas onto Seattle Center grounds;
For more details please:  http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/seattle/
Key Construction /inspection closures:
Washington State Department of Transportation Alaskan Way Viaduct Semiannual Inspection, Friday, February 28 – Monday, March 3
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Valley Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Valley Street and South Spokane Street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Valley Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between North 48th Street and South Spokane Street from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Denny Way and South Spokane Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 
Montlake Bridge maintenance will slow things down near UW & University Village: Shoppers, college students, nearby residents and anyone else who uses the Montlake Bridge will notice traffic backups on Saturday. WSDOT maintenance crews will close a single lane in each direction of the bridge from 6:30 a.m. until noon. During the closure, workers will make repairs on the metal bridge deck.
First Hill Streetcar:  Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2 –  Partial intersection closures on S Jackson Street at Eighth Avenue S (Saturday) and S Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue S (Sunday).
Weekly Transportation Construction Coordination Update
February 28 – March 2: SR99 Viaduct closed for semi-annual bridge inspection and maintenance 10PM Friday to 6PM Sunday.
March 1 & 2: Partial intersection closures on S. Jackson St. at 8th Ave. S. (Saturday) and 5th Ave. S. (Sunday).
March 2: Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K at the Seattle Center on Sunday.  Route will use streets in Downtown Seattle, and on Aurora Ave. N.
March 3 – 14: N. 80th St. closed between Aurora Ave. N. and Greenwood Ave. N. for repaving project.
March 4: Eastbound N. 105th St. closed between Aurora Ave. N. and Meridian Ave. N. for four months.
March 5: Lane closures begin on 1st Ave. S. between S. Atlantic St. and Railroad Wy. S. while Seattle City Light crews install a new duct bank.  Work is expected to last five months.
March 8: Seattle Sounders 2014 opening match at CenturyLink Field vs. Sporting KC at Noon Saturday.

Edge – Performing Arts and Dance Theater; You are the show

Edge Performing arts and Dance

Being an actor or a performer comes natural to some, but for others it takes hard work and years of dedication.  The internet and specifically YouTube has made becoming an overnight star easier than ever, but performing in a Broadway musical and becoming famous for discovering a double rainbow are obviously quite different types of talent.

I would never have known there was a performance theater in North city if I hadn’t reached out to the city of Shoreline to ask about some of the remarkable business owners in our city. The Edge Performing Arts & Dance is not the kind of theater that you would expect when you hear the word theater it’s a performance hall like a tiny Benaroya.  There are group and private classes and a stage to practice and perform.

Edge Performing Arts and Dance

It says on the website “North City Theatre is Shoreline’s own black box theatre! With 40 seats, stage lighting, sound system and an intimate stage–it’s the perfect place for young performers to learn! “

Jordyn says they have Dance and Music and acting classes as well as several other categories of performance arts.  Also, she offers private lessons in voice, piano, and acting. Originally from Eastern Washington, she has a music degree and a business degree.  She came here with her husband, boyfriend at the time, when he was pursuing his PhD. She got a gig teaching at a music studio but eventually the entrepreneur in her took over and drove her to opening her own business.
Certainly having a small theater in what is considered by some to be “downtown Shoreline” is an attraction by itself, but what was more remarkable is the person behind the scenes.  Jordyn Meeker is the owner of this establishment.  This is the first business she’s owned, which can be hard, but she’s still excited and it’s going well.

“I want people to know that they can do whatever they want, and I can help them to achieve that through using all the things that they were born with.  It’s my job to lift them up, and I want people to know that they are fully capable of doing anything they set their mind to!”

If there’s one thing Jordyn does more than anything else, it seems like laughing is her thing.  She is absolutely full of spirit, fun, energy, and brilliance!  Since this is her first business, she has had to learn some hard lessons, but it didn’t seem to affect her adversely.  While many business owners get solemn when they remember the hard times, Jordyn laughs about what she’s had to go through. She acknowledges what there was to learn, and keeps looking forward with her vision strongly planted in her mind.

Edge Performing Arts and Dance

As we went on a tour of the theater, I was completely surprised by how big it is inside the theater itself.  You can’t tell when you’re standing outside of this older building or even in the lobby, that inside there’s this magnificent place where it would be really fun to go see a show.  The seating arrangement and the lighting at The Edge Theater are really fantastic, and anybody interested in putting on a performance could easily do so in this spot.   Jordyn will be the first to tell you it’s the support of her community, her family, her friends, and her husband that allows her to do this, but she is living the dream.  She’s creating a life for herself out of her passion!

Sometimes, but not always, the kids who want to do acting and singing are different from the kids who want to do hockey and football. While it’s easy to find after school sports programs, it’s really nice to see that there’s an alternative where those with more of an artistic flair can shine in their own way.  We all experience the world differently. For those who choose the artistic and performance path, The Edge offers something truly inspiring and unique.  As if that wasn’t enough, Jordyn also shares space with a recording studio that caters to rock music, which is a nice collaboration since there is some overlap.

For someone who is young and new to the business world, Jordyn has a lot of wisdom.  “I teach from a friendship aspect. If I wanted to just be a teacher, I could go anywhere. My job is to lift people up and help them get to their dreams and goals. I’ve never let anything hold me back.  I am who I am because I had support and a good foundation and a lot of people around me who gave me a good path.  I want people to know they can do whatever they want and I can help them to achieve that through using all the things they were born with. “

Jordyn Meeker

If you haven’t already been over to the website or the Facebook page, those are definitely the two places that you want to go first.  However, if you happen to be driving by 15th Ave. and 175th St., Stop in at The Edge Performing Arts and Dance.  Just say “Hi” to Jordyn.  If you get a chance to meet her, just her laughter and joyful attitude will be enough to make you want to take part.  Even if it’s just for one class, drop in and try it out; you’ll be glad you did!

 Edge can be found online at http://www.edgeartsanddance.com/index.html

Or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Edgeartsanddance?ref=br_tf

And in real life at

17517 15th Ave NE

Shoreline, Washington 98155

This blog, Urbanspending.com, survives solely from donations.  To support this project, please click the “donate” button on the right side of the page.  If you haven’t yet “liked” my Facebook page, or subscribed to the urbanspending.com blog and podcast, please do that too.  I promise to keep churning out well thought out, quality content, so please share this. Thanks.

Russ Shulman

Click Here to watch a video animation about my business philosopy

Get your customized business evaluation at www.OwnersReport.com

Skypename: Trustedruss

Phone:  206 794 3864

Winding Willow School – Take a walk in the woods with Tia Aureole

Winding Willow School

It’s 8:30 am.  In the south end of Shoreline, Tia Aureole (pronounced like the Baltimore Orioles) is making the final preparations for her children to arrive.  One by one, they come in, shaking the morning mist off their coats.   “Good morning children!” she says as she lightly touches each one on the back.  There’s a song in her voice, as there is in pretty much everything she does.  Tia Aureole is actually Aureole Lopez-Shulman, owner of The Winding Willow Preschool. She calls it “Waldorfy” or “Waldorf Inspired” because of her strong connection to the community started by Rudolph Steiner in 1919.

Both of Aureole’s kids have been through the Waldorf curriculum, and she was the lead after-care teacher at the Brightwater School before she left to start her own preschool in 2013.  Coming from a Danish and Mexican background has created a strong sense of family and community which Tia Aureole shares with everyone she meets.  A kind and compassionate woman, Aureole’s ideas for how to lead the children is based in song, nature, and love.

We think about school generally to mean ABC’s, counting, mathematics, and recess, but at the Winding  Willow School this is far from accurate.  The Waldorf philosophy has the children spending all of their time using their imagination rather than using their analytical minds.   Here’s an example of how different the Waldorf philosophy is from traditional schooling.   Recently at Shoreline Community College the Parentmap Preview event was held.  All the preschools from the Seattle area come to this convention of sorts and the parents come to wander around and look at all the schools.  While the majority of the tables are staffed in regular convention fashion with foldout boards, flyers, and tchotchke giveaway items, Tia Aureole folded up the table and stashed it away.  She decked out the booth in a wooded wonderland motif and she sat in the open space allowing children to come play on the carpet with wooden blocks made from actual tree branches.

Winding Willow School

At the preschool age, you might think that it’s really just more like a daycare but that’s not so.  At the Parentmap Preview people were coming by with children that weren’t even a-year-old and they were already planning for where they were going to send their child to preschool because they heard the competition was so tough to get into a good school. While some preschools focus on academics and others focus on nature they all have one goal in mind and that is to produce healthy happy imaginative children.

Ask Tia Aureole what the biggest thing is she sees in her school as a result of working with the children and she’ll tell you it’s love.  “The children just learn to love each other.  It’s already a natural thing for them to do, I’m just here to encourage it” she says.  The children are involved in all aspects of the school from grinding fresh corn to make fresh tortillas to washing the dishes after they eat their meals; they are hands-on and they love it

Winding Willow School

It’s a difficult choice for a parent to make a decision like this, because there are so many choices.  Aureole says “You just have to do what feels right.  You’ll know if it’s a good fit.  The parents will know, the teacher will know, and the child will know. “

Besides operating the preschool, Aureole gets involved in the community.  She assisted on the planning committee for the Ronald Bog Arts Festival, she sings in the church choir at the Shoreline Unitarian church, she’s the singer in “Bossa in Wonderland” a local Jazz Band, and is also a Doula, helping mothers with the birthing process.

If you are considering starting your youngster in preschool or are thinking about making a switch, Aureole offers tours and holds open houses  as well as offering a parent-child class for those who are not yet old enough to come solo.

As a matter of full disclosure, besides everything I’ve said here, Aureole also happens to be my wife of 15 years, which makes writing this article that much more special for me.



Winding Willow School can be found online at www.windingwillowschool.com

This blog, Urbanspending.com, survives solely from donations.  To support this project, please click the “donate” button on the right side of the page.  If you haven’t yet “liked” my Facebook page, or subscribed to the urbanspending.com blog and podcast, please do that too.  I promise to keep churning out well thought out, quality content, so please share this. Thanks.

Russ Shulman

Click Here to watch a video animation about my business philosopy

Get your customized business evaluation at www.OwnersReport.com

Skypename: Trustedruss

Phone:  206 794 3864



North City Bistro – The best live jazz in the area

Tucked away on a side street in North Shoreline is one of the few upscale restaurants in Shoreline which also has live music.  Besides the tremendous wine selection and elegantly prepared but reasonably priced food, the Bistro has something else, which no other business has.  That’s Ray Bloom.  Ray is the newest owner of the bistro.  After dozens of years in the wine business, Ray has brought his skills home.  First business was a music store in Chelan which also served as a stage for his band.  Ray played with Skyboys in the 70’s in Seattle.  He played with curly cook, a member of the Steve Miller Band and many other bands around Seattle. 

For a few years, he took his music business and went on the road as a rep for Pro Audio.  Next, he worked as a national director and sales manager for a Seattle based pro audio company until after 8 years, he finally tired of it and decided it was time for a change.

He bought a 100-year old grocery store in Silvana, WA and remodeled it.  “[I] built a deli in it, put in a wine and beer section and that’s what led me into the wine business.  I ran that and owned it for another 5 years and then sold it.”

Next, he was a wine buyer for a few different companies in Woodinville which led him to become an importer working for himself.  After nearly a decade in wine, Ray and his wife started working at the North City Bistro which is where I ran into him.

North City Bistro

North City Bistro

Ray says “I’m involving all of my passions here; My music, wine and spirits, the food, and I get to work with my amazing wife, plus some other really stellar friends who have pitched in and are working here now.”

Ray is the quintessential local business owner.  He has a strong sales and marketing background plus an obvious love for music and wine.    “The way I look at it is competition is a really healthy thing.  It draws more people to the neighborhood.  It’s a magical place.  There’s amazing music, and really good food. “

North City Bistro

“We do everything from scratch and everything fresh.  It’s a pretty broad menu for a small place.  I want to connect with this community because it’s a growing community with a lot of young people moving in.  There’s nothing like this around here, so we want to reach out to them and let them know what’s available. “

This place has had a reputation for the last few years for some amazing live music.  The best jazz artists in the NW call and ask if they can play here.  We have Greta Matassa, Stephanie Porter and Pearl Django playing here 3 and 4 times a year.  We’re also bringing in some blues artists and are going to start bringing in singer/songwriters as well.  We’re going to be doing music Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.”

North City Bistro

The North City Bistro might not be the first you think of when you need to get burgers and fries for your toddler, but if what you’re looking for is an elegant place that’s close to home where you and your sweetie can share some live music and a glass of wine, the Bistro definitely fits the bill.  The selection is huge, and Ray obviously knows enough about the wine itself to make sure you’re delighted with your choice.  If you see something you want to try, all you do is pay the cork charge and you can buy and drink your own bottle right there in the shop.

I know there are dozens of restaurant chains in Puget Sound which offer a great wine selection and delicious food, but with the North City Bistro being one of the only spots of its kind in Shoreline, I implore you to please stop by and see it for yourself.  Ray is a minority partner in the Bistro right now, but over the next few years, he’s going to be taking over all of the responsibilities.  He’s an intelligent and easy guy to talk to, and I’m sure, a fabulous musician in his own right.

North City Bistro

The North City Bistro can be found online at www.northcitybistro.com

and in real life at:


1520 NE 177th St.

Shoreline, WA 98155.

Telephone: 206.365.4447

Information: info@northcitybistro.com

Reservation: reservations@northcitybistro.com

North City Bistro


This blog, Urbanspending.com, survives solely from donations.  To support this project, please click the “donate” button on the right side of the page.  If you haven’t yet “liked” my Facebook page, or subscribed to the urbanspending.com blog and podcast, please do that too.  I promise to keep churning out well thought out, quality content, so please share this. Thanks.

Russ Shulman

Click Here to watch a video animation about my business philosopy

Get your customized business evaluation at www.OwnersReport.com

Skypename: Trustedruss

Phone:  206 794 3864

Need Facebook for business Help?


18 Ways to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Performance

Published January 28, 2014 Printer-Friendly

social media how toAre you frustrated with Facebook’s frequent changes to the news feed algorithm?

Do you feel like you’re being forced to buy ads to reach your audience?

While Facebook change is the rule rather than the exception, this article gives you 18 ways you can improve your Facebook news feed performance—and gain the upper hand.

How Reach Is Created on Facebook

Facebook defines reach as the number of unique Facebook users who see your updates.

To see your page’s reach, go to Facebook Insights and look at your page’s Reach report. You’ll be able to see how your reach is improving over time (as shown below).

facebook reach

How much reach does your Facebook page have?


Reach is generally influenced by one or more of the following actions:

  • You post content to your Facebook page. Yes, most of your fans don’t see it, but it still generates reach. Facebook calls this organic reach.
  • Facebook users take action on that update (like, comment, share), which creates a story in their friends’ news feeds. Facebook calls this viral reach.
  • You send visitors to that update using your own marketing channels. An example would be linking to a specific Facebook update in your email marketing newsletter. This also falls within organic reach.
  • You buy reach with Facebook ads. Facebook offers a variety of ad options, including boosts and targeting custom audiences. Facebook calls this paid reach.

All four actions are interrelated.

For example, if you publish content (organic reach) that your fans react to, friends of those fans will see that content (viral reach). If you decide an update is worthy of a Facebook ad, then the ad creates paid reach.

The more kinds of reach you generate with an update, the more people see that update. And that’s where these 18 ways you can beat Facebook’s news feed algorithm come in.

#1: Create a Content Strategy

You’ve heard this before, but what really matters in the end is the content.

Your fans don’t share a post just because they see it the news feed. They share it because it’s useful and interesting to them.

In the nonprofit world, fewer than 25% of pages have a content strategy, and I’ll bet that’s true for most small businesses as well.

If you need guidance on creating a content strategy, read these Social Media Examiner articles:

#2: Know When Your Fans Are Online

When is the best time to post on Facebook? When most of your fans are actually using Facebook.

In general, Facebook shows the most recent content at the top of the news feed. If you post an update at 2am, but your fans are using Facebook at 8am, you can be sure they aren’t seeing your updates.

You can find out when your fans are online by going to your Facebook Insights and clicking Posts.

when facebook fans are online

Post when your fans are on Facebook to ensure maximum reach.

#3: Pay Attention to Post Frequency

After looking at your Post Insights, you probably noticed there’s never a period whennone of your fans are using Facebook.

This means you should post at least once per day. Socialbakers recommends no more than twice a day, based on their research.

#4: Let People Post Content on Your Facebook Page

When Facebook users post updates on your page or mention your page, their friends see that activity in the news feed. That’s important viral reach.

In the update below, Max has posted an update on the Libraries Are Essential Facebook page. Many of Max’s friends will be exposed to this page through viral reach because his post shows up in his friends’ news feeds.

If you’re worried about spam or negative content being posted on your page, don’t worry. You can easily configure your page to block content that contains specific keywords or profanity.

viral reach

Any time someone posts on your page, it shows up in their friends’ news feeds, which results in viral reach.

#5: Host a “Caption This” Contest

One thing I’ve done that’s consistently worked well is to host caption contests as a way to generate an instant flood of comments, which in turn creates a flood of viral reach!

caption contest

Fun and easy contests or giveaways result in higher organic and viral reach.

I give away copies of great books, but you can give away anything you want. Justmake sure it’s useful and relevant to your community.

#6: Reply to Comments

To build community, you have to listen to and respond to community. People use Facebook because they want to be heard!

Responding to comments is important.

comment reply

Reply to your commenters so they know they’re heard.

Your Facebook page has an optional threaded comments feature. This means that when a fan leaves a comment on an update, you can reply specifically to that comment.

When you respond, that fan receives a notification, which is incentive to revisit your page to read your response. Increasing the frequency of visits to your page is a key part of developing a core Facebook page community.

You can turn on threaded comments in a few easy steps:

  • Go to your page and click Edit.
  • Choose Edit Settings.
  • Find the Replies heading in the list and click Edit.
  • Click Allow Replies to Comments on My Page.
  • Click Save Changes.

#7: Tag Commenters

Normally, pages can’t tag people on Facebook, but there is one exception: If a Facebook user leaves a comment on an update, you can tag the user when you comment on that same update.

tag commentersTag commenters in your reply to bring them back to the conversation.

Depending on the users’ privacy settings, they’ll receive notification that they’ve been tagged, prompting them to revisit the thread.

#8: Tag and Give Props to Other Pages

Human beings are hardwired for reciprocity. Generally speaking, when you promote another business’s agenda on Facebook, they receive a notification so they know the good deed you did for them. If they’re a good partner, they’ll return the favor.

tagging other pages

This update tagged RazorSocial.

#9: Repost Previous Top-Performing Updates

Your content strategy doesn’t have to only include new content; you can also recycle your most successful posts to reengage fans.

To find and reframe your top-performing posts, you need to know post engagement rates—the percentage of people who saw an update and liked, commented on or shared it.

To find post engagement ratesgo to your Insights and click PostsScroll down to the All Posts Published table, and click the Engagement column to quicklysort your posts by engagement rate.

To really get a feel for which updates your fans loved, export at least six months of post-level data and study it.

To bring fans back to your most brilliant and engaging content, you can:

  • Click Share on the original post and share it directly on your page.
  • Copy and paste the original post into a new status update.
  • Modify the original post, then post as a new status update.

An important note here: Don’t recycle recent content. You don’t want fans to feel like they’re seeing reposted content too frequently.

#10: Boost Previous Top-Performing Updates

There’s no way to escape it. If you’re serious about Facebook marketing, use ads. 

What I will say is this: Only promote awesome.

Investing in posts that already have a high engagement rate is more likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck—more likes, comments and shares—which translates into more engagement and reach in the long run.

Whether you have experience with Facebook ads or not, make time to read Jon Loomer’s articles on using Facebook Ads and the Power Editor to promote your top-performing posts.

boost a post

Promote your best Facebook content easily right from Insights.

#11: Feature Your Posts in a Like Box

Most people don’t know that the Facebook Like box in their website’s sidebar has a setting that lets you display your most recent page updates.

When people see your Facebook updates in your sidebar, it not only encourages them to like your page right there, but to click over to your page and take part in the conversation.

To update your Like box, visit the plugin page and configure the settings to Show Posts (as shown below).

display latest posts in like box

Sharing your Facebook updates in your sidebar Like box lures people to your page.

#12: Embed Top-Performing Updates in Blog Posts

One constant challenge for most bloggers is finding topics to write about.

Take a look at your most recent high-engagement Facebook updates and write blog posts that expand on those topics. Within the post, embed one or more of your best Facebook page updates (as shown below).

embed facebook posts

Write blog posts around your popular Facebook topics and provide a way for readers to revisit the conversation on Facebook.

This approach not only creates more reach for your best Facebook updates, it gives you blog post content that’s already been vetted by your community!

#13: Message Your Friend Networks

Have you hit a wall on your way to getting engagement? Depending on the strength of your collective friend network, try asking for shares or comments from within your personal networks.

Now, obviously you can’t force people to do this. But you can have willing parties message their friends at a time when you know your fans are mostly likely to be online.

These network shares cause a trending effect among friends connected to your business. When people see several of their friends talking about a topic, they’re more likely to be interested in that topic and click over to read more.

#14: Guest Post on Sites That Send You Traffic

If you’re a regular reader of Social Media Examiner, you know how powerful having aguest blogging strategy can be for growing your business.

But did you know you can find potential leads for guest-post opportunities right in Facebook Insights?

Within the Visits report, scroll all the way down to the External Referrers section. This graph shows you which websites are referring the most traffic to your Facebook page (shown below).

referrals from guest posts

Keep track of who’s sending traffic your way and make the most of those partnerships.

Contact the sites sending people your way and see if you can write a guest post for them.

Don’t limit yourself to guest blogging. Feel free to explore other co-marketing opportunities that may work as well.

#15: Pin Top-Performing Pictures on Pinterest

When you post images to Pinterest, you have an option to include a URL. When a user clicks the image, they go to that URL.

Try reposting a few high-performing photos from your Facebook page onto Pinterest and linking back to your Facebook update.

Make sure you use the correct permalink for the post! You can find that by clicking on the post’s publish date on Facebook (as shown below). You’ll be taken to a new page that shows just that post. Copy the URL for this page to use as your Pinterest link.

finding a post permalink

Use eye-catching images on Pinterest that link back to your Facebook page.

Keep track of how much traffic Pinterest is sending to your Facebook page via your Insights’ External Referrer graph. Then you’ll be able to determine how effective this approach is in boosting reach for your Facebook page updates.

#16: Tweet Your Top-Performing Updates

Some of my clients have had success scheduling tweets with links to their high-performing Facebook updates. Two or three tweets in 48 hours is plenty. Tweet recent Facebook updates rather than older ones.

tweeting a facebook update

Tweeting a Facebook post drives external traffic.

Make sure you’re able to measure clicks from Twitter to the post.

#17: Use Email Marketing to Promote Top-Performing Posts

This is one of my favorite strategies to use for my Facebook page. It’s so simple and effective, I’m surprised I don’t see it done more often.

Every time I write my weekly newsletter, I include a link to a Facebook page update.

For example, I recently asked my subscribers if they’d like me to write more about blogging, then I provided a link to a Facebook post where they could answer.

facebook poll

People who open and read your emails are highly likely to engage with you on Facebook as well.

#18: Identify Best Tactics With Facebook Insights

In the end, you have to find the tactics that work for your Facebook page.

Export the last six months of your Facebook Insights and study them to see what works for your page, then replicate that success with the tips above.

Pay attention to which updates resulted in new fans. Look at which posts produced specific kinds of reach and engagement (shares are more important than likes, for example).

Have you found the bounty? It’s waiting for you.

The Bounty in Shoreline

When I think of the word bounty, the word harvest automatically pops into my mind.  I see a basket full of fresh produce with tomatoes, cucumbers, loaves of fresh bread, and a variety of other colorful items.   It’s the perfect name for one of Shoreline’s newest sit down coffee spots, The Bounty on 15th Ave in North City.  I remember stopping by there when it was Hotwire.  It was dingy but quaint spot back then and I’m sure if it were still here today, I would stop by there.

I recently went into The Bounty to interview Elena DeLisle-Perry and was happy to see how nicely the new owner has done remodeling the place.  It’s upscale and feels like it’s built to last a while without needing any repairs.  I personally like the stream of cars flowing past on 15th Ave, but James has some nice insulation in his shop, so the traffic isn’t bothersome.  I love the giant wood tables which ring of an old style tavern where you can sit with others, without them feeling like you’re intruding on their space.  All the same, I feel like in this place, customers want to be social.  While I sat waiting for my interview with James to start, a customer I’d never met struck up a conversation with me which lasted about 20 minutes.  I haven’t had an experience like that in a coffee shop in quite a while.

James is new to Shoreline as a business owner, but he grew up in Edmonds and went to college in Shoreline, so opening The Bounty is more like a welcome home.  The quintessential Seattleite, James grew up in coffee shops and opened his first coffee cart in the U district when he was still in his teens.  He talked his sister into buying a coffee cart on the Ave when he was 22 years old after deciding the traditional education route wasn’t his best subject.  He didn’t stop there though, he spent many years as a real estate agent, and almost 5 years ago, he opened a brick and mortar coffee shop in Wallingford.

His expansion plans kicked into high gear when Attorney Gary East (Who owns the building and is on my list of people I want to interview) approached him and asked if he would be interested in the space.  Apparently Gary’s vision for North City involved having a coffee shop in this location.

The North City area is as much “downtown Shoreline” as the Aurora corridor is. “It has that feeling like it’s changed and it’s going towards being a more walkable place, kinda  small business area” James tells me.  He also says there’s a 160 unit apartment building going up across the parking lot which he hopes will create a nice surge in foot traffic.

I felt quite at home sitting in The Bounty, so I asked James about the decor.  He did it himself.  James has done plenty of remodeling in his life, so he was able to see how to build it out to get the feeling he was looking for.  “My style is kinda laid back”, he says, and that comes across nicely in the layout.

I’m the first to admit, I’m not much of a coffee drinker.  I usually only have it when I’m really sleepy and I have to go out, but I drink plenty of tea and my 12 year old loves steamed vanilla soy milk, so I end up in coffee shops regularly.  The Bounty helps keep the Seattle Coffee/Live Music scene alive.  Thanks to James’ designing, the space is well laid out for a band, and he has been very supportive of local talent.

I know for me, until I had a chance to talk to James, to me The Bounty was a new coffee shop in a location I’d been to before.  But now, after hearing his story and meeting this humble guy who’s doing his best to bring something good to North City, I have to admit, I’m more drawn to the place.  There’s a magnetic connection between us as members of the community.  I know James wants his place to thrive, but he’s relying on us to give him feedback.

“One of the things I value most, the most important thing you can do is learn to know yourself, and I think I put a huge focus on that in my early 20’s and up until now, and that’s been the payoff for me;  Knowing my limitations, and knowing my strengths, and letting those work for you”.

I congratulate James on finding something he loves and making a life around it. If you’re feeling stuck, or need some new inspiration, stop by The Bounty.  While you’re there, have a seat at one of those oversize tables, say “Hi” to a stranger, and let it sink in.  You’ll find yourself in a place dreamed up by a guy who created a life of magic, community, and joy for himself, and in so doing, created a place for you to be who you truly are.

Bad mustache Rides?

From Consumer Reports


Using your own car as a taxi for hire via a smart-phone app—like a Lyft car in San Francisco, with its trademark on-duty pink mustache (shown above)—might seem like a great idea that is both environmentally green and has the potential of adding the other kind of green to your wallet. Unfortunately, wannabe hack drivers should beware: Your personal auto insurance might not cover you or your car if you have an accident while you’re working at this avocation.

So-called “transportation network companies,” or TNCs, like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar have sprung up in cities around the U.S., from Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C., to Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, and San Diego.

“Earn cash with your car,” is Uber’s come-on for prospective drivers. “You drive every day,” Sidecar reasons, “Why not get paid for it? Offset the cost of your car . . . Meet new people . . . See the city in a new way.” And Lyft, which sells itself to potential riders as “your friend with a car,” woos drivers by promising easy money: “Drivers are making up to $35 an hour + choosing their own hours!”

Riders make “donations” using their Lyft app, for example, which then pays 80 percent to the “community driver” by depositing earnings directly into his or her bank account each week. If a rider “forgets” to make his donation, Lyft extracts the “suggested” fare anyway by charging his associated credit card.

Lyft Fares are a combination of $1.65 per mile and 20 cents per minute in Denver, for example, plus $1.25 for the pick-up and a $1 “trust & safety fee”—which pays for driving record and background checks for the cabbies and $1 million in excess liability insurance to protect riders.

It’s all very clever and innovative in today’s smart-phone-happy world, where apps have an answer for every problem—like that know-it-all nerd who used to bug you in fifth grade.

But meanwhile, TNC drivers risk losing a bundle on their road to taxicab riches (not that we’ve ever met any millionaire cab drivers): That million-dollar excess liability insurance covers passengers, pedestrians, other cars, and property, but it doesn’t cover injuries suffered by the driver or damage to his or her car-cum-cab if there’s an accident.

Don’t overpay for your personal car insurance. Try our 8 ways to save on auto insurance.

Most standard personal auto insurance policies contain a livery exclusion, which doesn’t cover losses that occur while you’re operating the vehicle to drive paying passengers, according to the California Department of Insurance.

“These TNCs are really a commercial endeavor,” says Robert Passmore, senior director of personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, a national trade group. “TNCs give strangers rides for a fee, and the drivers are getting paid. That would generally trigger the livery exclusion.”

Lyft’s website says its excess liability insurance is designed to cover liability “for property damage and bodily injury of passengers and/or third parties,” but the first party—the driver—is not mentioned. Too, liability insurance is only one type of coverage. There’s no mention here of collision or comprehensive coverage, which would protect the driver’s vehicle in a crash or from vandals; personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, which can cover driver injuries; or uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, which would cover damage to the driver’s vehicle caused by another driver who doesn’t have enough or any liability insurance.

If you’re a TNC driver or thinking about becoming one, you’re obligated to report that use of your vehicle to your insurer. (Remember that question on the insurance application about whether you use your car for business, pleasure, or commuting? The correct answer for TNC drivers is “business.”)

If you don’t tell your insurer about your sideline taxi business and subsequently suffer a TNC-related loss, the insurer is likely to find out and may not pay your claim. Worse, your insurer might cancel or not renew your policy.

If you vehicle is financed and you haven’t yet paid off the loan, the lack of insurance could put your auto loan in default, because you’re not protecting the lender’s collateral against loss according to contract. “Loan agreements require a borrower to maintain proper insurance,” says Steven Stapp, president and CEO of San Francisco Federal Credit Union. If a TNC driver gets into an accident and their personal insurance won’t cover the damage to the vehicle, the borrower will still be responsible for the cost of the vehicle and paying off the loan, says Stapp.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported today that Uber is dealing with its own unanticipated liability issues, including a lawsuit alleging that an Uber driver was responsible for the wrongful death of 6-year-old Sophia Liu in San Francisco last New Year’s Eve.

What do TNCs say about this? None of the three companies mentioned here responded to our requests for interviews.

So check with your insurer now, before there’s trouble. You’ll probably be advised to purchase a commercial auto insurance policy, which can be significantly more expensive than personal coverage. That necessary cost of doing business should be figured into your calculation to determine whether being a TNC driver really is the no-cost easy money proposition that the app developers lead drivers to believe it is.

And, uh-oh! You may be wondering now whether you’re in similar jeopardy if you carpool with your co-workers or neighbors or give rides to strangers through state and local commuter rideshare programs. Fear not. Those arrangements are specifically exempt from the livery exclusion—something of an exception to an exception—even if you accept share-the-cost payment from your passenger for gas and tolls.

-—Jeff Blyskal