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Archive for May, 2010

Happy Memorial Day – A Social Networking Opportunity for You

May 29th, 2010 No comments

American flagAs we observe Memorial Day weekend, we all deserve a chance to kick back with friends and family and enjoy some time away from the day-to-day. As a reminder of what this holiday is all about, President Obama has asked that all flags be flown at half-staff to honor those whose serve our country and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This year let’s all take a few moments to remember them and what they’ve accomplished for us – often at great cost.

Then relax and enjoy your weekend.

But come Tuesday, we need to begin again. Our economy is now in recovery. And even though the recovery isn’t happening as fast or as deep as we might like, things are improving.

Now is the time to build – for now and the future.

I talk with small business people a lot. Retailers, community owners and small businesses of every stripe have a lot in common. Their owners and those employed by them work hard to build their own businesses and, by extension, the national economy.

And sales and marketing is where it all begins. Tom Watson the founder of IBM put it this way: “Nothing happens until a sales is made.” The sale is where the money begins it’s journey from consumer to retailer to wholesaler to manufacturer and back to the consumer in the form of a salary.

In these times, the importance of SocialNomics to this cycle gets more important every day. But I hear businesses saying things like “I know the importance of Social Networking, but I just don’t have the time.” I understand. After putting 50, 60 or more hours into your business, it’s tough to clear your head and put even more time into social networking.

Well, here at MHMSM.com, we publish just about all our content to an RSS feed that is then picked up on our Twitter account and Facebook Fan Page. Articles, association news items, posts from all of our blogs, Press Releases and more.

Send us your association or company news, write an article, submit a post for our Industry Voices blog, or send us a press release. If it fits our guidelines, we’ll publish it and it will get some good exposure through Facebook, Twitter and our RSS feeds.

You can get our guidelines and complete instructions for submitting content to MHMSM.com here.

There’s never been an easier way for you to get some SocialNomics exposure for your business – do it today.

Creating a Facebook Fan Page for Your Business

May 22nd, 2010 No comments

Faith Barnard gives some very useful tips for setting up a Facebook Fan Page as a way to build a following of folks interested in manufactured housing in your location. Although there is no specific info on marketing housing, this is 4½ minutes of solid tips on doing business on Facebook.

A quick video tip on the key points in creating your fabulous Facebook Fan Page. I recommend key points that are not technical in nature that you can apply right away to setting up your page. My intention with my short Facebook video tips is to give you pragmatic and helpful tips that help you optimize your networking on Facebook and grow your business.

Reading, listening, remembering

May 16th, 2010 No comments

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If you’ve been to Tony Kovach’s Masthead blog post for today, you’ve discovered that we’re going to begin making podcasts of a good bit of the material here at MHMSM.com available in June.

That means that you’ll have the opportunity to listen to our articles and maybe some extra materials as you work or even while you’re in your car. This is part of our ongoing effort to make our materials more useful for you.

Most of you have discovered by now that the audio file you’re listening to is pretty much word-for-word the same as the text part of this post, and if you’re listening to this audio file right now and you’re like 80% of the people who are listening, you are also reading along with me.

This is valuable to you because research says that the more of your reader’s or listener’s senses you engage, the better recall they will have of your message.

And getting your message across is what marketing and advertising are all about. I’m going to make this a very short post because I hope you’ve learned one important thing from it – listening AND reading is better than listening OR reading.

If you’ve grasped just that one idea, this post may prove invaluable for you.

This is just one of the dozens of ideas we have to expand your marketing effectiveness. Jump on over to the MHMSM.com Solutions page when you are ready for more.

When it comes to data, loss can be fatal

May 9th, 2010 1 comment

Hard drive with sensitive dataToday’s blog post is not so much about how to market manufactured housing online as it is about saving your precious marketing data from being lost.

Yesterday, I had a call from a client whose hard drive hard recently crashed and had to be replaced. In addition to all of the time-consuming chores associated with a hard drive replacement, she had some very important emails that were now missing. Crucial emails, I should say.

Needless to say, she had never backed-up her data and now those crucial emails and the potential business they contained were lost.

A recent study from Gartner, Inc., found that 90 percent of companies that experience data loss go out of business within two years.

I’m guessing they mean TOTAL data loss, not just a few emails, but you get the point.

I tell my clients over and over again about the importance of backing-up data, but sometimes it just falls on deaf ears. But please understand one very important point – ALL hard drives eventually fail.

In fact, a common stat for hard drives (available as part of their tech details) is their MTBF number. MTBF means Mean Time Between Failures and it is a measure of the expected life of the drive before it fails.

So it’s not a matter of IF, but a matter of when your hard drive will fail. Being prepared can save you a lot of grief – and money.

If you use your computer for business, you absolutely, positively HAVE to have backup – and use it regularly. In fact, a good measure of how often you should back-up your data is to ask yourself “How much data can I afford to lose?”

One day? One week? One month? Whatever your loss comfort zone is, you need to back-up at least that often.

What are your options?

The easiest way to back up your data is to simple back up to another hard drive. I back-up regularly to a second local drive. That protects data from everything except fire or theft.

To achieve fire and theft protection, I also back-up to a portable hard drive, which I then place in a fire-proof box in an off-site location. This requires me to do two manual backups, but I do them regularly so I am always covered.

A better way to do off-site back-up is by using a service to store your files remotely. Choose this service carefully as if your off-site back-up company goes out of business, you may lose your data.

And since many off-site backup services use proprietary encryption, even if you somehow rescued the data, it may be unusable.

Using a reliable service that has been around for a while is the best bet. Here are a few of the better known backup services:

Carbonite
Mozy
IronMountain

PC Magazine did an article on The Best Online Backup Services Roundup in 2008 and it is still worth a read.

Macintosh users may be interested in this article on using TimeMachine to back-up to your MobileMe account.

There is a discussion here on using Amazon’s AWS as an off-site back-up storage solution. Storing data on AWS is inexpensive, and it is a great solution for many file storage and download issues, but the system for using it for off-site data storage so is somewhat clunky and the degree of difficulty may put some folks off.

Bottom line is that it is much cheaper to preserve and back-up data than it is to retrieve it from a crashed drive. There are a lot of data recovery services that can help you if it already too late, but if you have the choice, back-up and save hundreds of dollars.

No matter what you use to accomplish it, backing up you data is crucial and you need to start today if don’t back-up now. That MBTF number is an average – your hard drive could quit a lot sooner that the number indicates. Don’t get caught without backup.

Twitter followers: How many are too many?

May 5th, 2010 No comments

Twitter stylized logoTwitter can be a great way to get interested persons to follow links in your tweets and increase your website’s traffic. They can bring you new leads, prospects and customers.

In your zeal to gain new followers, it is easy to find yourself getting less quality even as you gain followers. This can happen when you employ software to shortcut the process of finding new followers.

You’ve seen tweets that say “Find followers automatically. I got 2,000.” and the link to the service. Sounds good, right? Then why do the Twitter accounts featuring these “spam” tweet often have less than 100 followers?

The answer is the service is far more interested in getting other Twitter users to sign up than it is in getting you new followers.

You just end up posting hundreds of their “spam” tweets that end up driving your followers away. They might not un-follow you, but they won’t read your tweets either and therefore won’t be clicking through to your website.

And, for a business, getting followers to click through to your website or to visit your location is the primary reason for even having a Twitter account. But you have to offer good material in the form of links to worthwhile content as well as short, standalone information.

And the more you tweet, the more potential followers are exposed to your content. I recently made one change to MHMSM’s Twitter strategy and our new follows have increased by ten-fold.

And the followers we are getting are higher quality as well. THey have found us based on our tweets, not by any phony signup techniques.

I’d rather have a few hundred followers who are actually interested in what we offer than a few thousand who are just trying to run up their follower numbers.

What should you do to maximize the number of high-quality followers on Twitter?

  1. Auto-follow those who follow you. I use SocialOomph.com to auto-follow and to send a quick DM (Direct Message) to my new followers.

    You can also use SocialOomph to handle multiple Twitter accounts, to schedule updates, post updates to Twitter, Facebook, your blog and more. You can also shorten links using SocialOomph’s free services. SocialOomph has a professional version available as well that adds many more features. I haven’t tried the pro version as of now.

  2. Use AutoTweet software to be sure that all of your WordPress posts or Joomla! articles are tweeted as soon as you publish them. You can get the WordPress AutoTweet Plugin here and the Joomla! AutoTweet Plugin here. But be sure that you configure them correctly or they will look like auto posts and likely be ignored.
  3. Reply to any DMs you receive that aren’t auto-generated. If someone takes the time to contact you about something interesting you tweeted, be sure to respond to them personally. It IS called SOCIAL Networking.
  4. Don’t spam people with constant ads for your product or service. Give them great info and then slip in a plug once in a while. I’m never offended by someone who gives great info pushing something they like, but if all someone ever sends me are ads, they might just get un-followed.

The bottom line is to get yourself a Twitter account, tweet consistently and treat others as you’d expect to be treated. Twitter can help you build business just as it has helped thousands or others. Treat it as a serious resource and it will work for you.