Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Hotel Social Media Engagement Perspective | By Richard Walsh

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Hotel Social Media Engagement Perspective | By Richard Walsh

Hotel Social Media Engagement Perspective | By Richard Walsh

If you own or manage a hotel or resort and you have not accepted the importance of social media marketing as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s time you do. Social media marketing is not tomorrow, it is now and it affects all aspects of your business. Not to get ahead of myself, but your time is money and it is important.

Whether you try to manage social media in-house or it is outsourced, effective social marketing will require time, resources and professional skills. My following statements and recommendations are a result of years of working with all categories of hotels and resorts. This includes my personal analysis of industry surveys, daily activities and keeping up with never ending changes in the social websites and networks. The goal is to develop effective social touch marketing plans and initiatives with measured results.

Social touch is all about your written messages and engagement with consumers and past hotel guests online. Talking to consumers is not new, but the popularity of websites like Facebook, Twitter and dozens of others just makes it easier and the value is not so much what is said between you and the individual, but more the fact that hundreds of other people can view your comments and the sentiment you express online relevant to your hotel!

It’s all about when, where and how you touch a past guest, prospective guest, meeting planner, wedding planner or group organizer. Chances are the majority of your guests have looked at guest reviews, Googled your location, searched on local demand drivers and used their mobile phone’s GPS application to find hotels in your area. Just think about the time and money spent trying to get guests to fill out a comment card, to tell a friend about their experience at your hotel or to visit your booth at a trade show. Now it’s a whole lot easier, but there are some serious do and don’ts when answering a question, expressing yourself regarding a guest comment or asking your followers for their opinion or even for their business.

The time has passed for just dabbling in social media, although it still looks like that is where a lot of hotels are. Effective social touch is a lot more than just posting to your Facebook wall about a two for one special at the bar, tonight’s menu or the usual weekend package. Your social media marketing is an integral, intertwined and interdependent part of all aspects of your marketing from your printed material to your website to your search marketing.

Social marketing success demands planning, time, persistence and control on how you touch the right prospects with the right message at the right time. To maximize your return on your time and expense, you need a clear plan that connects all of your marketing initiatives. It is also important that everyone in your hotel from the housekeeper to the owner knows how your online reputation is perceived, who your partners are for collaborative promotions, and how you touch consumers everyday through your social engagement initiatives.

Social media is about your hotel’s online reputation or how your hotel is perceived and how you want it to be perceived when you touch the consumer. It’s not about what your franchise brand can do for you. The brands will set policies and standards to protect the brand and some will provide advice. But to reap the benefits it is a social relationship between your hotel management and the consumer.

That one consumer may be the one who wrote a review about your hotel, checks in or “Likes” your hotel on Facebook, tracks your hotel on FourSquare, viewed your video on YouTube or posted pictures on Flickr. These and other social channels are all real time touch opportunities that will produce productive results in many ways. To measure and maximize the return on your social marketing investment you need to put a value on your time and your staff’s time that is spent creating, managing and engaging with consumers online.

If you don’t have the time, resources and skills that are needed, there are, of course, marketing agencies that provide these services. But, remember when you outsource, make sure it is a service that knows the hospitality industry and has hospitality experience combined with social media marketing. There are also tools and services that can be used in house, such as sentiment search for tracking guest reviews; unfortunately, these have generally proven to be less than effective. Even when using a tool or online service, you will still have to commit the time and resources. Plus you need a plan for how you will apply this information or it is useless. For example, an overall trend scoring is nice, but of little value, scoring the service attribute in the review is more beneficial.

The return on your investment in social touch marketing can be significant, but it will not be quick sales revenue or even group sales leads. These will come in time with the right initiatives, but it will take some time to grow your follower networks. Also, you need to keep in mind that success comes from how you intertwine all of your marketing with your social media touch.

Show your social presence on print materials, links on your website to your blog and social sites. Connect your social sites to each other. Keep your Google places current and informative. Provide a mobile website that is easy to read. Track visitors from social websites that come to your website and blog, measure their points of interest and grow your viral networks.

Most important! Do not start a social touch initiative and become impatient and stop your effort, leaving the channel stagnant or full of outdated information. If a prospect visits your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FourSquare or any social channel and your information or comments are not recent they will not return.

What do you expect to gain from your social media initiatives? Your expectations have to be realistic and measured. You cannot expect quick results because this is about knowing your followers and delivering the right social messages. It won’t always work! Your messages need to be sensitive, humorous in some situations, always more of a personal nature. A personal nature is about making it sound like it is special for your followers or a response to one person that will relate to thousands.

Sales is certainly your main objective, your first step in a good plan is to build your follower networks. To be successful you need a comprehensive plan for promoting your social presence and one that enables easy access to your pages from multiple points of consumer contact. This is accomplished through in-house printed materials inviting guests to visit your social pages, certainly significant presence on your website(s), active blogging to create a search presence for your blog and direct suggestions to consumers when talking to them. There are also significant search engine ranking position benefits. The more active you are socially the more your social marketing will affect your organic search rankings.

To add followers, you need to engage effectively. Twitter or Facebook social touch has to be more than an occasional wall post or an occasional response or tabs that don’t attract interest and engagement. Ask for the business! Your touch should target your local market demand drivers with collaborative promotions with local attractions and events.

Your social touch should focus on your follower’s profile information, where possible, so you can develop a demographic and a psychographic profile of your typical follower. Then adapt your responses, posts, promotions and timing around your follower profiles. Facebook special pages, Tweet and blog posts need to be frequent, but not annoying and repetitious. The value is based on the content. You need a controlled YouTube channel with your videos that will differentiate your hotel from your compset. Your Flickr pics should show activity and people, not just a building or a room. Develop alliances with local entertainment, sports events, attractions, recreation and other local demand drivers and feature these in your wall posts, tweets and specials. The results can be amazing.

In the end, you do what you have always done to promote your hotel, you engage with consumers, but in a written format in a social manner and always considering the fact that millions of consumers can see what you have to say and how you say it. So think about your objective before you blog, post or tweet.
Rest assured effective social touch marketing will continue to increase in value in the weeks and months ahead. Consumers will evaluate your hotel’s services, location, rates and specials based on your social presence and engagement. When you engage with a consumer the goal is to make your social touch a two way communication that is sincere and relevant. When you do, you will see the results you want.

Facebook’s ‘Like’ feature drives 31% more traffic

Saturday, October 29th, 2011


While Facebook’s new user sign-up rate may have slowed, the user engagement on the world’s largest social networking site continues to grow strongly.

A whitepaper report from Efficient Frontier concludes that Facebook’s user engagement has increased by an impressive 31 percent over the last year, outgrowing the 24 percent average increase impressions per post during the same period, as All Facebook reports.

The fact that the rate engagement has increased beyond the average reach (number of impressions) of posts shows that more users are more compelled to respond to content they have seen on the social network. This, in turn, suggests that Facebook is becoming an even more important place for key communication and interaction for its users.

The king of Facebook engagement remains the ‘Like’ which accounts for a whopping 84 percent of all Facebook user reactions. Of the rest, commenting in response to posts and status updates represents 15 percent, with sharing a mere one percent of all user engagement.

facebook CPC graph Facebook user engagement up 31%, Like feature is key driver

This breakdown relates directly to the ease in which each reaction can be made on Facebook, which is one likely contributor to user interaction. Liking a status can be done almost instantaneously and with little thought required, which is likely to explain why it is the overwhelmingly most used interaction.

Sharing and comments require more thought, suggesting that Facebook users are either too lazy or nonplussd to respond to updates with a written response, be that a comment or share.

Certainly when you consider the lukewarm response that the Facebook Like first received, it is clear that it is now a hugely successful and integral part of communications on the site, and across the web as a whole.

Equally Facebook’s work with its API, developing its ecosystem with third parties and publishers has played an important role in boosting engagement. Content can be shared amongst friends on the social network with greater ease than ever before.

It remains to be seen how the implementation of the new Facebook layout beyond its initial limited trial userbase will affect engagement.

If Facebook is looking to create more meaningful interactions, it will be looking to encourage more users to comment and share as opposed to just clicking the Like button and moving on.

Aside from engagement, the whitepaper also looks at the increased price of cost-per-click advertising on the social network, which has risen an average of 54 percent over the last year.

This change of price is a direct result of increased competition amongst advertisers that has driven CPC spend up by an average of 25 percent each quarter. The reports tips this trend to continue with advertising activity predicted to increase by 30-40 percent per quarter until the end of 2012.

Sources: All Facebook
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About the Author

Jon Russell is the Asia Editor of The Next Web. Jon has been commenting on and writing about Asia’s internet, technology and start-up scenes since he swapped London for Bangkok in 2008. You can reach him through Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or by emailing

Do Facebook Ads Bring Customers?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011
July 28, 2011

Do Facebook Ads Bring Customers?

Posted by Howard Greenstein @howardgr  at 11:44 AM

Start-ups and small businesses are always looking for more customers, and there are a lot of potential customers on the Internet, right? But what online strategy is going to help you to gain the customers you need in a cost-effective manner? Today, let’s dive into Facebook advertising. With 750 million members, and 225 million in the U.S. alone, there’s a large audience to reach.

Similar to many other online sites, Facebook ads are a marketplace–you’re making a bid about how much you’ll pay to reach people, or how much you’ll pay if they take an action. (See some resources below for more info on how to use them.) There are a lot of people using Facebook to build their brand by increasing the amount of fans on their pages, and that is absolutely a good strategy for many companies. These fans are customers or customers waiting to happen. Fans are great–but what about revenue driven as a result of a specific advertising campaigns? Marketing 101: Your return on investment is the Gross Profit from that campaign minus the expense spent on the campaign, divided by the expense and that gives you a percentage, which you can compare to other marketing expenditures to see what is most effective for you.

Anna Strahs of AnnaB’s Gluten Free started her baking business out of her Richmond, Va., apartment about a year and a half ago, and now she has commercial ovens and a wholesale business. Anna did a targeted ad for people in Richmond who were fans of restaurants and markets that had gluten free products and went through $25 in a few hours. That money bought her the first 50 “likes” on her page. “Since then we’ve run ads intermittently, we put our Facebook page info on our packaging, and at our markets we advertise it. When we offered some cupcakes colored with vegetable dye instead of food dye, we got 11 likes, but we also got six orders. We keep up with the Facebook page more than our regular website and we get direct feedback. People recommend and share our posts on their own pages, and we’ve had restaurants that carry our products repost or share our posts.” Anna can’t directly track the revenue from the fans, but that number is increasing and she can directly tie sales to content on her Facebook page.

Manish Vora co-founded Artlog in early 2008 as a platform connecting people to contemporary art galleries, museums, and artists. “We want to help the institutions broadcast themselves online,” said Vora, “As well as combine their offline efforts, providing access to have people visit galleries, museums, and fairs.” Vora’s team recently did an internal study tracking their use of Facebook advertising as an event promotion platform. “We’ve used FB ads to target people for paid events and paid software products. We had been using Google Ads, in a very targeted manner, but Facebook’s ads were significantly cheaper, and we stopped advertising with Google six months ago. Generally, the ability for us to target age, geography and interest help us target event by event. So promoting an art crawl on New York City’s Lower East Side with Thrillist, we can target 21-26 year olds in geographic NYC. For a Chelsea neighborhood crawl on a recent Thursday, we’re working with 20-30 galleries and 1000 attendees, and we targeted a 25-45 year old audience with a different NYC geography. The flexibility from event to event and by interest makes it more effective.”

How effective? Vora estimates about 8 percent of attendees come from their Facebook ads, and their margin is such that they’re making about $200 for every $75 they spend on ads. That’s gross profit-investment/investment, or (200-75)-75/75 for a 66 percent return on investment.

A start-up using Facebook ads is Synergy Beads of Ann Arbor, Michigan. CEO Adam Dion reports that spending $50 on Facebook ads brings him between $220 and $250 of revenue per month. (ROI (250-50)-50/50=300 percent ROI!  “I believe the return rate on FB is higher because of the ability to particularly select an audience who have specific and very strong, closely related interests…rather than abstract, loosely related keywords, which is key for a niche business like ours.”

Floptopz of New Jersey creates Flipflop insoles. Their Facebook campaign has translated to 300 percent more site visits, but their sales have only covered the cost of their campaign–no extra profit. Owners Donna and Dave Hill report, “We have definitely seen good traction and traffic, but we have also capped our daily spend (as a start-up, we are budget conscious) in order to keep our budget intact.” CEO Ian Aronovich told me, “While Facebook does not work well for us to make immediate sales like, e.g., CPC ads on Google Adwords, it builds awareness of our brand and “likes” on our company page. We can then use that over time to build an innovative sales funnel.” He also noted that his typical customer is older and “While 55+ is the quickest growing demographic [on Facebook], it seems to us that until recently, they were not really engaging with brands that much (including ours) compared to the yourger demographic.” This is only one company’s experience–it will be interesting to track over time.

Vora of Artlog notes that recently the cost of the ads he’s using on Facebook have increased, though they are still effective because they’re paying less than they were with Google Ads. I had a few others e-mail me from my outreach to tell me the same thing. A Facebook spokesperson told me that this is “a result of a general increase in activity within the auction marketplace. Price is a function of auction dynamics, but businesses always have control over their budget, and Facebook’s system helps them find the optimal bid that works for them.”

Are Facebook ads working for your business? Let us know your experience in the comments.

Finally, a thank you to the over 50 replies I got from posting about this story on HARO. I couldn’t reply to everyone, but they gave me great background for this piece.


How to Advertise on Facebook

Measure Your Online Engagement

Golf Nebraska Contest Offers $1,000 Gift Card

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Golf Nebraska Contest Offers $1,000 Gift Card

Entrants Must Play Three Golf Courses in Nebraska


LINCOLN, Neb. (July 18, 2011) — You don’t have to be a pro to win big in Nebraska. Golfers who play their own mini tour of Nebraska golf courses could win $1,000 to spend on golf equipment.


To be eligible to win, golfers must play three public or semiprivate golf courses in three different Nebraska towns. One of those courses must be at least 60 miles from the entrant’s home address. Scorecards from each course, signed by a course employee, must be submitted with each entry.


Contestants can submit entries by mail or electronically. Complete rules and instructions are available at, and the deadline for entries is Oct. 17, 2011.


Qualified contestants can earn one additional chance to win by sharing comments about their Nebraska golf experiences on the Golf Nebraska Facebook page ( The winner of the drawing will be announced on Nov. 1, 2011.


Nebraska is home to more than 200 public and semiprivate golf courses. A list of golf courses in Nebraska and links to articles and videos about Nebraska golf are available at Reviews of several Nebraska golf courses, including photos and videos, can be found at


Results from our March Innkeeper and Traveler Surveys

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Results from our March Innkeeper and Traveler Surveys

by Emily Gerson

We sent out surveys in March to both travelers and innkeepers to gain insight into B&B travel trends.  Below are some of the highlights from both surveys. Some of the most interesting findings are that many of the top 20 summer destinations for travelers are small towns, and close to half of innkeepers think rising gas prices may actually increase their reservations.

For the full results, please email to receive PDF copies of the survey.

Highlights from the Traveler Survey

How many trips are they planning and how long are they going?

  • Even with ever-increasing gas prices, nine out of 10 (90.3%) say they will take at least one weekend getaway this summer, and nearly two-thirds (62.3%) say they will take two or more weekend getaways this summer.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64.5%) of travelers say they will take one or two long weekend getaways this summer, and 70% will take one or two week-long vacations this summer.

Where are they going?

  • Click here to see the top 20 destinations for summer 2011.

How do they choose where to stay?

  • When deciding where to stay, travelers rank consumer reviews the highest (49.6%), followed closely by photos (48.7%), ability to book online (44.4%) and friends’ recommendations (44%).

Why do they stay at B&Bs?

  • B&B travelers say B&Bs allow them to get away from masses staying at hotels, while offering unique, interesting, and intimate accommodations that are adult/couple-oriented.

Highlights from the Innkeeper Survey

How did their business perform in 2010?

  • More than three out of four (75.8%) said their 2010 revenue was as good or better compared to 2009, with more than half of those saying revenue was up 10% or more.
  • Almost 19 percent of innkeepers said revenue in 2010 was up 20% or more.

Are they optimistic for 2011?

  • Two-thirds of innkeepers (63.3%) said they expect their reservations to increase in 2011.

Do they think rising gas prices will affect their business?

  • With no end in sight for rising prices, 61% said yes.
  • Interestingly, 40% of innkeepers think reservations will go down slightly due to consumers traveling less, while another 40% think reservations will go up slightly as people choose weekend stays over long vacations.

What led to success for those who had increased reservations?

  • Innkeepers overwhelmingly attribute online reviews (74%) for improved bookings in 2010, but also say social media like Facebook and Twitter (28.9%) and publicity (28.9%) contributed to their improved performance.

B&B or Big-Box? from Hotel Interactive

Friday, March 4th, 2011

B&B or Big-Box?
Social media is stirring this sleeping micro-giant of the Lodging Industry. Here’s how they’re doing it.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Daniel Edward Craig

“I have no doubt we will be stealing some market share.” – Jay Karen, President & CEO, Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII).

Social media, the great equalizer, has allowed bed-and-breakfasts and independent boutiques to compete for the attention of travelers online with big-box, chain hotels. And when it comes to creative content and compelling stories, small, independents properties have emerged with some of the strongest voices.

Recently, the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched a campaign called “A Better Way to Stay” to convince travelers—especially Gen X and Y—to choose inns and B&Bs over hotels. PAII’s President & CEO Jay Karen calls it “a true grassroots campaign” that will feature “fresh and edgy content—perfect for social media—never seen from our industry.”

To find out more, I caught up with Jay. Here’s a condensed version of our Q A session.

Some wear boxers, others brief; some prefer B&Bs, others hotels. Convince us: Why choose a B&B over a hotel?

That’s easy! Do you prefer your breakfast made from food off a Sysco truck or hand-picked by an innkeeper (most likely sourced locally)? Do you like never having to pay for wi-fi? How do you feel about free parking? Historical settings? Beautiful properties? Afternoon or 24-hour free snacks? Sometimes wine and cheese hours or afternoon tea? Local knowledge of the best places for recreation and dining? Also, B&Bs are considered by many women business travelers as safer than hotels.

Guests at B&Bs aren’t just a room number and a stat that adds to the RevPAR and occupancy charts – they’re people looking for more than just a room, and innkeepers enjoy delivering more than an electronic key card.

Do B&Bs compete more against hotels or other B&Bs? Should hotels be worried?

When someone chooses a B&B, it’s safe to say they likely chose that B&B over another B&B, not a Hilton or Marriott. We compete with hotels every day of the week. I firmly believe that the loyalty index among B&B guests is much higher than hotel guests. And in the new world of social media, more and more loyal guests will be telling their friends and families about their fantastic experiences.

I’m not saying hotels should be shivering with fear, because our total room volume is incredibly modest by comparison, but the playing field has certainly been leveled in this new age of connectivity. I have no doubt we will be stealing some market share.

Lately there’s been a lot of controversy over the authenticity of online reviews. What’s your position on this?

My belief is that the vast majority of online reviews on travel sites are legitimate – at least in our neck of the woods. Travel websites that do not authenticate reviews by verifying that reviewers actually stayed at the properties in question have an inherent weakness. But the concept they rely on is that the law of large numbers will overcome that weakness … the wisdom of the crowds. There’s going to be the occasional fool or fake in the crowd, but the thought is they will be drowned out.

There is a problem with that in the B&B world – we don’t have the large numbers that hotels do. A good B&B that is actively soliciting reviews from guests will still only have a few dozen reviews over the course of a year – not a few hundred. A few bad apples can spoil things a hell of a lot faster for a B&B with 5 rooms than a hotel with 500 rooms.

To me, the bigger problem is review sites claim little or no responsibility when it comes to the details within the review and won’t get involved in the veracity of the reviews. When it comes to negative reviews that have been embellished or falsified, the property owners have everything to lose. Joe Schmoe Reviewer has nothing to lose, and that’s still very troublesome at times.

TripAdvisor: friend or foe of innkeepers?

On balance? Definitely a friend. While we still suffer from second-class-citizenship on the site (we’re mostly found behind the “hotels” moniker instead of beside them, like vacation rentals, in the most visible areas of the site), the site allows the smallest of inns to compete with the largest of hotels in the same city. TripAdvisor is a great site for those who love doing their homework when deciding where to stay.

TripAdvisor reviews can work really well for local, independent players. The rest of the commerce on the site, i.e. banner ads, booking, etc., is no friend to the innkeeper. Nine out of ten B&Bs do not participate in the GDS system, so when someone is searching for availability, we are left out almost completely. It would be good to build a bridge with the off-GDS platforms that most B&Bs use and the TripAdvisor availability search tool.

Over the past few years, we have gained a good bit of attention through our high-profile discussions with TripAdvisor. I believe we have been the only lodging organization that is persistently meeting with their senior staff about parity, fairness and responsiveness with their very powerful system. I’ve been blogging about it since 2008.

Do B&B’s play the OTA game?

B&Bs generally do not play the OTA game for a few reasons. Those who do play the game, though, are generally pleased. The reasons for opting out include not being able to afford the commission structure (25-30%), the lack of good information on the guests that gets passed between the OTAs and the innkeepers, and the lack of supply with which to play in the yield management game. It’s a bit of a hassle to contribute only one or two rooms to the system and have to manage that.

Companies like have done a good job building that bridge between an innkeeper’s PMS system, booking engine and the OTAs, but it takes a lot of hands-on management on the innkeeper’s part to make it all work. Oh, and then they have to go turn three rooms, shop for tomorrow’s breakfast and respond to the latest online review.

The major search engines are still the biggest players for B&Bs. Google Places (and various iterations of Google Maps and Google Local) have always been an influential player, and even more so if they keep stepping up their game in the travel space.

Given such limited resources, which social media tools and resources if any do you recommend B&B owners engage in?

Facebook – no doubt. There is no better tool that allows a happy B&B guest to tell their hundreds of friends and family what a wonderful time they had. We haven’t even seen the beginning of the fruits Facebook will produce for innkeepers. I’m encouraged greatly by the social buying sites out there – especially LivingSocial. Twitter is great, but only if you’re posting content that is relevant to Twitter users, and if you look at it as a search engine.

How is 2011 looking for the innkeeping industry?

The only weak point in our industry as a result of this recession has been the transaction market. Our RevPAR, occupancy and revenue numbers have remained steady. Changes in travel preferences have benefited our industry – the desire to stay closer to home, long weekend trips, smaller, boutique properties (duh), etc. Therefore, we are generally poised for strong performance in the coming months and years, as long as the economy doesn’t tank again.

Our biggest challenge seems to be that more and more gets added to the plate of innkeepers each year, but nothing gets taken off. Innkeepers pine for the days when SEO was the only internet-related marketing game they had to keep up with. Keeping all the plates spinning in an ever-more-complex world is a big challenge. But that’s where PAII comes in, right Daniel?

Daniel Edward Craig is a former general manager turned hotel consultant specializing in social media strategy, storytelling, and reputation management for the lodging industry. He is the author of three hotel-based novels, a popular blog, and various articles about issues in the hotel industry. His new e-book, The Hotelier’s Guide to Online Reputation Management, is now available. Visit or email Twitter: dcraig.

Copyright © 2011 Daniel Edward Craig. All rights reserved.

2011 Nebraska MarketPlace Conference

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

2011 Nebraska MarketPlace Conference is less than two weeks away! Can you believe it? We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait!

We want this year to be an even bigger success than last year, but we need your help! Help us promote MarketPlace with your friends and connections! How can you do this? Here are 3 easy ways!

1. Say that you will be attending Nebraska MarketPlace on our Facebook event along with sending out an event invitation to your Facebook friends and contacts. Are you not Facebook friends with all your business connections and contacts? No problem! Type in their emails and a message will be sent them right away!

2. Don’t forget to become a fan of Nebraska MarketPlace on our Facebook and Twitter pages too!

3. Tell everyone why you decided to have a booth at MarketPlace and why you are attending MarketPlace on your Facebook wall along with on ours! Are you a multi-year attendee/exhibitor? Tell our fans why you continue to come back! We’d love to hear too! Search for Nebraska MarketPlace and you will be sure to find us!

Are you a Twitter or LinkedIn Fan? Find us on both by searching for Nebraska MarketPlace or clicking the links below! If you prefer to tweet, then tweet away and let the world know why you can’t wait for 2011 Nebraska MarketPlace!

We are trying something new this year and would like your help with this as well! We have created a hashtag #nemp that we would like attendees, exhibitors, and presenters to use before and during the conference. This is a great way to learn what is going on throughout the conference when you can’t be in two places at once! It is also a good way to connect with attendees ahead of the conference! You can start making connections before the conference even begins!

Early bird registration for attendees ends Friday, so remind all your friends and connections to register by Friday!

Thanks for your help in advance and we can’t wait to see you in about 2 weeks!

Lindsey Bierman
Mark your calendar for these Center for Rural Affairs Projects:
5th Nebraska MarketPlace Conference
Feb. 22nd & 23rd, 2011
Ramada Inn, Kearney, NE

Nebraska Energy Fair
July 22 & 23, 2011
Lyons, NE

“The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer”

Don’s PC Tips

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Don’s PC Tips January 10, 2011 Home
Don Ray Edrington with Mary Janese Hanson

Mysterious Vertical Lines Several readers have asked why some forwarded emails they receive have one or more lines running down the left side (such as seen here) and how they can remove the lines before sending the message on to others.

Well, adding a left-side line to a forwarded message is something AOL Mail has always done, and each time it continues through another AOL user another line is added.

In any case, when you click your email program’s “Forward” button the message to be forwarded will appear in an editable mode. However, deleting these lines requires HTML editing, with which to most users are unfamiliar.

What I do is simply mouse-select the part of a message I want to forward, copy it with Ctrl+C, and then create a new message into which I paste it with Ctrl+V. If I intend to forward it to multiple recipients I put my own email address in the “TO” field and put all the others in the “BCC” (blind carbon copy) field so that recipients will see only their own addresses.

Reviewing a Gmail BCC Recipient List Gmail user George Roberts wrote that after emailing several friends using the “BCC” field, he sometimes wants to go back and review the list of names. George should click on “Sent Mail” and open the target message. At the top of the message his name will appear, followed by the first name in the “BCC” list. Click on “Show Details” and all the other names will appear.

MSWord 2007/2010 Issues A lady who uses a pre-2007 version of Microsoft Word said she occasionally receives documents that were created with Word 2007 or 2010, and that she can’t open them. She asked if there is a way of opening them, short of having to buy the latest version of Word.

Yes – she can download OpenOffice, which is free from The program is able to open Word 2007/2010 documents and then let you save them as Word 2003 files.

Likewise, one can open Word 2007/2010 files with Google Docs (Google Docs) and them save them as an earlier version.

However, an even better short term solution is for Word 2007/2010 users to save documents they intend to share with others as Word 97-2003 files before sending them on. Someday – in about 10 years or so – all Word users will likely be using 2007/2010, and there will be little reason to save files in the older format. In the meantime, do other Word users a favor by sending them 97/2003 files, which can always be opened by any version of word.

Red X Instead of a Picture Tom Jackson asked why some image attachments he receives show a red x instead of a picture. Well, there can be many reasons for this, and most are explained here: Red X Problems.

Dealing with Spam Alan Brooks asked which email service is best at protecting users from spam. Well, I like Gmail. However, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and others all seem to be doing a pretty good job at filtering junk mail nowadays.

I’ve read that about 2/3 of all the email in circulation at any given moment is pure spam, and there is no way any service can be 100% sure whether a message is legitimate or not. Thus, not only does an occasional junk message get past my Gmail filter, an occasional legitimate message gets put in the Spam folder. Consequentially, it’s important to review your spam/junk folder periodically to check for errors before deleting its contents permanently.

I also like Gmail’s spell-checker, which kicks in when I do other things online using Google’s Chrome browser. For instance, if I post a comment to anything I see online (as in Facebook) the spell-checker works beautifully.

Speaking of Facebook, and other social networking sites, they can be a lot of fun – but keep in mind that anything you post online can be seen and/or copied by others, and it may come back to haunt you someday. Once you post something, you can delete it. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been seen and copied by someone. Be careful – think before you post.

Several readers have asked if Microsoft Security Essentials can be installed on a computer that already has an anti-virus program in place. No. Multiple anti-malware programs on the same computer tend to interfere with one another and can create more problems than they solve.

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