New Features Coming Soon

Google

Image source: phandroid.com

We’re always working on ways to make Love Small Town America more responsive to our members’ needs and more engaging. That’s why we’re excited to announce a few changes coming soon that we think will make our members’ webpages even more fun and useful! Which of these ideas do you like the best? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Social Media Share : We’ve harped on how important social media is before. Now, it will be easier than ever to share content from Love Small Town America through social media. We’re adding a “social media bar” to every page so people can easily share the news from those pages.
  2. Google Calendar : We are transferring our current calendar system to Google Calendar. This will make updates easier and will allow people to sync their Google Calendars with ours. This will also allow us to integrate RSS feeds on the calendar pages so people are updated when events have been added or changed. Let that sink in for a moment. This means if you follow the calendar of your son’s school sports team, if they change the time of a basketball game — it will be updated on your personal calendar!
  3. Pop-up Boxes : For the events calendar and business listings, we’re adding pop-up boxes to share more information for those events and business listings. It will be easy to find the phone number of a local business, for example, or see at a glance important details about a church bake sale.

What new feature do you think you would use the most? 

We are always growing our network of small towns, organizations, and businesses. If you’re interested in joining Love Small Town America and getting an affordable home on our small town network, e-mail us to get started or learn more here

 

LSTA & KS Dept. of Commerce Offering ROZ Communities Free Webpages

Love Small Town America and the KS Dept. of Commerce Have Partnered to Bring ROZ Communities Free Webpages

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

From now until Feb. 13, ROZ Communities (towns or counties) can apply for a free webpage and Love Small Town America membership. You get a great, worry-free web presence, free advertising and promotion, a listing in our directory of towns and/or counties, and connections to a growing network of small towns. It’s easy, it’s free, it makes a difference. The Kansas Department of Commerce feels so strongly that this is a vital step for ROZ communities to take, they’re footing the bill so ROZ communities can get in on this great opportunity. Scholarships are limited, so apply as soon as possible to ensure you are one of the lucky ones!

What is the ROZ Webpage Scholarship?

A one-year scholarship (valued at $225+) that covers the cost of a community webpage and membership in the Love Small Town America network to provide accurate, interesting information about your community, share events, post jobs and real estate listings, connect local businesses with publicity and affordable webpages of their own, and get your community noticed!

Check out a community webpage and click through the different tabs to see the many features. Visit: Grainfield, KS.

What Are the Benefits of a Love Small Town America Webpage?

Our members are part of a network of small communities. Every member gets a full-featured web presence that is completely hassle-free. We do all the work, from building the site, to writing the copy, to performing maintenance and updates. We also include free promotion as part of the deal to help you show the world why they should call a small town home and to showcase the best small towns in America. Learn more about the many benefits you’ll receive as a Love Small Town America member when you apply for the webpage scholarship.

How Do I Apply?

Fill out a scholarship application and return it to Chris Harris at charris@kansascommerce.com. Communities (counties or towns) participating in the ROZ program with a population of 5,000 or fewer can apply.

Or: Contact Luke Mahin at Luke@Lovesmalltownamerica.com or 785-374-3067 for assistance filling out your application or to ask questions.

Rural Opportunity Zones can get a FREE Webpage!

Some of you may have heard this before, but we want to make sure EVERYONE hears the news today. Rural Opportunity Zones – those 50 Kansas counties offering awesome “recruitment bonuses” to qualifying new residents – are eligible for an absolutely FREE Love Small Town America website*. This is no gimmick – the Kansas Department of Commerce is actually paying for scholarships that provide webpages to ROZ counties or communities within ROZ counties so that they can help leverage the nationwide interest in these fantastic Kansas counties.

Did you know?

More than 600 people have already applied for the ROZ incentives. The ROZ program is working. Imagine if all these counties had full-featured webpages with all the information new residents wanted to know in one, easy-to-navigate spot. That’s what Love Small Town America provides. ROZ counties can plug into a dynamic network that showcases what their communities has to offer and opens the door to affordable webpages for local businesses, free promotion, and more. Signing up is easy, it’s quick, it’s free. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity! Scholarship applications are due Feb. 6, 2013.

How Can you Take Advantage of this Offer?

If you live in a ROZ county or town – share this information with your local economic development director, chamber director, or other community leader and let them know you want to see your community on Love Small Town America. Even if your community already has a website, being a part of LSTA gets your community listed in a vibrant network of small towns across the country and provides free publicity for town events, businesses, and more.

If you’re a local economic development director, chamber director, or other community leader, you’re in the right place! Contact us today to learn more and to get help filling out your community’s scholarship application. Hurry – applications are due Feb. 6, 2013 and there are a limited number of scholarships available.

Contact Us:

Luke Mahin, Sales

Phone785-374-3067

Email: luke@lovesmalltownamerica.com

*Package C: $225 value

Double D Family Mat Shop Thrives in Small Town

Double D's Non Slip Mats

Weather-resistant, Non-slip Double D Mats™ can be used inside or outside to provide sure footing and a quiet, firm, but resilient surface for livestock. Each tire tread woven into the mat is secured on both ends and fastened with stainless steel bolts in two places. Source: http://www.ddfamilymats.net/products/

Love Small Town America is the online home for some of small town America’s best businesses. We’re giving them a chance to share with the world just what makes them so special. Please welcome this month’s featured business to the Love Small Town America blog: Double D Family Mat Shop, Inc.! 

This year, Double D Family Mat Shop celebrates 17 years in business with a brand new website and branding overhaul that show this time-tested family business is growing and thriving in the 21st century. After nearly twenty years in business, the company has learned a few secrets to success. Continue reading

Fall 2012 Contest Winners!

First of all, we’d like to sincerely thank EVERYONE who entered our two contests. We’re always learning and growing and this was the first time we had tried a giveaway! The good news for all of you is that we LOVED it! So, keep your ears open for your next opportunity to enter to win some great small town goodies (like the fabulous Country Sudz gift basket!) or a chance to join Love Small Town America!

Now, without further ado, we’d like to announce our lucky winners! One will be receiving a luxurious spa basket from one of Love Small Town America’s great small town businesses and the other will join us in showcasing the best small towns in America!   Continue reading

Small Town, Small Business Saturday

The post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza has grown over the years from Black Friday to include Cyber Monday and our favorite, Small Business Saturday! We’re joining other small businesses across the country to encourage you to shop local this Christmas season, starting with small business Saturday and continuing on through your gift-giving list!

Every dollar you spend locally goes further to support your local economy – your neighbors – your way of life. The economic ripple you create by spending even a single dollar locally (instead of at a chain store!) can create up to $15 dollars worth of impact. (Read more about reasons to shop local.)

So when you shop local, you’re doing more than shopping. You’re being a good citizen! A job creator! An architect of America’s future! Are you pumped to spend some money? Alright! Let’s go! We’ve got 8 killer gift ideas to share with you after the jump! Continue reading

Enter to Win a Free LSTA Webpage or a Luxurious Gift Basket from Country Sudz

 

Contest Closed

Love Small Town America is hosting two amazing giveaways right now. Enter to win a free Love Small Town America webpage or a pampering gift basket from Country Sudz full of handmade bath products. Please see individual contest rules prior to entry. Submitting your information below indicates that you understand and will abide by contest rules.

CONTEST ENTRIES

Click here to enter: Subscribe to our newsletter

To complete your entry, confirm your subscription to our mailing list and post on the individual contest entry blogs here:

Country Sudz Entries

Webpage Giveaway Entries

Ten Tips to Rock a Facebook Page

We’ve been exploring social media and what it means for small businesses and community organizations over the past several weeks. After starting with why social media is important, we examined some of the top platforms for small businesses who want to make a strategic choice about where to devote their social media resources. Now, we’re delving into the how-tos and sharing some succinct steps to be a social media success, starting with the granddaddy of social media – Facebook.

1.) Create a page.

If you’re a business you need a page, not a group, and not a personal profile that you use for work. It’s free to create a page and you make it easy for fans and clients to find you, share your content, and engage. You also gain access to additional tools that can help make your Facebook page effective – tools like stats and the option to advertise.

2.) Grab your name.

Don’t let a rival snap up your name. Set up your page now and claim your rightful place on the internet.

3.) It’s all about curb appeal.

Facebook gives you a large cover photo spot in the header, a profile picture, and the option to add photo albums. You should be using all of these options to give visitors to your page a great look at what you have to offer. These can be simple – but take care to make sure that image quality is sufficient to meet Facebook’s standards. A pixelated, blurry image does you no favors. Likewise, remember that while your cover photo is only visible to fans who view your page, your profile picture is your calling card and will appear alongside any comments you share on other pages. 

4.) Keep it short and sweet.

“Your fans’ News Feeds contain a lot of information. And they have limited time to read it. Keep your posts short whenever possible: posts between 100 and 250 characters (less than 3 lines of text) see about 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters.” (Source)

5.) Engage with photos and videos.

People love pictures and videos. It’s that simple. Posts that contain images or videos generate significantly higher engagement (comments, clicks, etc.) than posts that are just words. Yes, they are more work to create. But there’s a reason that a single image is worth 1000 words.

6.) Make it regular.

This is one of the cardinal rules of internet engagement. Post regularly. Even if this means that you have to ignore Tip 5. Get online and make posting to your facebook page a habit. Start with once a week if it’s a struggle to find time and move up from there. 

7.) Make posts relevant.

Why should someone “like” your page and tune in to your updates? Give fans a reason to follow you. Every audience is different, but fans should get something out of your facebook page. Helpful information, special deals, early product launches, fun, entertainment. Figure out what’s meaningful to your fans (or the people who you want to be your fans) and do more of it.

8.) Engage.

Social media is a two-way street. That’s one of its greatest strengths. Facebook is not a platform for you to shout your marketing strategy to the masses. It can be — but it’s also a place to listen. To answer questions. To ask questions. To participate on other pages. There has to be a benefit to both parties – the business and the fan – for your page to grow. 

9.) Timing is of the essence.

Whether it’s creating timely content that coincides with trends, holidays, and events or simply being aware of when people are reading your posts, time is a huge factor in social media success. From which day of the week to post on to what time of day is best for a specific industry, stats abound to help you guide your strategy. Start with common sense, and add statistics as you grow into a social media pro. Scheduling programs can help you make the most of the clock.

10.) Do it well

Spelling. Grammar. Respect. Remember the lessons your mama taught you and be sure that what you’re putting out there on the internet is reflective of your company or group and of your own standards. It’s easy to feel like something is here today, gone tomorrow on the internet – but your content never dies and it’s harder than ever to track what or how someone perceives you and your organization, so don’t let silly mistakes or thoughtless remarks taint your online reputation.

What do you think? Are you ready to dive in to Facebook? Get started!