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Social marketing, the nice way… Chairmarket wobbles… Cricketers are sponsor favourites… SMEs learn to share… Web browsers spreading germs…

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Social marketing – keeping it nice

With Mother’s Day on Sunday, WebProNews.com has put together some of top tips for earning a good online reputation, listed under its ‘Mom’s Guide to Social Marketing’.

Put your best foot forward: Put together a decent online profile, and post it far and wide. As recently as a year ago a presence on MySpace only was fine, but not any more; you have to be everywhere.

Make eye contact: Just like in the real world, wallflowers don’t get noticed. Be a participant in online forums by commenting, inviting, giving.

You are a reflection of your company: Nobody likes a poorly kept lawn except the lazy bum that lives behind it. Keep your public face on the social networks looking and sounding good. It may not be your home page, but it is a home away from home.

Keep an open mind to the next big thing: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For a long time it was search, search, search. Before that it was email, email, email. But now you need to integrate your campaign. Search is a staple, a pillar of your online campaign, but we also know that Wikipedia and YouTube consistently rank well in search engine result pages.

Smile and be happy: Viral marketing can be a tricky, difficult business, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. By realigning your approach to reflect what you enjoy instead of being a salesperson, you can find a more intuitive connection with what the public wants to see. If you want to make “linkbait”, think about what would cause you to bite first.

Small furniture manufacturers’ tough future

Small businesses that produce domestic furniture will be increasingly vulnerable to imports, but larger commercial furniture makers face a better future, according to a new study, reported in the theage.com.au. Commercial furniture is less exposed to imports because the majority of production is made to order.

The study was commissioned by the Furnishing Industry Association of Australia, which investigated manufacturing trends in the industry in the seven years to 2004-05, with a forecast to 2009-10. It found furniture imports will continue to increase, but at a slower rate.

Revenue from furniture manufacturing will grow at a compound rate of less than 3%, with industry turnover hit by a subdued, cyclical housing market. This will be offset by solid growth in non-residential building.

Imports in 2004-05 were valued at $1.8 billion, having grown at a compound rate of 14% in the previous seven years, making up 21% of domestic sales. In contrast, exports in 2004-05 were valued at $150 million, with a compound growth of 2.5%.

Cricket winners top sponsorship dollar

The members of Australia’s World Cup winning cricket team are worth big dollars to sponsors.

The Sweeney Sports Report, an annual survey of 50 sports, showed that team captain Ricky Ponting overtook swimmer Ian Thorpe to top the list of athletes Australians consider the most suitable to be paid to endorse brands and organisations.

Half the top 10 were current or former cricketers. The list also included Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee and Steve Waugh, Ponting’s predecessor as captain. Two retired sports stars, Pat Rafter and Cathy Freeman, are still rising up the ranks to numbers 10 and 11 respectively.

But five-time Olympic champion Thorpe, who replaced tennis player Pat Rafter atop the list in March 2001, polled his lowest score. Thorpe’s rating was “a result of his absence from competition last year as he battled injury, illness and decreasing motivation”, the report says.

Nike and Billabong retained their positions as first and second most important sponsors.

SMEs sharing office space

A growing number of business owners are sharing office space with other small enterprises, according to anecdotal research published by the Australian Financial Review.

It’s a stepping-stone for a growing business from the home office, allowing it to afford a larger, more appealing environment and gives the impression the business is bigger than it is.

Working from home, even for just a few years, brings challenges. See our Big Issue today for more.

Web browsers spreading germs

New Scientist magazine writes that firewalls and antivirus software do not inspect data downloaded through web browsers and that the loophole is being used by hackers.

Nick Ianelli, an internet security analyst at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US, says computers are increasingly becoming infected with “bot” software, which enters the machine via a web browser.

Google analysed several billion web pages and found around 450,000 web pages that launched downloads of malicious programs. Another 700,000 pages launched downloads of suspicious software.

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