Building a Community

As an industry we have done a remarkable job of designing a product that consumers need, but what I am seeing is most consumers don't know we offer that product. The stereotypes of "trailers", "mobile homes" and "sales lots" drive away many people who could really benefit from what we do. This includes everything from the most affordable housing to amazing estates we all would love to live in. There has always been a lot of talk about doing an image campaign (and the cost) but maybe this is an idea who's time has come by taking a different approach.

I've never been very good at doing what everyone else does - that's why I became a Lifestylist instead of a traditional designer or merchandiser. Consumers want more than just a decorated house - they want a home that reflects their lifestyle. This takes a little more time and research but it shouldn't cost anymore - it might even cost less. I also really believe in spreading the word about the great things my clients are doing as well as talking about trends and ideas that can help everyone. I don't charge my clients for this -  I consider it a service and part of my cost of doing business. I also go to trade shows, events and do work in the site built industry so I can bring back more than "what we've always done" as an industry.

This week I got invited to a meeting of the Social Media Club of Dallas. In a few hours I met some amazing new people who I was able to share the message of factory built housing to and they shared with me the importance of social media. Social media by definition is the various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources. Social media can include text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications. These include Twitter, Facebook,YouTube, FourSquare and blogs. For $20 (which included dinner) I learned what to expect from these groups and how to make them work for myself and my clients. They shared case studies that had mind boggling results.

What really made an impression is how easy and cost effective it could be if the members of our community came together and started using social media to promote our industry. There would be minimal or no cost and think about what could happen if every person who benefits from being in our industry got on Facebook or Twitter and started telling the world what a great product we provide. Is this the ultimate answer to change our image? With technology changing as quickly as it does it might be the solution we have been looking for. At least we would be doing something and getting our community connected.

Tony Kovach has done an amazing job in a short period of time sharing the message and bringing the community together with his Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management site. It is always full of great information and he is always updating what is there and keeping the message current. And I think his idea of having a Virtual Louisville Show is right on trend. I attended most of our traditional shows for the past 8 years and the last two have been painful as far as attendance and sales. We designed some beautiful homes but it was like having a party and no one came. What a great opportunity for the factory built industry with a virtual show to take back our place in the market as an innovative, cost effective and green way to build. I know I'll be attending this virtual show and will also be tweeting and blogging about it.

Let's get this party started and get connected. You can find me at:

Twitter: @homeideafactory
Facebook: (or search LifestylistDesign)

See you at the show!

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