What are people saying about your organization?

Today’s fast-paced news cycle never stops. Social media chatter is a constant and websites are dedicated to gathering and disseminating reviews about your organization. If you aren’t monitoring your reputation online every day, you don’t know what is being said about you or you may be missing important comments, which could affect your reputation both negatively and positively.

The statistics are compelling

According to StatCounter, businesses with mostly 1-star or 2-star online reviews posted by consumers fail to convert about 90 percent of prospective customers. That is cause for concern as the Online Marketing Institute reports that more than 85 percent of customers use the Internet to research before making a purchase and that roughly 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations either received by social media or by word of mouth over advertising. Approximately 86 percent of people would pay more for services from a company with high reviews online, and 74 percent of consumers depend on social media to guide their purchases, as indicated in a BrandYourself study. 

StatCounter also reports that with more than one billion Google name and business searches a day, and Google controlling 90.62 percent of search traffic, coupled with the fact that 92 percent of North American consumers regularly read online reviews to learn about a business, it is clear to see that organizational reputation is something that needs to be proactively protected on a daily basis.

Even though 58 percent of executives believe that managing its company reputation online is something that should be done, only 15 percent do anything about it. And given that 41 percent of companies that have experienced a negative reputation event experienced a loss of brand value and revenue (Source: Statista/Pew Internet/Hubspot), it is worth doing something about.

Take action

Lukas Partners recommends some initial steps to begin proactively managing your reputation:

Monitor online and traditional news outlets regularly. Try Talkwalker Alerts as well as Google Alerts.

Respond as soon as possible to inquiries and negative posts.

Think about what could cause negative public perception and prepare responses to have on hand.

Monitor daily what people are saying and how they’re reacting to your industry, your products and your service.

Form a rating system that you can understand based on what you’re seeing online (green-yellow-red) – green being the most positive; this will help you place the comments into context.

Tools like Google Analytics are free and help you determine how people are engaging with your brand.

Monitoring your online reputation takes work and dedication, but it is something that should be a given in your day-to-day operations, as it is the first step to developing a comprehensive reputation management program.

About the blogger:
Jim Bush is a senior account executive at Lukas Partners. He is accredited in public relations (APR) via the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Jim is a seasoned communication professional with experience in every aspect of corporate communication and takes pride in helping businesses and organizations better relate to the communities they serve.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

Online Giving Continues to Grow In Popularity

Several communities have Giving Days this spring. Nonprofits stand to benefit as online giving increases year after year, with an increase of 7.9% in 2016 compared to 2015, according to the Blackbaud Institute’s latest charitable giving report.

The report surveyed 2,162 nonprofit organizations that showed an average online donation amount of $128. About 17% of all online transactions came from mobile devices, which is an increase over 2015.

“Whether you can give $10 or $100 or even more, you can make a difference in nonprofits in your area,” said Anne Hindery, CEO of the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands.

The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands strengthens the collective voice of nonprofit organizations to enrich the quality of community life throughout Nebraska and Western Iowa.

According Hindery, online donations allow donors to give at their convenience, any time of day. “You can donate to the charity of your choice—whatever cause speaks to you—and it doesn’t have to be a lot of money,” said Hindery.

While online giving typically makes up about 20% of all nonprofits’ yearly donations, approximately $15 million was donated during Giving Days across the state of Nebraska in 2016.

Giving Days in Nebraska and western Iowa

Fremont May 9, 2017  https://www.fremontareabiggive.org/
Hastings May 11, 2017  https://givehastings.org/
Lincoln May 18, 2017  https://givetolincoln.com/
Columbus May 19, 2017  http://www.columbusbiggive.org/
Norfolk May 23, 2017  http://www.norfolkareabiggive.org/
Omaha May 24, 2017  https://www.omahagives24.org/
Pottawattamie County May 24, 2017  https://www.omahagives24.org/pottawattamie
McCook November 2017  https://biggivemccook.org/
Lexington November 2017  https://givebiglexington.razoo.com/
Phelps County November 2017  https://www.give2growphelps.org/
Siouxland November 2017  http://www.siouxlandcommunityfoundation.org/
Kearney December 2017  https://givewhereyoulive.razoo.com/
Boone County December 2017  https://www.bcbiggive.org/
Ord March 2018  http://www.ordnebraska.com/give/thebiggive/
 Grand Island area May 2018  https://www.gobiggive.org/
 North Platte May 2018  https://northplattegivingday.org/

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

 

 

 

 

Get More Miles Out of Creative Content

Have you ever spent hours on end fine-tuning a newsletter email or trying to achieve social media post perfection? Sometimes the content we produce as organizations can be time consuming to create, and the return doesn’t always equal the effort. Sometimes stretching content across multiple platforms can get more mileage out of your hard work.

When I create content for clients at Lukas Partners, I always consider first how I can rebrand and reuse it on different mediums to squeeze out the most value.

For example: fun facts, phrases, statistics, quotes or thoughts from a blog, newsletter or informational email can be extracted and reworked for a Facebook post or tweet.

Why repurpose? Repetitive text and messaging can help further develop brand awareness and reach a broader audience.

Repurposing images is effective. Images used for an email may transfer over nicely to a blog or social post. In addition, creating new graphics for an older but still relevant blog post can give it a fresh new look on social media, getting the attention of those who may not have noticed it the first time. Thoughts from a blog or email can be made into graphics and a slideshow for social media or other marketing efforts.

For example, when I create a blog post for Lukas Partners, I not only create an image for the post itself, I also create a second, third and sometimes fourth image to use on social media and email. Sometimes I take those images and include them in a slideshow for Facebook. The images are sized so that they play well with all platforms, if not, I can quickly resize them. I also choose different phrases, facts or tidbits from within the blog to go with the images, so each post appears to be a new and different thought and not more of the same.

Videos can be repurposed as well. A video sent in an email can be added to social media or your website and it also can be placed underneath your email signature. Or sometimes it’s possible to break a longer video down to bite-size snippets for social media.

Ultimately, I recommend thinking ahead when creating content to define how you will reuse it and what aspects can be used elsewhere to ensure a versatile end product.

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with organizations on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Take Along Tools for Your Next Video Shoot

Every professional videographer you meet will carry a bag of supplies with them on shoots. Have you ever wondered, what’s in the bag? If you are producing live or recorded videos from your smartphone, you can definitely glean some knowledge from the answer to that question.

At Lukas Partners, we work with videographers and help produce video for clients. Here are must-haves when you film videos:

The first item professional videographers always carry is a set of headphones. They are a real life saver when it comes to shooting video. Headphones allow you to monitor the audio to make sure your microphones are working and that you’re getting a good sound level while you are out shooting video. There is nothing worse than getting back from a shoot and realizing you have a problem with your sound that could have been prevented.

A handy portable light for use in dim lighting situations also fills the bag of a pro videographer. Since oftentimes you can’t control the amount of light in a room, videographers will use lights to brighten the space that they are filming.

If you have a piece of equipment that is run off of batteries, you are going to want to always bring extra batteries. You may never need them, but it’s better to have them and not need them over the alternative.

Smudges can happen frequently to camera lenses. Most pros have a lens wipe & cleaner handy to avoid those smudges being transferred over to their video projects via a dirty lens.

And last but not least, I recommend you carry along your extra gear. If you have a selfie stick or extra tripod, still camera or gopro, you always want to have that stuff with you because you never know when creativity will strike.

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with organizations on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

Facebook Live Video Continues to Grow – Keep Up on the Latest Changes

Over the span of a year, we have seen live video change and evolve Facebook and the way people interact with each other through the platform. Gone are the days when a simple text-only status update will get your organization engagement. It’s all the way live.

As an account executive at Lukas Partners, I am always keeping an eye out for the latest updates to make sure clients have the best social media tools.

Recently, I’ve seen Facebook fully embrace live video in a few new ways that I wanted to share.

First, Facebook now lets you use the camera on your laptop or desktop computers to do a live broadcast. Before, live was limited to mobile devices. You’ll want to make sure to have tested the audio on your desktop and/or laptop computer before going live.

Facebook has also added a video channel app available for download on Amazon Fire Stick and Apple TV, allowing for video streaming through your television.

Finally, and this is most exciting for nonprofits, Facebook has added a donate button that verified nonprofit Pages can add to a live video. This button would allow people to donate directly to your cause while you are doing a live video, and after the broadcast has ended when the video is posted on your page.

Facebook live video continues to get three times more engagement than videos posted to Facebook pages.

If you have never used Facebook live for your organization, here is an overview to get you started: Facebook Live Streaming Is a Business Game Changer

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with organizations on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

Smartphones Stay Ahead of the Storm

Severe weather can strike at any time of the day, any day of the year. How do you prepare? The web, social media and television are great resources to check the latest forecast to stay informed. However, one of the best tools to prepare for severe weather is already in your pocket or purse – a smartphone.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey indicated that 93 percent of smartphone owners use their device to check the weather forecast once a month or more. During unpredictable spring and summer weather, people can rely on their mobile devices to stay informed, prepared and connected with a variety of apps and accessories when severe weather threatens or hits.

In recognition of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Nebraska and Iowa, U.S. Cellular encourages you to access social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to quickly get and share information and have an extra battery if you need to use your phone during a storm and can’t charge it. The Weather Channel and AccuWeather have reliable and popular apps that provide weather updates anywhere.

You also can share severe weather preparedness tips on social media using the hashtag #SevereWeatherPrep. Finally, texting can be helpful during severe weather. If phone service is impacted because of a storm or high call volume, text messages could still go through because they require less network bandwidth than calls.

Discover How to Use Images That Say 1,000 Words

Images and video have become the lifeblood of social media. People would rather watch something than read it. At Lukas Partners, we help our clients create attention-getting images and stunning graphics for social media and
digital communication.

One tool that we use at Lukas Partners is Canva. First, we’ll mention the best part: it’s free. Canva allows you to create simple or complex graphic designs with a user-friendly format that saves time. You have the ability to easily upload your own images and logo, and it provides some stock images and graphic art that’s free for use. Some of the images and art do have a cost associated, but you can find a good amount of free content that can really help a graphic image shine. Canva also will help you size images that are optimal for blogging, infographics and social media. However, I do recommend cross-checking these sizes to make sure they are a good matech for your project.

PicMonkey is another free platform that is similar to Canva. We use both at Lukas Partners. One difference is that you can download the Picmonkey app on your mobile device.

Another tool that I like to use is Snapseed. This is an app that you can download for, you guessed it, free. Using Snapseed, you can take an average looking image and add blur or other cool features to give it a more professional and unique look and feel. This goes a step beyond the filters that are already built into Facebook and Instagram.

Are you looking for a stock image to highlight a post, tweet or blog? Pixabay is a great free-domain image website that can help you find a stock image for free.

To turn your pictures into a video, Ripl is a good app for iOS and Android users. You can input your pictures to create a slideshow, then add captions and animation. The caption option is especially helpful because statistics show that people on social media are more likely to watch a video without sound.

While video is popular on social media, a good image can provide a solid reach and engagement as well. Try some of these tools, and you’ll soon discover that your audiences will be spending more time viewing your content. After all, a picture does say 1,000 words.

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with organizations on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

 

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

Making Video Magic for Pennies on the Dollar

According to Cisco, videos could make up around 80% of all global internet traffic by the year 2019. Streamlining your video process and thinking of new, creative ways to make video cost-effectively can be a key to keeping up with the times.

At Lukas Partners, we keep up with the latest video trends to help clients tell stories about their organizations using the most effective mediums.

The first step is to outline the story you want to tell. Keep in mind that sometimes if it’s a complex topic, it’s easier to segment your ideas. At Lukas Partners, we like to use storyboarding to help outline key points and how we want to visualize them. Thinking of visuals while you outline your story can really help in the long run. If you have a grand plan for something you aren’t able to show in a video, it can set you back in your process.

Next is think short. Most people don’t watch videos for more than 30 seconds. How can you tell your story in 30 seconds or less?

Use your smartphone to shoot your video after you’ve mapped out what you’d like to do. In your video-making toolbox, always remember apps. Apps are a huge money-saver because they cost little to no money and can take videos to the next level.

Maybe you were thinking of a slow motion video or a time lapse, there’s an app for those. Or I like boomerang for a quick, fun video option. It pairs with Instagram and loops a short video.

You can also download apps that will help you quickly and effectively edit your video together. The Lukas Partners team likes iMovie, Splice & Quik. Ultimately it’s up to your personal preference based on what goal you are trying to achieve. There is also video editing software available for free download. Here is a comprehensive list of some of the best options from TechAdvisor.

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with organizations on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

Lukas Partners’ Top Hashtag Methods to Increase Your Reach

Ever since the dawn of tweets, hashtags have been a way for social media users to find a thread of information on a topic all at once. During an emergency, a hashtag always emerges that keeps posts grouped together. All users need to do is search that hashtag and all of the posts and tweets are populated for them.

Beyond the comedic timing aspect of a good hashtag zinger – #sorrynotsorry – the main purpose of hashtags is to group and organize posts and tweets by subject matter. As an account executive at Lukas Partners, I keep a close eye on trending hashtags to help clients join the conversation on social media. Hashtags are used on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and keep organizations clued in to what’s being discussed.

Not only are they a window to what’s going on in the world, but they also can help boost exposure to tweets and posts by making them more searchable and viewed by a broader audience, as long as your account is public. People that are not directly connected to you on social media now have an opportunity to connect.

There are a few things to remember when you are using hashtags. The most significant is to make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post and optimal for reaching the most people. Using a hashtag that is irrelevant is like driving a vehicle in the dark without headlights. You can see, but no one can see you.

On Twitter, try not to exceed two to three hashtags. Any more than that and your tweet becomes hard for people to read. It’s best to add them at the end, although one hashtag in the body of the text is acceptable to most in the Twitterverse. I like to use Hashtagify and RiteTag to identify a good hashtag to use and I always keep tabs on what’s trending locally and nationally to join the conversation when relevant.

On Instagram, three to six hashtags is ideal. Always add them after your main text on the post. Instagram has a feature that shows how many people are using that same hashtag as you type them in. The more people, the better.

The debate rages on as to whether or not Facebook is a good place for hashtags. Here’s the deal: Facebook is neither for nor against hashtags. If you decide to hashtag, no one is going to hold that against you. Some do it all the time, others don’t. If you do use a hashtag, I would recommend keeping it to one or two, maximum.

There is a benefit to using a hashtag on Facebook. Hashtags are clickable links on Facebook, and they take you to other public and friend posts that contain the same hashtag. If there’s a trending hashtag and you want to get your name in the mix, using a hashtag on Facebook could be right for you. Hashtags on Facebook should be added at the end of your main text on a post. Say what you want to say, then hashtag.

Ultimately hashtags are a choice, but to boost your organization’s exposure to a broader audience, I recommend using them on posts and tweets as often as possible. Then, sit back and watch your numbers grow!

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with organizations on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Lukas Partners’ Spotlight on Video Techniques

Watch: Lukas Partners’ Video Tips

Video is great for social media and everyone has the ability to do it with their smartphones. There are a few things you can do to set your video apart. At Lukas Partners, we strive to help our clients learn the best video techniques to add another element that stands out in the crowd on social media.

Framing is an important technique to master. Anyone who has taken a photography class at some point has likely learned the “rule of thirds.” This rule is a grid system of two horizontal and two vertical lines.  The symmetry helps the person behind the camera line up the subject. Most phones have a camera setting that allows you to add the grid lines. Use them to your advantage.

Many people struggle with framing by adding too much or too little head room. When you are photographing or filming a subject, you want to make sure you frame them on the screen so that you don’t cut off their head. At the same time, you should not allow too much space between their head and the top of the screen.

Next, consider zooming verses moving. When you hold your phone or video camera by hand to shoot video, you will notice the more you zoom in, the shakier the video. Physically move yourself closer to the subject instead to get a tighter shot. This will alleviate using the zoom feature and the shaky video.

Audio is the soundtrack to any video you take. Think about the sounds that fill the room before you film a video. If it’s a speaker at a podium and you are at the back of the room, your phone likely won’t pick up very good audio. If you are in a large room with a big crowd and everyone’s talking, it will likely be difficult to hear anyone at that point, because you will be hearing everyone. The further the person is from your phone or video camera, the harder it will be to hear them. Your best audio will be in a 1-2 foot radius of your phone in a quiet room. Phones are equipped with an omnidirectional microphone, which means they pick up everything around them.  The quieter the setting, the better.

I would recommend buying a microphone that you can plug into your camera or phone. A plug-in lavalier microphone runs around $15 to $20 on Amazon. This will allow you to get better quality audio that sounds less hollow. The microphone is a good back up when you try to capture specific sounds in a noisy place.

A tripod is another good tool to add to your video kit. You can get tripods of all sizes from desktop to full size that will fit your smartphone. A tripod steadies the camera. A recommendation when using a tripod: try not to fuss with it once it’s set, especially during live video to avoid any bumps or jolts. This ensures smooth and steady video.

I recommend the selfie stick. Beyond the fad, it is a great tool for organizations who are doing social video. It allows you to elongate a shot if you are doing a video of yourself, as well as capturing crowds.

Finally, to avoid grainy and dark video, move to a brighter location or shine some light on your subject. You could purchase a light kit that would help illuminate the room. I have seen lights that fit in the headphone jack of your smartphone. A semi-professional grade light kit is fairly inexpensive to purchase.

The best tip for video is to have fun with it and practice. Before you shoot a video on your phone, do some practice videos to get a feel for what your phone can and cannot do. The same goes for video cameras.

About the blogger:
LeAnne Morman is an account executive at Lukas Partners. As a former journalist, LeAnne has a great deal of experience with all types of media, including social and digital formats. She works with businesses on a regular basis to help them use digital and social media to their advantage.

To hear more from Lukas Partners, follow us on Twitter @LukasPartners or subscribe to our newsletter.

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