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.

Lukas Partners’ Best Blogging Practices

The word weblog in the 1990’s has today turned into a phrase with new meaning for organizations because these days, to increase success on the web, “we blog.”

Once known as a source for information that could not be deemed credible, blogs have come a long way, as many organizations continue to board the blog train and share their knowledge track with the world.

As an account executive at Lukas Partners, I write our weekly blog, in addition to helping clients with social media, live video and other aspects of the online world. I have watched blogging become more mainstream and I know bloggers that have gone so far as to make a career out of posting must-see content.

Also gaining steam is the cousin of the blog, the vlog (video blog) and the distant relative, the podcast. These three forms of communication allow organizations to drill down on topics, leaving everything out on the table. Blogs, vlogs and podcasts are known to increase web traffic by providing valuable “current” content to websites.

Instead of daily content, organizations are leaning more toward posting well-polished weekly updates. The key to writing a successful blog can boil down to making sure you are spending the time to create a plan to unveil it on social media. Social media is the stage and the blog is the star. While the star is important, if there’s nowhere for the star to be seen, then, Houston, we have a problem.

Blogging takes patience and relentless consistency. To get optimal results from your blog, I believe you have to put into it what you want to get out of it. It takes time to write a blog, usually around three hours. Vlogging and podcasts also take considerable planning to determine visual elements, as well as talking points. It also takes time to post to social media with the right content and finally, it takes time for a regular blogger to gain followers and engagement on posts.

Here are some recommendations for your organization to get on the fast track to engaging your audiences through a blog:

Strive for blog posts to be approximately 1,000 words in length.

Post towards the end of the work-week, when more people are on social media.

Set up email subscriptions for your audience to receive your blog through email.

Mention your twitter handle and link to allow readers or viewers to subscribe to emails will set up a natural line of communication to keep them coming back for more and build your audience.

Focus on your audience. I believe people read blogs to learn something unique or to hear an interesting story. Key in on who your audience is and try to tailor your posts to keep them interested and engaged.

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.

 

Take Your Employee Search to Facebook with New Jobs Feature

One of the newest changes on Facebook has employers looking for help and Human Resources departments leaning in a little closer to hear more details. Facebook has a new feature that gives organizations an opportunity to post open job positions.

At Lukas Partners, we are always staying on top of the latest developments in technology and social media to help our clients in the best way possible.

The new jobs bookmark on Facebook allows job seekers to browse open positions in their area and beyond. Organizations can now post for open full time, part time, contract, volunteer and internship positions.

When potential candidates click apply now, it takes them to a form that is then sent to your page as a message. After that, just like any application process, it’s up to the organization to connect from there.

There are two places to post open job positions on Facebook. They both reach the same destination, so it doesn’t matter which you choose. The first is on your page through the jobs section on the left hand side of the screen. The second is directly through the jobs bookmark. Once to the point of posting, you can upload a photo and describe the position. We recommend posting from a desktop or laptop computer.

Job seekers are then able to see your open positions when browsing through the jobs bookmark, or by going directly to your page’s job section.

“This new experience will help businesses find qualified people where they’re already spending their time—on Facebook and on mobile,” a Facebook blog on the topic reads.

It’s no secret, Facebook continues to outrank all other social media platforms when it comes to popularity. This could be a good opportunity for organizations to add another tool to the toolbox when they are seeking out quality candidates to fill open positions. It also gives job seekers another avenue to seek out new positions.

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.

From Pets to Pancakes, Lukas Partners’ Clients are On the Move

From pets to pancakes, here’s a sample of happenings with some of our clients. These organizations continually make a difference in people’s lives.

Gordmans Plans Love Your Pet Day February 18th

In celebration of National Love Your Pet Day, guests are invited to bring their pets to Gordmans stores on Saturday, Feb. 18, for a tail-wagging good time of shopping, free treats and chances to win terrific prizes.

The first 50 guests at each store will receive a free bag of dog treats. Guests also will have the opportunity to win exciting prizes by registering in-store to win a free pet bed or cat condo, or by snapping a photo with their pets at Gordmans and post the photo on social media with the hashtag #GordmansLovesPets for a chance to win a $150 Gordmans gift card.

Additionally, starting February 15, shoppers will be invited to donate at checkout to Paws With A Cause, and Gordmans will match up to $10,000 in donations. Gordmans also carries a collection of pet merchandise from ASPCA, Dog for Dog, Humane Society of the United States and MuttNation, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this merchandise is donated to these organizations.

Smartphones Simplify Dating Experience

Do you LOVE Valentine’s Day? The majority of Americans do. According to fundivo.com, 55 percent of Americans celebrated Valentine’s Day last year. They spent an estimated $19.7 billion – an average of $147 per person.

If you are struggling to come up with a heart-felt Feb. 14 plan, smartphones have become essential when you build and maintain relationships. According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, smartphone owners use their devices in multiple ways as it relates to dating, especially texting. In fact, 61 percent of people have texted with a potential love interest within a few weeks after a first date.

Lukas Partners’ client U.S. Cellular recommends free apps – such as OpenTable, Bouqs, Vivino, Poynt and Date Night by Care.com – to make the most of your dating venture. These lovely apps can book dinner reservations, buy flowers and have them delivered or help you locate a nearby sitter for your kids.

Pass the Syrup! Pancakes with a Purpose Support Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

On March 7th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., IHOP locations will serve up free pancakes, in exchange for a free-will donation. Donations will benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which includes Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. Since National Pancake Day® began in 2006, more than $24 million has been raised for charity. IHOP has set a goal to raise $3.5 million this year to help children battling critical illnesses.

Outlook Nebraska Offers More Immersive Theater Experience for Blind & Visually Impaired

Outlook Nebraska, employer of the blind and visually impaired, is offering a wonderful opportunity for people with vision loss to enjoy the thrills of live theater through live audio description. Audio description allows the blind and visually impaired to more fully enjoy the theater through a verbal description of the stage production during gaps in dialogue. A complete list of all audio-described performances is available at www.outlooknebraska.org/theater. To use the audio description service, please call the theater at least two weeks in advance of the performance.  The audio description is provided at no additional cost. Audio description pre-show will start 30 minutes before the start time.

Nonprofit Association of the Midlands Offers Board Bootcamp

The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands is offering its board member training across Nebraska this spring. NAM partnered with the University of Nebraska Extension to bring Nonprofit Board Boot Camp to seven Nebraska cities. Nonprofit Board Boot Camp began Feb. 8 in Auburn. Sessions will be held in Hastings, North Platte, Chadron, Albion, Laurel and Scottsbluff in the coming weeks.

 

TechHire Kick-Off Boasts Large Crowd

AIM, a not-for-profit dedicated to growing, connecting and inspiring tech talent, is a key partner in Omaha’s TechHire initiative. Omaha was recently chosen as one of 71 communities in the United States by Opportunity@work, a nonprofit leading the charge to expand Americans’ access to career opportunities. In partnership with the Greater Omaha Chamber and Omaha Code School, AIM and its Interface Web School will help train, educate and connect job seekers to employer partners in the tech industry, creating a more diverse tech workforce in the Silicon Prairie. Through education and career development, AIM reaches thousands of people each year.

 

Transforming Trends in Social Media

Social media is evolving every day with new ways for organizations to reach their audience. In 2016 we saw the rise of Snapchat and Instagram stories and live video, among other things. As technology advances, social media has been along for the ride. We’ve come a long way from brick cell phones and giant, heavy PCs.

At Lukas Partners, we are constantly staying up on the latest trends in social media to make sure clients are reaching the right audience with the right content. With the beginning of a new year comes new opportunities for growth in social media.

In a recent article, we highlighted Facebook Workplace, and how it helps keep employees talking to one another. This is an internal social media trend we could see to continue to flourish, according to a recent infographic by MDG Advertising.

Another trend to be mindful of is organizations using employees as social ambassadors. You are only as good as your employees. Encouraging employees to get involved in your social media by sharing, liking and engaging in your events can help your organization gain credibility and raise awareness and engagement on posts, especially on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The last point of the infographic is that organizations will scale down the amount of  social media platforms they use. We have always recommended staying with the platforms that work best for your organization. Sometimes any more than two or three begin to get hard to manage effectively. Not every organization has to be on every platform. It really depends on the topics you plan to post about and the audience you are trying to reach. We can help you narrow down in our blog about digital strategy.

 

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.

Creative Ways to Engage Your Audience through Facebook Live, Images and Video

Facebook Live can be an effective way to grow an online following for organizations. As with anything new, it is beginning to morph as people make it their own.

As an account executive at Lukas Partners, I monitor social media to keep an eye out for trends that could benefit clients.

The latest buzz has been around the use of Facebook Live as a poll where the reactions buttons, the like, heart, haha, sad and angry faces, are your way to vote. These live video polls have taken little known organizations into a viral spotlight on Facebook. This same outcome also can be achieved with a static graphic or recorded video. For example, on one side of the screen could have a dog, the other, a cat; Facebook users vote for their favorite animal using the reaction you choose to signify a vote for each. If you were to choose heart for cat and like for dog, users would click the like or heart button to cast their vote.

The best Facebook Live poll is going to be one that still contains a live video element. Facebook has recently been cracking down on static images or pre-recorded video put up as live.

You may have noticed that Facebook has moved its live notifications into their own tab on mobile, but the change hasn’t stopped the interest in watching live video.

People love seeing behind-the-scenes content, events, do-it-yourself (DIY) tips or advice, or any sort of update or insight from their favorite people or organizations that they follow on Facebook. Generally, you should strive to entertain, teach or reach people through this medium, and you will find success.

If you’re ever stuck for an idea of a topic for live video, you could go to Facebook and look at what people are doing live right now.

Another new aspect added to live video is as a page admin, you can now deem someone as a “live contributor” on your page. This can work well for organizations who have multiple people at different locations. It allows them to stream a live video on their mobile device as the page.

Ultimately if live video isn’t your cup of tea, I still recommend posting videos on a regular basis. According to a video company named Brightcove, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

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.

 

Find Your Prime Time for Social Media

Timing can be everything on social media. You want your posts to get engagement, so therefore, you are on a quest to find the best time that has the most potential people paying attention.  A few factors can help to find your prime time when posts could be seen by the most people. Because every organization, person or entity is different, audiences and best times to post vary.

As an account executive at Lukas Partners, I am always helping clients find the best timing for social media posts on various platforms.

Finding the right time to post depends on three factors. Analytics, trends and previous posts.
First, look at what the analytics tell you. When are the majority of your followers online? When are they liking and commenting on your posts? Different platforms may mean different prime times.

Second, what are the trends you see with other organizations like yours? Pay attention to when they post, engagement on the posts and how often they are putting content on social media. This isn’t a fool proof method, but it does provide insight for your own use.

Finally, take a look at your previous posts and tweets. Figure out what worked and what did not. It’s somewhat of a guess-and-check method. You could always repurpose content that did not do so well for a different timeframe to test your theory.

For general guidance, Sprout Social has recently crunched the numbers and identified times and days of the week that are ideal to post. These times and days change based on audience habits and trends, they also are not based on your own, specific audiences.

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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