Protect Your Organization's Reputation

Publicity can be a double-edged sword. Sure, it’s great to get the name of your boss or office out there. But if you are online, you need to make sure to protect and manage your organization’s reputation at the same time. Here are a few tips:

1. Google it. Set up Google search alerts so you know who is talking about you — and when.

2. Create a Facebook username. A username helps you promote your organization with a web address that has your name in it. Click on Edit Page, and then Update Info.

3. Respond to your critics. It’s tempting to let ignore your critics. But it’s not the most effective path. Instead, address their concerns on social media, and follow up with them personally, if possible.

4. Think About SEO. Search Engine Optimization can boost your organization’s visibility on Google searches. Let keywords help you rise to the top.

5. Monitor Your Wikipedia Page. Since other people can edit Wikipedia, take the time to monitor and respond.

Grow Your Facebook Audience

It’s 81 days before the election, but it’s never too late to grow your Facebook audience. Don’t miss the social media boat. In “Building Your Presence with Facebook Pages: A Guide for Governments,” the folks at Facebook share some of the keys to grow your audience.

1. Reach out to your existing community. You’d do this if you were looking for a new apartment or advice for a restaurant in a new city, so why not do it to grow your audience?

  • Use your website to get your constituents to Like you on Facebook.
  • Use your email list to promote your Page.
  • Use the Contact Importer to notify your contacts to Like your Page for regular updates.

 

2.  Leverage your existing assets. Use social media as a core piece of your messaging.

  • Add a Like box and Recommend buttons to your website; this lets visitors view your updates and share your content through Newsfeed.
  • Once 25 Like your Page, select a custom URL and share it. This makes it easy to find and promote at public events.

 

3.      Cross Promote. Mine your contacts for organizations with which you have synergy.

  • Partner with other offices and agencies to facilitate promotions, events, and information sharing.
  • Get bang for your buck by tagging other offices and agencies in your posts, which will then appear on their wall — and give them the potential for sharing.

Find Your Voice

You might have heard people telling you to “find your voice” or “keep your voice consistent.” Finding your voice isn’t just for opera singers and rappers. It’s for communications professionals looking for a personality to come across through the written word.

Whether you are talking about your Facebook Page, tweets, website copy, or e-newsletter, your voice is important. It defines who you are, makes you accessible (or not), and differentiates you from the others. So how do you do it? Here are a few tips:

Have a strategy. The first thing in finding your voice is figuring out what you want to get across. Do you want to be low key, humorous, down-to-earth, professorial? Decide among your team what best fits your objectives.

Execute it consistently. Once you know the basic strategy for your voice, employ it across platforms. This means that your e-newsletter and website should have the same basic voice, for instance. And if one writer isn’t doing all of your communications, make sure that each staffer knows the strategy and complies with it.

Be personal and authentic. Most people we know don’t like getting a generic note back saying “We appreciate your feedback!” When on social media, use people’s first name when you ca. Make them feel like they are connecting with another human being at the other end. The key is this is simple: Write like you talk. This will let your authenticity and personality shine.

Social Media Guidelines: Make Them Today

Communicating via social media is inexpensive way to reach large numbers of constituents. But this doesn’t come without risks. Used without a strategy or guidelines, social media can lead to the spread of misinformation and embarrassing public relations crises. To control these potential disasters, it’s crucial to have a social media policy in place to respond to your constituents in a way that is timely, accurate, and meaningful. Here’s why you need one:

  1. To know how to respond in a crisis. Instead of reacting (or overreacting!) to a potentially damaging post, a policy in place will ensure that you respond quickly yet effectively, without adding fuel to the fire.
  2. To avoid spreading classified information. Military and their families keep in touch using social media. A policy, such as the U.S. Army’s Social Media Handbook, sets the standards for social media sharing and for not leaking sensitive information.
  3. To stay a reliable source. When a government agency tweets, it better be accurate. That’s why it’s important to have guidelines, including what social media needs to be cleared, how to deal with controversial topics, and what kind of language to use when interacting with the public.
  4. To ensure that staffers and public employees have guidelines. Anyone can use social media. So it’s important that staffers and employees understand what they can post on their personal accounts, how to safely represent the brand, and what is considered inappropriate or unprofessional content.

Tips and Tricks for Great e-Newsletter Images

Images are crucial to your e-newsletter; we won’t even repeat the cliché about what a picture is worth. But it could be the difference between engaging your audience, or having them quickly move onto the next item in their in-box. That said, your images need to look professional. A distorted image, or one that’s too big or small screams “amateur”—  and that’s not the image you want to get across.

So take the time to get your images right. It’s time well spent.

How Resize: What You Should Know

To resize an image correctly, remember that the height and width should be linked. When they are linked, and you fill in the width and leave the height blank, the image will be proportional.

How to Align Images: What You Should Know

The easiest way to include images is to put them inside a table. When you need to align an image, you need to align the table. So you need to select the surrounding table, right click, and select Table Properties, or click on the image button in your editor.

How to Link Images: What You Need to Know

Embedding videos directly into e-newsletters doesn’t work as well as one would think. Instead, take a screenshot of the video, insert it as an image, and then hyperlink the photo.