What in the World are We Gonna Do with 280 Characters?

Are 280 Characters Too Many?

By Heather Murdick and Andrew Woodcock

If someone asked me what I think about when someone mentions Twitter, I know what I’d say: Trump tweets, controversy over fake accounts, and 140 characters. Well, as many of you already know, one of those things has changed in the last week.

On November 7, Twitter rolled out an update fundamentally changing a core, defining aspect of the social media platform. Tweets can now contain up to 280 characters—twice as much as before. This is great news, folks… Well, probably.

The update has received some mixed reviews. Some see it as an innovation, while others see it as useless. Despite the mixed reactions, however, this update can only be good in the long run—especially for marketing messages.

The Reactions

If you follow European soccer, you may be familiar with the German soccer club Borussia Mönchengladbach. If you’re familiar with ‘Gladbach, then you must also be familiar with the fact that that’s not even the longest a name can get.

Shortly after the update, ‘Gladbach showed their appreciation for the extra real estate Twitter gave them.

Parks and Recreation actor Ben Schwartz unleashed his nerdy side with his favorite number.

Others were shocked and dumbfounded, such as the publishing company Melville House. Not knowing what else to do, they used the new 280-character limit to express their frustration.

YouTuber Phillip DeFranco didn’t even need to use 140 characters to express his feelings on the matter.

And finally, the official Twitter handle for Law & Order: SVU took advantage of the new character limit to craft the greatest tweet ever tweeted in the history of Twitter.

The Pros and Cons

While humorous, these Twitter users actually bring up some good points about the new character limit. There’s a lot of potential, but also a lot of room for potential abuse.

On one hand, the new character limit allows users to share a longer, more complete message. It gives them more breathing room to get necessary and relevant information out in one tweet. So, unless you’re writing a whole novel on Twitter, there will be less instances of breaking up your message into numbered tweets. It also gives users the opportunity to include a larger quantity and longer hashtags.

On the other hand, the previous 140-character limit forced users to keep their messages shorter and therefore more precise and information-dense. Some people fear that the longer tweets will be skipped over; since people are so used to shorter tweets, they won’t have the time or attention span to read something twice that long. Others are complaining that alternative features or upgrades would have been more important, such as an edit button.

The Future

So, what happens next? Twitter culture is slowly going to change as a result of this update. People, news outlets, sports teams, etc. are going to tweet differently moving forward. More characters means more room for creativity, relevant information, wordplay, and EMOJIS. Only time will tell what Twitter will look like 6 months, 12 months and 24 months from now. Despite the reactionary backlash, we believe that only good can come out of this update in the long run. Selfishly, this update saves us time editing copy down to 140 characters (or less with links) to fit into our tweets!

What are your thoughts?


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Messaging Applications: A New Era of Business Communications (Part 1)

Messaging Applications: A New Era of Business Communications (Part 1)

By Nate Shryock, TVG Manager of Digital Strategy

We’ve all had experiences with people who spend too much time on their phone. Family dinners, dates, Friday night outings… it is no secret that people are often preoccupied with their digital lives. As individuals, this is often extremely frustrating, but as a business this presents new opportunities.

Recently, messaging apps have had a meteoric rise in popularity. Take Snapchat for example. In 2013, Snapchat peaked at 5 million daily active users, and in three years increased to 100 million daily active users. By the next year, the “Big 4 Messaging Apps” (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viber) combined had the same number of monthly users as the “Big 4 Social Networks” (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram). In September 2016, Business Insider reported that messaging apps had taken over Social Networking apps in monthly active users.

Messaging apps are no longer just for personal communication, either. A Nielson study, commissioned by Facebook IQ in March of 2016, found that “over the next two years, 50% of people surveyed expect to use messaging apps more for communicating one-on-one” and 67% expect to use messaging apps more to communicate with businesses. Messaging also appeals across all generations. When asked whether they prefer messaging over a phone call or email, 65% of Millennials, 65% of Gen Xers, and 63% of Baby Boomers all preferred messaging.

So, what does this all mean for businesses? To answer this, we’ll explore how Facebook Messenger can work in a business setting.

Social Listening

It is important to listen to what your community is saying on social. Facebook offers a messenger inbox that allows you to monitor not only your direct messages, but comments and reviews on both Facebook and Instagram. A survey conducted by The Social Habit in 2016 states that “among respondents to The Social Habit who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. Further, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes,” making Messenger a vital part of the customer service strategy.

The inbox also allows you to respond to public comments and gives users the option to mark comments as “Done” or “Follow up” or they can assign them to another team member.

The Human Touch

According to David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, Facebook sees the use of Messenger by businesses as an avenue to add the human element back into web commerce. David states, “for so long, doing business was always conversational. Web (e-commerce) is truly an anomaly. It feels good to have a more human relationship when you’re buying things.”

In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll focus on some best practices for businesses using Facebook Messenger.


What do you think? Do messaging apps create a sense of human interaction when purchasing products online? Comment or Tweet us @VandiverGroup and let us know how you use messaging apps to connect with customers. Need a social media strategy? Our social media team would love to help build a strategy for you. 

Cause Marketing is Important to Millennials, Too

Cause Marketing & Millenials

By Madeleine Smith

While the term “cause marketing” was coined in the 1970s, it’s become increasingly important today for companies to support a cause or sponsor a charity. If you want proof that cause marketing is on the rise, it’s in the numbers. Engageforgood.com tracks several consumer studies, all of which support the importance of cause marketing:

  • Cause sponsorship is reported to reach $2.06 billion in 2017, a projected increase of 3.6% over 2016 (IEG Sponsorship Report, 2016).
  • 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good (Unilever Study, 2016).
  • 74% of employees say that their job is more fulfilling when they have a positive impact (Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 2016).
  • 80% of global consumers believe that businesses must play a role in addressing societal issues (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2016).

What’s most interesting is where millennials factor into the picture.  A 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study found that:

  • 74% of millennials surveyed learn about a companies’ social or environmental business practices, versus the U.S. average of 54%.
  • 80% of millennials were likely to donate to a cause after learning about it online, versus the U.S. average of 63%.

However, millennials are often portrayed as the “me” generation—selfish, entitled, lazy… Also, it seems every millennial has had “the talk” with their grandparents,  how “back in the day, they had to actually read books to write research papers, and walk to school uphill both ways in the snow.” The bottom-line is that they think technology has made millennials’ lives much more convenient, and we have it so much easier than they did.

That’s probably true to some extent. Growing up with computers, cell phones, and technology has made things easier for some of us, but harder for others.

While I’m not walking to work in the rain or churning my own butter, I’m involved in my community. I’ve spent countless hours doing unpaid work for causes that I care about. And, after doing research, I know I’m not alone.

If you’re a business owner and you want to reach millennials, consider supporting a cause or devoting pro-bono work to a non-profit. Cause marketing statistics show that it does pay off, no matter what side of the transaction you’re on.


TVG has experience in creating successful marketing campaigns for a variety of clients. Need some help? Give us a call at 314-991-4641 or email us to know more.

Going the Distance for Girls on the Run: The Queeny Meanie

The Queeny Meanie

By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we honor a man who championed civil rights so that others could have opportunities, experience freedom and equality, and feel a sense of community. Here at TVG, we spend MLK Day serving our community in some way in order to honor Dr. King’s memory. So this year, I spent some time creating awareness about and fundraising for Girls on the Run St. Louis through unconventional means – an ultra run.

queeny

After several years of competing in Ironman triathlons, I was looking for a new challenge in 2017. An ultra run (any distance beyond a marathon distance of 26.2 miles) sounded fun. I started researching ultra marathons in the region, but nothing stood out to me. I kept having this recurring thought – what if I ran an ultra at Queeny Park? It’s one of my favorite places to run, so why not? You know that saying “If you want it done right, do it yourself?” So that’s what I decided to do. And it’s how I came to the conclusion that running 32 miles in Queeny Park on March 11, 2017 would be my next challenge, and I’m calling it The Queeny Meanie!

queeny

I didn’t just want to run an ultra. I wanted to run an ultra for a cause. After my first season as a head coach for a Girls on the Run team last fall, it was an easy choice! The Girls on the Run curriculum not only coaches girls how to run a 5K at the end of a 10-week program, but also teaches topics on self-esteem, positivity, standing up for yourself and others, empowerment, healthy habits, goal setting, teamwork and cooperation, and identifying bullying behavior. These aren’t just running skills—these are LIFE skills. And seeing each of my girls succeed in their own big goals was an incredible experience. Girls on the Run builds confidence, and as a result encourages girls to work together and to impact their communities in a positive way.

You can learn more about my efforts and make a donation here:

DONATE NOW

Everyone should spend some time reflecting on how you can impact your community in a positive way. Find your passion and figure out a way to help others. I hope my small contributions will have big impacts- even if it’s only on one person. Then, I’ll know I made a difference.

 

Do you run for a good cause? Want to participate in The Queeny Meanie? visit us on our website to let us know! We are passionate about getting our employees involved in our community to make a difference and we are inspired to help others find that passion, too!

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So, You Want to Start a Blog…

So, You Want to Start a Blog…

By Katie Miller, TVG Account Executive

So, you want to start a blog? If you answered “yes” to this question, chances are you follow several blogs that have made you think, “I want to do that!” Whether they’re about food, travel, fitness, fashion and beauty, or pets, a good blog and an eye-catching aesthetic will make almost any avid reader want to become a blogger themselves. Read more

Millennial and Baby Boomer Share Office Space, Hilarity Ensues

Baby Boomers vs. Millennials

By Patty Olsen, TVG Senior Project Manager and Baby Boomer

We hear a lot about Millennials in the media these days, but not so much what it’s like to work next to one. From my perspective as a Baby Boomer, it seems we have plenty to learn from one another. Read more

7 “Motivational” Quotes to Get You Through the Work Week

7 “Motivational” Quotes to Get You Through the Work Week

By Abbey Theban, TVG Account Executive

Motivation comes in all forms—a great book, an insightful blog post, words of wisdom from a mentor, or in this case, some really tweet-worthy quotes. Take a few minutes from your work day to get inspired by these off-beat “motivational” quotes from some relatively famous people.

1. “Hey. They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he’s up there, laughing at them.” – Will Ferrell, Blades of Glory

Will Ferrell is not only the songbird of his generation, but he is also a motivational mastermind. He explains that sometimes, you might have to prove yourself to others, like your boss or your coworkers. There will be plenty of people that try to tell you what you can and can’t do, but through perseverance, you can push past your obstacles. Just look at Louis Armstrong! Sitting pretty up there on the moon. 😉

2. “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” – Steve Martin  

Besides the obvious, I definitely think our friend Steve Martin was trying to tell us that the day is what you make it. A positive attitude helps you get through the work day and puts both you and your coworkers in a great mood. So keep that sun shining today, because honestly no one likes to work in the dark.

3. “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” – Mark Twain

The great Mark Twain is clearly telling us that prioritization at work is key. You have to ask yourself: what must get finished today and what can wait? Meeting your deadlines is an important part of success! So always plan to be productive… tomorrow.

 4. “Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.” – Ellen Degeneres

Good ol’ Ellen is never short of inspiring advice. Her advice is easy: don’t be afraid to be yourself! Showing your personality to your boss and coworkers allows you to establish a bond with them and makes your work days much more enjoyable. Unless you’re a recovering officemate serial killer. Then please just stay in your office, thanks.

5. “If you fall, I’ll always be there.” – The Floor

Hi, just your friendly reminder that you always have a support team behind you. You’ve got people to both revel in your accomplishments and to pick you up when you’re down. There will be plenty of times where you will fall flat on your face, but don’t worry, a cushy floor made up of your friends and colleagues will be there to catch you!

6. “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.” – Steven Wright

Sometimes we have to accept that we can’t be perfect at everything we do. It is inevitable that we will make mistakes, but it’s what we learn from them that will make us a better employee and a better person. But really, let’s pretend that failure is not an option for skydiving, k?

7. “Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.” – Mindy Kaling

My girl Mindy is always there to give us a little dose of reality. Everyone has tasks at work that they don’t want to do, but that doesn’t mean that you can put them off forever. Real life is learning how to do those painful tasks with a glossy smile on that beautiful face of yours!

What helps motivate you? Do you have a favorite quote that you live by? Tweet us @VandiverGroup, and let us know!

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Making the Most Out of Your Weekend: 8 Ways to Recharge and Get Motivated for the Upcoming Week

8 Ways to Recharge and Get Motivated for the Upcoming Week

By Katie Miller, TVG Assistant Account Executive

What are you doing this weekend? Will those activities lead to a better work week? If you feel more tired on Mondays, lack motivation during the week or are in serious need of a pick-me-up, here are eight tips to help you use your weekends to recharge and prepare for the week ahead.

1. Take time for yourself

Sometimes we try to cram so many activities into our weekend—grocery shopping, weekend trips with friends, date nights, cleaning, etc.—that we forget to take some time to be alone. Instead of filling your days full of activities, make some time for yourself, even if it’s only for a few hours. Some of my favorite “me” time activities include baking, reading a book, or taking a walk . I always feel refreshed and centered afterwards. Making time for yourself allows you to recharge and reflect on life, think through problems, or just escape from your other responsibilities for a while.

2. Take a break from technology

Remember what you used to do for fun before “fun” was found within the depths of an iPhone? We live in a world where technology rules over almost everything that we do. Knowing that most of our work weeks will be consumed by computer screens, it is important that we take some time to unplug on the weekend. Try going somewhere without your phone, or staying off of social media for a little while. You’d be surprised at how cleansing it feels to not be constantly glued to a screen, checking in on the latest apps, or replying to emails. Giving yourself a break from technology will reduce headaches and help you sleep better, and who doesn’t want that on their weekend?

3. Plan a mid-week pick-me-up!

Take some time on your weekend to plan a mid-week event, giving you something to look forward to before the next weekend. Plan a Wednesday date night and try that new restaurant that you’ve had your eye on, or see a that movie everyone in the office is talking about. Looking forward to Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is much more exciting than waiting for the week to pass by until Friday. Having a little bit of fun mid-week will help you relax outside of work, thus boosting productivity during your hours in the office.

 4. Sweat it out

As we all know, exercise is imperative for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins that increase your mood, and boosts your overall morale throughout the week. Take some time on the weekend to get moving, as your time may be limited during the week. Even activities as small as walking the dog can make a huge difference in your health. Find a yoga class or a hiking buddy and a killer playlist and get your blood flowing over the weekend! Bonus points if you sweat your stresses away on BOTH days—you’ve definitely earned that extra cookie.

5. Prep for your week

I always notice that there are certain parts of my weekday morning routine that slow me down, and that my days go much more smoothly if I prepare them in advance on the weekend. Simple things like preparing your meals for the week can make your morning/evening routines each day far less hectic. I prepare my lunches that I will be taking to work with me in advance. I find that it helps me stay on time in the mornings. And, as an added bonus, if you prepare your meals in advance, you are far more likely to practice healthy eating habits, giving you more energy to power through your work week!

6. Declutter your space

Do you find that the amount of clutter in your home increases as the week goes on? Me too. Like many, I get stressed out by clutter. No, cleaning isn’t the most fun activity to spend do on your weekend, but for many, it can be therapeutic. Organization makes every part of your weekly routine easier, so be sure you take some time to clean. A clear space equals a clear mind. And a clear mind will lead to a more stress-free week.

7. Make plans to see friends

It’s not uncommon to become more introverted than usual during the work week. I find that there are weeks when I am just too tired to step outside of my routine (work, gym, dinner, prep for the next day, sleep), to catch up with good friends. That being said, I always make sure that I put time aside to see them on the weekends. Seeing your friends is a great way to step outside of any work-week stressors, relax, and have a good time—even if it is just for girl’s night out or Sunday brunch. Seeing your friends will keep you centered so you have a fresh state of mind on Monday morning.

8. Make a list of your goals for the week

On Sunday evening, I find myself sitting down and reflecting on the previous week, and the week ahead. Making a list of everything I’ve accomplished the past week, and setting goals for myself for the upcoming week helps me feel motivated and ready to tackle Monday morning. Making a list of goals will help you stay on track and hold you accountable for your own productivity throughout the week. Reflecting on everything you’ve already accomplished will make you feel like a superhero! The perfect vibe for Monday morning—if you ask me.

Do you use any of these tips in your weekend routine? Have any more ideas on how to maximize your weekend? Tweet us @VandiverGroup, and let us know!

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10 Things You Need to Know If You Work with Millennials

Working with Millennials: 10 Things to Know

By Abbey Theban, TVG Account Executive

As a millennial in the communications field, I know how much every brand, organization and corporation wants to get inside our heads. Read more