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.  In 2014, 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 Important to Millennials, Too

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 through an online source, 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 grandparent about 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.

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

Katie Miller, 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

Abbey Theban, 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