Viewing Tips for the Total Solar Eclipse

Viewing Tips for the Total Solar Eclipse

by Andy Likes, Senior Vice President

Short of living under a rock, everyone should know about this Monday’s eclipse.  The St. Louis region will have a front row seat for the event, if the meteorologists are right.  Here’s hoping for a mostly cloud-free view of the totality, but of course there are no guarantees.

Eye Safety

If you plan to view the eclipse Monday afternoon, you already know you need approved glasses (or risk permanent eye damage) to view the sun. Or, you could build one of those shoebox contraptions we built as kids to safely view it.  If you plan to take pictures, we have a few things you will want to know.

Camera Safety

If you have a camera, video camera or smartphone, it needs to wear glasses, too.  You’ll burn the lens if you take a photo or video without one.  If you are looking through the viewfinder, it can also damage your eyes.

Smartphone Shooting

If you plan to use a smart phone, turn it on its side to shoot horizontally.  You will get a larger, clearer image.  You won’t have a great zoom, it might be a little grainy, but you will at least see the eclipse and capture the moment in time. You shouldn’t need the filter during the totality, but it’s awfully hard to take the filter off and put it back on, maybe just soak in the moment and catch the photos and videos online afterward.

TVG Live Broadcast

If you do not live in one of the cities that will see the eclipse in full, TVG has you covered.  Our video production team will be broadcasting the eclipse live from our offices in Chesterfield, MO on TVG’s Facebook page, from the beginning to the end, so starting at 11:30am until the end.  Totality is expected in Chesterfield at 1:23pm CDT and should last for about 90 seconds.  Feel free to like/follow our page now, and join us live beginning Monday morning.

Here’s hoping for clear skies!

https://www.facebook.com/vandivergroup

TVG would love to help with your video needs, give us a call, email us or send us a note on Facebook.  We create videos long and short.

Millennials in the Digital Space

“How Do I Reach These Kids?”

Millennials in the Digital Space

By Nathan Shryock, Manager of Digital Strategy

The Millennial generation has adopted a very unique habit of forming digital communities.  These communities are made up of online social groups of people that share a common interest and are often tied to a person’s identity. It’s not uncommon for one person to belong to several different communities, each representing a different facet of their personality or interests. However, that’s not to say that Millennials only interact with people online.

For example, say a group of friends go out to a bar:

  • The artsy friend is going to make an Instagram (IG) post of the interior design.
  • The foodie/drink friend will post what cocktail they’re having to a social channel like Facebook and give a blurb on how they enjoyed it.
  • The musically inclined friend will comment on the music selection or make a post about the live band that played.
  • The social friend will gather everyone together for a group picture and post about the night they shared.

Digital Communities

Each person above is fully invested in their experience AND committed to sharing with their digital communities. This kind of earned publicity is invaluable, and it’s FREE. The bar in the example received the attention of thousands of people inside those four distinctly different groups, with content curated just for them, without spending a dime. Embracing these digital communities is the key to reaching that elusive generation.

Reaching Millennials

Businesses commonly make the mistake of casting too wide of a net with Millennials. By trying to advertise to everyone, you effectively reach no one. Highly-targeted marketing is easier than ever in today’s social media-filled world, and by simply paying attention to trends and behaviors of specific groups, half the work is done. By tapping into the culture of the different digital communities you are more likely to not only grab the attention of the younger generation, but prompt them to share your content and create content of their own next time they visit.

So next time you see someone on their phone, pay close attention to what they are focusing on. It may just give you the insight you need for your next marketing endeavor.

Here at TVG, digital strategy is something we’re passionate about! Call us at 314-991-4641 or visit our website at www.vandivergroup.com to learn how we can help you effectively reach your audience in the digital space.

Messaging: A New Era of Business Communications, Part 2

By Nate Shryock, Manager of Digital Strategy

In Part 1 of this blog series, we outlined how messaging apps can be useful business tools. Today, we’ll explore some best practices for businesses who want to use Facebook Messenger to communicate with their customers.

Best Practices for Businesses Using Facebook Messenger

Respond promptly

Facebook publicly displays your company’s response speed on your homepage. It is important to gain the “Very responsive to messages” badge, which is achieved by having a response rate of 90% and a response time of 15 minutes within the last seven days. Slow response times often lead to escalated social posting by an individual with complaints.

Shoot for 100% response rate

More than ever, people simply want to be heard. By acknowledging every post, your customers feel like a larger part of your community. While 24/7 monitoring is not always possible, Facebook offers tools to help ensure that people are heard outside of business hours. Away messages, pre-written replies and chat-bots provide customers with an immediate response and let them know that their concern is heard and will be addressed.

Use first names

The power of messaging for business comes from the human element. Using a person’s first name is an easy way to build a rapport and establish a connection. If you are responding to a comment, use the @tag of their first name (ex: @Nate). In addition, have moderators sign off with their first names as well.

Know when to take a public comment private

One of the biggest challenges of social for businesses is how to handle negative comments. Facebook offers the ability to initiate a private conversation with any commenter, and will display a public message saying that comment has been replied to privately.

Keep an updated list of your best customers

While difficult to manage, showing special attention to your most loyal customers will surprise and delight them — making them customers for life. Something as simple as sending a happy birthday message with a coupon or discount goes a long way to creating a positive relationship.

Conclusion

Just like you wouldn’t want to leave a customer waiting in your store, you don’t want to leave them waiting on social. Messenger apps offer a quick and effective way to add the human element back into the digital business world, and when used correctly, can build long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationships with your customers.

Need help using messaging apps for your business?  Not sure how to create a strong digital strategy? TVG can help! Call us at 314.991.4641 or visit our website at www.vandivergroup.com for more information.

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. 

The Plague of Viral Marketing

The Red Swimsuit Phenomena

On Wednesday, May 4, Sunny Co Clothing posted a picture on Instagram of a red swimsuit. If you posted the picture of the swimsuit on your Instagram within 24 hours, you were promised the same suit delivered free to your doorstep! While shipping and handling were not covered, the swimsuit, which retails for about $64.99, was completely free. A portion of the proceeds from the shipping were to go to Alzheimer’s research.

Sure enough, Instagram blew up with this image. It went viral. Twitter blew up with funny commentary, and even celebrities made comments on social media about the infamous “red swimsuit.”

It didn’t take long for Sunny Co to realize they were in over their heads, where they responded with a post: “Due to the viral volume of participants, we reserve the right to cap the promotion if deemed necessary.”

On top of this, they stated that shipping could take 3-6 WEEKS.

At first glance, it seemed like a great marketing plan. Wow, brand awareness! Free advertising! Positive attention!  However, I’m interested to see how Sunny Co now plans to retain their customers.

Historically, when brands and products go viral, or grow rapidly, there is usually the inevitable downfall. This happens all the time. It happened to the once trendy LA fashion brand, Nasty Gal.

  • Sales hit $24 million in 2011, which was a 200% increase from the year before, the brand said publicly.
  • In 2012, they hit $100 million.
  • By 2015, they dropped down to $77 million.
  • In 2016, they filed for bankruptcy.

Nasty Gal and Sunny Co share the tactic of cultivating one-time buyers. Spending money on indirect advertising, like online ad banners, can score you a multitude of people who might buy your product once. But, if you spend $100 on an ad and one person buys an item one time, you aren’t really making money. The same scenario applies to Sunny Co’s red swimsuit. If you spend the time and hire the workforce to ship thousands of free swimsuits, are you really making money? On top of that, if you can’t deliver on your promise of a free product, are you really building your brand’s reputation for future success?

As far as I know, no one who participated in this promotion received their red swimsuit yet.  People I know have deleted their repost from Sunny Co, the original Instagram account has been shut down, and no one is talking about the brand or product anymore on social media.

Marketing dollars and social media exposure are valuable for brands when they’re targeted. If you’re in B2C sales, focus on building relationships. If your product is good, the sales will follow.  One hundred loyal customers are more valuable than 500 one-time buyers. B2C relationships last longest when they are built like any other relationship. Find your audience, personalize your message, follow up with good customer service and a good product, and retain your clientele.

Why a PR Pro Should Run your Social Accounts

Laura Vandiver, VP of Research & Strategic Insight

 

When it comes to social media in the business world, many companies approach it in the same way they approach their personal social media accounts. Because it’s not that different, right? How hard could it be? Well, let me put it this way: once you put something out on social, it’s out there. Make a mistake? Too late- the whole world has seen it, and they’ve made screenshots, too. Read more

Why a PR Pro Should Help You with Presentation Skills

Laura Vandiver, VP of Research & Strategic Insight

 

We’ve all been there. Your palms are sweaty, your mouth is dry. It’s that awkward moment before you begin a big presentation. Public speaking or making a presentation- whether to a large group or small – is consistently rated one of the top phobias among Americans, as well as other cultures around the world. But, fear not friends! There is hope- and it comes in the form of your local PR professional. Read more

Social Media “Best in Show”: The Brands that Rocked Social in 2015, Part 2

Abbey Theban, Assistant Account Executive

 

Did you catch Part 1 of our totally awesome social media awards show blog? Now it’s time for Part 2! Check out the rest of our picks for the most inspiring/hilarious/innovative social media accounts. We’re giving you the best accounts to follow in 2016. See which brands made the cut! Read more

Social Media “Best in Show”: The Brands that Rocked Social in 2015, Part 1

Abbey Theban, Assistant Account Executive

 

So this blog post is going to be a little different. No advice, no lessons… just an appreciation for some good ‘ole social media accounts. We’ve decided that brands aren’t getting enough recognition for their social media successes. That’s why we’re making up our own awards show… and yours truly is the judge. Read more

Giving Tuesday is the New Black (Friday)

Melissa Breer, Account Executive

For the past several years, Black Friday sales have been starting earlier, with many stores offering sales days before Thanksgiving and stores now opening on Thanksgiving. Read more

When “Spiking Your Friend’s Eggnog” Becomes a Public Relations Crisis

Abbey Theban, Assistant Account Executive

 

‘Tis the season for print and digital ads alike to be donned with holiday cheer. From red and green- themed layouts to festive ad copy, retailers are getting in the holiday spirit. But can holiday cheer be taken too far? Read more