The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

Twitter’s New 280 Character Limit — The Pros and Cons

by Alyssa Stahr

7 December, 2017

Earlier this fall, Twitter selected a group of special people to be test subjects for a wild idea we never thought would happen — doubling the character count to 280. Since the company’s inception in 2006, we’ve scraped by on the golden count of 140 that has changed the way we send messages via social media. We’ve shortened our speak altogether with Twitter and texting, which if we’re being honest, has changed the English language altogether. We now shorten our verbiage to “u” instead of “you” or “brb” instead of “be right back.” We use link shorteners like bit.ly to squeeze in what we have to say to 140. But, as of November, the full rollout to an expansive 280 count launched to most Twitter-compatible languages.

Twitter initially chose the 140 count so that every tweet would fit into the allotted 160 count that texting allows. Some say that the 140-character count was what made Twitter unique; it certainly paved the way for hashtaggers everywhere to shorten the way they speak and share information to their followers. However, others who have more to say (or clients to satisfy like we here at The Arland Group) worked hard to wordsmith their way into the 140 framework. And, we have to remember that English is not the only language in which tweeters tweet; there are tweeters from all around the world who don’t use our alphabet, creating even further obstacles. However, the rollout did not happen for Chinese, Japanese and Korean tweeters because they can say what they need to say in a more succinct space, according to Twitter.

Now, with 280 characters to work with, we can say more of what we mean in more of the context in which we mean it.

The decision, however, did not come without controversy. According to Tech Crunch, Twitter purists cited that during the trial phase most people continued to tweet at the 140 character count, in fact, only five percent had more. This could be due to habit, however. Twitter claims that those who have more characters to work with have gained more followers and retweets over time, however, Tech Crunch did not have any data to support the claim.

Mashable went so far as to blame millennials for the change, shouting to the rooftops that brevity is clarity and that with 280 whole characters to work with, people will start to get sloppy. My personal argument is that we aim to never be sloppy, no matter how many characters we have.

As a content editor, I viewed the 140 limit as a welcome challenge and a breath of fresh air in opposition to the endless paragraphs of words upon words that could have been said with, for lack of a better word, brevity. It is my hope that tweeters will welcome the 280 with a sense of change and purpose. The Twitter world just doubled, what will you do with it?

 

 

Newest Content Marketing Expert Makes His Mark

by Kyle Gunning

7 February, 2014

I specialize in social media and content marketing and I come to The Arland Group with a background in anthropology, sociology and psychology. If you were thinking that means I’ll be mentally analyzing people and things going on around me, you’d be right. As creepy as that sounds, it’s what I think makes me effective at my job. It’s called applied anthropology. I try to take the theories of anthropology and the other social sciences and use them to understand and solve practical problems. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Erving Goffman and Ilana Gershon are where I pull most of my ideas and theories.

When Facebook and Twitter emerged, the term we used for them was “social network.” This was by no accident. Social networks are a topic explored extensively by anthropologists since the 1800s. Every user on Facebook, Twitter and the like are actors in this play or structure in society. Whether we want to admit it or not, our actions in this structure are quite predictable. We have less control over these interactions than you may expect. From trending topics to social advertising to “trolls” sending hateful comments: it’s all something that anthropology can help understand, predict and hopefully solve. That’s what I’m here to do and I’m very excited to be the newest member of the TAG team.

Five Ways to Connect Via Twitter

by Emily Pirraglia

28 June, 2013

At The Arland Group, we think and talk a lot about how social media can help companies engage with people, generate interest in their business and inspire fandom. We generally focus on using social media to bring meaning and engagement to a business, but the connectivity of social media benefits individuals, too.

As a St. Louis transplant, I used social media to discover a welcoming and vibrant community. I moved to St. Louis knowing next to no one and decided to get a Twitter account around the same time. Creating an account ended up being one of the best decisions I made. Through Twitter, I discovered and participated in conversations that helped me get to know the people and culture of St. Louis. Here are ways you can get to know a new community or city through Twitter:

Showcase your personality and interests: People see social media as a great way to promote their personal brand, but your personal brand is so much more than just your career. Find people in your city that share your interests and reach out to them. Ask for their opinion on the best wine bar in the city. Let them know if you enjoyed an article they wrote. Twitter can feel like a big, empty space with a lot of information, so take the time to turn those tweets into interactions.

Search for clubs and organizations in your industry: If you discover a professional organization in your area you’re interested in joining, find them on Twitter. By following them you can express interest in their organization while you determine if their culture aligns with your personality and professional goals.

Follow local hashtags: By following #STL, I’ve gotten access to early bird soccer tickets, information about free concerts and learned where to eat the best Reuben in St. Louis. By discovering the popular, local hashtags and following them, you create a real-time connection to what’s happening in your city and industry.

Help people out when they need it: Twitter gives you a community at your fingertips. Don’t simply tweet to spread your own message—remember to give back to and engage with your community. People always are looking for advice and answers, so if you notice a question you can help with, then offer a response. Don’t let helpful information stop with you; share tweets about open jobs, social gatherings or just any information that you would appreciate receiving. The little interactions are what matter the most.

Move the conversation offline: Meeting Twitter friends IRL (Twitter speak for “in real life”) is awkward, but that awkwardness is expected. After all, even communications professionals struggle with actually being social in real life. Once you get past the whole “we met online” stigma you’ll get to enjoy learning from and hanging out with people who share your interests, either personally or professionally.

The Hashtag: The Little Engine That Could

by Alyssa Stahr

21 June, 2013

small-business-marketingPressing pound for more options no longer works solely on the telephone. Now, the pound sign with the more-popular moniker—hashtag—is everywhere. Even Facebook has joined the hashtag game, perhaps as more of a “everyone else is doing it so we should too” factor than something that was a target on Facebook’s wishlist.

This little symbol is clearly a powerful tool. It somehow infiltrated one of, if not the largest social networks of our time that was never designed to have a hashtag. It’s so powerful that users misuse the sign daily, just as an excuse to insert it into their content. Let’s take a look back at the hashtag’s short journey into stardom.

The first use of the term “hash tag” was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd, “Hash Tags=Twitter Groupings.”

According to hashtags.org, the first hashtag was used by Chris Messina, a social technology expert, way back in August 2007. His Twitter post read, “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp?” The purpose was to gather discussions and online exchanges regarding Barcamp, a worldwide gathering. Since that first Tweet, the hashtag soared and became more than a search function tag, despite that being its initial intended use. Twitter began introducing “trending topics” on its home page in 2010, giving a shout out to hashtag themes that were popular that day.

A symbol that is supposed to label groups and topics, however, quickly became used (or misused, however one looks at it) in other areas as a way to denote feelings or context. Facebook was a common victim of this happenstance, because there was no way to search on Facebook using a hashtag—until now. Thanks to various platforms that sync with Facebook, namely Instagram, the migration of the hashtag to Facebook was inevitable.

No matter how you use your hashtag, this mighty little symbol has changed the face of social media forever. #amazing

Twitter’s Video Response to Conveying Short Messages: Vine

by Alyssa Stahr

6 March, 2013

Hearing something through the grapevine may finally be a good thing. Since its debut in late January, the mobile app Vine is quickly rising in popularity.
The great thing about Vine is that it’s currently free on the iPhone and iPod touch, and it can be shared on Twitter and Facebook. There is no doubt that the app will be usable on other platforms sooner than later.

The bad news is that the video sharing app has a maximum length of six seconds. This begs the same question from users that Twitter did when it launched a service only allowing for 140 characters: “What in the world can I share in only six seconds?” The answer is with a little creativity, a lot.

SocialMediaExaminer.com recently came out with a list of a whopping 16 ways businesses are using Vine. Here are the top three that stood out to us:

1. Engage Your Followers in Conversation.
Engagement is everything in our business. After all, just blindly posting something without asking for feedback or engaging in dialogue has little to no purpose. Vine allows for a visual boost by not only asking a question, but giving the user video options to choose from.

2. Showcase Your Work, Products and Portfolio.
No matter if your client list is long or short, a video series showcasing what you’ve done for your clients is a really fun way to highlight your work and partnerships. And, if you have something really exciting you are about to launch, a sneak peek is a great way to get clients and readers engaged in the new product, web site, page, etc.

3. Take People Inside Your Office.
The Arland Group’s home office is in St. Louis, Mo., however we have satellite offices in different cities around the country. Giving each other and our clients a glimpse into our daily lives and our awesomely decorated desks gives us a personality behind our names. We are a fun group, after all.

Getting Social with The Arland Group

by Alyssa Stahr

13 December, 2012

We at The Arland Group are a creative agency that focuses strongly on social media strategy for clients. Therefore, it’s only fitting that we put some focus on our own social media, right?

The Arland Group’s Facebook page serves as our home of sharing. Whether it is sharing a client site launch or news; fun around the new office; or posting our weekly blog from one of us, Facebook is the place to go for the latest in Arland Group news.

Twitter also is growing by leaps and bounds. The Arland Group tweets multiple times a week, making sure we are up on the latest client news, as well as our friends in social media. We also are on LinkedIn and Google+, following and sharing job interview tips, blogs and job openings through these media.

Lastly, for those wanting a more visual presence, follow The Arland Group on Flickr and Instagram. Here you will get a chance to be upclose and personal with The Arland Group family … and their cute babies. And, who doesn’t love a cute baby photo?

House Advantage Swings to Google

by Keith Seiz

7 December, 2011

When we started The Arland Group six years ago, social media was not even on the list of services we provided. Facebook was for college students and Twitter wasn’t even an idea yet.

Today, social media is not only one of the most exciting segments of our business, it’s also the fastest growing. We now employ people just to develop mountains of content for our clients’ social networks.

To date, most of our efforts have focused on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But there is a new player in town in the form of Google+. I’m a cynic when it comes to new social media networks, mainly because I think the big three are innovative and continually push for improvements on their platforms. It’s hard to be the new kid on the block when everyone loves hanging around with the older, cooler kid.

I have a Google+ account, but I don’t get it. I think the user interface is clumsy, the concept is contrived and not too many of my friends and colleagues have embraced it, so I feel pretty isolated when on the platform. Despite what I perceive to be its shortcomings though, Google+ has an immense house advantage: the algorithm.

The mysterious mathematical equation Google uses to determine the results of search engines is the holy grail of digital marketing. As an agency, we strive to make sure our clients are on that front page of search results when their clients look for them. Getting on the front page requires an immense amount of work, of which I won’t go into detail here (you can call me though!).

On a recent Google search of  “The Arland Group,” we were shocked to see our Google+ page was the third result posted! It was above our Facebook and Twitter pages, despite the fact that we only have five posts on Google+ and hundreds on Facebook and Twitter. Despite building a solid brand on Facebook and Twitter, Google played its house advantage and tilted the algorithm to Google+.

Kudos to them. If you have an advantage, you capitalize on it. They have singlehandedly forced our agency to start launching Google+ accounts for all of our clients. We’re not sure it’s the best way for them to promote their brand, but with a world of information driven by Google, it’s imperative that our customers are present and accounted for on Google+.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

by The Arland Group

30 August, 2011

Let’s face it, we live in a world where success is measured in tweets per second, likes per post, and daily page views. This can seem intimidating and sometimes incredibly frustrating when orchestrating a social media campaign. I find that very often at the core of these frustrations is impatience and a lack of understanding of how to really build a successful network.

When The Arland Group launches a social media campaign, we try to really stress that social media is a slow build process that yields huge results. It’s something that needs to grow, requires a strategy and constant evaluation. Makes sense right? The concept is easy to swallow, but as I stated earlier we live in a fast paced world that craves quick results.

To put it in perspective, let me give you an example of another area where the quick results approach doesn’t work. The weight loss industry capitalizes on this concept only to leave consumers searching for another quick fix in the end. Consumers are on this cycle, even though they know weight loss is achieved by simply cutting calories and increasing activity. The problem is that lasting results take time and patience and it’s hard to have to wait for the end result.

Now, I’m not trying to say losing weight and social media are one in the same, but I am stressing that it’s often easy to focus on seeing big results too soon and lose sight of your real goal. That’s why it’s important to remember that we’re here to give you the tools for success and implement a social media plan that will, in time, allow you to reap lasting rewards!

Why We Hired a Content Marketing Manager

by Keith Seiz

22 February, 2011

It’s been a busy start to the year for The Arland Group. In January, we launched websites for industry leaders Nationwide Insurance and PSAV. In February, we welcomed our newest employee, Megan Gattung, as content marketing manager.

In six years, our firm’s growth has only been outpaced by the services we offer. When Jason, Jonathan and I started in 2005, content marketing wasn’t on our list of services. Nor was social media or video production. We were a creative house, and we did creative things on websites and print advertising campaigns.

Content was important, but content was viewed as a piece of a creative project, not the entirety. Content was words that fit on a website or brochure. Content’s sole purpose was to make an immediate connection. There was no content strategy beyond the immediate impact that the words would create when they were read.

Not anymore. Content is major player at The Arland Group, and an area we plan on dominating for years to come. Content is now offered throughout our services, from social media to webisodes to white papers to blogging and micro-blogging. Content is words, videos, books, articles, white papers, ideas, music and any other form of expression we generate on behalf of our clients for the sole purpose of making a connection with their audience. Content is a tool we use to promote our clients to their audience. Content is just like advertising, marketing or public relations. And, it is just as effective.

With Megan on board as content marketing manager, we will be able to expand our content services to all industries we serve, including consumer. B2B and employment branding. It is our job to get our client’s messages to the intended audience in the most effective way. Our content capabilities serve as the perfect complement to our creative capacities to accomplish this goal.