When and how to use real-time marketing effectively

October 2, 2015Uncategorized

Eline Rannou, Social Media Strategist

There are lots of great opportunities for real-time marketing on social media. And yes, brands should consider them. Why? Because social media involves immediacy and conversations, and real-time marketing allows your brand to jump straight into conversations.

There are different types of real-time marketing, and brands should consider the best approach for their own business:

– Unexpected news (newsjacking): When a topic starts buzzing online and brands use it to advertise.
– Predictable opportunities: Famous events that are recurrent and drive massive conversation online.
– Real-time conversations: Less ‘buzzy’, these are the topics that matter to the brand’s core target at a specific moment and which brands could use to be part of the conversation.

Everyone agrees on the visibility and high number of engagements that real-time marketing offers, especially when it takes advantage of social media buzz. But to do it right, you need to know what you’re doing – you want to make sure your brand is taking part in a conversation that is relevant for both its marketing purpose and its audience’s interest. And it all starts with anticipating.

Yes, real-time marketing requires planning

Look for events your brand could use to communicate its message and find a creative – and on-brand – way to appropriate it. Make sure it’s legitimate for your brand to talk about the topic and that you’re not coming from nowhere (good content will help make the connection between the brand and the news). Make sure your audience understands why you’re taking part in this conversation and that it’s part of your brand’s practice to react to news. If you want to do real-time marketing, consider it as part of the strategy, not a one-off idea.

Process is also a fundamental key to success.

Make sure you’ve agreed with your clients on how to react and what approvals are required before posting. With newsjacking, you can’t afford to wait hours for the client’s sign-off, otherwise your brand will be seen as a latecomer.

Don’t be reactive – be smart

Reacting to buzz can be fun, but it’s important it aligns with your brand and helps achieve your marketing objectives. Don’t forget who your brand is online, what its tone and voice are, what your goal is and what your audience expects.

Yes, you can get out of your conversational comfort zone, but don’t forget about the fundamentals and make sure the move is smart so you don’t lose control of the brand messaging. Real-time marketing is also particularly relevant on specific channels. Twitter, in this instance, is still the best platform.

Here are some questions to tick:

Target considerations

Is this topic of interest to the audience?
Will it give the brand the right image?
Is the target even concerned about this buzz?

Strategic considerations

How will it serve the brand?
Is the brand’s activity on the channel where the buzz is happening good enough to join?
Have my competitors already reacted to the topic?

Post-action considerations

How will the brand manage the positive buzz generated?
How will the brand keep the conversation going once the buzz is over?
What KPIs will this give me and how is it helping me reach my marketing goals?

Words of wisdom

Don’t get me wrong – I like real-time marketing, especially when it comes to unexpected news used in creative and smart ways. But brands should first and foremost care about what matters to their core audience.

My advice would be to monitor what your targets are saying online, and if on a daily basis a brand is able to listen and jump into conversations to help their target with questions and comments without pushing the brand too hard, then it might be the more qualitative way to approach real-time marketing.


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