Two cents blog

Marketing in Real-Time

by Jona Peck on 10 July 2014

Wednesday marked yet another day when the world granted social media marketers an opportunity to thrust their brand into the spotlight of the world stage in the form of a hashtag and a trending topic. We see this kind of thing happen all the time, but it’s knowing which bandwagon to jump on and which one to leave alone that defines the brand.

 

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On Wednesday morning the hashtag #ThingsMoreLikelyThanBrazilWinningTheWorldCup spread like wildfire across Twitter after their 7-1 loss to Germany. While it was a devastating blow to the football loving nation of Brazil, it presented an opportune real-time marketing (RTM) moment with many brands choosing to add salt to Brazil’s wound with an array of German domination themed posts.

If you missed out, don’t worry. The internet is like a 24 hour news cycle and these moments are not one offs. In fact they happen quite frequently, you just need to know when to look out for them and which ones to go with. This year alone has already given us so many chances in which to perfect our RTM skills.

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Back in March, when the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller ‘Gravity’ won the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Director, Cinematography, Visual Effects and Original Music Score, NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration) saw the opportunity to congratulate ‘Gravity’ in their own unique way. Although host Ellen DeGeneres stole the show with the most-retweeted selfie (or tweet) of all time, NASA’s tweet proved to be one of the more successful ones by a brand simply because the message’s content was relevant.

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More recently Snickers, as well as a slew of other brands, tastefully caught onto the trend with this clever image and a play on the brand’s slogan when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup game. While the text got the message across, the image just made it that much more, for lack of a better word, satisfying.

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So what can we learn from these RTM posts?

Firstly, it’s all about timing. There’s no point in creating a witty post based on a hashtag that started two days prior. It’s best to post within minutes or one to two hours (at a stretch) of the hashtag’s popularity. After that, there’s no point. If, like Audi, you can post when it’s happening, the likelihood of your content being shared and engaged with is higher than if it’s posted far later in the day.
Secondly, it’s important to get the tone of the content right. If you’re talking about a current event make sure you do your research and get an understanding of what it’s about. Don’t just latch onto a topic because it’s trending. There are a lot of brands whose tweets go ignored because they try too hard, whereas the success of NASA’s tweet came down to their ability to listen to the conversation surrounding #Oscars2014 and create an appropriate tweet. Simple as that.

Thirdly, add value to your tweets by giving your followers a relevant, entertaining and cleverly crafted post that they would want to share with their followers. For even better results, add a picture. Research has found that people are more likely to share a tweet when there’s an image. Do you think the Snickers tweet would’ve had nearly 50,000 retweets had it not had one?
Finally and most importantly, make your audience the number one priority and target the posts accordingly. Targeted content is always more effective than the ones that forcibly try to fit around a topic just to gain new followers. Think like Snickers and give your followers something truly satisfying.

What do you think makes a good real-time marketing post? What’s one that you’ve seen that’s nailed it on the proverbial head, or flopped like a box-office blunder?

Beth MacKenzie is a Social Media Coordinator at BCM

- James Dillon on July 11

Oreo's Dunk in the Dark tweet during last year's Super Bowl is considered one of the best examples: http://www.360i.com/work/oreo-super-bowl/# It worked because the brand team had direct access and approval from the company executive: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/how-oreo-got-that-twitter-ad-up-so-fast

- Jo Stone on July 11

Great post Beth – I agree with you. Adopting a real time marketing approach is a great way to have a relevant discussion with consumers through engagement not old school interruption. I love brands that are clever enough to do it. I have seen a few epic fails though – clever is the operative word!

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