Turn Real-Time Marketing into Your Superpower

Our 2-article mini-series will teach you how to develop real time marketing powers that will help you create better relevance, drive up customer engagement and encourage conversions

Adebisi Adewusi
December 28 2017

Before the internet, the rise of social media and connected customers, you could plan your marketing weeks and even months in advance. These days, relevance has a timeline. Last night’s marketing plan could be irrelevant by morning. Therefore, for your marketing to remain up to date in today’s digital age, you need real time marketing superpowers.  64% of consumers expect companies to respond and interact with them in real time. This makes real time marketing a must for marketers.

What is Real Time Marketing?

Real-time marketing (RTM) is an ambiguous term. Most companies believe RTM is about delivering personalized content to customers across channels. Others think it’s about responding quickly to current events or injecting your voice into social conversations. Despite the various definitions, done correctly, real time marketing builds trust between brands and their audience, increases brand awareness and ensures messages are delivered at the right time. While marketers agree real-time marketing needs to be immediate, many still find it difficult to do. In this article, we’ll look at how you can develop real time marketing powers that will help you create better relevance, drive up customer engagement and encourage conversions.

Get X-ray Vision with Social Media

Like it or not, social media is an integral part of digital marketing. Social media promotes real time engagement, brand awareness and advocacy. 98% of companies report a positive impact on revenue from real-time marketing with more than one third of companies reporting a revenue return of more than half. Social media, however, is a crowded place where brands generate content at astonishing levels. If you don’t have the right skills, you won’t last on social media. Below are a few things you can do to develop your vision and succeed in real time marketing on social media.

Identify Your Marketing Goals

It makes no sense for you to hop on the social media marketing wagon without identifying what you want out of it. If you don’t clarify your objectives,  it’ll be a waste of time and resources. Procter & Gamble recently cut $100 million from its quarterly marketing budget after realizing how unfocused and ineffective its online efforts were. Before you tweet or share a post, define what business goals you want to achieve using social media real time marketing. Targets could include improving brand relevance, generating leads or increasing revenue. Whatever your goals, make sure they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Choose Your Events Wisely

While it’s tempting to participate in every trending event on social media, you’d be doing your brand and your audience a great service by focusing on conversations that are related to your industry and audience. Create a calendar of events in your industry and events your audience will be talking about.  Your calendar should help you decide what events to participate in and which content you can create in advance. Despite having a calendar, be prepared for the unexpected on social media.

Have A Social Media Team

When it comes to social media (and especially Twitter), if you blink you’ll miss something.  To be able to react quickly to events online and offline, engage your audience, and monitor all conversations about your brand in real-time, you need to assemble a social media team. Your social media team can be made up of less than 10 individuals to over 1,000 depending on your resources and business goals. The most important aspect is that your team consists of content creators, engagement specialists, executioners and decision makers with the right skill sets who can create and approve content as fast as possible. And nope, interns with mobile phones don’t count as a social media team.

Although Oreo’s famous tweet during the Super Bowl captured the limelight, it was the fully staffed Super Bowl “war room” (uniting all brand and agency stakeholders) that enabled the rapid design, approval, and publication of that tweet. During the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, Oreo’s social media team threw together a simple design of an Oreo cookie spotlighted on a black background, with text reading, “You can still dunk in the dark,” and the message, “Power out? No problem.”

The “dunk in the dark” tweet received over 15,000 retweets, 6,000 favorites and more than 525 million earned impressions, the equivalent to over five times the number a regular Super Bowl commercial typically earns. Your social media team sit together in a physical location like Coca-Cola’s Hub or function out of various places. Having a standby team will help you build a strong relationship with your customers, react quickly to events and amplify your voice in that given time period. Don’t sleep on it.

Listen and Learn

If you want to react quickly to potential marketing moments, you need to keep an eye on what’s going on online. With social listening, you can monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitor news, your audience’s behaviors, and anything else you consider relevant to your business. While monitoring happenings online can be overwhelming, social monitoring tools make things easy. With social monitoring tools like Brandwatch, you can gather customer feedback, monitor social channels in real-time, and keep an eye out for trending topics and relevant conversations. Social monitoring tools also provide the opportunity to analyze the data for actionable insights. These insights could be used to discover marketing opportunities, improve customer experience or create content.

After releasing Leah Remini’s book Troublemaker, Random House’s marketing team used social listening to understand why the book was so successful and learn how they could attract more readers. Based on the information they received through social listening and monitoring, the Random House team set up Q&As and chats through Goodreads so Leah could interact with readers. To stay on top of conversations, you must listen, learn and act.

The Right Content & Conversation at The Right Time

Social media real time marketing is a good way to connect with your audience, but the truth is that it can go wrong just as easy as it could go viral. After the Boston Marathon Bombing, food website Epicurious suggested via twitter that Bostonians could uses some cranberry scones or some breakfast cereal. Although they deleted the tweet and issued an apology, the incident remains a reference point for how not to market on social media.

To avoid embarrassing moments on social media, here are few things to note:

  • Don’t join a conversation because it’s trending. Find out why a hashtag is trending and if it’s relevant to your audience before jumping on the post train.
  • Pick platforms your audience uses. Yes, Twitter drives real time marketing, but if your audience isn’t using the playform, there’s no point in posting. You can find out where your audience hangs out by asking them directly.
  • Avoid controversial conversations. You can easily end up on the wrong side and face serious backlash. Remember #DeleteUber?
  • Have a social media engagement guide to set the boundaries around what makes sense for you to participate in and what doesn’t.
  • Everybody makes mistakes. If you make a mistake, humbly admit to it and try to make up for it. An apology would be a nice first step.

In general, to be safe on social media, stick to conversations that are relevant to your audience, create content surrounding your values, and contribute something interesting to the dialogue.

Last Words

Succeeding in social media real time marketing is significantly based on understanding your audience, participating in relevant conversations, having a standby team that is ready for anything and monitoring happenings online. In part two of this series, we’ll look at other superpowers you can develop to ace real time marketing.


Adebisi Adewusi

Adebisi Adewusi is a freelance B2B writer and a Huffington Post Contributor. When she’s not creating compelling content for businesses, you’ll find her capturing moments with her Nikon d600.

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