The Realtime Marketing Season Myth
By Elaine Feeney
It’s been a busy few months for sports and pop culture with awards season, the Super Bowl, March Madness and holiday celebrations spanning from New Years to St. Patrick’s Day. With so much social media buzz we tend to see an increase in real-time marketing (RTM) this time of year. Despite these exciting events, it’s important that we, as marketers, don’t limit real-time marketing to a season.
Real-time marketing is intended to be an “in-the-moment” interaction, connecting with an audience around a specific time and place. With an increasing number of consumers engaging daily on social media platforms, why would we limit our interaction with them to a few months of the year? Learning how to leverage these social spaces by consistently building relationships with our customers allows us to market to them more effectively and add value to our brand.
Having a genuine brand voice is essential to a successful marketing strategy. That authenticity requires truly knowing your customers and how they relate to the brand. Through RTM, brands are able to engage with the audience on topics they’re already discussing and on platforms where they are already interacting. This also allows you to learn more about them. A consumer’s social media presence is rich with information such as purchasing behavior, preferences and demographics. These simple online interactions lend themselves to an invaluable set of data that can be applied to future marketing opportunities as well.
Staying relevant is another benefit to integrating RTM in your annual marketing strategy. In order to keep your brand top-of-mind when social media gets “noisy,” you must establish yourself as a leader during the slower, and quieter, marketing season. Establishing brand recognition year-round makes it easier to stand out in a crowded space.
The key to executing real-time marketing is timeliness and relevance. This can often be achieved with something as simple as a witty response to an unplanned event or piece of news. A great example is Virgin Holidays’ quick reaction to the legalization of gay marriage in the U.K. Minutes after the bill passed, the travel company tweeted a photo of two lipstick lined champagne glasses toasting with the caption “Same sex marriage bill. Passed. Time for a honeymoon.” It was a simple way to join the conversation, while remaining authentic and true to brand.
You don’t need a social media “war room” to execute real-time marketing year-round. All you need is a solid monitoring tool and a little bit of creativity. There are several real-time social search tools on the market that easily aggregate content so that you can follow conversations surrounding a certain topic based on hashtags, keywords or geographical region. These tools are becoming increasingly popular, as they take the headache out of wading through an immense amount of information and make daily RTM simple.
Jumping on every trending topic does have the potential to go horribly wrong. I am not suggesting that is an appropriate strategy. What I am saying is that real-time marketing has the power to produce content that is consistent (both in frequency and brand strategy), timely and relevant. Don’t miss an opportunity to join the conversation because you’re waiting for the coin toss or the red carpets to be unrolled. Regardless of the time of year, ensure that you’re taking the time to interact and engage with your customers online. The value will be immeasurable for your brand.
Elaine Feeney is the CEO of Wayin.