Trust us, we get it. With everyone talking about real-time marketing it's hard to know how to get started or find value in this type of execution. We decided to create a post that explains what it is, how to get started and how to gather ideas using our free marketing content calendar.
Before you dive in, if you haven't downloaded your FREE Agency Lite Marketing Content Calendar, you can do so here. What makes our calendar unique and different is that we not only added hashtag holidays, but also included national (US) holidays, tent pole entertainment events, and monthly themes. It is in a Google sheet form, so we can update it in real time (pun intended) when new dates or events are announced!
Real-Time Marketing Defined
Real-time marketing is a process that enables marketers to capitalize on real-time events and deliver a relevant message [via social] to the right person at the right time. Ideas must be developed in minutes rather than days or weeks. And messaging centers around real-time feedback from customers or around current events that happen. The benefit of this type of marketing, is that you can capitalize on trending topics that your followers can relate to (source Marketo). In other words when your ideal audience is chatting about a certain topic on social media, you insert your brand into the conversation with creative and engaging post(s).
It Takes Preparation
Although real-time marketing is often associated with fly by the seat of your pants messaging approach, for savvy marketers that is actually not always the case. For upcoming large events, it takes some pre-planning and knowing the right people to have on staff to monitor, execute and provide immediate approval.
In the industry we call these real-time activations "Twitter Parties," since historically - and what is still true today - many people gravitate to Twitter to engage and read content in real-time for trending topics and information. However, you can use these preparation steps for Facebook and Instagram as well.
Establish Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Don't just jump into this tactic without having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Clearly understand your current social numbers and have a goal that you want to hit or surpass. List your current follower count, average percent engagement (likes, shares, comments), and click-through-rate. If you plan to boost your post with paid media, know your current cost pers. From there list your ideal KPIs you want to achieve through this execution. Also establish a unique brand hashtag so you can capture social listening.
Build a Team To Respond Quickly
Establish at team to handle four key responsibilities. 1. Someone to monitor social conversations associated with the event and competitors 2. Community manager to respond to comments and engage with other relevant posts in real-time 3. Creative or graphic designer to quickly whip up captions and images (we suggest creating ready to go templates in Canva. See blog post here for other tools you can use) 4. Someone of authority that can provide creative approval on location to avoid delay (this person can also hold one of the other 3 positions)
Selecting the Right Event
It all comes down to your ideal audience. What topics and conversation do they generally engage with and what makes sense for your brand narrative. You can go as niche or broad as you like based on your KPIs. Look over the marketing calendar we provided and note some events that make sense for your business and ideal audience.
Now lets jump into an example. On February 24th 2019, it will be the 91st Academy Awards. This is not only an event to celebrate the stars on the silver screen, but its also a day for high fashion couture on the red carpet. If you are an online clothing store this is the best way to engage with your ideal audience. Plan in advance that you know Jennifer Lawrence will attend and hit the carpet. Be prepared to react to her dress (style, color, fabric), her accessories, makeup and hairstyle. Push messaging that is relevant, so deep link your post to a dress that looks similar in cut, color or length. Include a witty caption to make it entertaining. Remember you don't want to annoy your audience, so be mindful when pushing your message.
Another reminder is some content should be avoided. When it comes to brand safety don't align with controversial politics, tragic news events, or celebrity gossip. Most people won't find it amusing and it could have a very negative effect on your brand.
Don't just ditch the effort after the main event. Most of the time there is long-tail conversations, so keep your community manager on hand the following day or so to continue to engage and comment.
Following the event look over your numbers to determine the success of the campaign. Have a regroup to determine what worked best and what didn't. Determine how you can approach the next event better or differently.
Say Thank You
Most of all, remember to say thank you to the team or give yourself a pat on the back if you were involved. Usually these major events fall on the weekend and can drag late into the night depending on your time zone. Be kind and remember to always be grateful.
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