Real-time Social Marketing | DMA

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Real-time Social Marketing

Why do it?

It’s the new thing. Marketers have been trying to show that their brands are worth following on social media platforms for a few years now, but reacting to real-time large-scale events are what brands are now jumping on to make themselves famous. As I work on the social media account of a large FMCG company, I’m seeing increasing focus on this as part of social media strategy.

Second-screening has evolved the way that we consume content in recent years. We expect to be able to engage with others on social platforms during key events such as the Strictly Come Dancing final, or the World Cup final.

Brands have been working with their media and creative agencies to work out how best to do just this - jump on events in real-time, in a way that is relevant to their brand. Oh, and make it snappy! With these reactive opportunities being there and gone in a matter of minutes, brands need to react quickly.

How do they do it?

It’s a good question, and is one that brands and agencies are continuing to work out. Both need to work closely together to streamline their processes in order to be able to react quickly. Brands can’t have multiple layers of approvers, otherwise there’s a chance they’ll miss the boat in getting something out there. Equally, agencies should work to streamline the number of people working on a piece and again improving work internally – you simply can’t have your usual layers of sign-off for a reactive piece. It’s about spotting the opportunity and deciding to go for it, getting the client on board and producing the ad – and quickly.

Ultimately, you need a small team of people who can make these decisions. This might be one person from each of the following for sign-off purposes: creative agency, media agency, the brand and the brand’s legal department. This of course doesn’t include the designer or creative who actually produces the work – you’ll see that already the list is getting longer...

Another thing that brands and agencies need to be crystal clear on is the purpose of their reactive tweet or post. How do we want our fans and followers to react to it? Will the ad be promoted, and to whom? Does it fit with our brand? Will people get it? All of these questions (and more) need to be considered and decided within a matter of minutes.

However, planning for these things is important. If a brand is looking to create reactive content for a particular event, they need to think about their scenario planning. If a brand wants to jump on an awards ceremony like the Oscars, they work with their agencies to create content - e.g. for either all nominees or all of the most likely winners. This way, the content looks reactive, but it’s actually planned spontaneity. An example of brand who did this well was the work that Cadbury did for the Brits:

This required lots of planning ahead of the event, but it worked incredibly well. They had a war room set up with a select few people who were able to make decisions quickly and update their pre-prepared content where necessary, as well and thinking on their feet when other opportunities arose.

Who else has done it well?

The Oreo Superbowl example is the one that everyone seems to harp back to. And rightly so – it’s brilliantly simple and was a quick reaction to an unexpected and unplanned event:

Specsavers have also done some great reactive content, jumping on several incidences during the World Cup 2014, giving it a humorous spin to tie in with their ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ tagline and witty Specsavers tone of voice.

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