As Winter Storm Juno tore into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, many people kept track of it on Twitter. Hashtags like #juno2015 and #blizzardof2015 sprung up, allowing people to easily search for storm-related updates.
Businesses also took the opportunity to reach out to Twitter followers and a wider pool of potential customers through real-time marketing. The following are a few examples:
- Self Magazine shared this tweet about slow-cooker recipes, which they addressed to people “holed up in the next few days.”
- Petco tweeted this advice on keeping pets safe during the storm.
- Ben & Jerry’s shared well-wishes and a cute image of their ice cream arranged in snowflake formation.
Real-time marketing takes place in response to ongoing events, anything ranging from the Superbowl to a winter storm. It involves reaching out to customers in real-time and in a way that’s connected to the larger event. This kind of marketing can occur spontaneously, though companies often plan for it by anticipating upcoming events and how they can post relevant content.
When can real-time marketing work well?
If you check out the tweets linked to earlier in the post, you’ll see a few examples of what could work. The first two share information rather than blatantly pushing any product; the third one has a light tone.
In general, real-time marketing can work well with the following qualities:
- It’s relevant.
- It strikes an appropriate tone.
- It grabs people’s attention (not only with words, but with striking visuals).
Memorable entertainment and engaging, useful information are what people look for and are apt to share.
When can real-time marketing backfire?
This type of marketing won’t work well if your content comes across as pushy and dull. You might look like you have nothing interesting to add and just jumped on the bandwagon with a bunch of other companies to exploit a trending hashtag.
Another danger is insensitivity. If the event is one that endangers, saddens, or seriously inconveniences people, you might strike the wrong tone and come across as glib.
If you’re interested in real-time marketing, you need to understand the mood and expectations surrounding an event. Don’t force any jokes or over-the-top expressions of emotion. Try not to be pushy. Hopefully your contributions will come across as timely and natural, fitting the moment.