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Twitter Marketing: Real Time, Real Problems | Audiense

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Making the Most of the Moment on Twitter with Real-Time Content!

Ever since Oreo’s triumph over 2013’s Super Bowl blackout, brands have been scrambling over each other in an attempt to ride the viral wave that comes with a successful real-time Twitter marketing campaign. When should you jump on the real-time band wagon?

The phrase “real-time marketing” has been doing the rounds in marketing and social media circles recently, particularly with reference to Twitter. But it’s important to remember that Twitter is by its very nature a real-time network. Its content and conversations are up to the minute. It spreads news like wildfire and is built for speed of information sharing. One of Twitter’s main strengths and the power of real-time is shown again and again as tweets go viral.

Brands that are able to harness the incredible power of real-time content can amplify their presence on Twitter considerably. By working with great content that is relevant to topics and conversations happening around users, you can capture some serious wins by keeping at the front of minds and showing versatility and creativity on a platform with a high volume of noise and competition.


When real-time is done well

Probably one of the most famous examples in the last year or so of real-time done well would be the Oreo blackout tweet at the 2013 Superbowl - an event that was definitely not predicted by any of the pundits on the day. The brand’s quick thinking and wittiness brought over 8,000 new followers and was retweeted almost 16,000 times. Not bad for one tweet.


Oreo have really got this whole real-time response concept down pat. We can all learn a lot from Oreo’s mother company Mondelez on how to incorporate real-time strategy into branding. An approach that focussed Oreo’s efforts specifically in Canada, Mondelez and DraftFCB worked together to make the Winter Olympics another real-time win for Oreo.


Releasing this one in the Women’s Hockey Final - that Canada went on to win with a last minute goal.


Next they jumped onto a hashtag they noticed had become popular on Twitter to describe the lush facial hair of the Canadian men’s bobsleigh team #beardmode. This was their response.


When the single-sex marriage bill was passed in England, Virgin Holidays posted a celebratory tweet with a great visual to capture the prevailing mood of the social platform. Single-sex marriage has been a hot topic on Twitter in the UK for a considerable amount of time, and Virgin’s visual response to the bill passing garnered over 250 retweets and a bucket-load of positive feedback.

Real time response can be instantaneous or involve preparation. The recent ‘planned’ London Tube strike opened up an opportunity for brands to jump on board the #tubestrike and plenty did.


Interesting Domino’s took a different approach to the #tubestrike. Rather than tweeting a few branding messages their seen here tweeting about the free pizza they are handing out to commuters.


For the pièce de résistance, Arby’s, a US sandwich shop chain, took on Pharrell Williams and his latest addition to fashion - the hat. The tweet was timed perfectly with the Grammy’s, that Pharrell attended wearing the hat that closely resembled the food chain’s logo. Luckily for the food chain their reach and response was catapulted when Pharrell himself responded to the tweet with a witty comeback.

How to win at real-time on Twitter

While some brands excel with real-time content, others definitely lag behind. See these five top tips on how to best capture the moment on Twitter:


Interestingly, in a real-time world so focused on the now, a good habit to win at engaging on Twitter is to plan ahead. Think about major events or milestones that are upcoming in the calendar and how you could harness potential outcomes. Create content in advance that would be suitable for different eventualities and deploy them at the right time.


Keep your ear to the ground. Find the influencers that can affect your brand by using the tools and analytics at your disposal and keep an eye on what they tweet about. Use keyword searches and trending topic tools to keep your finger on the pulse, and if you see something picking up momentum think about how you can work positively with what’s happening in the Twittersphere. For example, the controversy around the Sochi Olympics has been addressed by various brands in a positive way, including Chobani yoghurt.


Don’t just jump on the bandwagon because you can. Think seriously about how relevant it is for you to engage in a trend. Be true and honest to your brand and ensure you meaningfully connect without alienating users. For an exercise in what not to do, take the Kenneth Cole tweet from the Arab Spring in 2011. Jumping on a trending topic to sell shoes isn’t always the best foot forward.


Analytical insights will help you to understand what hits and misses with the users you want to keep engaged. A viral win on Twitter is pretty amazing, but it’s also pretty rare. The most important audience you want to attract with real-time content is users who identify with your brand, so wring as much useful information out of your social analytics you can in order to help inform your real-time content strategies and understand your audience.


Twitter is a place to have a conversation, so strip away those layers of sign-off procedures and be fast and flexible. Respond to users’ questions, quips and comments in a way that makes other people take notice in a good way. If you can master tone and etiquette, you can have tonnes of fun with the users that make Twitter such an amazing place and maybe get some brand kudos thrown in for good measure. The brilliant camaraderie of Twitter users with Tesco Mobile, Jaffa Cakes, Yorkshire Tea is a case in point.