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Winning At #RealTimeMarketing On Twitter
The World Cup was a great lesson for social media marketers, with leading brands like Adidas, Snickers and Orbitz brilliantly showcasing Twitter’s real-time marketing capabilities.
Whether it’s being present in those significant moments across the globe, or driving engagement for marketing campaigns, Twitter has proven to be an essential way for brands to become a part of people’s lives.
Real-Time Conversations & Your Brand
In July, Twitter announced that there were 672 million tweets sent related to the 2014 World Cup. And that’s just one event. Consider the millions of events that define our world each day — from sporting events to world news to celebrity gossip, there’s rarely a significant occurrence that’s not being discussed on Twitter. And for many brands, the people having those conversations comprise your target market.
The trick? Joining the conversation in a relevant, thoughtful and meaningful way. Real-time marketing requires brands take a strategic approach to the types of moments they want to be a part of.
There’s often a multifaceted approach to how to do this on Twitter. One way is through thoughtful, planned campaigns that coincide with a major event. The other is through agility — reacting to trending topics. Let’s first look at becoming a part of those trending topics.
“Newsjacking” & Twitter
While not the most flattering term for the tactic that demonstrates a brand’s ability to be agile in social media, “newsjacking” has become a popular way for brands to become part of any trending conversation.
Recent examples include tweets by various brands weighing in on the news that LeBron James would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Take this one from Sherwin-Williams:
— Sherwin-Williams (@SherwinWilliams) July 11, 2014
Snickers made headlines during the World Cup with its real-time quip after Luis Suarez of Uruguay took a bite at Giorgio Chiellini of Italy during a soccer match.
With newsjacking, brands must be agile, but they must also be discerning. As many have pointed out before, this tactic has the ability to go badly. Take this tweet by Cottonelle, spotted by Marketing Land’s Matt McGee, in response to the LeBron story:
LeBron James is returning to Cleveland. Lesson: Stick with what works, like Cottonelle TP and Flushable Wipes — Cottonelle (@cottonelle) July 11, 2014
To pull this tactic off effortlessly, you need the right tools and the right message. Don’t jump into conversations without first having a goal in mind, and ensure your brand has a message that’s not forced. Ask: Am I contributing something relevant and valuable? Does joining the conversation help me achieve my business goals?
Real-Time Marketing & Twitter
This year, Adidas demonstrated its leadership in real-time marketing on Twitter, becoming the most talked about brand on the social platform during the World Cup, “with over 1.6 million tweets, retweets and replies mentioning the brand,” according to this AdAge report.
Adidas’ success with real-time marketing was no accident. The sports retail brand, a major sponsor of the World Cup, successfully executed relevant messages consistently throughout the World Cup events on a global scale by being prepared for any potential outcome.
According to Adidas, its World Cup real-time campaign was the culmination of many, many months of planning. “We knew we were going to do something real-time, that isn’t completely brand new to us, but it is at this scale,” Tom Ramsden, brand marketing director for Adidas Football, was quoted as saying in AdAge.
Just one way Adidas prepped for the event was by collecting 1,000 images and 160 videos of more than 100 Adidas players ahead of time — for nearly a year — so Adidas could be ready to react with content, no matter what the outcome. AdAge reported that by December of last year, the company “had an hour-by-hour calendar of the full 32-day tournament, anticipating what might happen and developing content around it.”
In a play-by-play of how Adidas reacted to World Cup events in real time, beginning with the first match (France vs. Germany), AdAge showed just how prepared the brand was:
With five minutes to go in the match, Adidas’ Mr. Hughes tells the team three pieces of content are ready to go if Germany wins: a Hummels photo, a Vine video of his goal and a group shot in case another German player also scores.
After Germany completes its win, fresh Getty Images photos of Hummels and team members celebrating are tweeted from @adidasfootball, the global handle, as well as Germany’s @adidasfussball, with copy in German that translates to “checkmate.”
— adidasfussball (@adidasfussball) July 4, 2014
Twitter Tools For Real-Time Targeting
While Adidas demonstrated a campaign with much complexity, many brands can easily leverage simple tools and strategies to start small with real-time marketing on Twitter.
If your brand is still hesitating, you’re not alone. According to a 2013 study by Adobe, the complexity of the systems required to perform real-time marketing was amongst the biggest concern of brands surveyed.
And while the definition of real-time marketing in this particular study spanned channels beyond social and beyond just Twitter, many brands may not know simple ways they can begin real-time marketing via social.
Organically on Twitter, brands can get in on the conversation at any time by creating timely topical content, and using the appropriate hashtags with eye-catching media that’s proven to increase engagement on the social platform. This post on Twitter shows how brands become a part of event-driven conversations using Twitter tools.
On the advertising side, there are a few Twitter products that leading brands use time and again with much success for real-time marketing. This includes:
There are many other case studies over at Twitter that can inspire and inform brands just getting started with their real-time marketing strategy. View case studies by industry, company size, tactic, product or goal to find brands or goals similar to yours.
As a side note, don’t forget the synergy that can happen when utilizing both SEO and social tactics together for Twitter success, like keyword tracking. You can boost the return on your Twitter engagement and benefit your website. More on that in this post on taking Twitter campaigns to the next level (and check out how Tiny Prints used this strategy in this case study).
At Share14 this year in San Francisco, Twitter are speaking on content, search and social interplay and will be sharing some very compelling insights.
Becoming A Champion Of Real-Time Marketing
Becoming a champion of real-time marketing on Twitter is one part “tools” and one part “strategy.” Tools help brands listen to the conversation, respond and track engagement. And these tools don’t need to be overly sophisticated: start small, measure and repeat.
However, the marketing strategy is the real driver of what moments your brand can and should be a part of, and how those moments define your brand’s place in people’s lives.
As with any marketing plan, know the brand’s key messaging and who your target audience is. Thoughtful conversations start there.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.