Is Your Small Business Ready for Real-Time Social Media Marketing?

Real-time marketing (RTM) has forever changed the marketing and public relations landscape; giving brands the opportunity to borrow attention from trending topics of discussion on social media.  Messages like the infamous Oreo tweet during the 2013 super bowl blackout, receive a great deal of attention from the public, and admiration from fellow marketer –not to mention 12,000+ retweets. With marketing departments at larger firms often strive to exceed key performance indicators for likes, re-tweets, favorites, and other social signals, that’s a pretty big deal.  Now a number of small business owners contemplating as to whether they should get involved in the latest digital marketing trend.

No One Loves Real-Time Marketing More than Digital Marketers

If you are in digital marketing like me you probably have your smartphone in hand during popular events like #SB2014 (the 2014 super bowl), the #GRAMMYs, or #SharkWeek. Following such twitter feeds can add a whole new layer of excitement.   And let’s not forget, you can also follow political revolutions with hashtags like #FreeIran or watch someone lose their job after posting a stupid comment, like in the case of #hasjustinelandedyet -whatever happened to her anyway?  Anyway, if you are looking to get your feet wet, please follow these five tips from expert digital marketers from around the web.

5 Tips for Small Businesses Looking to Dive into Twitter Hashtag

1. Choose your events wisely

“Not every brand can decide to live-tweet a musical on TV,” states Jackie Quintana, Social Media Manager at HY Connect.  Find an event that is somewhat relevant and start playing with some ideas ahead of time rather than jumping into a conversation cold.

2.  Don’t Robo-Tweet Identical Tweets to Numerous Different People

Augie Ray of Social Media today cautions would-be-live-tweeters to avoid becoming that annoying tweep that clogs up his twitter feed with duplicate content.  “Having a funny tweet retweeted,”Augie states, “is not the same thing as creating a meaningful brand impression or increasing a purchase intent.”  Being mentioned in a funny tweet only to see that you’re one of 15 people that received it really kills the mood.

3.     Monitor the Space Closely

For those that need to be reminded to do their homework first, heed the advice of Keith Messick of Mashable: “Your team should look to identify trends, topics, sub-topics, quirks, habits and news in each of your spaces. Discover the influencers and their roles in the community.  Set alerts in your social media analytics tools so that you know when key phrases or search terms begin to pick up momentum.”

4.     Don’t be Real-time for Real-time’s sake

Leonie Roderick has advice for all the RTM-fakers out there: “Savvy consumers can see right through opportunism and will greet such activity with a chorus of groans –especially if it comes from a brand itself.”  Try to remember that if you are not adding value to the conversation, then you are probably doing more harm than good.

5.     Start with RTM on  a Micro-scale

I know, after reading the first 4 tips you probably feel like diving right in and live-tweeting the next event that might remotely pique the interest of your target customer –well, sorry to be a downer,  but I promise it’s in your best interest!  Look at it this way, Sofie De Beule of Social Media Today writes: “Any thoughtful or witty response (known as “customer engagement”) should be considered a real-time marketing opportunity.  If you instantly react to what individuals are saying in a way that completely fits your brand’s story, the strong, yet simple, one-on-one marketing message already gets your foot in the door with a larger audience.”

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