Real-Time Marketing: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Real-time marketing is treacherous terrain, especially when you represent a brand. One wrong move and you can find yourself in the hot seat. Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of trending events and hashtags. 

1. Think Before You Tweet
Whether you're tweeting, posting to Facebook, or using any other social media avenue to reach your audience, think before you do. We've all seen brands' Memorial Day blunders and embarrassing royal baby bloopers.  Think before you tweet to avoid coming off foolish, or worse, insensitive. 

*Never exploit a tragedy or somber holiday for marketing purposes. It's just poor taste. 

2. Consider Your Brand Voice & Your Audience
When representing a brand, it's key to remember your brand voice and audience. Is what you're posting adding value to your brand? Is your audience going to "get it"? If you're not able to provide emotional resonance with your audience, save your effort and your audience's time. 

3. Be Clever, Not Awkward 
Being inauthentic is obvious - so is trying too hard. As marketers, we can have the best intentions, but if you have to force it, it's probably better to accept that perhaps this time you don't have value to add. Real-time marketing can be a valuable marketing opportunity, but if done wrong, it can damage your brand's perception and/or leave a nasty taste in consumers' mouths. 

4. Forget Trendy
Ok, maybe not all together - trends can be huge marketing opportunities. What I'm talking about here is the importance of keeping your marketing focus on your consumers. Entering a trending conversation without relevance will only lead to you wasting your time talking to the wrong people.

5. Timing Is Everything 
As social media goes these days, timing can make or break your efforts. With social media content's half life getting shorter, posting at the right time is imperative. Post before the peak and your post is buried before anyone can read it. Post after, and only a few trending-stragglers are likely to see your content. To make the most of real-time marketing, be prepared so you can strike while the trending feed is hot. 

6. Hashtag Responsibly
If your promotion or post has nothing to add to a trending conversation - stay out of it. Don't use trending hashtags to spam your way into the conversation. Whatever you are trying to do by using irrelevant hashtags, I can promise you, there is a better way. Step away from the computer and go find it (or hire a professional).

Ultimately, as marketers, we have the power to deliver relevant value to our consumers using real-time marketing. With great power comes great responsibility. I hope these tips help as you navigate the digital world.