Blog Post

Real Time Marketing & the Small Business


We find ourselves constantly revisiting important topics like content marketing and newsjacking and recently an interesting book came out about a related topic, real-time marketing. This fascinating book is called Trendology, written by Chris Kerns, and it breaks down real time marketing. Adam and Chad wanted to educate you on the significance of real-time marketing for small businesses and how real-time marketing really does work and can be a real asset for businesses. In this Daily Brown Bag, you’ll learn about newsjacking, what real-time marketing is, and see real-time marketing examples that involved big brands.

Also available on YouTube.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello and welcome to The Daily Brown Bag. Today, we're talking about real-time marketing for small businesses. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good afternoon Chad. Welcome to The Brown Bag. You know, we've talked about newsjacking as part of a content marketing strategy for a long time. Today, we're talking about this related concept, real-time marketing, and trying to get into this because there's a book that just came out, Chad, called Trendology, written by Chris Kerns, who is the lead analyst and researcher at a company called Spredfast and real interesting data here. I think it's right in line with our philosophy and what we talk to our SEO resellers about every single day, newsjacking, real-time marketing, whatever you want to call this.

The kernel that's really interesting in this real-time marketing data is that Chris analyzed the Twitter activity of over a hundred and six big brands, including MTV, Starbucks, Sony, IKEA, Disney, quite a few others. It’s really set on a mission to see if real-time marketing, this concept that he's talking about, really works, which again, if you've been following us on newsjacking or have heard of this idea of real-time marketing, is the idea of really jumping on breaking news stories, as well as moments in pop culture and trending, hashtags, and Twitter and trying to ride the wave of demand when the news is really hot and using that as part of your marketing platform, which he outlines, again, in this book Trendology. And he does conclude that real-time marketing really does work and can be a real asset.

The analysis is really interesting, Chad. He gets into a lot of very specific real-time marketing examples, some of which we'll remember from the last year or two. You know, using things at the Super Bowl, for example, if there's a blackout at the Super Bowl, or when someone trips walking up the stairs at the Oscars. He's got some real-time marketing data showing that retweets could soar by a 1000% or 1200% if you jump in early on those hashtags. Political events are popular ones, Colorado's legalization of marijuana, Ben and Jerry's, for example, saw a 6000% increase in the amount of retweets when they got involved in newsjacking and real-time marketing around that story. The birth of the royal baby, Prince William, that story, when that broke, certain brands jumped on that and saw a 12,000% increase in their retweets.

So, he really lays out very specific examples of how real-time marketing can work and how it can be a benefit, at least for big brands. So, I guess the question would be, "How can I use this for small businesses?"

Right. Well, real-time marketing definitely works, but I think the other thing that he does mention is that it's hard. It doesn't, it's not easy to do. You need quick thinkers, you need to designate resources and have a process, and you need to have someone monitoring respondings. If you're going to get involved in a thread, it's hard to just leave at 6:00 if you're an integral part of that conversation. Indefinitely, you know, you've mentioned some of the successes, but there have been pretty tremendous marketing failures. Entenmann’s actually went out and used, basically, used a hashtag that they didn't really understand the context of it. They thought it was relevant to one thing, but it actually meant something completely different. There was an incident with Spaghetti-O's and their Pearl Harbor tweet and, you know, but as you said, there have also been a lot of successes, like the Oreo's tweet from the Super Bowl.

So, for a small business, I think when you're really, you know, sort of simplifying it for a small business, really the big issue is, is just how much team and expertise does a small business really have? So, I think what you have to do is set the expectations and try to figure out how to use trending social media topics to maybe inspire your content and get involved in, but maybe you're not leading it the same way that a bigger brand with more resources can. So, you know, joining the conversation is important and also using that to extend other content you might be creating. The other thing, again, is that you probably aren't going to be available to monitor things 24/7, so you probably need to set your sights more on the things that are a bit more programmed out. So, if there are big events, like the Super Bowl happening, you can certainly work that into your promotional calendar, but, you know, being there for when the actual trip or wardrobe malfunction at halftime happens, that's going to be harder to do, again, as a smaller business.

And I think the other thing is you don't really need a war room, like I'm mentioning here, to make it work for you. You do need a plan, you do need, again, a process, and you need the monitoring that we've already talked about. And I think the last final tip for us today is just make sure you err on the side of caution though because there have been some fairly big explosions, if you will, of people who have gotten it wrong, again, with wrong hashtags, not knowing the context of hashtags and then being respectful and realizing that, you know, if you're going to join the conversation, you don't want to sell too hard. You have to make it, you have to position it in a way that actually adds to the conversation, not redirects it in your favor.

Yeah, we've certainly seen the parodies of using the hashtag inappropriately or at the wrong time, or not with the appropriate sensitivity on the late night show, so you'd have to watch that. But this is a very interesting topic and I'm sure one that will continue to evolve, Chad, and I know I'm interested to see how we can help supplement, you know, the war room that the small business can't afford through our reseller co-op. I'm sure there'll be further discussion on that, but that's our coverage of Trendology, the book today and this very interesting concept of real-time marketing and newsjacking. We'd like to hear from you. Please drop us a comment and we'd always ask that you subscribe to our video series.