It’s easy to develop tunnel vision as a marketer. You focus so much on how to make your brand resonate with your fans that you sometimes forget to step away and look at the bigger picture: the events happening around you.

Real-time marketing incorporates brand messages into current events – events that your fans care about. It’s strategically implemented, and often involves quick turnaround and on-the-fly responses to immediate events.

Here are 7 ways you can make the most of real-time marketing:

  1. Know your customers

If your audience loves sports, go ahead and jump on trending hashtags about the latest big game or match. But if you’re targeting gamers who prefer pixel-fueled – rather than sweat-fueled – competition, you’re going to miss your mark.

Tap into insights about your audience to know which trends to respond to and which ones are safe to ignore.

  1. Don’t lose your brand voice

When creating real-time marketing campaigns, always keep your brand’s voice front-and-center. For a perfect example of retaining your brand voice, just take a look at Oreo’s infamous tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl, when the power went out suddenly. They reacted to an unexpected event (the blackout) using strong brand imagery and text, rather than simply commenting on the blackout itself.

  1. Have a rock-solid content strategy

While real-time marketing might give the appearance of being purely responsive, you can bet that the brands that do it best have a comprehensive strategy in place. Of course, you can’t predict the exact events that you will respond to, but you can establish a general strategy that encompasses things like brand voice, customer insights and a crisis plan in case things go awry.

  1. Be spontaneous

On the flip side, not all real-time marketing must rigidly stick to “the rules.” By its very nature, real-time requires spontaneity and creativity – often in just a few minutes of an event happening – in order to be successful.

Don’t be afraid to give your marketing team a longer leash when it comes to real-time campaigns, so they can be free to snap up opportunities as they happen.

  1. Be personal (at scale)

A real-time event doesn’t have to be a global phenomenon. It can be as large as the Olympics or as small as a consumer buying a new house. Whatever the size of the event, aim to offer a personal experience to your fans.

Consider using smart insights to track each of your fans’ past engagements with your brand, their individual profiles and their buying behavior. Then, craft messages that respond, in real-time, to who they are.

  1. Be patient

Although real-time may mean “instant results” to some, that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to marketing. You may jump on ten real-time trends only to miss the mark on eight of them. And that’s OK.

Just as with any marketing campaign, real-time marketing requires patience, a deep understanding of the associated metrics, and trial and error to really see results.

  1. Think outside the box

Don’t be afraid to let your creative juices loose when coming up with real-time campaigns. The often wacky, eccentric or unexpected ways that brands engage with trends are what make these engagements memorable. If you play it too safe, you’ll be forgotten.

Want to know how using these real-time marketing techniques can benefit your brand? Take a look at our top 5 reasons to use real-time marketing.