7 Ways to Capitalize on Real-Time Marketing Opportunities

7 Ways to Capitalize on Real-Time Marketing Opportunities

 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.

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Want More Engagement in Social? Focus on These 5 Things

Want More Engagement in Social? Focus on These 5 Things

“Engagement” has been a buzzword in the social media marketing space for years, and it has remained part of the vocabulary for a reason: it matters. Measuring success on social can be difficult, especially when attempting to affix a dollar figure. Engagement metrics – retweets, shares, likes, replies, clicks – are not only often easier to see than others, but can lead to a better understanding of your audience and ultimately greater results from your social media efforts.

If you’re looking to increase measurable results through engagement, try incorporating these five activities into your social media strategy.

  1. Provide value

Why are you followers following you on Twitter? Why did your last Facebook fan click “Like”? Chances are, they saw something of value in your content. So, it stands to reason that if you want to keep them engaged and interested, you would continue to provide value.

Too often brands forget that social media is not the “look at how great our brand is” show. They spend a lot of time creating cute photos, witty tweets and on-trend hashtags that represent their brand well… but fail to offer any real value to their fans.

  1. Generate creatives that are relevant to their lives

The creatives that accompany your social posts – from quick-turnaround images with whimsical quotes to campaign-specific promotional shots – must be relevant to your audience’s lives in order to generate those coveted clicks, replies and other engagements.

Think about what your audience is like, from their demographics to their consumer behavior. From there, work with your design team to create an aesthetic and visual that will appeal to them. You might want to create bright, sunny images for family-oriented mothers for instance, or mix whimsical fonts with trending imagery for millennials. Go with what resonates with your audience.

  1. Deliver personalized messaging

As we discovered in a study earlier this year, something as simple as including a user’s first name in a tweet can increase engagement by 20 percent.

Personalization can be difficult – but not impossible – at scale on social media. It can mean taking an extra 5 seconds to include someone’s first name in a reply, or it can mean developing a comprehensive CRM system that tracks, analyzes and presents every bit of data you have about each individual customer. However you do it, it’s worth the extra effort for the big boost in engagement that you will see.

  1. Know where they are in the buyer’s journey

If you’re selling your car to someone who has cash in his hand, ready to buy from you, you should probably give him an easy way to make that purchase. If, instead, he has his hands in his pockets and is kicking the tires, you’re better off giving him some basic information about your car so he can decide whether he is ready to buy.

Knowing what stage of the buying journey your customer is in is crucial to connecting to them. For instance, promotional messages will resonate more with those who are at the evaluation stage, while informational messages are better suited for those in the awareness stage.

  1. Engage them directly 

Social media is all about give-and-take. So, instead of sitting back and hoping your fans will engage with your content, reach out and initiate the engagement.

Ask your followers a question, or post a poll on Facebook. Ask for Instagram photos of their favorite vacation spots, or a Vine of their lunch. And don’t forget to respond to each and every fan with a thank you or acknowledgement of their contribution, to show that you’re listening.

By promoting engagement across your social channels, you will develop stronger relationships with, and a better understanding of, you audience. Improved engagement can help all other aspects of your social strategy, so consider making it a priority.

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Holding an Event? 4 Ways Social Media Can Make it Unforgettable

Holding an Event? 4 Ways Social Media Can Make it Unforgettable

Have you hosted a party recently? You probably took to Facebook to get the word out.

It’s rare these days for an event – from informal gatherings of friends to industry-leading conferences – not to incorporate social media in some way. Event planners turn to Facebook and Twitter for promotion, participants use these networks to connect to one another, and even those who couldn’t attend expect to be able to keep up with the highlights via social media.

Here are four ways that you can get more traction at your next event using social media:

  1. Use social insights to attract the right audience

An event is only as good as the people who attend. You can have a great lineup, lots of free-flowing beer and cocktails or a spectacular keynote speaker, but if the audience doesn’t connect, the event will fall flat.

When promoting your next event on social media, consider doing some research beforehand. Tap into social insights to determine the audience that would be most interested in the event, and target your message to them. Get to know their online habits so that you can send your message at the right time and on the right networks. Or, go one step further and segment your audience into groups that you can target with even more tailored messaging that speaks to each group’s unique attributes.

  1. Encourage engaging hashtag conversations

Whether you are organizing an intimate, professional networking event for 60 attendees or a huge 3-day music festival for thousands, your event will benefit from a hashtag.

Creating a unique, event-specific hashtag will keep all online conversations contained, so that participants can speak to one another and share photos and videos easily. An event hashtag will also enable those who couldn’t make it to the event to follow along.

Some tips for a great event hashtag:

  • Keep it short so participants have room to express themselves on channels that have character restrictions like Twitter
  • Make it unique to your event
  • It should be easy to spell and easy to remember
  1. Leverage content marketing for great pre-and post-event discussions

Successful events are no longer just about the day itself. Thanks to social media, you can hype up your event before it happens and keep the buzz going long after it’s over.

Creating content specifically to promote the event – like guest blog posts from speakers, branded images or newsletters that contain promo codes – will keep participants excited leading up to the big day.

Following the event, don’t forget to share all of the multimedia you gathered with participants (using the event’s hashtag, of course). Videos of the main attraction, links to SlideShare presentations, follow-ups from workshops, photos of after-hours networking… these can all be teased out in the days and weeks after an event to perpetuate the social media afterglow.

  1. Incorporate a creative social wall to engage participants during the event

Since you’re putting so much time into incorporating social media into your event, you deserve to show off your efforts! A social wall is a great way to showcase the online conversations happening about the event.

A social wall can be as simple as a projector displaying tweets that include the event’s hashtag, or they can be more creative like these 10 examples of social walls that include tweets alongside live voting, interactive activities and more.

Typically, they are placed in a central area or areas, where participants can check in to see what others are talking about. And social walls have the added benefit of possible branding with your logo, or showcasing your sponsors.

Today, events are blurring the line between real-world and digital. When something exciting happens at an event, it can be shared around the world in a matter of seconds on social media. By focusing your event strategy equally on social as on the event itself, you will ensure that your next event is a smashing success.

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Conducting a Competitive Analysis using Social Media Data

Conducting a Competitive Analysis using Social Media Data

Recently, we’ve talked to several brands who are looking to find out more on:

  1. How they perform in social vs the competition
  2. The sentiment of their brand vs the industry
  3. The context in which their brand is most likely to be mentioned vs the competition
  4. Tracking brand “wins”
  5. Determining who their social messages are resonating with
  6. Ensuring content is relevant to the right segment for their brand over their competition
  7. How to entice consumers who engage with the competition to choose them instead

Of course brands could spend thousands of dollars and many months to manually survey and find out how people feel – the way it has been done for ages. Or, they could use a tool like LeadSift to accomplish the task faster, cheaper, smarter and in real-time!

For example, let’s take a flagship event – the Super Bowl. As an automobile company you have an ad being viewed by millions of eyeballs and most likely everyone watching it has an opinion they want to express. After spending millions on a few seconds of glory how do you know if the ad really helped your bottom line? With LeadSift you can create a campaign to determine not only if your brand wins the popularity contest, but also if consumers actually want to buy your car because of your brilliant ad.

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Looking at the graphs above, although the ads for Jaguar, Kia and Volkswagen were a huge hit, the buying intent for Jaguar skyrocketed during Super Bowl, while for Volkswagen it didn’t. The effects were not just all social chatter either, Jaguar sales rose by 9% whereas Volkswagen sales dropped by 5.2% in 2014 – all predictable within a few days of the commercial being released, at almost no effort and minimal cost!

What if you wanted to compare the followers of your wine company to those of your competitors’ to determine if you were hitting your target – the 25-40 year old employed high income earners instead of the 18-25 frat house kids? Yep, you could use LeadSift for that too!

In another example, an International brand was planning to launch a joint pain medication in North America but first wanted to understand in detail who would use their product, identify influencers and understand the context of conversations. By creating a LeadSift intent campaign and follower campaigns of their potential competition, they could easily identify the engaged audiences for the various types of pain medication: athletes and high impact sports users for one, older arthritis or other chronic pain sufferers for another, and generic pain sufferers for a third, all with an affinity for outdoor activities. LeadSift could also reveal, with a single click, that while some of the users cared a lot about the smell, others were bothered by the stickiness of the gel, and some were in love with the coupons they received! All of this intel helped the company successfully craft a superior content and launch strategy.

To conduct effective competitive benchmarking, you must understand not only what your competition is saying but also, who they are saying it to and who is listening. LeadSift is the only social intelligence platform that gets to the heart of social conversations by identifying who – the habits, trends, preferences and lifestyle of the individuals talking – to give marketers a distinct advantage – the ability to effectively differentiate their product in the market and target their ideal customer. Start a conversation with LeadSift about competitive analysis today!

Three (Surprising) Benefits Of Growing Your Twitter Followers

Three (Surprising) Benefits Of Growing Your Twitter Followers

The average Twitter account has 208 followers. That number might sound impossibly huge to you, or it might be laughably small compared to your many thousands of followers. But numbers don’t really matter on Twitter – at least not in the way many marketers think.

If you’re busy counting up your Twitter followers and wearing that number as a badge of honor, stop. Think about the last time you took a step back from your carefully-composed 140-character messages and asked yourself why you’re so concerned with building a Twitter following.

Growing a Twitter account is not an end goal unto itself. Instead, it is a means to achieve any number of other valuable marketing goals.

Here are three ways your Twitter followers can provide you with value right now, regardless of how many (or how few) you may have:

  1. They help you target cross-channel efforts

Your Twitter audience does not tweet in a vacuum. They might send a tweet while watching Top Chef after a long day of work, and quickly flip over to check out some sports scores on ESPN.com.

Knowing who you’re connected to on Twitter can help you plan media buys across multiple channels. Scooping up ad space on sports websites or participating in hashtag conversations while a reality TV show is being broadcast can be effective ways to reach your audience on more than one platform, and when they will be most receptive.

  1. They improve your content

Did your last tweet flop? Not to worry – everything you do on Twitter can be a learning opportunity if you know what lessons to look out for.

Content that falls flat can be used as a “do not repeat” warning to your marketing team. On the other side, content that is eagerly shared and engaged with by your Twitter followers can offer up valuable insights into what they want to see.

And if you are able to dig deep into your audience’s demographics, interests and behavior, you can refine your content even further. Consider cross-promoting your brand with another, compatible brand that your audience loves, or aligning your messaging to the social issues that they value.

  1. They provide competitor intelligence

How up-to-date are you on your competitor’s marketing strategy? If you don’t know, try turning to Twitter.

Instead of focusing on your Twitter followers to get at this valuable information, explore your competitor’s. Since Twitter users are constantly tweeting about brands they like or dislike, their experiences with customer service, product reviews and more, you can uncover a good deal about how well your competition is doing from their followers’ tweets.

Did you enjoy these tips? You can learn more about unlocking the value of your Twitter followers in this free ebook.

How a traditional decades-old company is using social data to guide their marketing – Meet Transamerica

How a traditional decades-old company is using social data to guide their marketing – Meet Transamerica

Social media as a marketing channel is a natural extension for several brands that approach it as though it surfaced along with print, billboards and TV decades ago. However even today, for old-school industries, the social media barrier still appears fearfully high.

The adapt or die analogy is rather harsh, but most industries faced with countless legal hoops find themselves confined to existing boundaries and as a result, limit their foray into social media. The reality is, they still need to reach future generations of customers where traditional marketing tactics and media no longer resonate.

What happens if one company – a decades-old insurance provider – decides it’s time to break down the barriers? This is Transamerica’s no-holds barred approach to social media, led by Allan Gungormez, former AVP Enterprise Digital Strategy.

Competition in the insurance industry is intense. What are some of the ways you are differentiating yourself?

Gungormez: I personally like to approach our social media footprint in ways that differentiate us from the rest of our industry. Frankly, we’re adopters of many platforms that our competitors don’t venture into. We’ve been named one of the best brands on Reddit by Reddit for two years in a row. We have a fantastic Tumblr presence that has won multiple awards. We’re on Vine and we’re launching a Snapchat channel in the next couple of weeks. We just released the first ever State of Financial Literacy on Social Media Survey and are currently working on a few other microsites to better enhance the customer experience on the web. We like pushing the envelope on social. While it may be a challenge to do because of the regulated nature of the industry, that challenge is a major reason why my team and I came to work at Transamerica.

Are there innovative ways you reach or engage with individuals?

Gungormez: People are flooded with content these days. Everywhere you go there’s something else that someone wants you to see. Brands aren’t just competing with each other on social, but they’re competing with people’s friends. We’ve found that the best way to get an edge on the competition was to develop very targeted personalized content. There’s no longer the idea that one type of content can fit all and brands can’t look at people as just age groups either. You could have a 40 year old woman who is an executive at a large company, a 40 year woman who is a mother of two, a 40 year old divorced woman with no kids, a 40 year old woman going back to college etc. Tools like LeadSift helps us identify the individuals that we want to target, the interests that they have based off of their social presence, from which we can then craft content specifically for.

With social media you seem to be ahead of the curve. How do you approach your social strategy?

Gungormez: The quick answer: with no limits. There are countless legal hoops to jump through in order to get something accomplished in the financial services world but I make sure that each person understands to never confine themselves into whatever boundaries already exist. We’re here to take all of the past experiences we have with more consumer friendly brands and innovate the space that we’re in now. A major way for us to do that is to understand the audience that we’re talking to on multiple levels. I don’t just want to know if someone is a high net-worth individual, I want to know their interests, if they have a pet, favourite brands, TV shows, etc. LeadSift helps fill in those blanks that financial service companies rarely tend to address. If you can really know your audience on a level that allows you to cater to them on a seemingly individual basis, your strategy is infinitely stronger.

How do you evolve your social strategy?

Gungormez: Advertising used to be a world that was two parts gut instinct mixed with tried and true methods of the past that had already gone through trial and error. There was a formula and marketers knew exactly what to suggest based on what the goal was. Need eyeballs? Take out an ad. Want traffic into your business storefront immediately? Create a limited time offer. Nowadays our strategy evolves through data. I like to say that it’s changed to two parts gut instinct and an equal amount of data to back that up. Tools like LeadSift allow us to create data-driven decisions based on what type of audience we’re going after. The data also allows us to more easily convey the rationales of our strategy to those within our organization. It’s much harder to shoot down what could be seen as social jargon when there are some strong numbers behind the strategy.

What impact have you realized using a technology (like LeadSift)?

Gungormez: The amount of data existing on social media alone about the people you want to reach is astounding. Also, if you ever thought that people might not be having conversations about your product on social media, you’re probably incorrect and a tool like LeadSift can back that up with data immediately.

“We ran an A/B test on a direct response campaign focused on driving Financial Literacy Survey completions. Using data-driven insights to target audiences with highly relevant content we realized an 86% greater engagement rate and a 74% cheaper cost per engagement than our baseline targeting and at a fraction of the cost of traditional media.”

I think that people in the industry never doubted that social could be a viable sales channel, and that’s been proven over and over again from an e-commerce model, but a tool like LeadSift helps prove social selling capabilities in more traditional models as well.

You’re finding successes in social. What’s next?

Gungormez: Coffee. LeadSift helps us know more about our current customers. By creating a two-way connection between our data and LeadSift we’ve been able to enhance the total picture of our customer and overlay some amazing interest traits on the data we already had, which allows us to ultimately create a much more personalized experience for our customers.

“When discussing life insurance, our campaign using audience lists from LeadSift had 5X the engagement rate of a standard campaign. We found this to be a significant spike considering each campaign focused around optional insurance, a topic that can be challenging to garner engagement with.”

There is a need to bridge the gap between online and offline. Most of the transactions in our industry still take place with a financial advisor offline, so it’s important for us to directly identify how social, and really digital as a whole, is enhancing the advisor selling experience. After we finish that there’s probably going to be more coffee involved. 

What do you think the future is for your industry involving digital or social?

Gungormez: This is an industry that is at the point where there’s no longer a discussion of “do we need to be on digital” but rather “we need to be on digital yesterday.” There’s a bit of catch-up to be done overall and yet there are still new outside industry threats to be aware of that could disrupt the game at any minute. What if Google or Amazon decided to start playing in the financial services world? It’s a realistic thought that is now in our minds. Part of the industry’s future is happening as we speak with the rise of the robot advisors. That’s definitely a business model that lends itself quite well to digital marketing and could prove to be a direct threat to the financial advisor model (although a lot of data says people still like talking to a human). Digital certainly has a prominent seat at the table now and most of the companies that will still exist in the future have realized that it’s time to evolve or they’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.

Read more about Transamerica and LeadSift or start the conversation about LeadSift and your organization.