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The beauty of Twitter for marketers is that it allows you to be agile in coming up with marketing messages and responding to your customers, which can in turn increase brand loyalty.

However this requires a certain level of creativity and planning from brands if they wish to set the right tone and avoid an epic fail.

In a talk at our Future of Digital Marketing conference Twitter’s Bruce Daisley gave his tips for how brands can set themselves up to respond effectively to current events and make the most of marketing in the moment.

The full video is available at the bottom of this post, however I thought it would be useful to pick out some of the highlights.

Daisley pointed out at the beginning of his talk that he sees Twitter as an interest network rather than a social network. This is heavily influenced by the fact that 80% of Twitter’s 10 million UK users access the service through mobile.

Twitter is the place we capture our thoughts and emotions. It’s the shortest distance between you and what interests you most.

He used David Baddiel’s tweet following an ITV show that brought Les Dawson back to life using a hologram as an example of how people use Twitter to respond to events in real time.

However a Les Dawson TV show obviously pales in comparison to events such as Commander Chris Hadfield’s David Bowie tribute from the International Space Station, which received almost a quarter of a million retweets in just a few hours. 

Similarly, the Grand National drove 325,000 tweets at rate of around 7,000 per minute. KencoCup sought to take advantage of the hashtag #grandnational by running a competition and achieved 582 retweets.

But while that’s an example of a brand responding well to current affairs, there are plenty of incidences of businesses ending up with egg on their face when trying to turn a hashtag or international event to their advantage. 

With that in mind, here are Bruce Daisley’s five rules for marketing in the moment...

1. Plan for everyday marketing moments

While it’s obviously impossible to plan for the unknown, brands can think ahead about how they’ll respond to certain events as and when they occur.

It’s also important for tweets to look everyday and natural rather than forced.

Twitter’s new text targeting can help with this, as it allows brands to send Promoted Tweets to users based on what they’ve previously mentioned. 

A recent promotion for Iron Man 3 achieved an extremely high engagement rate by targeting people who had previously used keywords such as ‘Iron Man,’ ‘X-Men,’ and ‘Wolverine.’

2. Create a winning content calendar

All brands should have a calendar of upcoming or annual events so they can plan their marketing activities accordingly.

Most of these will centre around things like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but can also include bank holidays or fast reactions to periods of sunny weather.

A good example of this is a Doritos campaign that aimed to target times when it thought people would be having family gatherings or barbecues.

With the help of TV advertising it drove an above-target increase in product sales. For information on this topic, checkout our blog post on good and bad Vine adverts, plus our top tips for creating awesome Vines.

3. Plan for the best scenarios

Brand interactions and conversations are inevitable on Twitter so businesses should think of ways to best exploit these moments.

Daisley highlighted a Burberry campaign that created personalised product images for users who retweeted its content.

It’s immediately the sort of thing that people want to share and pass on. Marketers need to think how can you empower someone to be an advocate and pass your message on?

4. Prepare for the worst moments

Twitter offers brands a unique channel to react and respond to unfortunate moments that could threaten their reputation.

For example, deodorant brand Lynx was featured heavily in a Channel 4 documentary about dogging, which obviously isn’t ideal for the company’s image.

Lynx’s social agency, TMW, managed to diffuse any issues by making fun of the situation.

5. Speed can be a key differentiator

When Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager of Manchester United it instigated almost 1.5 million tweets in less than an hour.

Fast food chain Nando’s successfully exploited it by announcing it planned to keep its Manchester restaurants open five minutes late that evening in honour of ‘Fergie Time’.

It gained more than 17,000 retweets, thereby reaching a potential audience of millions.

It even updated the store opening times on its website, which is a great example of agile marketing.

Daisley's talk

As mentioned, here is the full video of Daisley's presentation... 

David Moth

Published 12 June, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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