Not that long ago, you could differentiate your brand by simply being present on social media channels. Not anymore. In 2014, brands must update their social strategies to include dynamic, personalized and timely social media content. A recent study found that 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. Real-time marketing has overhauled the traditional structure of social campaigns. Expecting the unexpected and planning ahead for quick responses are critical to your strategy. In other words, it’s time for real-time marketing.
1. Be a good listener.
The first and most sensible step when looking to conquer a new social strategy is to listen first, act second. The art of listening to customers and prospects will shape your social effectiveness and uncover opportunities for successful engagement. With the help of sophisticated marketing platforms — which are becoming increasingly more inexpensive — brands have the ability to monitor their brands and their competitors as they appear in online conversations. Start by developing your keyword list.
2. Set realistic goals for real-time marketing.
After immersing yourself with the types of conversations already happening online, it is important to set manageable goals for inserting your brand further into the conversation. What is it that you are looking to achieve? Almost every financial institution will answer this differently. Some feel that customer engagement is most important, while others are looking for a more localized online presence in the communities they serve. Let your overall goal guide your strategy and help you establish benchmarks for success.
3. Ready. Set. Insert.
Next, your financial institution will need to develop a plan that allows you to seamlessly insert your expert opinions, products and services into the conversation. Mark Twain said that the secret of getting ahead is getting started. Look at 2014 as the year for getting ahead of your social strategy. Learn to anticipate the need for quick-response behavior, and let the time you spend listening to online conversations guide you in your planning.
In all likelihood, your financial institution likely already has a plan in place for generating original and curated content. Now you need to determine ways to have that plan encompass dynamic and personalized content. The best way to ensure a strategy for real-time marketing is to add it into your existing plan. Real-time marketing can take on many forms, including those listed below.
1. Quick response to mainstream events. Plan an event calendar for local and/or national events that are taking place throughout the year. This will help you map out potential opportunities for creating and sharing real-time content with your customers. For example, Twitter’s advertising platform allows you to target individuals on Twitter who are discussing certain television shows. One idea is to plan an event calendar around the television shows your target audience watches, and plan to actively add to the conversations during those times. Also, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of time there is available for the marketing team to be present at these events – whether in person or watching it on a screen.
2. Dynamic, personalized content. Take the keyword list you originally used to monitor online conversations and use it as a way of finding relevant conversations. Depending on the frequency of certain keywords appearing on social networks, plan a strategy around groups of keywords. For example, if a cluster of Twitter followers often discuss the buzz around mobile deposit capture, develop a strategy around engaging mobile deposit capture users. The strategy can include super condensed facts about the products you offer, Vine videos of how it makes the lives of customers easier, and photos of happy users. This “library” of pre-approved content can be used as a basis for creating more customized content in a short timeframe.
3. Timely, location-based messages. Mobile technology and location-based targeting have given savvy marketers the incredible opportunity to get some of the most relevant, real-time content to be seen by the eyes of the precise people they want to see it. Understanding and utilizing location-based messaging is paramount for community-based organizations looking for hyper-local exposure.
4. Brand event promotion. Events hosted or attended by financial institutions can generate a ton of online buzz. Since only 6 percent of the online population is responsible for originating 80 percent of the content shared virally, it only takes a few influencers for event promotions to spread. The wonderful advantage of marketing events thrown by a financial institution (instead of national events) is that some content can be generated in advance, with pre-approvals and pre-scheduling.
Always keep your brand’s message in mind when dabbling in this arena. It is critical to align your brand with events that reflect the mission of your financial institution. Although some breaking news stories might capture the attention of the masses, banks and credit unions need to tread lightly on commenting on situations that could be considered controversial.
Naturally, not every opportunity for real-time marketing can be planned. Breaking news stories and unexpected events require much faster response times that might not be realistic for most financial institutions. However, if your bank or credit union can generate a quick-response workflow with a streamlined approval process, your chances are better for distributing timely content – and you will win at real-time marketing.
Has your bank or credit union been successful with real-time marketing? What tips can you share with those just starting out?