In the world of real-time marketing and Twitter mania, there has been a shift in thinking. Brands now see jumping in on pop culture conversations as a requirement, not an option.
Oreo’s tried and true example of ‘You Can Still Dunk In The Dark’ during the Super Bowl has been praised as the latest prime example of real-time marketing during a culturally relevant event. And now brands everywhere are trying to get in on this conversation and amplify themselves as well.
But what are the benefits of doing this in the first place? Here are a few points to consider before you make the leap into live event social commentary.
Make sure it fits with your brand voice
I’ve seen a lot of brands try to be cheeky during a live event but when going back through their Twitter feeds, their regularly scheduled tweets read as very bland and mundane. Maybe this particular event didn’t fit their demographic of followers, and that’s okay. Brands don’t HAVE to jump in on every live event conversation.
But if the event DOES fit with your brand voice, have fun with it. Most importantly, BE AUTHENTIC. Communities want to see their favorite brands enjoying the event along with them and not necessarily spouting messages of ‘buy this product’ infused with the event hashtag. You’ll get called out on it not only from your own community but also from the multitude of people following that hashtag.
Isn’t that defeating the purpose of real-time tweeting? Not necessarily.
Just as you plan for crisis management, you can anticipate quite a few things weeks before the event even begins. For instance, if you know Miley Cyrus is going to perform, you KNOW something unexpected is going to happen and people are going to talk about for days on end.
Have a reaction ready that reflects your brand voice and is approved [and that can be slightly tweaked]. Optimally, you’ll also have a designer on hand to mock up templates beforehand that can be used to quickly drop in references to the show.
During the event, reshape the copy to fit with what actually occurs, get the designer on hand to create the quickly branded graphic and share that with your community using the appropriate hashtags.
Something that also sometimes gets thrown to the wayside is ensuring you have secured any legal approvals weeks before the event. I know it’s frustrating but it’ll be even more frustrating to find out you don’t have internal legal clearance to live tweet during this event a day before it occurs despite having extensively prepped for it. Solution? Always get legal approval beforehand.
Be cautious of your hashtags
Twitter has been around since 2006 so this should be a given but I’m still seeing brands committing hashtag sins where their hashtags aren’t populating the way they should be.
As a go-to reference, symbols do not work in hashtags. Instead, you’ll get only the first few letters before the symbol to appear as a hashtag and clearly that’s not what you’re aiming for. Only letters or numbers in a continuous form should be used in a hashtag.
Also make sure to keep your hashtags short [unless your brand voice allows for you to be ironic and use those teen-centric long form hashtags]. Because you’re live-tweeting, you’ll be working quickly. Make sure you’re following and tagging the appropriate hashtags for the event in order to amplify your conversation. This is a huge opportunity for you and your brand to be seen by not only your core community, but also by everyone else following the event hashtag.
Ultimately, your community director and account leads will make the final call as to whether this is a feasible idea. Just remember to feel absolutely comfortable jumping into this if it’s applicable and make it completely ownable to the brand you’re working on.