Real-time marketing is the latest foray into advertising in the digital age. It quickly became the trend as countless companies draw upon current events to gain exposure. For most, real-time marketing is a no brainer. It creates a new form of customer service and helps develop a greater relationship with customers. And facilitates discovering new segments in your audience. It sifts through thousands of users to find the influencers (with a large following and/or opinion persuaders).

Real-time marketing is much more than your social media team. This is the team striking the iron while it’s hot. This is the team that gets the headlines and goes viral. This is all when real-time marketing goes right as planned.

When real-time marketing goes wrong, it either goes out with a whimper (very little engagement) or in a self-destructive bang (negative headlines and company-wide apologies). As many social media users can attest, one social media post can turn your image incredibly awry.

So why bother with real-time marketing? Tweets and other social media posts are cheap and can provide an immediate response. But just because you’re quick and relevant doesn’t mean it will garner the attention and desired user retention. Effective marketing is all about rights. Marketing finds the right product for the right price for the right audience and at the right time.

That’s why we suggest using “right-time marketing.” Right-time marketing is rooted in reality. It changes the focus from casting a wide net to strategically identifying your audience and adjusting to their interests and needs. There’s no need to create the biggest and flashiest boom.

Ingredients to great RIGHT-time marketing:

Strike at events that fit your company’s image:

If your image is affordable fashion, creating outfits that are similar to red-carpet looks suits your company’s ethos. That’s exactly what Target Style did with the Emmys. They posted a photo of Tina Fey’s blue dress and crafted an outfit of Target’s own wares. Even better, Target linked to where users can find the items shown in the tweet. That’s smart. And it’s a good example of right-time marketing because it catered to an audience interested in Fey’s dark blue dress.

Be smart and stay away from negativity:

People tweet at companies mostly out of frustration. Branded twitter accounts do not have the luxury to curse, call out, or heap loads of negativity at the public. Otherwise, you’re looking at a lost customer, then headlines, then even more lost customers. The transference of identities swings both ways.

If the official Facebook account of Burger King posted photos of lone middle fingers and screen captures of users complaining about Burger King food, it’d be a customer service nightmare. You would not want to be at a Burger King if the order was wrong or you didn’t like the food because of the mean public attitude they’re displaying on Facebook.

Know your place:

Marketing helps gain and retain customers. No matter what medium, the company serves their customers. Current events and news are tertiary. A large amount of likes won’t drive sales or create a lasting relationship. If your company isn’t relevant to the surprise twist in the dating show “The Bachelorette,” then it’s better to withhold than appear clawing at relevance and attention.

Create worth:

Understand just because your account is the official account of Brand X, it doesn’t mean users would want to flock to the account because it’s the official account of Brand X. Users follow branded accounts for sales, coupons, special events, new inventory, and others things relevant to users’ interest.

Useful questions to ask:

What will the audience get out of the post? Is it useful and relevant for the target audience? Will this be unique or another “Me too!” post? What are the repercussions of this post? Why do I follow certain brands on social media? Why do my peers follow certain brands on social media?

As with any position, knowledge is your best asset. Planning and long-term goals lead to success and morph your real-time marketing to right-time marketing. For a great example of right-time marketing, read our previous post about a joke turned to a social media frenzy with Dying Light’s #DrinkForDLC campaign.