Spredfast Summit 2014: Capitalizing on Real-time Marketing and Current Trends

Ruth Ferguson@RuthDFW The Spredfast Summit, held in Austin October 15–17, was a rare event; it effectively offered a valuable experience for a variety of users. Our team attending included data analytics, daily end user and a social media generalist—we each walked away with key knowledge we can share with our respective teams. The keynote speakers from beginning to end were informative.

The #SFSummit began on a high note with the first keynote speaker, Jonah Peretti, Co-founder and CEO of BuzzFeed. He shared how a single post landed him on the Good Morning America and other major shows slowly developing into the social media powerhouse we know and love today.

Yes, BuzzFeed has created wonderful cat memes and videos that we all love to share, but they also have reporters on the ground covering major news stories such as the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and earlier this year in Liberia investigating the impact of the Ebola.

“Humor works because you feel closer to someone, which is why it works for brands,” Peretti says. He challenged the community managers to look closely at what the audience is saying when it shares a piece of content to understand why the content was effective. Who are they tagging and what type of emotional reaction did the content generate?

Chris Kerns, director of analytics and research at Spredfast, led a breakout session Thursday and was a keynote speaker Friday on the topic of real-time marketing. In fact, his book Trendology hits the bookshelves on November 4 and is reportedly the first book to tackle this growing social media trend. Conference attendees each received a copy, look for more info on Trendology in a future blog.

Kerns advises everyone to take a chill pill and ignore the headlines suggesting real-time marketing (RTM) is dead. In fact, when he looked at the data, it shows that it is not only the headline brands that win when they effectively use RTM, but even the “poor” performers saw an engagement increase of 400 percent versus the 2,400 percent of the declared winners. What community manager would not shout from the rooftops about a post which shows a 400 percent increase from the usual engagement?

According to Kerns, RTM works when you have the right formula:

connection = attention + relevance

With the average American spending 37 minutes on social media daily, opportunities exist but you have to capture their attention first. Staying aware of relevant topics is key. Kerns indicated this includes not only the major news stories but also what he describes as dust devils of relevance. These topics could burn up the social media airwaves for a few hours instead of a few days.

It is important for brands to keep in mind that they should never attempt to hijack the conversation. His analysis showed brands are more successful at RTM when they emphasis the topic instead of their message. When companies avoid dominating the conversation and just join in, they are accepted easily into the fold.

Of course, most of RTM happens in the moment; however, there is room for planning. Kerns suggested that when you know a major event is coming up, you can prepare relevant content. For example, we already know the host of the 2015 Oscars is Neil Patrick Harris, and we have seen his style as he hosted other award shows. Therefore, you can anticipate and create a post relevant to your brand scheduled to go out during the telecast.

Now it is not uncommon for brands to have teams on standby during major events, such as the Oscars and Super Bowl, ready to create responsive content for unexpected events during those telecasts—think Ellen’s selfie or Oreo’s Super Bowl post. He referred to this as opportunistic content.

RTM works on an average day as well when you keep trends on your radar. For example, Kerns has a personal watchlist. Remember to keep an eye on the daily trends, those dust devils.

The #SFSummit ended where it began: develop engaging and relevant content. Using tools like Spredfast can help you understand the right trends and why certain content works better than other. Staying updated on current events and trends will keep you ready and alert for opportunistic content and dust devils.

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