Social media posts scheduled far in advance are dying a slow death. Brands could once get away with doing the majority of their social interacting in the form of premeditated posts, with only comments and responses happening in real time. Modern tech innovations and shifting consumer expectations are forcing a shift toward more immediate updates.
For example, Twitter’s Periscope acquisition—which allows users to broadcast live video feeds—has , and its upcoming Project Lightning hopes to aggregate live posts and videos into one channel where users can . Twitter isn’t the only platform supporting this type of immediate communication, with relatively newer apps like Instagram and Snapchat based almost exclusively on real-time updates.
With this dynamic shift already in progress, it’s important for businesses to spend more time making real-time updates for their users. Here are seven ways you can leverage it for your company:
1. Capture real-time office moments
Just because it’s your company’s social media profile doesn’t mean you have to be exclusively bureaucratic and corporate. Show off the personal side of your workspace by posting real-time office moments, such as an impromptu birthday celebration in the break room or a friendly prank on a coworker. Such glimpses show the fact that your company is real and based in people, and instantly connects your brand with your audience. Plus, as the event is happening in real time, your followers will feel like they’re a part of the moment.
2. Transmit feeds of events
Your company probably attends events at least a few times a month, whether they’re industry-wide conferences, tradeshows, or just local fairs. In any case, try live-updating your audience with news and images from the event. If there’s a hashtag associated with the event, take advantage of it, and if not, consider making one up. It will help people follow along with your live updates throughout the day. Be sure to include images, videos, and regular posts across multiple channels if you want to have the greatest impact. Anyone attending the event will be glad to see the perspective, and anyone not attending it will feel like they are.
3. Respond to major news and announcements
One of the greatest brand tweets in history was by Oreo back in 2013 when the power at the Super Bowl suddenly and inexplicably went out. Almost immediately, Oreo put up an image of an with the caption “You can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet went viral, of course, and the incident provides an excellent lesson of timing. Responding to news and announcements at just the right moment—that is to say, right after it happens—is a brilliant form of instant marketing. Make sure your social media team is constantly on standby for such opportunities. They’re more valuable beyond just the branding value, either – they result in .
4. Take advantage of trending topics
Each day, take a look at the trending hashtags list and try to get involved on at least one thread while it’s still active. It shows that you’re paying attention to trends and will help you maximize your visibility to the rapidly shifting attention of your followers. One big caveat to this; always make sure you know the exact meaning behind each hashtag before you tweet. Countless brands have misused hashtags in the past, resulting in unpleasant misunderstandings and sometimes, PR disasters.
5. Expand your live audience
Chances are, at least one member of your team speaks publicly at regular intervals. It could be your CEO, your PR director, or maybe even some members of your sales team. During these events, have a social media rep attend as an audience member, and transmit the speaking event live with Periscope (or a similar app). This way, your followers can watch the event live as if they were present, and you’ll get heaps of new visibility. Do this regularly to build up a loyal audience.
6. Make use of your community
Look around you for opportunities to post in the moment. Is another local business undergoing some massive development? Post about it. Is there a road closure near your business? Post an image of it. Bad weather? Post about the conditions. It doesn’t have to be anything especially fancy or rewarding—just show that you’re paying attention in the moment, and communicate with your followers regularly. Those who live in the same city or region as your business will instantly be able to relate, resulting in greater brand appreciation and possibly more exposure.
7. Respond to everybody
This is the simplest form of instant audience communication, and hopefully, you’re already putting it to good use. Whenever someone posts something to your brand or responds to something you’ve posted, go out of your way to respond to it. That instant response shows that you’re online frequently and that you actually care about your followers. One response is sometimes all it takes to turn a lukewarm follower into a dedicated long-term fan, so don’t miss any opportunity to do so. The wittier and more informative you can be in these responses, the better.
With these seven strategies and opportunities, you should have no problem staying ahead of the competition as the social media shift becomes more apparent. Keep an eye out for new apps and new features on classic platforms to emerge, and take advantage of any opportunities you have to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Your users will thank you.