We recently had the opportunity to have social media influencer, Eric T. Tung, guest blog for us. He is the Social Media Manager at BMC Software, and well-known blogger and speaker.  According to Forbes, Eric has the #1 most influential social network, and one of the most followed people on Twitter in Houston.


We’ve all heard about how Oreo took the Super Bowl Blackout and turned it into marketing genius.


How did it work?

It took coordination, listening, and relating to their audience to take advantage of a moment where lots of folks were frankly not paying much attention to their TVs anyways.

By learning from their example, we can develop some best practices to make real-time marketing a success.

1. Pick the Right Event

You need to find an event that speaks to your audience and is the right size. A small brand might not have the ability to make a big splash in the Super Bowl or The Oscars. Select an event that not only has enough exposure to make an impact but is small enough to make a sizable splash and also follows the voice of your company and the persona of your customers.

2. Train Your People

Whether a social media manager, intern, agency or freelancer runs your social media, you need to make sure they know what needs to be done. They need to know your social voice and tone and what processes are in place for approvals. Many of the real-time marketing fails are due to staffers not understanding the voice of the company, or perhaps not going through the right approval channels.

3. Empower Your People

Once you have trained your people and know they know what to do in a given situation, you need to trust them to make the right decisions. Every Ritz-Carlton employee has the capability (without manager approval) to spend up to $2000 to accommodate guests requests. This empowers their employees to make decisions that have kept the Ritz at the top of customer service. Similarly, you need to trust your employees to take some risks to make the right decisions to propel your real-time marketing efforts – nothing ventured, nothing earned.

4. Brainstorm Themes in Advance

Have a brainstorming session to relate your products or services to the event. Surely Oreo couldn’t have predicted the blackout, but there are some obvious tie-ins with events. Sports drinks and athletic gear at sporting events, clothing designers for red-carpet events, vehicle manufacturers at car races etc. What is unique about that event? How does your product play a part, but more importantly, how does your audience or target feel about the part you play, or what is a part the audience can play in your story? Sketch out a few ideas so you can act more quickly in real-time.

5. Streamline your Real-Time Processes

Prepare image stockpiles and other resources ahead of time. Be sure to note where directors or leadership may be reached for real-time approvals. Anyone that has worked in the creative fields knows that approvals, changes, pre-approvals, and more changes and final approvals can take forever. When copy and creative have to be written and designed in moments, this process needs to be practiced and rehearsed. Remember when you did fire drills as a kid in school? Everyone knew where to go and what to do. Do the same with your marketing team so you know when and where everyone’s place is and make sure these people are available when the event takes place.

6. Follow the Right People

Follow the official handles and accounts of the event, event sponsors, presenters or personalities involved in the event. Sometimes a witty quip or interesting response to one a post by one of these accounts is enough to garner some attention. You’ll also want to follow them to see backstage or behind the scenes coverage of the event, such as this image tweeted of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Radcliffe after their Oscars dance number. This is a perfect photo for a witty retort.

7. Let People Know Where You Are

Let your fans, followers, customers, partners, vendors, prospects and community know that you’ll be covering the event on your social media channels. It helps to increase impressions of your posts and helps to increase the chance you’ll have a fun dialogue and increased retweets.

8. Listen

Finally, make sure to listen. Set up your social media listening tools in advance to listen to the conversations around the event. See what comments people are making about the athletes, actors or whoever is participating in your event. These make great jumping points for real-time marketing, but make sure to credit anyone that might have contributed to any creative you produce.

The postings in this blog belong to Eric T. Tung solely and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of BMC Software. For more insights from Eric, follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.