After a few attention grabbing successes of ‘real-time marketing’ (RTM) from major brands over the last few years, this new area of marketing has become something of a darling to the industry.
Commentators point to Oreo’s famous power out tweet, during Super Bowl XLVII, as the start of this trend, which seemed to reach some form of apotheosis with Arby’s hat tweet to Pharrell Williams during the 2014 Grammys.
— Arby’s (@Arbys) January 27, 2014
As Gregarious Narain quips, ‘the possibility of catching lightning in a bottle can be just too exciting to ignore’, and this trend has now seen marketers finding news ways to use old tools to enable RTM, as well as being provided with a growing host of new tools aimed at RTM.
However, RTM is hard to execute well. There are many examples of failures to cite, alongside the smaller number of successes.
RTM also requires resources, tools and strategies and with these considerations in mind, here’s our list of 14 top tools to help you achieve RTM nirvana.
Listen and React
Twitter’s TweetDeck is a good place to start – a tool for real-time tracking of social conversations, organizing them and engaging in them if you see fit. It’s powerful, has a nice UI and is free.
TweetDeck enables you to organize and build custom timelines, whilst also keeping track of lists, searches and brand activity. You can easily track topics, events and hashtags, refining your results with filters. It’s also a collaborative tool, where you can share an account with, and control, your team with a range of permissions.
Here’s TweetDeck in action below.
Next step up, and also very well-known, is HootSuite, which allows you to manage multiple social networks, schedule messages and engage your audiences, whilst also critically measuring ROI. You can do all this from one dashboard.
Another cool feature of HootSuite, is the ability to add apps – such as Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and Marketo – right in your personalized social media dashboard. If automation is the goal, then working with tools like Marketo makes HootSuite even more powerful. Choose from Free, Pro and Enterprise packages (with paid plans starting from $10/month) according to your needs.
Similar to HootSuite, offering you the ability to manage social media across multiple platforms, BuzzBundle, also has a Free, Pro and Enterprise package (with paid plans starting from $250).
Once again, this RTM tool has message and post scheduling functionality and enables to you engage your audience, instantly, from one dashboard. HootSuite might be larger, but BuzzBundle’s client list is also impressive and we’re keen to offer you some choice where similar tools exist.
Add More Powerful Analytics to Your Listening
Now we enter the more powerful, more expensive media monitoring and analytics tools, with venerable BrandWatch first up. BrandWatch advertises itself as social listening, but we’ll bracket this brand and similar applications under ‘media monitoring’.
BrandWatch enables you to listen for mentions of your brand, competitors or keywords across social platforms, forums, blogs, etc, in real-time and in nearly 50 languages. You can also create your own queries to monitor specific niches.
The second biggest difference across these more powerful, more expensive tools is the analytics they give you access to. In the case of BrandWatch, you can export and slice and dice this data, monitor campaigns, benchmark your performance, cross-industry, and create custom dashboards for reporting and collaborative working.
In terms of RTM, you can turn the insights BrandWatch illuminates for you into action points – such as Customer Service reactions to relevant tweets, PR reactions to others and Sales reactions to tweets from potential leads. Pro, Enterprise M and Enterprise Q plans start from $800/month.
Another famous name in media monitoring and social analytics is Radian6, which was bought by SalesForce in 2011. A long-term competitor to BrandWatch, joining the SalesForce family must have helped with distributions and Radian6 has similar RTM benefits – enabling various departments in your organisation to engage with brand action in social, driving marketing efforts generally.
Another powerful media monitoring and analytics platform is Sysomos, which is seeking to take this industry to the next level. A more recent arrival, Sysomos aims to simplify the services offered by the incumbents and offer further services too.
As far as we can see Sysomos does everything that BrandWatch et al do, with some new UIs, functionality and services. Perhaps the influencer identifying tools are an evolution further here. No prices are presented on the Sysomos website, but we’d guess they’re similar to BrandWatch and Radian6.
With our focus on RTM, Sysomos appears to offer you similar benefits, to better leverage your brand’s social conversations for service, PR, sales, etc.
Also similar to the three brands above, TalkWalker, another relative new-comer to the market offers powerful media monitoring and analytics. Going beyond this, TalkWalker also offers its alerts function, which some users end up relying on instead of Google Alerts.
To use TalkerWalker’s alerts, you enter a search query and select the results you want to follow with a range of filters configure – covering news, blogs, language, frequency, hierarchy, etc. There are Free, Basic, Corporate and Enterprise plans, starting at $700/month and peaking at $3,000/month.
Want to add live video or live streaming to your RTM efforts? Hang w/ is a tool that enables you to shoot and stream live video, straight to your Facebook page. Hang w/ is a favourite of the folks over at Social Media Examiner and the firm describes itself as ‘the most advanced live-streaming mobile & social experience on the planet’.
Hang w/ is a free mobile and web app, used by a huge number of social media stars and vloggers and is key to distributing your live video to Facebook, as part of RTM.
Not needing any introduction, Periscope is Twitter’s reaction to Meerkat. Now the far larger live video shooting and streaming service on Twitter, Periscope is also free to use and a favourite of vloggers and news professionals alike.
If you’re shooting an event, launch or stunt, within your RTM, Periscope helps you distribute this live video content to Twitter.
Also helping you drive campaign success and RTM, ThunderClap, helps you gather up the collective distribution power of your fans, so they can help you make a ‘thunderclap’ about it, all at the same time. Social leaders often describe ‘social thunderclaps’ as a key part of their social strategy and we think this is a cool tool to help you effect them around causes and campaigns.
ThunderClap has plans called Spark, Lightning, Storm, Pro, starting from $45/month and has been used successfully by the likes of Tim Ferriss.
Real-time blogging is one way to create another event within a campaign, to help drive your RTM. Enter another tool for you to consider – BeatStrap. Here’s how the company promotes its technology:
“Twitter is well-known for being a source of breaking news and live events – a trend that marketers can capitalize on by using BeatStrap… BeatStrap enables teams to collaboratively cover any live event. It creates a branded page where each “beat”, or live event, lives. A brand can choose which collaborators are allowed to contribute to a beat, and allows for content via Vine, Instagram and YouTube to be tweeted alongside the real-time coverage…. Beats can be displayed on a website, which makes this a powerful marketing tool for brands looking to advertise their live events.”
Sounds pretty cool to us – a way to host live-blogging events and embed them in a range of locations. There are Free, Silver and Gold plans of BeatStrap, that range from free to $200 and $500/month.
Work Those Hashtags
When wanting to work hashtags even harder, as part of campaigns, Keyhole is another Twitter-focused tool helping you track hashtags in real-time. Keyhole provides you with insights into people tweeting a hashtag, changes in these numbers, hashtag reach, and more, for the time period you select.
Marketers like Keyhole for keeping on top of trends in their industry, as well as their campaigns, helping find and build relationships with influences – vital nodes to win over to achieve network effect. Keyhole can also help marketers find related topics, potential sparks of insight re new content themes and formats.
Keyhole is a cool tool, with with plans called Pro, Corp, Enter, Agency and Partner, starting at $129/month, rising to >$3,000/month, it might be more of an enterprise solution for adding this level of hashtag tracking to your RTM.
Example hashtag tracked below, in trial version.
Another powerful hashtag analytics tool, RiteTag enables you to see which hashtags have the most influence and engagement (not just what’s trending), before weaving these insights into your social strategy. Your well-chosen hashtags therefore have a better chance of getting discovered by searchers, tag-trackers and researchers, helping drive your social ROI and RTM.
There are Lite, Pro and Agency plans of RiteTag, available at $10/month, $25/month and $99/month respectively.
Work Audience Interest Trends
Well, we couldn’t build such a list without our very own Spike dashboard in it!
Spike is a dashboard showing trending content and engagement trends, for any audience, any time.
And, many of our clients are communicators and marketers in world leading agencies – such as Edelman and FleishmanHillard – and brands – such as Intel, Lenovo, Mastercard.
These professionals use Spike to be first to reputational threats and opportunities, zero in on the conversations that matter most and save huge amounts of time doing this monitoring and managing real time marcomms.
Here’s a screenshot of brand content, and interest trends around it, being monitored in Spike.
Spike can even be used to direct real-time content marketing efforts.
You might think this isn’t possible, for a brand to react fast enough with such content creation. But, NowThis can turn a story into a video for Facebook in less than five minutes, with small, agile teams. Why not brands too?
Oreo’s aforementioned power out tweet wasn’t just a piece of plain text marcomms either
Here’s what our professional marketing users of Spike have to say:
“Spike is one of the keystone tools in our real-time marketing initiative and we love using it” – David DeWilde, DigitasLBiMarketing Agency
“Trending content, bucketed by interest area in Spike, helps us target consumer interests to pick out the best articles to share and spark discussion” – David Shaw, Director – Ammirati
Any Tools We Missed?
1) Boost your real-time marketing – take a free trial of Spike.