Reactive marketing generates incredible engagement for brands who join the conversation on what’s trending in social media.
What is reactive marketing? Simply put, it’s the opposite of proactive marketing, which all that neat and tidy content that you plan for.
We’ve covered reactive marketing before here on the blog. Our Head of Communications, Liam Corcoran, described reactive marketing as “the practice of tailoring your content to the water cooler conversation topics of the day, hour or even minute.”
This isn’t easy to accomplish. The wrong tweet can cause backlash and derision. The brands that excel at reactive marketing are those who can move quickly and have a strong understanding of their brand voice.
While planning for what you don’t know is coming seems impossible, knowing your brand and being poised to move on these opportunities can make for genuine and successful social content.
Here are our latest examples of winning reactive content.
Burger King Lets Everyone Keep Their Crown
Social media erupted after the shocking gaffe during the 2015 Miss Universe Contest where Steve Harvey announced the wrong contestant as the winner, and her crown was taken and given to Pia Wurtzbach. Burger King quickly jumped into the conversation, saying its iconic crown was one crown that everyone could keep.
At BK everyone gets to keep their crown. pic.twitter.com/vrRKG3dMs7
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) December 21, 2015
Their willingness to react in real-time, while staying true to their brand voice, let them move efficiently and rapidly on a conversation that was spreading like wild fire.
This reactive marketing post brought Burger King tremendous engagement. Most of their tweets only see a few hundred likes and retweets. The Miss Universe tweet saw nearly 53,000 retweets and 45,000 likes.
Was it white and gold, or black and blue? This debate took over the world when the oddly illuminated photo of the dress emerged on social media. Brands from LEGO to Dunkin Donuts joined in the conversation, but this tweet from Tide was cleverly relevant and on point.
— Tide (@tide) February 27, 2015
Tide made it into our last post on reactive marketing as well. The brand regularly only gets a handful of favorites and retweets, so this post was a phenomenal success for them.
Love is Love
When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of marriage equality last June, people took to social media to share their excitement and brands quickly joined in.
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) June 26, 2015
“Game of Thrones” showed their support for the decision with this photo of one of the series’ gay characters in front of a rainbow flag.
Even serious current events like gay marriage spark opportunity for brands, as it allows them to show camaraderie with their consumers. At the end of the day, a brand is made up of people as well, and this kind of participation adds a human element to their brand’s story.
The Purpose of Armor
Similarly, Star Wars’ Facebook page also addressed a social issue. After posting a photo of Phasma, from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, a commenter said, “Not to be sexist, but it’s really hard to tell that’s female armor for me.”
The official Star Wars account responded with, “It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”
The post gained rapid support across the internet. There were mentions on Buzzfeed, the Independent, CBS News, MTV, E!, Bustle, LA Times, and more, along with a Shorty Awards nomination.
Aside from the simple logic that ‘female armor’ doesn’t work, the post allowed Star Wars to take place in a relevant cultural debate as society uses social media to challenge antiquated gender stereotypes.
Make America Great
It’s been a heated election season and there are still months to go. While some brands may balk at mentioning politics in their content (weren’t we always taught it wasn’t polite dinner conversation?), Netflix decided to jump in with their show “Narcos”.
A photo posted by Narcos (@narcos) on
Playing off of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, they made their own post with the phrase, “Make Columbia Great Again”. The photo saw over 11,000 likes and nearly 1,500 comments.
By being lightly satirical, Netflix was able to insert “Narcos” into a relevant cultural conversation going on at the time. Check out Spike to see the conversations driving engagement on social right now.
This one was a bit more proactive than the others, but still shows a brand’s willingness to jump on what’s hot on social media.
— NASA (@NASA) March 3, 2014
When the space movie Gravity was nominated in the 2014 Oscars, NASA ran an all-day hashtag campaign. Using the hashtag #RealGravity, they posted throughout the day with fun facts and striking visuals that had to do with gravity.
You would expect a space brand to be innovative, and NASA delivers. They have over 500 social media accounts. Their preparedness and willingness to meet their fans on social media whenever the opportunity arises, equals great success.
What to remember:
1. Keep a pulse on what’s moving the needle on social. While most of the day’s news will seem like noise, it’s vital to stay aware of potential marketing opportunities as they arise. Our content discovery and media monitoring tool, Spike, is ideal for this.
2. Brevity is the soul of wit. Keep your message concise and easy to understand.
3. Seek to entertain. Reactive marketing often goes hand-in-hand with humor, and most people naturally want to laugh.