There is no question that in the business world, your brand is nothing without some sort of social media. However, keeping up with social media, updating on a regular basis, engaging with fans, etc., requires a pretty significant investment of time. Because it requires so much time, many businesses will look for ways to automate their social media, especially in the case of Twitter, where timing means everything.

Today, there are many free tools and websites that allow Twitter users to schedule their tweets ahead of time. While scheduling posts in advance does provide your followers with fresh content on a daily basis, automation will only get you so far.

Exclusively adhering to tweet scheduling eliminates the possibility of real-time marketing. Sending out tweets in the here-and-now may actually be better for businesses.

Benefits of Real-Time Tweeting

Real-time marketing is changing the face of advertising, allowing businesses to harness the power of what is happening in the moment. Some of the biggest benefits of real-time marketing are:

Taking advantage of big trends. With so many big events happening in the world, like the recent Super Bowl, businesses are bound to find something that their audience is passionate about. It could be that their audience is following the latest Kardashian debacle, or maybe they are discussing the latest episode of The Voice. By figuring out what trending topic their audience is talking about at the moment, businesses can jump into the conversation and show that they are very relevant.

Monitoring business reputation. Using tools to measure the public’s reaction and sentiment to tweets from and about a business can explain how the public feels about the company. Being on a social network as tweets are posted ensures that a business gets a good feel about how their audience responds to them.

Getting the audience involved. Posing questions, asking followers to post or tweet something specific, having a conversation with followers, are all real-time tactics that give a brand the opportunity to engage their audience. This engagement helps spread content and bring attention to a business.

Real-Time Examples

Real-time isn’t just an idea, there are plenty of businesses who are actually using this marketing strategy very effectively. Here are just a few examples of real businesses that know how to get the most out of their tweets:

Big events. The number of businesses that are centring their marketing on real-time events is steadily growing.

For example, Arbys jumped on the mountie hat styled by Pharrell Williams at the Grammys earlier this year by tweeting a message asking “can we have our hat back?” There are also many real-time tweets that annually go out during the Super Bowl, both about the game as it unfolds, and about other businesses’ commercials as they aired.

Breaking news. Like big, highly anticipated events, breaking news is a very valuable platform for smart marketers. It can be difficult, as the news isn’t predictable like a big event is, so a business must be able to stay on top of the news and follow stories as they unfold.

Coca-Cola is a prime example of a brand that keeps up with what’s happening in the world. After Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, they suspended all of their local advertising efforts for an entire month and sent relief funds instead.

Consumer comments. Other companies are searching Twitter and interacting with consumers as they tweet. For example, Pretzel Chips searches for tweets where people claim to be hungry. The company then replies to those tweets offering to send the person samples of their product.

Is it worth it?

Real-time tweeting can be time-consuming. It requires a business to stay on top of the latest news, trends, television shows, etc. There is much more to it than just sending out random tweets about a business or sharing a latest blog post.

So is it worth it? For many businesses, yes, it is. While it does require a business to always have the ball in their court, it’s a strategy that doesn’t cost much more than time. It also allows those businesses to reach a wider audience when they utilize the popularity of something that is very current. It may not be the method for every business, but it’s working well for many others.