How Social Listening Helps in Real-Time Marketing.

How often do we decide to cut off the communication with a company because we receive tons of marketing junk? Over 90 percent of consumers do that because the messages and promotions overflowing their inbox are simply irrelevant. In order to reach its customers, companies must be in tune with their needs and respond to them accordingly – preferably in real-time.

Real-time marketing is the future – if a company refuses to recognize customers as individuals, its age-old marketing campaigns simply won’t work. Social ‘listening’ allows to respond in real-time and provide content like messages and promotion that better reflect the interests and emotions of customers. Real-time marketing strategy has one big perk – entering a social conversation doesn’t involve many costs – it’s not a full-fledged multi-channel marketing campaign.

What counts here is timing – fortunately, there are many tools around like Oracle Social Cloud, which allow for a real-time awareness of the social buzz and immediate responsiveness to customer queries.

It takes a special kind of talent to replay the success of Oreo‘s spontaneous marketing action during the Superbowl blackout, but small companies have a great chance at connecting with their customers through social media. Here are three relevant case studies, which, if followed and adjusted to the context of small companies, have a great marketing potential.

Case Study 1 – JetBlue

The first US airline recognized for its excellent use of Twitter, JetBlue is hardly a big venture when compared to giants like Delta or the United. JetBlue simply turned Twitter into a customer service and news platform.

Their Twitter account is a place where the airline can enter into a conversation with their customers by answering their questions, complaints and compliments. JetBlue is able to monitor the ways in which customers talk about the brand and quickly respond to situations before they get out of hand – say, when flights have to be canceled due to a heavy storm.

JetBlue additionally boosts the engagement of its impressive, 1.82 million audience, by sharing special promotions and discounts, travel tips and pictures taken by the passengers. Here Twitter serves primarily to establish and nourish their connection with customers, leading to successful real-time marketing decisions.

Case Study 2 – TrekAmerica & Other Brands

One never knows what might go viral, but this certainly did – follow here the story of Greg Heaslip, whose request for holiday was by accident forwarded to all the workers of a retail group. What started as an inside company joke soon became a massive trend across the web, particularly on Twitter where the hashtag #GiveGregtheHoliday started to appear everywhere.

Among the first brands who noticed the hype and used the immensely popular hashtag to their advantage was Topshop and Elemis, but the action reached its peak when Greg was actually offered a trip to Las Vegas by TrekAmerica, followed by other brands that offered traveling equipment cosmetics and clothing.

By participating in the #GiveGregtheHoliday campaign, all companies gave their brands or products additional exposure and highlighted their presence in the social media. The move of TrekAmerica was brilliant – we can only imagine how many customers got impressed and retained the brand’s positive image for the future.

Case Study 3 – SmartCar

As a response to a tweet that read “Saw a bird had crapped on a Smart Car. Totaled it.” SmartCar saw an opportunity to engage – they prepared a hilarious infographic and tweeted back: “Couldn’t have been one bird, @adtothebone. Sounds more like 4.5 million. (Seriously, we did the math.)”

The marketers seized their chance – their quick and clever response lead to the brand’s extensive exposure on the web. Thanks to being great social listeners, SmartCar earned over 500 retweets and 400 favourites for this one tweet.


Marketme is a leading small business to small business news, marketing advice and product review website. Supporting business across the UK with sponsored article submissions and promotions to a community of over 50,000 on Twitter.