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What is reactive social media marketing and how do I use it?

“The power of reactive media lies in its relevance to the “right-now”. If you can capitalise on something that is happening in the moment, in a way that is witty and funny, you can broaden your audience tenfold.”

You've established your company's social media accounts and you have a good content marketing plan that sees you publishing regular content, which brings in some steady traffic to both your social platforms and your website.

So what's next?

Oh, you didn't think there was a next? Sorry to be a bummer, but there's so, so, so much more you can do. And while I can't use this article to tell you all your options, I can use it to tell you about one: reactive content marketing.

What is it?

Reactive content marketing is the real-time social media marketing response to current events that are going viral or receiving a lot of attention. It means knowing what's going on, what's being talked about and using that to your advantage to make a cleverly constructed advertisement.

The power of reactive media lies in its relevance to the "right-now". If you can capitalise on something that is happening in the moment, in a way that is witty and funny, you can broaden your audience tenfold.

Oreo's showed us this with their most talked-about tweet during the 2013 Superbowl blackout. Within minutes of the blackout occurring, Oreo had released their "you can still dunk in the dark" tweet, amassing over 15,000 retweets not only throughout the game but also well after it. Thanks to the quick thinking of Oreo's dedicated staff - who stayed at work during an unofficial national holiday - they have created a piece of media that will be talked about and referred to in marketing theory for years to come.

Reactive media comes in all shapes and forms, but late last year Netflix transformed the name of reactive marketing by creating a billboard that broadcasted gif reactions to current events. It's sort of hard to explain, so it's better if you just see it for yourself:

Don't worry. I'm not saying you have to go all out like Netflix did. There are plenty of ways to create reactive media that is quick and effective.

Remember "The Dress" incident of 2015? It was a viral phenomenon that divided the world, as all over the Internet, passionate keyboard warriors argued about whether the photograph below depicts a dress that is black and blue or white and gold.

Brands quickly jumped on the opportunity to leverage that sort of global exposure and soon advertisements referencing The Dress began popping up left, right and centre. Here are some of the best ones:

The most important thing to remember about reactive marketing is that your aim is to expose your brand to as large an audience as possible. So, creating something that is insensitive or controversial may leave you being talked about for all the wrong reasons. This is something American Apparel learnt the hard way, when they offered a 20% discount to victims of Hurricane Sandy as it was happening.

Top tips for creating engaging reactive social marketing:

  1. Use a designer. The better it looks, the more shareable it will be, the greater reach you'll garner.
  2. Be clever. Try to turn the event on its' head, approach it from a different angle.
  3. Make it specific to your brand. If you can't find a way to relate the event specifically to your brand - then what's the point?
  4. Think before you create. Try to predict the reactions of as many different types of people as possible - if you think anyone will get upset, maybe it's worth thinking up another idea. Unless controversial is what you're going for.
  5. Have fun with it! Be creative - reactive marketing is the best opportunity to do something out of the ordinary.
  6. Include a call to action. If all goes to plan and your post is picked up and circulated, you'll want your post to actually drive people to do something with your brand.
Indietech blog article author - Digital Marketing and Web Design insights
Noted by Penny Wilson

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