Have you tried reactive marketing?

We demand content to appear faster and more relatable than ever before, but what does that mean for marketing? Reactive marketing is often unpredictable and difficult to do by nature – in this blog, we explain what it is and how you can get involved…

What is reactive marketing?

Most people wonder how they can ‘go viral.’ The truth is, getting a lot of engagement on social media usually comes down to two things: relatability and timing. We’ve all heard of suspected well curated PR stories that are presented as off the cuff ideas, but often it’s the timely, relevant and authentic content that gets you maximum online exposure. Reactive marketing is the art of responding to something ‘going on’ at the present time. If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll undoubtedly know that trends move fast – these can be news stories but also things people on Twitter are laughing at or talking about.

How can I get my brand involved?

There’s an element of being realistic involved here. Even social media managers won’t be able to react to every relatable trend going as and when it happens, even with the best will in the world. There’s also very little planning you can do – after all, no one can predict the future, or can they? It may sound like it defeats the object but planning and being proactive could be your best bet. Social listening tools and Google alerts can help you to keep on top of what people are discussing online.

Think about what things people are talking about now – how could these topics evolve? What seasonal events or holidays are coming up? Are there any pop culture ‘days of the year’ happening soon? If so, think about what you might schedule to go out on your social channels at those times. If you can, it’s worth setting aside some time to monitor comments and mentions around these dates so you can be quick to respond should an opportunity arise.

Is reactive marketing just for social media?

We tend to associate being reactive with social media. After all, social platforms are one of the fastest moving mediums with snappy, easy-to-digest content proving popular. You can be reactive with PR too – depending on whether a trending topic looks set to stick around or grow; it can buy you some time to prepare. Remember whatever the channel, the reason this content works is because reactive marketing should be authentic. If the conversation doesn’t have a natural fit for your brand it can look forced and desperate. Ask yourself if you really have something witty, relatable or informative to add – if not, wait for the right moment.

Here are some of the best examples of reactive marketing…

This spring the social media accounts of Yorkshire Tea came under fire from opposing voters when Chancellor Rishi Sunak posted a photo of himself with the brand’s packaging. The photo looked to some Twitter users like a sponsored post, though the brand denied any involvement. Thanks to a well-timed and thought out response from the brand, the Twitter storm eventually dampened. Fellow tea makers PG Tips then reacted – sending their support to their competitors with the hashtag #cuppastogether. The on-brand responses from both businesses kept Twitter users engaged and invested in the story.

When Hawksmoor in Manchester revealed a waiter had mistakenly provided a diner with a bottle of wine worth over 4k, brands were quick to respond on Twitter. Glasses brand Specsavers were quick off the mark, replying with ‘You know our thoughts on this…’ – a tongue in cheek reference to their slogan. Some people suspected the story had been orchestrated as a PR stunt, but whatever the truth, the brand’s sentiment making light of the situation provided positive, wide-reaching content.

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