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MARKETING AT WORK 1.1 Facebook: real-time marketing all the time The world is rapidly going online, social and mobile, and no company is more online, social and mobile than Facebook. The huge social media network has a deep and daily impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of members around the world. Facebook is enormous. Since its foundation in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, who was a student at Harvard University at the time and created the first version of the website in his dorm room, the company has signed up more than 1.4 billion members – a 13 per cent increase year over year. These people represent one-seventh of the world’s population and combine to make more than 150 billion friend connections. Some 968 million Facebook members access the site daily. There are 1.25 billion mobile active users. Together, this army uploads 300 million photos, ‘likes’ 4.5 billion items, and shares 4.75 billion pieces of content daily. By wielding all of that influence, Facebook has the potential to become one of the world’s most powerful and profitable online marketers. Most brands, small and large, have now built their own Facebook pages, gaining free and relatively easy access to the gigantic community’s word-of-web potential. And with the massive number of likes clicked every day, a wide range of companies want a piece of that action. At one extreme, the Panaderia y Reposteria bakery in Madrid, Spain, has 159 Facebook fans. At other extremes, luxury watch maker Rolex boasts 4.5 million fans, and Coca-Cola, the most ‘liked’ brand on Facebook, has 92 million and rising. As the company has matured, however, Facebook has come to realise it must make its own marketing and money-making moves. If it doesn’t make money, it can’t continue to serve its members. And now that it is a public company, it must grow and turn a profit for investors. Therefore, Facebook has changed its philosophy on advertising. Today, companies can place display or video ads on users’ home, profile or photo pages. Facebook maintains one of the richest collections of user profile data in the world. Thus, ads there can be carefully targeted based on user location, gender, age, likes and interests, relationship status, workplace and education. But, taking advantage of the social sharing power of the site, Facebook’s ads are designed to do far more than simply capture the right eyeballs. They are designed to harness the power of social connections and move people to action, by, for example, asking people about their opinion and thus engaging them. Therefore, Facebook ads blend in with regular user activities, and users can interact with ads by leaving comments, making recommendations, clicking the ‘like’ button or following a link to a brand-sponsored Facebook page – and all of this in real time. حقوق النشر This makes Facebook – next to Twitter and Instagram – one of most important platforms for real-time marketing. Instead of creating a marketing plan in advance and executing it according to a fixed schedule, real-time marketing is creating a communication strategy focused on current, relevant trends and immediate feedback from customers, with the goal to connect consumers with the product, brand or service that they need now, in the moment. Today, many real-time marketing efforts centre on major media events, such as the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. These events let marketers engage with huge, ready-made audiences. For example, during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, when footballer Luis Suarez bit an Italian player’s ear during one of the matches, many food companies decided to cash in on the controversy with a reference to their food products. For example, Snickers responded with an image of a bitten Snickers bar and the words ‘More satisfying than Italian’. After posting the message on their Facebook and Twitter page, the popular chocolate bar brand earned a total of more than 15 million impressions within seconds. The tweet was retweeted 43,184 times and Snickers’ Twitter handle gained almost 5,000 followers in less than two days. Other brands cleverly tweeting and posting thanks to Suarez’s actions include Nando’s, Pizza Express India and McDonald’s Uruguay. McDonalds Uruguay had the highest number of retweets from the aforementioned companies: their post was retweeted more than 72,000 times and the Uruguay McDonald’s page received more than 2,500 followers in less than 24 hours. Other companies attached real-time efforts to events in competitive or natural environments. For example, when news spread that Apple’s iPhone 6 can get bent out of shape when it’s in the customers’ pocket, KitKat decided that it needed to get in on #bendgate. Within 30 minutes, the brand whipped up an image of a candy bar snapped into a 45-degree angle with a piece of pithy copy saying that KitKat doesn’t bend but breaks – a clever reference to its own famous tagline. This post ended up as the most retweeted brand tweet of all time. That message, which was posted on Facebook and Twitter, resonated tremendously with its target audience. The message was retweeted 100 times within the first 10 minutes; less than an hour later, the post had 1,000 retweets. KitKat was also running promoted tweets and posts to amplify the message. The tweet has now been retweeted more than 27,000 times, racked up more than 13,000 favourites and has increased the brand’s followers by a few thousand. To compare, Oreo’s famous ‘You Can Still Dunk in the Dark’ tweet, sent when the lights went out at the 2013 Super Bowl (which is often credited for kick-starting the real-time marketing trend), has collected 15,000 retweets and more than 6,000 favourites. حقوق النشر Minute-by-minute marketing strikes rarely succeed. Instead, to be consistently successful, real-time marketing must be part of a broader, carefully conceived strategy that makes the brand itself an engaging and relevant part of consumers’ lives, such as the example above. In today’s world, brands must evolve their entire plan to marketing in a real-time world. Today’s smartphone-wielding, social media-inclined customers are no longer just second-screen viewing – rather, they are second-screen living. Smart brands build agile, ongoing real-time marketing programmes that listen in on social spaces and respond with relevant marketing content that blends smoothly with the dynamics of customers’ real-time social sharing. Whether connected to a social cause, a trending topic or event, a consumer’s personal situation, or something else, the essential concept behind successful real-time marketing is pretty simple: find or create ongoing connections between the brand and what’s happening and important in consumers’ lives, then engage consumers genuinely in the moment.

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