The introduction of social media revolutionised the way brands and businesses interact with their target audience, providing many opportunities to further brand reach and gain public attention. 

Marketing in real-time isn’t easy, it has to be done boldly, intelligently and tactically to make sure that it works for your brand. Jumping on the bandwagon is fine if you can make it relevant, concise and innovative. Otherwise, you risk it falling flat. 

Social media platforms provide a very small window for a brand to put out content that is engaging, humorous and relevant to current affairs in a way that the audience will engage positively with. Reactive marketing can be controversial, and because it needs to be done in a swift and timely manner, it can sometimes mean shortcutting HR and taking a risk – one that doesn’t always pay off!

When it goes well though it is an awesome marketing tactic that can put your brand or business at the forefront of conversation, creating an opportunity to go viral or to trend on social media platforms. The key is to respond to real-time events, news and conversations that shows that your brand is relevant and up to date with current affairs. 

Hitting the sweet spot by putting the right content out at the right time on the right platform is integral to reactive marketing and as you can see in the examples below, can be incredibly effective and memorable. 

Some successful examples

Remember when KFC ran out of chicken in 2018? The reaction from fans wasn’t so finger-licking good! In response, KFC’s social media team were quick to react with a tongue in cheek, ‘hands held up’ response that was playful and clever. Rearranging the letters of their logo was simple, yet a statement.

Going further back to 2015, who doesn’t remember Jeremy Clarkson getting fired from the BBC after a punch up with a producer? Rumoured to have been about the catering options, Snickers took centre stage with their reaction to the events that unfolded, on Twitter. Using their well-known tagline ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ they posted this clever piece of reactive marketing which was well received.

A more recent example of reactive marketing was the highly publicly discussed issue between supermarket giants M&S and Aldi, with Colin the Caterpillar taking centre stage. To recap, Marks and Spencer are suing ALDI, whose Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake is too similar to Marks and Spencer’s legendary Colin the Caterpillar.

In response, the Aldi social media team took to Twitter and playfully posted memes, humorous taglines and one-liners that their fanbase absolutely loved.

There are many examples of reactive marketing a simple search away, with some not-so-successful examples thrown into the mix too.

It’s important then, to have someone in charge of your social media channels that can handle the responsibility of representing your brand or business on this powerful platform, and be able to handle the pressure of making a quick but correct decision in the moment when they see an opportunity. 

Your social media strategy has to be well put together, planned and executed, with a degree of flexibility allowing for reactive marketing. It includes a suitable tone of voice, optimal timing and concise wording. 

You never know, it could be your brand going viral next! 

Contact us to find out more about our social media services.