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By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

December 8, 2014 | 3 min read

Real-time social media is important, but it doesn’t always have to happen in real-time, according to David Parkinson, head of digital for Nissan in Africa, Middle East & India.

Speaking to The Drum at the Social Buzz Awards in London Parkinson responded to whether or not real-time social media marketing is a waste of time, stating that there are certain times in which real-time social media marketing needs to be planned ahed of time, rather than on the fly.

“Some real-time is actually real time, other real-time is planned in advance. We did real-time for royal baby, and that was actually six weeks in the making, and we just had to wait for the right time to produce it.

"But on the other side, we did the Kim Kardashian real-time a few weeks ago, it got us over 30,000 retweets on Twitter: and that was genuine real-time,” he explained.

The topic of whether social media marketing is a waste of time arose after Microsoft Mobile’s head of digital marketing, Selena Harrington, previously questioned whether real-time in social media was worthwhile given it is virtually impossible to fully measure success of real-time campaigns, and therefore the whole tactic can be hit-or-miss.

Stating that it’s not a waste of time, “but it’s got to be genuine,” Parkinson was one of several top names in social who discussed the question ‘is real-time in social media a waste of time’ while at the Social Buzz Awards.

James Whatley, social media director, Ogilvy & Mather, agreed that marketers should take a considered approach to real-time social media marketing, but added that service-based clients lend themselves well to the speediness of real time communications, particularly when it comes to customer service.

But he added that the true meaning of the term 'real time' should really reference 'right time' communications.

“Being there in the right time does not mean that you have to be there in real-time,” he added.

Merinda Peppard, marketing director EMEA at Hootsuite, described social media as “real time marketing, available at any time, to anyone”.

For Mícheál Nagle, sportsbook social media manager from Paddy Power, live tweeting is an important part of social, and it is here where real-time comes into play for the bookies.

“We live tweet big sporting events all the time because we know people at home want to see what Paddy Power has to say about that event.”

While other businesses might not embrace the real-time element to the same level as Paddy Power, it seems like it is something which social media managers should consider.

You can hear more on what all of the above – as well as Jim Dowling, managing director of Cake and Iain Matthews, strategy director at Jam – think about real-time social media by viewing the video above.

The Drum Awards For Social Media Real-time Social Media

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