Social Media Contextual Relevance

There have been numerous examples in recent history of businesses and brands taking full advantage of timing and contextual relevance to amplify their message on social media.

Sony recently capitalized on Microsoft’s disastrous Xbox One announcement with a humourous video tutorial on how to share used games in the wake of Microsoft’s anti-used game policies (that they later rescinded).

Gillette recently created a content series entitled, ‘How does the Man of Steel Shave?’, to tie into the release of the film, Man of Steel.

And I suppose this is getting rather ‘old’ now, but Oreo famously won over fans and gained admiration within the marketing community with a timely tweet during the Super Bowl power outage.

Of course these are just a few examples of contextually relevant social media content that has performed staggeringly well, as there are many more examples of companies who are doing amazing things with real-time marketing.

The point I’d like to address is to do with the timing of contextual relevance, and what considerations you should take into account when trying to replicate even a fraction of the gargantuan success these brands have experienced for your business or brand.

Putting a firm rule in place to tell you how long your business has to capitalize on an opportunity to publish relevant content is near impossible. This said, there are a couple of guidelines that you can take into account to help you out. They follow:

Publish content when your audience is in the heat of related conversations

If your audience is having conversations on social media about a topic for which there is an opportunity to produce contextually relevant and timely content, the time to hit ‘publish’ is during the height of these conversations. You want to effectively inject your business or brand into the conversation, and give your audience something to rally behind, share, comment on, and support.

In Sony’s case, they nailed the timing. They published their video directly following their E3 press conference, which was when the web was abuzz with conversation about their differing position on used games from Microsoft. And it’s a good thing they didn’t sit on this idea, because a matter of a week or so later Microsoft reversed their policies, which would have meant a missed opportunity for Sony.

Predict when relevant conversations are going to be occurring, and find a role for your business or brand within those conversations

Contextually relevant content isn’t always a byproduct of being reactionary and cranking out a video, blog post, or photograph in record-breaking time. There are many opportunities that can be identified well in advance, and can be worked toward over a period of time. Try to work ahead on your business’ social media content so that you have time to identify cultural occurrences, events, launches, releases, and milestones that you know your audience will have interest in, and plan to have an interesting perspective to share through the content you create.

Gillette did this fantastically with their, ‘How does the Man of Steel Shave?’, video series. The release of this new Superman movie has been known for over a year and it wouldn’t have been difficult to predict that there would be more than just a few guys who would be eager to see it. This would have given Gillette ample time to find high-profile individuals to weigh in on this entertaining conversation topic, shoot videos, build a micro-site, build a content promotion plan, and finalize any other preparations.

Be prepared to identify, produce, approve and publish content in as near real-time as possible

Whether an opportunity needs to be acted upon in a moment’s notice, or you have 18 months to create content, you need to be prepared and organized to fully realize the potential of your social media and content marketing. Real-time marketing in particular is deserving of having a pre-established team, process, parameters, and support network in place to make things go as smoothly and as quickly as possible. In short, you should have a real-time social media marketing process in place to ensure you don’t miss the next big opportunity that could just be around the corner.

Being prepared can be the difference between an Oreo-like success during the Super Bowl, or being one of the other guys who were just a little late to the conversation.

When the power went out during the Super Bowl, Oreo and their social media marketing agency were literally sitting in a room together watching the big game. When the power went out they had everyone required to conceive an idea, realize it, approve it, and publish the final content. It’s all so easy when you’re properly prepared.

Not everything needs to be created and published in real-time to be contextually relevant

I’m sure you’ve read ad nauseam about the importance of evergreen content. It isn’t a requirement that all of your content be intrinsically connected to a recent happening, opportunistic occurrence, or timely event. There is huge opportunity to create content that is relevant because it has huge shelf-life, and is relevant to longer-term trends, shifts in behaviour, enduring technology, or any other business or consumer-related insight. This is the content that you could publish now, or a month from now, and it will have similar value to your audience.


How do you capitalize on real-time marketing opportunities?

Do you factor contextual relevance into the content you create?

If you have anything you’d like to discuss or add to this, it would be fantastic to do so either in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. […] Matthew There have been numerous examples in recent history of businesses and brands taking full advantage […]

  2. […] There have been numerous examples in recent history of businesses and brands taking full advantage of timing and contextual relevance to amplify their message on social media. Sony recently capital…  […]

  3. Great post. Staying abreast of the trends is difficult, but in some ways possible. For example, if Nelson Mandela is an important figure to you and possibly your audience, now may be a good time to prepare what you would like to say.

    • Hey Aleks – I’m happy you enjoyed the post. I agree that staying on top of every trend can be difficult, but there are ways that we can set ourselves up for success when trying to do so.

      Your Nelson Mandela example is a good one for sure, though unfortunate to have to think about.

      Thanks for the comment.


  4. […] 6 – The Timing of Contextual Relevance on Social Media […]


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Content Marketing, Engagement, Real-Time Marketing, Social Media Marketing


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