Planning for the Unplanned: How to be Proactively Reactive Working in Social Media.

At a time when there is more content being created than ever before, as social media marketers, finding ways to stand out from the crowd has never been more important. Reactive content marketing is one way that is helping businesses do just this, allowing businesses to generate higher engagement, gain more followers, and effectively communicate the personality of the brand. 


But what exactly is reactive content? First, let’s consider what proactive content marketing is. Proactive content relates to the creation and distribution of brand-related posts and campaigns that can be planned well in advance — blogs, infographics, videos, and seasonal campaigns, for instance. Reactive content on social media, on the contrary, is the art of reacting to and creating content around breaking news, topics, events, and trends. You might remember that 2017 Oscar’s moment when the award announcer made a big mistake and read out the wrong winner, only realizing after he’d invited the whole entire crew of that wrongly-crowned movie on stage.As you could expect, the world of social media went wild, with the event trending across the globe. And then came this genius bit of reactive content marketing by British optical retail chain, Specsavers:

Not getting the Best Picture? #shouldve #Oscars

— Specsavers (@Specsavers) February 27, 2017


Of course, the more lightning-quick a brand is at reacting to an event and turning around high-quality content, the better its chances of getting strong engagement and content virality. But for busy social media managers with already packed-out schedules, even the mere thought of having to:

  1. Drop everything and find time to stay on top of trending topics;

  2. Muster up a creative idea around that topic, and then;

  3.  Somehow whip up good quality content based on that idea

… almost produces real tears. But the good news is that reactive content marketing doesn’t have to be all chaos and catastrophe. We’ve put together some of Slate’s golden tips when it comes to planning for the unplanned.


How to be proactively reactive

#1 — Be organized 

Reactive content done well relies on having the ability to actually have time to be reactive. While it may sound obvious, taking the right steps to ensure you are as organized as possible with the content you can plan for will give you the freedom to be creative with reactive content. A few tips for social media organization include:

  • Create a content calendar that is regularly updated

  • Automate where you can, scheduling posts ahead of time

  • Batch content tasks 

  • Utilise project management tools

For more tips on increasing productivity and getting organized with your social content, check out our blog on “Productivity Hacks for Social Media Managers”.


#2 — Be vigilant

To create engaging reactive content that resonates with your audience, you need to actually have your eyes on trending news and events. Here’s a few examples of ways to keep track of what’s going on in the world.Content Calendar: It’s not just pop culture and show stopping events that you need to be in tune with, but also occasions relating to your industry. One great way to track events would be to do your research on the industry, make a list of notable dates, and then input them into a calendar. That way, at the start of every month, you can open it up in front of you and have a full view of what events are coming up. This will help you to know what to expect and start to prepare yourself for content ideas.Google trends:  One way of accessing data-backed information of what’s popular is by using Google Trends, a platform that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search. Whether it’s a person, place, or event - marketers can use the data on what’s trending to create engaging content that’s related to their business in some way or another.Social media: If you’re a social media marketer, one thing is for certain: you spend a lot of time on your mobile. One sure-fire way of keeping up with trending news is by having a scroll on social media. Whether it’s trending hashtags on Twitter, trending sounds on TikTok, checking out the Explore page on Instagram, or following creators and influencer - social media is a brilliant source for finding inspiration.


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#3 — Be prepared

When planning for the unplanned, it’s wise to prepare as much as you can. Of course, you can’t always plan for the topic of the content since you can’t forecast what news is going to be trending. But you can prepare in other ways, such as getting social media templates ready to go!  Slate’s content creation tool is perfect for creating reactive content that is consistent with your brand’s aesthetic - which we all known is an important element of social media marketing today.In just a few clicks, creators can produce highly-impressive branded content such as Reels, graphics, and GIFs to whatever dimensions required. Users simply upload their brand assets to the Slate content management platform, use the creative tools available to produce real-time content whenever from wherever via the Slate mobile app, and then share directly to the social channel of choice. This ability to create ready to go, on-brand content is essential for social media managers wanting to up their reactive marketing game.


#4 — Be consistent 

While reactive marketing is all about jumping on trending news and creating engaging content off the back of it at great speed, it’s so important that your brand values aren’t forgotten. This is where things such as brand playbook’s are hugely valuable since it establishes clear guidelines for social media managers on how your brand should be publicly presented; from visual branding to tone-of-voice.To highlight the importance of this, let’s take yet another look at an Oscar’s moment that broke the internet. Will Smith was the talking point of this year’s 94th Academy Awards, when he slapped presenter and comedian, Chris Rock for making a comment about his wife. In an instant, the Internet was awash with memes and reactions to one of the most shocking moments in Oscar history. And that included reactive content from brands across all kinds of industries. But this is a prime example of when it was probably best for brands to pause and consider whether it’s really worth being reactive for. The incident was, of course, highly complex and so jumping on the bandwagon for a few likes could well be seen as inappropriate and insensitive. The takeaway? Consider whether the messaging around the reactive content aligns with your brand values to avoid any PR disasters.


Ready to super-charge your reactive marketing game with Slate’s powerful content creation platform? Request a demo today!

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