In a recent CMO Survey, 66% of respondents indicated their employers are putting more pressure on measuring social ROI.

Social media has evolved from a basic branding tool to a dedicated conversion optimization. Through paid and organic channels, companies are finding new and creative ways to guide audiences through the sales conversion funnel.

A core part of this process involves reaching audiences with the right messaging at the right time in their buying journeys. As much as you’d like to make a sale happen immediately, you can’t. Social media is so much more intricate -- so much more complex. The more aggressive you are in pushing your product, the more you miss pushing your audience away.

That’s why real-time marketing is so important. By personalizing your messaging to your audience’s needs, you’ll be well-positioned to strike the right balance between ‘branding’ and ‘sales.’ Real-time marketing is a crucial part of this process. Here are three steps to get started:

Step 1: Learn what your audiences care about

This is where qualitative research comes in. Audiences on Facebook want different things than audiences on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Social channels are becoming increasingly diverse -- and users visit these channels with a specialized intent.

Facebook is conducive to staying in touch with friends and family while Twitter helps audiences -- quickly -- process vast amounts of information through quick-to-digest 160-character statements. Pinterest enables audiences to curate what they love and Linkedin is all about -- well, business. 

Understand what your platform-specific audiences want by talking to them -- and make sure to read between the lines by analyzing your data too. What offers are audiences responding to? How does the answer to this question vary by traffic source? Validate your assumptions by testing options -- see how your audience responds

Step 2: Create channel-specific offers

The steps you take in Step 1 will help you identify the incentives that your social media community cares about. Step 2 involves translating these findings into a plan of action.

Create different offers for each of your social media communities. You can then measure channel-specific conversions to see the relative impacts of each initiative.

Consider the case of Gardener’s Supply Company, as an example.

As a consumer products company, Gardeners was naturally generating significant traffic through Pinterest. The problem is that this traffic wasn’t converting. The company wanted a way to acknowledge,capture, and more effectively convert these visitors -- all of whom were new to the Gardener’s brand.

Gardener’s Supply launched a welcome message popover that included a discount and email address to capture leads. The popover was non-spammy and designed to trigger based on specified behavioral signals and interests.

Gardener’s Supply generated a 3x increase in conversions from Pinterest. Even more importantly the popup was used to collect email addresses that could be used for future remarketing.


The more focused you are with your offers, the higher your conversion rates are likely to be. Success starts with knowing that your social communities care about. 

Step 3: Switch things up

People get bored when they see the same offers over and over. As time passes, you’ll notice your conversion rates decreasing, which could be detrimental to your efforts for driving repeat customers.

Keep up with the market (and market demand) by testing fresh, new offers on a consistent basis. Depending on your business model, you may need to weight variables like seasonality.

Be sensitive to what’s going on, and if you notice your conversion rates dropping all of a sudden -- the first place you should look is your offer. High-budget PPC marketers see this trend over and over. Market saturation is a challenging pain point to overcome -- growing your customer base is a definite must, but you also need to make sure that you’re communicating the right message.

Your Thoughts

How has real-time marketing influenced your social media marketing strategy? Share your thoughts, ideas, experiments -- and questions in the comments section below. We’d love to hear them and welcome the discussion.