Social media presents us with real time information from around the world and Dreamforce 2012 is no different. It’s constantly buzzing with thousands of social media conversations streaming through our Command Center.

How can your business benefit from real time data? Not only did I attend David Meerman Scott’s presentation on the benefits of real time data for businesses, but we had a chance to talk about the concept. By being first to share breaking news, you will capture the eyes and ears of the public and media. These eyeballs can enhance your site traffic, SEO and could even lead to sales. It’s a quick and easy way to create content for your community.

There are times when the news can be about you. In the instance of FedEx, responding quickly to a viral video and the buzz around it can actually turn the story in your favor.

According to Scott, all you need are these steps:

  1. No fear.
    • This is the most important piece – don’t be afraid to take these steps!
  2. Stay on top of the latest news (you can even use Google for this)
    • Look for stories that just broke and don’t have a media flurry yet
    • Stories can be in and out of your category – they just need to be relevant to you
    • It’s all about timing
  3. Once you find the story, immediately brainstorm content around it
    • Get your team in a room and start talking about ideas – you’ll likely have a bunch within minutes
    • Choose your content medium – blog post, video, etc.
    • If it’s news about you, respond in the same medium where the story originated
  4. Create the content and publish it ASAP
    • Your content should be clever
    • If it’s about you, it should solve a problem
    • Act like a human and use language the public understands
  5. Share it on your social channels
    • Social media are the tools, real-time is a mindset
  6. Send the story to your customer base
  7. Be available to engage and respond when/if the media picks up your content
  8. Analyze results
    • Set metrics around your efforts such as traffic to your site, increased social shares, or conversions
  9. Be ready for failure
    • This will not succeed every time, but you don’t need it to. One or two great moments can really boost your exposure
    • Failure means that no one saw your content, so no one knows you failed except you
  10. Do it all over again tomorrow!

In the elevator with David Meerman Scott

It’s time to stop making excuses, taking months to plan campaigns and involving lots of people including your lawyers.  This real time mentality can result in great success but you have to jump in with both feet. And if your boss is asking for the ROI of this effort, just remember this quote from David Meerman Scott, “ROI is just code for fear.”