Everyone is talking about real-time social engagement – it was certainly hot topic at SXSW. So at immediate future, we thought we would ask blue-chip brands for their views. A chance to benchmark the status of real-time marketing.

You can download the full report, benchmarking real-time social engagement, for free – it’s got lots of benchmarks for you to compare across operations, skills, resources, tools and challenges.

But having lived the survey data for a few weeks now, I was struck by three interesting insights:

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1. Social is managed in-house – but not always by a dedicated resource

75% of brands are managing their real-time social media in-house. However, 50% are not dedicated to the task – often managing other roles in marketing and communications.

The challenge is that 45% of those surveyed, say that finding skills and resource is a struggle. 62% have an issue with out of hours resourcing and there are a plethora of difficulties with content creation and approval.

Yet, when the answer to the challenges is a greater investment in resource, only 3% of brands say that a dedicated real-time marketing team is best practice.

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2. Creativity is the most demanded skill for real-time community management, not customer service

Despite customer service being widely discussed in the content of real-time social media it seems that the skills pain point is much more about content. 75% of brands say that creativity is the most important skill for real-time social media. And that is not content production such as design capabilities (7%) and image editing (4%).

Rather it is creativity in developing stories. Ensuring a flexible content plan, copy and meeting customer expectations.

And as for customer service, 42% thought this was an essential skill (more than 30 percent below creativity).

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3. Brands know they should monitor, but struggle to get real-time data  

When asked about best practice in real-time social engagement, monitoring tools, headlines and conversations was top (62%). And 51% of brands tell us that gathering real-time data is a challenge.

Yet only 27% of companies think that using a social media monitoring tool is best practice. There is a heavy reliance on free tools (even alongside the paid ones). More importantly though, there is not a desire to see analytic skills amongst those managing social engagement.

There are a few more surprising insights in the report and some rather useful tips from some of the brands we know. So have a good read, and let us know what you think. Download the report at https://po.st/realtimesocial

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