A Nielsen study found consumers Tweet just as much during TV shows as commercial breaks, welcoming brands to participate in "Now" moments.

More than half of companies included in a STRATA study use Twitter to share their social media content, which means marketers must deliver messages that rise above the rest to reach target audiences. In such a competitive space, brands must strike the right tone at the right time, otherwise they risk turning customers off and losing their audiences. Apparently, marketers shouldn’t be nervous about sending social content outside of business hours, as always-on consumers stay engaged on networks while immersed in other entertainment activities, according to a recent Nielsen study.

The report looked specifically at consumers’ tweeting activities while watching television. It found that 70 percent of social commentary is sent while shows air. Only 30 percent of users wait until commercial breaks to Tweet.

This data points to two conclusions:

1. People are open to having social media conversations during shows

2. Marketers can reach audiences by tapping into trending topics in real-time

At SMX East, Twitter’s Vice President of Sales Richard Alfonsi spoke about the network’s “Now” moments as inlets for marketers to engage with followers naturally. By paying attention to buzz around trending topics and participating in real-time discussions, brands can build new connections and deliver messages to receptive audiences.

Take, for example, a popular reality-TV cooking show that has a large loyal following active on Twitter. CPG or food companies might want to plan marketing activities and schedule content during the program’s air time. Consumers who see special offers, promotions or read relevant information might not be ready to convert at the moment, but there is the chance they will remember those brands when they’re prepared to purchase.

Of course, marketers must craft content that doesn’t feel forced. Their posts should flow into the organic conversation and add to consumers’ own commentary if it’s going to enrich the discourse rather than interrupt it.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.