​Real-time marketing thrives on popular social media hubs, but brands must be agile to see results.

​Web marketing continues to pick up the pace, literally. Brands not only have to be on board with content creation and social media marketing – they must be able to react and engage with audiences in real time. Fortunately, new tools enable businesses to establish direct connections with web users across platforms, from their own websites and social media profiles, to responsive widgets like live chat and content sharing icons.

Technology company Livefyre’s July 2013 survey asked global business executives about what helps them engage their audiences in real time. Research found that nearly three-quarters of respondents incorporate social applications into their websites’ natural function, including social sharing icons, live chat features and other user-driven features. When asked about the ROI from implementing these add-ons to their sites, approximately 85 percent credited real-time social apps with improved user engagement, 54 percent said they establish connections with prospects and 42 percent indicated the features increase time on site.

When it comes to fostering long-term relationships with consumers off site, brands explore every opportunity with social media marketing. Livefyre found that nearly every company uses Facebook (93 percent) and Twitter (93 percent), and almost 60 percent of companies also have YouTube and LinkedIn accounts. These platforms allow marketers the chance to further improve engagement, establish direct connections and increase referral traffic back to their pages, which ultimately impact website conversions and loyalty.

L2 Think Tank’s July 2013 survey of 250 brands also found a high percent of organizations use a variety of social hubs to reach their growing audiences. More than three-quarters of respondents said they optimize between five and nine networks to maximize ROI and greatly impact awareness.

Brands looking to market in real time have a lot on their plate – social media networks and real-time site add-ons can make tasks easier to manage.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.