Real-time marketing (RTM) is becoming a reality for brands as social media users demand up- to-the minute custom content.

Social media’s acceleration is challenging the way marketers have traditionally approached the creative process. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ have become much more than websites where people go to share their interests and activities – they’re also active marketing hubs.

Social networks have proven to be valuable news sources that can also create timely marketing opportunities if brands can keep up, according to a recent eMarketer report. More than half of social media users said they think brands should create timely digital content and posts as major events take place.

SurveyMonkey recently provided an example that demonstrates the web’s influence on faster news and content discovery. A poll asked more than 800 Americans how they first heard about the Boston marathon bombings and found that 34 percent learned about the events on websites first. SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg told Bloomberg West’s Emily Chang that individuals who first read the news on social sites were then likely to head to online news outlets for more information.

Half of social media users said they think brands should create timely digital content.

Marketers must re-visit the ways they develop creative web content for their social media marketing and branded websites if they want to keep up with breaking trends and respond to customers’ queries sooner. Brafton recently covered a conversation between eMarketer and Percolate Co-Founder Noah Brier about the real-time marketing evolution (RTM). Brier advised marketers to pay attention to developing trends and changes in social chatter and then develop custom content accordingly, rather than cutting production schedules to push fresh material live prematurely.

As RTM becomes standard across the board, marketers must stay connected with their target audiences and know which channels they prefer for news discovery and in-depth research.That way, businesses will always have fresh content in the right places for their customers and prospects when news breaks.

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.