Author Archives: Tonia Ries

About Tonia Ries

Tonia is the founder of The Realtime Report and the Realtime Conferences. She recently began a new gig as SVP, Executive Director of Edelman Square, where she manages intellectual property for Edelman. When she’s not busy tweeting (@tonia_ries), she’s probably hanging out with her dog Milo. Tonia grew up in Germany and Belgium, and now lives in Montauk and in New York City.

The Realtime Report: A New Home, Bigger Opportunities

The Realtime Report + The Social Media Monthly

As many of you know, The Realtime Report has been on sabbatical for the last few months. Much of that had to do with the fact that I have been going through some exciting changes: last November, I started a new position managing intellectual property for Edelman, working with wicked smart people on projects like the Trust Barometer and other cool data-driven views of the latest industry trends.

But many of you also know how much I have personally vested in The Realtime Report, which originated back in May 2009 as the first-ever Twitter for business conference, and eventually grew into a robust community of PR, marketing, and digital professionals using realtime platforms to engage customers and prospects, and connect online and real-world experiences in exciting new ways.

So I am beyond thrilled to announce that we’ve found a great new home for The Realtime Report. Effective today, #RLTM will be part of The Social Media Monthly family of online and event products, and will soon start publishing again on a regular basis.

I have known Bob Fine, the founder and leader of The Social Media Monthly, for many years, and couldn’t be leaving this community in better hands. He and I have been colleagues–and competitors–since back in the day. I organized the first social media conference on the west coast, but he organized the first one on the east coast, in June 2009. His book, The Big Book of Social Media Case Studies, Stories and Perspectives, has now been used as a textbook at over 10 universities—and he gave me the opportunity of contributing the closing chapter. He continues to be a connector and contributor to the community, sharing best practices, case studies, and organizing events to highlight best practices, solutions, and case studies on a regular basis.

So what happens next?

The Realtime Report website is currently undergoing a makeover and will soon be integrated into The Social Media Monthly from a navigation standpoint. More exciting, Bob and his team will very soon start adding fresh content to The Realtime Report blog again, covering case studies and cool stats you can use.

Even more exciting – you know I love events — Bob is running with the Realtime Marketing Lab concept that we pioneered in October 2013, and has just recently announced the Realtime Marketing Lab Tour, taking it to 9 cities this Spring. (Want an early invite or more details on sponsorships? Hit him up with an email!)

And if you are a subscriber to The Realtime Report, you will be joining a community of over 21,000 readers strong, and will start to receive newsletters from The Social Media Monthly. Of course you can unsubscribe at any time, but wait for the first new edition ‘cause I’ll bet you won’t want to.

Best part, Bob is just as committed to getting you the best access to the info, community, and content you need to be great at your job. Let him know about the types of content and issues you’d like to see covered. Tweet him at @bobfine or send him an email.

Goodbye, Not Farewell

I’m not going anywhere. Yes, I have a fancy new job with a big title that is giving me an opportunity to work on some very cool big projects with some of the smartest people in the business at Edelman. But I will be around: Bob has asked me to stay involved in an advisory role; I hope to write the occasional blog post; and you may even see me at the occasional Realtime Marketing Lab event. Want to keep in touch? Tweet me at @tonia_ries.

And I can’t wait to start reading The Realtime Report again!

This is a guest post by Rupa Ganata, co-founder of men’s grooming online retailer Yes Sir,  and of Brand us Social (BUS).

Social Media Pop Up Shops

From fashion to food, an increasing number of businesses are exchanging goods and services for tweets and Instagram posts in the form of modern day Social Media pop-up shops.

Pop-up shops have become a regular and vital part of high streets around the world—but the latest trend is the exchange of free goods and services in return for tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram posts: the “Social Media” pop-up. At, a men’s grooming company, we will be collaborating with Man Made London to launch London’s first Social Media Barber shop: from September 18 to 20, the & Man Made London Social Media barber shop in Marylebone, London will allow you to pay for a free wet shave or beard trim via a Tweet, Facebook post or Instagram post using our dedicated hash tag #ShaveMeSir.

Other brands have already explored the concept of the Social Media Pop-up. A recent success story was Marc Jacobs, who launched a pop-up store in London’s Covent Garden. The idea was to enhance and magnify customer engagement by exchanging fragrances and manicures for tweets and videos. Shoppers received the chance to pick up their favourite pieces and pay with social media. The pop-up shop was laid out with creative photography and video in mind, with different areas where visitors could go to create that unique image to earn them some freebies. The more creative the posts with the #MJDaisyChain hash tag, the more amazing the prizes. For example, a Tweet and a Vine video won you a Marc Jacobs key ring and a free manicure at the in-store Nail Bar.

Some brands have also incorporated a ‘pay with picture’ strategy that encompasses the rising trend of visual social media in 2014. For example, frozen food brand Bird’s Eye turned interactive image posts into free meals in a London pop-up. And Nokia celebrated the Lumia 630 by launching the #100aires Pop-up in East London in June, where one-off art pieces were up for sale using social currency.

Let us know if your brand has plans to experiment with a social media pop-up concept!

About the Author

Rupa GanatraRupa is co-founder of Yes Sir, one of Europe’s leading men’s grooming online retailers and co-founder of Brand us Social (BUS), a forward-looking Social Media and Digital intelligence and events company providing news, data and conferences. She was recently featured as the Top 35 under 35 Women in the UK in Management Today and the Sunday Times.

Weibo Users Embrace ALS #IceBucketChallenge in China; Raise $400,000 To Date

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated a fair amount of debate. Rich Becker sums up the arguments in support and against #IceBucketChallenge here. Whatever your perspective, you can’t argue with the windfall of $88.5 million and 1.9 million new donors that the campaign has raised to date.

Today I received an email from a PR firm answering one of the questions I’ve had about the campaign: has the #IceBucketChallenge made a splash outside North America? I am connected to a lot of people around the world, but haven’t really seen anyone outside of my American and some Canadian friends posting about the campaign.

Well it turns out there’s at least one other region where #IceBucketChallenge has caught on: China.

On China’s Weibo platform, over 1.58 million users have talked about #IceBucketChallenge, and a total of 1.43 billion people have viewed posts about the topic. Chinese internet users, from tech billionaires to celebrities have taken the icy bath in support of the charity.  In comparison, people have shared 1.2 million videos on Facebook and mentioned the phenomenon 2.2 million times on Twitter.

More importantly, Weibo’s users are also contributing to the cause and have donated almost $400,000–a fraction of the total collected so far, but I would guess that the ALS Association does not typically see very many donations from China.

Is #IceBucketChallenge a hit in your country, as well? Let us know!

Realtime Marketing: How To Plan For The Moment

This is a guest post by Matthew Yeoman of the Social Media Marketing blog.
Photo credit: Gerd Altmann realtime marketing works, it’s because you have something much bigger than you doing your marketing for you. It’s simple: if many people are already interested in a particular event, and you create a realtime marketing campaign that is centered around that event, the public awareness associated with the event benefits your marketing efforts.

This concept plays off an idea presented by Stephen McIntyre, the Managing Director of Twitter Europe, at the Dublin Web Summit last year. His quote, borrowed from Rory Sutherland, was about social media marketing in general, but applies directly to realtime marketing: “Brands don’t have target markets, they have target moments.”

How Does the “Moment” Do Your Realtime Marketing For You?

People use social media to post something random about their lives – which you can’t plan for. But they also use social media to check up on key events, and to share content related to these events – this you can easily plan for. Those who take the time to plan for key moments will have text, video, images, and GIFs that speak to these moments. When the time is right, they are shared on social media and the moment does the marketing for them.

If you want to see success from your realtime marketing campaigns, with minimal effort, this is what you will want to do. Here’s a Gif that captures this concept in a silly way:

The example above was for a big marketing moment that you should still have fresh on your mind, the FIFA World Cup. It shaped up to be the largest sporting event on social media ever. A number of brands that created World Cup content for this key moment had the hype around the tournament doing their marketing for them as people were interested in the sporting spectacle already – these brands just had content ready for it. The Realtime Report has already covered a number of World Cup marketing examples; and here’s my personal favorite:

But what if your product or service doesn’t fit into a sporting event? Let’s look at examples of other ways you can let the moment do the marketing for your brand.

What moments can you plan ahead for?

Realtime campaigns and viral marketing are all about eliciting strong reactions from large events by using brief messages. Social media users are starved for the latest gossip, and new ways to share their interests with people. The content that you provide needs to speak to this. Here are some examples of how you can let an event do your marketing for you by tying in with a moment:

  • A museum can create an original ad campaign in preparation for the Game of Thrones season finale. Highlight the best of your historical collection and how it ties in with the violent drama.
  • If there’s a celebrity wedding taking place, an event management company could join the conversation on relevant hashtags on Twitter. A well prepared event management team will get a few photos ready ahead of time for the day of the wedding and tweet them out in congratulations. Those may be the easiest retweets you ever get.
  • Controversial trials are a great time for those in the law industry to work up an analysis of the legal precedent and send it out over social media channels. People want to be better informed about the issues, so this can also go a long way towards further establishing you as an authority in your field.
  • On a more local scale: a flower company could deliver some flowers to a local politician upon their most recent win and document what happened with a video. A music store can have an employee taking photos at local concerts. Putting these moments on Instagram, Twitter, and Vine with connected hashtags will get you local mentions and retweets.

Once you have tried one of these tactics, it is time to sit down and look at your analytics and see how well they performed. Most realtime marketing moments occur over and over again – celebrities will continue to get married, controversial trials will happen, exciting TV shows have a finale every year. Your analytics will show you what your audience is responding to, and you can be better prepared for the next time one of these moments comes around.

What is the danger of not preparing for viral marketing moments?

Many businesses that are new to social media use them as reactive, rather than proactive, marketing opportunities. They login once they see something going on, have their 140 character say, or post something inconsequential to their Facebook, and all too often they’re ignored. Think about your Twitter feed right now. It likely contains maybe the last hour’s worth of tweets unless you start scrolling down. With Twitter users only paying attention to the last hour of their tweets, do you have time to see a real time marketing moment, create content worth sharing, and get it in time? Likely not – the moment will pass you by and you’ll be just another ignored piece of content from what social media now considers “old news” – a time frame that could be as short as an hour!


About the Author:

Matthew YeomanMatthew Yeoman is the blogger/writer/creator over on the Social Media Marketing blog. You can find him there every Friday with the latest news on Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, Google, and Vimeo marketing developments, and find useful tips on how to use these social platforms.

Media Fragmentation: 3 Strategies For How Business Marketers Can Keep Up

This is a guest post written by Lisa Smith, Director of Media and Markets Research/Mindwave Research.

Maybe you remember when media research was just about capturing TV viewership and print readership? Even when we first began analyzing web site traffic we had a manageable set of properties to measure.

But today, the pervasiveness of social media, the continued digitization of content, and the fragmentation of media platforms have given consumers and business decision makers a bewilderingly broad array of offline and online sources—creating significant challenges for marketers when it comes to measuring audiences and effectively targeting prospects throughout a decision-making process.

Welcome to the Era of Media Sprawl

  • Social media, blogs, and discussion boards mean that users generate as much online content as brands do.
  • Online searches deliver instant sources on virtually any topic you can imagine.
  • TV and print digitization makes news and entertainment available anywhere, anytime.

Your customers are now getting their information from an ever-growing number of sources. For example, research shows that B2B decision makers today use an average of 10 different sources when making purchase decisions about complex, enterprise-wide technology solutions.

More Access to Information = More Collaborative Decision Makers

This media fragmentation has also affected business buying behavior. Easier access to more information brings new decision-making functions into focus and adds layers to the buying process.

Our experience with research tracking media consumption and buying behaviors in the B2B tech markets shows significant shifts in who is involved:

20 years ago:

B2B tech buying largely done in IT departments with CIOs and IT managers unilaterally driving purchase decisions.
Past 20 years: Internet becomes prevalent means for tech brands to connect and engage directly with customers, from end users to IT decision makers.
Today:  B2B buying decision model is highly collaborative where corporate and management are active participants in needs determination and evaluation.

Shifting the B2B Media Research Model

The challenge for marketers: how to track real business prospects through all the various online and offline touch points. Looking to create an effective integrated media plan, with optimized exposure to the right audience at the right time? Here are three strategies that will get you there:

1. Find true B2B decision makers who are actively involved in the buying journey.

The ubiquitous access to information turns many employees into instant business influencers. They may make requests based on seeing a Facebook post, or alert others about interesting content by re-sharing information via a tweet, but they don’t necessarily direct specific buying decisions. Influencers can provide needed input at certain stages of a purchase cycle, but they are a difficult and inefficient target when nearly everyone is an influencer. The solution? Make sure you have identified your true decision-making customers who are actively involved in the purchase decision. And we emphasize “active” because there is a difference in content engagement with decision makers who are waiting for the next purchase cycle versus those who are currently in it.

2. Create product-specific content based on how decision makers consume information.

Unless you’re dealing with a very homogeneous B2B product or service portfolio, research shows that the type of solution you are selling absolutely matters in establishing your content strategy. Our tech-industry clients develop, manufacture, and sell hardware, software, and services that range from end-user devices and applications to enterprise network solutions and management tools. And who their customers are, as well as their content usage for purchase decisions, varies widely depending on the product or service in question.

Here’s one example from the Tap research comparing decision makers involved in buying mobile products to those involved in the buying process for unified communications devices. As you can see, the former are far more likely to turn to search engines or mobile apps for information, while the latter are looking at entirely different types and sources of content.

Media fragmentation in IT buying

 3. Drive specific content known to have greater weight at certain decision points.

We know that the B2B purchase process is a non-linear buying journey – much more than a progression of steps from “determining the need” to “approving the purchase”. As we think about the process as a journey, we see that simply analyzing content consumption in aggregate for a purchase decision is not enough to help marketers and media planners think about an integrated media strategy. That approach misses subtleties such as when a particular source is no longer useful, but the decision is still active. Advertisers need more flexibility in tailoring optimal content to deliver messages that drive critical decision points. As brands create more of their own content for demand gen efforts, recognizing how and when the content is used in the decision journey enables a better balance of the overall marketing and media strategy.

So What’s Next?

Will content and access methods continue to fragment further, creating additional challenges for media research? Or will we hit an over-exposure point that forces a consolidation of information, making it difficult to separate and measure one type of content versus another?

Either way, it’s critical for our measurement strategies and tracking studies to evolve in order to stay connected to business customers throughout these changing dynamics.

About the Author

Lisa Smith brings a fully integrated global market perspective to her understanding of these challenges through 20 years of experience working with B2B Media research. Her views come from 13 years in IT publishing at United Business Media/TechWeb/CMP Media, 6 years on the agency side at T3, working in strategy and planning roles, and 2 years on the research vendor side managing the Tap tech industry media study. More information regarding her work/experience and data to support this post can be found at

Social Networking Stats: 21% Of Online Video Is Now Mobile, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard: Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1.23 billion monthly active users via Facebook
YouTube over 1 billion monthly unique users via YouTube
Twitter: 255 million monthly active users via VentureBeat
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 500 million users via The Next Web
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 230 million registered accounts via VK
LinkedIn: 300 million members via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 343 million monthly active users via GlobalWebIndex
Tumblr: 190 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 200 million users via Instagram
Vine: 40 million registered users via Vine
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: 45 million users via TechCrunch
Pinterest: 70 million users via The Next Web
Reddit: 113 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit
WhatsApp: 500 million users via WhatsApp
Messenger: 200 million users via re/code
SnapChat:  ???? via TechCrunch

Please email if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.  

Mobile Video Now Accounts For 21% Of All Online Video Plays

Mobile Video on the Rise21% of all online video-plays globally were completed through mobile devices  in the first quarter of the year, according to video technology company Ooyala. In 2012, that figure was at 3.4%; in 2013 it was 9%. The massive growth in online video consumption via mobile devices has changed the paradigm in content availability. Since 2012, mobile and tablet video viewership is up 532%.

82% of all mobile video consumption occurs on iOS devices, with nearly all of the remaining video views happening on Android devices. 48% who viewed mobile videos in the first quarter watched content for 30 minutes or more. More than three-quarters of viewers watched videos at least 10 minutes in length.

The findings continue to underscore the importance of mobile video consumption in general, and multiscreen strategies for broadcasters and brands in particular.

Will Pinterest Go Public?

This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for

Is there a Pinterest IPO in the cards?It’s no secret that Pinterest has been steadily gaining steam in the social sphere for the past year or so. Now the once-budding social “scrapbooking” site looks to be taking the next major step toward Internet superstardom.

That’s right; a hotly-anticipated IPO seems to be just around the corner. Pinterest appears to be following in the footsteps of giants such as Facebook and Twitter, rapidly raising cash in the process (and a $200 million raising round with a $5 billion valuation is nothing to scoff at).

Yet is such a valuation a fair one? Are we putting too much pressure on Pinterest? As we know with Facebook and Twitter, big IPOs come with big expectations. Those expectations don’t always pan out, now do they?

Although we’re naturally inclined to judge as spectators to this vast, social landscape, it may not be fair to compare Pinterest’s IPO to that of Facebook or Twitter quite yet. Yes, Pinterest’s recent success signals a new social giant throwing their hat into the ring when it comes to competing with the “big guns;” however, their IPO and its potential success should not be taken lightly.

Consider Pinterest’s truly unique audience and scope that truly sets it apart from its newfound competitors:

  • Pinterest itself is a social network based around the concept of “product” (albeit perhaps not intentionally)
  • Pinterest’s predominately female user-base opens up new possibilities in terms of marketability and loyalty
  • Pinterest’s potential for ads and revenue is less intrusive and more inviting due to the scope of the site itself

It’s hard to deny Pinterest’s potential in terms of the site’s audience and scope. The fact that Pinterest has worked so hard to find its own identity within the social network may be what sets the site itself and its IPO apart from the crowd.

No Interruptions

While ads are constantly seen as interruptions in the social sphere, Pinterest itself is based around the concept of products and inspirations. Often referred to as a “scrapbooking site,” Pinterest users are constantly looking for new ideas and products to support those ideas. Home décor, recipes, fashion, you name it. These ideas may not always look like dollars and cents to advertisers; however, the concept of being able to instantaneously purchase on the page is most certainly alluring.

What’s really important, though, is that ads (if done correctly) are not disruptive to Pinterest’s user experience. While Mark Zuckerberg was hesitant to ever put ads on Facebook, Pinterest lends itself to seemingly endless ad possibilities. Combined with its pristine search functionality, the site is definitely going in the right direction when it comes to knowing and targeting their users. However, Pinterest must be mindful of how ad-heavy they go as they risk losing the “social” aspect of the web, ultimately becoming a straight-up commerce site.

The Power of the Female Buyer

Pinterest has often been singled out for its female-dominated user base. Consider the buying patterns female shoppers and the fact that, when compared to men, women are

  • more likely to buy products online,
  • more likely to shop and search for deals online,
  • and more likely to share their shopping experience via the social network.

Not only has Pinterest locked onto an active, buying user base; they’ve also built a network of evangelists to continue to advertise the site and its products. It’s a win-win situation for the site as it looks to grow in the wake of its possible IPO.

Apples and Oranges

Comparing social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.) is often like comparing apples and oranges. For example, Facebook’s size and scope is completely different than that of Twitter. They both target a similar broad base of users, but they expect completely different behaviors and patterns from such users in terms of marketing.

Pinterest takes a completely different approach. Whereas Facebook and Twitter are about the “what’s happening,” Pinterest is about ideas and products. Pinterest is a hotbed for commerce and sits somewhere closer to Tumblr on the social spectrum due to its image-heavy sharing nature.

In short, naysayers are ready to judge Pinterest’s IPO based on the shortcomings of Facebook and Twitter; but is that really a fair comparison?

The Bottom Line

As Pinterest appears to be on the verge of going public, it’s easy to make predictions one way or the other. It’s no doubt that future is bright for Pinterest, regardless of how the IPO goes. It’s a rare thing to find such a massive, accessible site that’s carved out such a specific, marketable niche. Time will tell how much this social gem manages to shine.

About the Author

Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

The Friday Hangout With Tonia Ries: The Evolution Of Realtime Marketing

I had a chance to participate in today’s Friday Hangout, a weekly program hosted by Janet Fouts, Adam Helweh, and Steve Farnsworth, to talk Realtime Marketing: what it means, what the benefits are, and where it’s going.

Some highlights:

  • Realtime marketing starts with listening: what are the conversations your customers are already having–and how can your brand add value?
  • The benefits of realtime marketing are all about increasing customer engagement and improving your customers’ experience with your brand.
  • All marketing platforms play a role in realtime marketing, not just social media. How can you customize your customer’s experience throughout the digital touchpoints with your brand?
  • Trends to watch for: the triggers and inputs that allow you to create a personalized, engaging customer experience will continue to multiply. And the listening tools will continue to improve and deliver greater scale when it comes to identifying conversations in which your brand can engage.

There’s lots more–check out the conversation in the recording below, and let us know what you think!

KLM Now Displays Social Media Customer Service Response Time

In other realtime airline news, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines today announced that it would begin displaying its social media team’s live response time in the header of its Twitter account and on the customer support page at It will also be visible on KLM’s global Facebook page shortly.

KLM Social Media response time

KLM offers customer service 24/7 in ten languages on Twitter, Facebook and VKontakte. This airline says it will also soon offer customer service on Google+ and Sina Weibo. KLM’s social media team handles about 30,000 messages each week.

In a blog post, the company’s SVP E-Commerce Martijn van der Zee was quoted as saying “we believe in the transparency of social media. Customers want to know what to expect from us. We now offer them real-time insight into our response time.”

The company announced the new policy in a tweet this morning, which has received overwhelmingly positive response.


Do you think more companies should be posting their social media response times?

Realtime Marketing Lab: Get In The Meeting Zone With Our Help Desk, Sandbox, And The Trendr Official #RLTM Networking App

Connect at #RLTMNext week’s Realtime Marketing Lab is all about learning about the latest realtime marketing tools and strategies. Got it. But it’s also an incredible opportunity for you to expand your network and connect with other professionals who are just as passionate about being on the cutting-edge of the latest marketing trends as you are.

This is an amazing community. Realtime marketing is hard–but you know that it also represents a huge opportunity to create new, deeper relationships with your customers, relationships that are more meaningful because they’re based on a shared experience.

The people who will be in the room on Monday at Realtime Marketing Lab are people who will define the future of marketing: how the technology will develop to meet your needs, the strategies that brands will use to connect with customers in the coming years, and the answers tricky issues, from new business models (paid, earned, owned, anyone?) to concerns around privacy and data ownership.

So as much as I hope you will come out of the event fired up about how much you’ve learned, I also hope you use it as an opportunity to meet new colleagues, make new friends, and build new relationships of your own.

Here’s how:

1. Schedule meetings with our Help Desk Experts:

Seriously – this is an incredible group of people, with expertise in all facets of digital marketing. Even if you don’t have specific questions or problems to solve, spending 10 minutes creating a relationship with people like Maddie Grant or Bryan Kramer or John Mullin or Marshall Sponder will expand your brain, but also give you a connection that will pay dividends for years to come.

2. Schedule meetings with the tools in the Sandbox:

When do you ever have a chance to test-drive 12 of the coolest technologies out there all in one day? I don’t care if you think you need a new analytics platform or not, you will be blown away just by seeing what’s possible with these tools. Pick at least 3 and schedule those meetings now. And some of the smartest people in the industry are working for these vendors right now, so you’ll meet some really cool people, too.

3. Download Trendr, our official mobile networking app, and meet other #RLTM 2013 attendees:

Trendr combines geo-location and LinkedIn to help you connect with other participants who share your interests. Discover the right people to meet, find them at the Trendr Meeting Zone, and make an immediate referral via the Trendr app. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date!

 I look forward to meeting many of you on Monday. Who do you want to meet at Realtime Marketing Lab?

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