The realtime the web has gotten quite a bit of buzz, but are you actually using the available tools?  There are several areas where you can apply using real-time data to affect your business and your social media marketing.  Use the real-time web to gather specific data.  Don’t let the amount of data at your fingertips paralyze your decision-making ability or your social media marketing strategy. Have a predetermined list of information you are looking for.  Use these suggestions to boost your business.

Find Targeted Prospects

Do a quick search of Twitter and type in a few keywords that signal a potentially interested customer.  If there are a few tweets where it looks like you can jump into a conversation, go for it.  Otherwise, just follow the folks who are chatting and perhaps there will be a need down the road.  Even if they don’t buy right away, you’re now following targets you know have an interest in what you do.

Track Industry Trends

Use real-time search engines like Sency, Icerocket, and One Riot to look at what the most popular information and links that are being shared about your industry, company, or products.  This can instantly offer advice about what your next blog post should be about, what customers are chatting about, and what customers are looking for.  It’s a good way to stay on top of competitors and get a feel for your industry.

Provide Customer Service

There are a good number of topics people chat about out on the web.  Naturally one of those is complaints.  Use monitoring tools available to scan the real-time web for any of your current customers having problems and take care of them.  Comcast and their Comcast Cares Unit are probably the most well-known company who uses Twitter for customer service purposes.  But I’ve been approached several times when tweeting about particular products.  Diffuse angry customers early.  You don’t know to want folks online going nuts over your product without any response from you.

Online Campaign Tracking

I use Clicky every day to track my website analytics.  I use Clicky rather than Google Analytics because Clicky is in real-time.  By keeping track of what links are drawing in the most traffic and what time of day, I know when and where to get the best ROI for links I share on the web.  This takes much of the social media marketing guessing game out of the equation.  You can use the service for free and I highly recommend it.

Instant Feedback

Maybe you have an idea for an event or a new product.  Why not bounce some ideas off of your networks and get the pulse before you go into dedicating a lot of time and money.  These obviously aren’t scientific surveys, but if this project is small you can get a feel if you start moving forward.

Information can often determine the difference between success and failure.  Utilize the real-time web to give yourself a winning advantage.  I’d rather know things that are going on as they happen than after the fact.  Become a true Real-Time Marketer by being smart and utilizing all of the tools in your belt.