Watching trends on social media
Social media, at its foundation, has been predicated on a social trend of sharing and connecting with people online. Rightfully so, social media trends come and go so quickly that sometimes you’ll miss a trend by just hopping on another.
Here are three things to consider before participating in a social media trend:
1. Brand Alignment
While it is very tempting to hop on every trend that you see on social media, brand managers must be selective on those they choose to follow. It’s important to know your brand’s tone and don’t switch it up just to fit in a trend. Many times, social media creates a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) that compels us (brands) to do what everyone else is doing for the sake of not feeling “left out.”
Some trends may be better off forgoing. For
example, if you are a makeup brand the 2015 #DontJudgeChallenge may have been tempting to hop on. The challenge took Instagram and Twitter by storm as the challenge appeared to be a trend geared towards acceptance and judge-free attitudes. It was quickly proven to be a body-shaming fest. Participants posted videos putting on socially “unattractive” features such as uni-brows, acne, glasses and braces then “revealing” themselves to be attractive with a visual of them flaunting nice hair and clear skin.
A make-up brand could have found the challenge a great opportunity to highlight their cosmetic products and the “beauty-enhancing” features they each have. With no research behind a trend
or popular social media conversation, brands can find themselves in trouble by simply wanting to be “cool.”
What, if any value, will joining this conservation, or participating in a trend bring to your brand? Sure it may bring some more brand awareness and possibly engagement but what good are the potential new followers if they are not your target market? Using generic trending topics that have nothing to do with your brand’s niche, will only get you engagement from random people who (more times than not) are more interested in the conversation than your brand itself.
For example, if you are a medical brand, you shouldn’t be hopping on fashion or beauty trends unless they somehow relate to health topics. Joining in conversations where you don’t belong doesn’t add value and but can also devalue your brand by turning off loyal customers. Think about what value jumping on a trend will bring to your brand and your audience as a whole.
Before hopping onto any trend or joining any conversation, what is the purpose of doing so? Are you looking for more followers? Do you want more people to head to your website? Or are you aiming to get a certain number of comments on your Instagram posts? These questions are important to ask and answer yourself so that you can not only know if you should participate in a trend but most importantly, what trend(s) should you participate in? Narrowing down your content goals by metric helps take out the guesswork of trend participation. Most importantly, don’t be a “trendjacker”.
Always remember: Good brands follow patterns and adapt to trends