There is no loftier goal in marketing than to be a trendsetter. However, inventing the wheel can be tricky. If someone already has the attention of the audience you are seeking, there’s no reason not to ride that wave. Using trends in your marketing strategy can be a great way to catch your audience’s attention.
Why Be a Follower?
Obviously, we’d all like to be the one to start the trends. But if your creativity fails you for a moment, it’s okay to use what’s already trending. There are several reasons why.
The algorithms that determine which posts a social media site will show to any given audience are largely calculated by how active the posting page already is. SM likes to reward those who are most active because these are the brands that are using their site. Skip a few days of posting, and your post visibility drops dramatically. Post daily for best results. That’s a lot to ask your weary marketing mind, so some of your content can come from elsewhere.
It’s Fun for Your Audience
People will stop reading your posts every day if all you post is information about your brand. Give your audience a laugh once in a while and they will keep checking back for more.
It’s What People Are Already Looking At
So they might as well be looking at you. By definition, a trend is a new development in the way people are behaving. Like a herd of cattle all going in one direction. Might as well steer them in the direction they are already going.
Spotting a Trend
The easiest way to know what’s trending is to visit Twitter and look for hashtags. There is a place when you first open the app that tells you what’s trending in your area and may even rank the trends for you. Click on the hashtag, and you will see all posts linked to it. Read some of those posts to see if the trend is something that you can turn around into something related to your brand. For example, if the trend is about a popular Hollywood couple breaking up, and you are marketing something for its durability, you might make a post that says, “Our shoes will last longer than #PopularCouple’s relationship!” Get a laugh out of your audience, and you’re golden. And yes, be sure to use that hashtag, so that everyone who wants to read about the trend will see it.
Just because an idea, song, meme, etc. is trending doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right trend for your brand to attach to. As always, think about your audience. What’s funny or eye-catching to one group, may repulse another group. Lines between age groups, particularly with children, are very specific. If you are marketing to teens, you better make sure that trend isn’t what appeals to a 10-year-old. At one time, Brittany Spears – although she may have been trying to appeal to teens – was all the rage with pre-teens and teens found her music babyish. And then, those who were older had no clue at all.
Also consider the duration of a trend, which is often about a nanosecond. (Or, in reality, more like a time period between 2 days and 2 weeks.) If you think about the trend as a wave, you’re fine to jump on anytime any time before or as that wave is cresting. Get into the game as that wave is crashing, and your marketing campaign will crash along with it. How do you know when the trend is crashing? It’s the point at which enough brands and media have mentioned the trend so much that the audience is sick of hearing about it, which as you can imagine is very difficult to predict. Review your content daily and see if you can read the pulse of your audience to get an idea of when your audience has had enough. You always want to be refreshing your content anyway.
If you have a great marketing trick, by all means, lead the way! Let everyone follow you. But if something else has caught fire, then go ahead and fan that flame. Stay hot, my friends.