As technology and marketing strategies are changing, it’s evident that some businesses are adapting better than others. And what I mean by this, is that some businesses are willingly changing as they see their industry transforming, while others, appear to be a little more reluctant. And, often, those who are more reluctant to adjust their marketing strategy don’t see as much success as those who do. While convincing a business who is already adopting new technology and digital marketing methods ‘why their business should follow social media trends’ is easy, it is still a question that many business owners need to hear the answer to. Especially when it comes to their social media presence.
First Of All, What Is #Trending?
It’s a play on the verb ‘to trend,’ meaning a general direction that something is moving towards. And in 2019, it focuses on what’s popular online among the masses, specifically on social media. This can include songs, dances, strategies, hashtags, and events that the majority of users would have insight about.
Why It’s Time To Jump On The Bandwagon
Following suit isn’t always a bad thing. While many businesses are often encouraged to be different and separate themselves from others in their industry, that’s not exactly the mentality you need for your social media marketing. In fact, to see success, your business needs to be able to identify trends and follow them when it’s appropriate. Especially when you notice other businesses doing and seeing success from it.
Give Your Audience What They Want, You’ll Stay Relevant In Their Eyes
When you find yourself trying new things and following trends with the hopes of improving your business, you’ll become more relevant in the eyes of your followers. Being able to use their interests to gain their attention online will keep them thinking about your business in comparison to others. For example, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, a Burlington bakery, is always staying on top of social media trends. Whether it’s using hashtags, discussing current topics or just plain out trying new visually appealing things on their accounts, it’s always gaining my attention as I scroll through my feed. Causing me to;
- Always want to engage with their posts,
- Make them a staple in my mind,
- Think of them first when I’m craving a cupcake.
How To Use #Trending To Your Advantage
1. Don’t Follow Social Media Trends For The Sake Of It.
Take that trend and shape it to your business as your business may not be able to work every trend into their social media marketing strategy appropriately. Failing to appropriately shape it can not only bring negative criticism, but cause followers to unfollow you. While this may scare many business owners to steer clear of social media trends, let me tell you that most trends can generally be adopted into your strategy. For example, let’s take a look at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took social media by storm in the summer of 2014. At this time #icebucketchallenge became a trending hashtag on nearly every social media platform and encouraged users to douse themselves in bone-chilling water to raise awareness. While many of the videos have appeared to be solely focused on individual users taking part in it, businesses who were following trends online took advantage of what it could do for them. Specifically how taking part in this trend could not only help raise awareness for ALS research, but it could hypothetically boost company culture, provide content to post online, and help their PR. So this just goes to show that even though something may first appear to be a non-professional trend, it can, in fact, be shaped to work for the social media strategy of many businesses.
2. Use Strategy.
Specifically, how your social media marketing strategy should change in correlation with the algorithms of the platforms you’re using. For example and in case you haven’t heard, Facebook is always changing their algorithms, and this has in fact forced many business pages to work harder to get their content seen. To combat this change, you must follow the trend of implementing new strategies in your social media marketing. Strategies that attempt to curb how the platform is changing include;
- Uploading more video content directly onto Facebook,
- Encouraging followers to ‘react’ or have more meaningful interactions with posts,
- And even paying Facebook to boost posts.
3. Focus On Current News.
Specifically, focusing on how users are more likely to search a topic, word or phrase that is trending on social media to either learn more information about it, or see what others online are saying about it. For example, #WednesdayWisdom on both Twitter and Instagram are often used by businesses who create motivational or philosophical posts and use the hashtag to gain more traction and increase their organic reach. So in theory, using a trending phrase or hashtag that you know is, in fact, popular on the day you are posting it, will encourage users to see it. So whether it’s an inspirational business quote or even a helpful tip, there are many ways to use trending hashtags or topics to your advantage to not only appear knowledgeable, but become visible.
For some, it’s easier than others. But if you need a crash course, keep reading.
1. Stay Updated.
Personally, I find this to be easy for businesses as it only requires them to follow current news and pop culture events by scrolling on social media, following news sources or even staying updated on what their friends are posting. So the next time you see your team browsing Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you may want to embrace it (to a certain extent) because it’s more likely than not, that they will see reoccurring messages or topics on their home feeds. And when your team sees these #trending topics or ideas, it may spark an idea of how your business can incorporate them into your social media strategy.
Apart from physically scrolling through social media, you can also learn a lot about trending strategies and what your business should be doing by surfing the web or speaking to professionals in the industry. As it takes time to know what is going on and to stay on top of trends (and algorithms), sometimes it can be easier to speak with someone who specializes in social media and social media trends to tell you exactly what you should be doing and how you can do it.
And lastly, to truly become #trending, you need to stay observant. So while you’re scrolling through feeds, investigating competitors business pages and googling, if you see your target audience doing something specific, incorporate it into your strategy. For example, if you see your target audience using emoji’s, USE THEM ✅! If you see your customers tagging locations in their Instagram posts, ENCOURAGE THEM to tag your business and take photos AT your business 📱! If you’re starting to notice that you’re only posting images and your organic reach on social is decreasing but other businesses who are posting videos are getting amazing engagement, IMPLEMENT VIDEO into your strategy 📹! Being a business who is successful on social media takes time, and a lot of it is trial and error.
Be Wary Of Social Media Trends
While the end of this quick ‘how to’ lesson is nearly finished, it’s important that every business knows to be wary of social media trends. Just like with any information that you post online, you should always be cautious about what you’re posting. The wording, tone, images, links, anything you post should be cautiously reviewed as some content may, in fact, bring negative criticism to your business, even if the topic is trending! So be careful and think about whether your posts embody your brand, your goals as well as your audience. And always, research a trend before you hop on the bandwagon. You may find that certain events, hashtags, or even topics may not be appropriate for your business to discuss online in certain ways, or at all.