3 Steps to Responding to Trends on Social Media

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One of the major benefits to social media marketing is the ability to capitalize on relevant trends to get in front of more people. However, it is important to keep in mind your overall social strategy before jumping on every trending conversation. There are 3 key components to this aspect of social media marketing: (1) resources for identifying trends (2) strategic mindset to determine which trends your brand should move on, and (3) quick and nimble team to execute on the trend. This post will go further in detail about those three major components.

Step 1: Listening/Trend Discovery

Obviously, the first step in the strategy of responding to trends is identifying what is trending. There are two components to trend discovery: a listening tool and your community manager. Both tools and the person(s) in your channels are equally important to identifying trends. Social listening tools operate based on a specific search query that is entered. You can set parameters or filters within the tool to determine what is trending on a specific platform, for your competitors, or within certain geographic areas. There are many tools that offer social listening and determining the right tool will depend on your listening needs. Your community manager will also play a large role in trend identification. Since they are in the channels all day, they can see what is trending across the social space, but also, more importantly, what is trending with your fans and followers. The community manager can then raise these trends to the larger team with a recommendation on how to proceed.

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Step 2: Knowing When to Jump in on a Trend

Once the trend has been identified, the next step is determining whether the brand should act on it or ignore it. This is a crucial step as many brands have been ridiculed for jumping on trends that are not at all relevant to them. During this evaluation stage, look back at your social strategy. Ask yourself if the trend falls under a category of topics your brand would talk about, even if it was not a trend. If it’s a far stretch, I would recommend dropping it. If it aligns under your social strategy, proceed to Step 3. It is important to keep in mind that not every trend is going to be relevant for your brand. In my opinion, it is not worth sacrificing your social brand essence and reputation for a few extra impressions.

Step 3: Executing to the Trend

Once you have decided to jump on the bandwagon, timing is everything. Most trends have a short shelf life. You are looking at anywhere from a few hours to a day before the trend fades. This is where a quick and nimble team comes in to play. The community manger will likely provide their initial recommendation to responding to the trend. Internal alignment and creative assets need to be turned around quickly and posted. Once live, the community manager and metrics team should monitor performance for any optimizations that need to be made. Insights should be shared to the larger team to better inform trend decisions in the future. Below is an excellent example of participating in a trending conversation, executed by our client Go Red For Women.

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We would love to help you develop a social strategy to determine relevant trends for your brand. Let us know how we can help by getting in contact with us.

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