New viral trends pop up on social media constantly. They can be a fun way to show off the light-hearted side of your company, but choosing the wrong trends can be a major misstep. How can you know when to jump on the bandwagon or when to keep your distance? There are several guidelines to follow.
When to Trend:
The first step is to ask if it relates to your brand. It doesn’t have to be completely brand-specific, like the recent Law Enforcement Lip-Synch Challenge, but there needs to be a tie-in. Does it raise money for a charity you support, like the Ice Bucket Challenge? Is it a viral craze that can showcase the not-so-serious side of your business like the Mannequin Challenge or the Harlem Shake? If so, it might be a challenge worth taking.
Another good indication of what’s trend-worthy is looking at who’s doing it. Is your target audience embracing the challenge? Joining in is a great way to show that you share their interests and sense of humor. You should also keep an eye on your competitors. If everyone in your industry is going viral, you don’t want to be the spoilsport that’s left behind! (It’s even better if your company is the trend-setter!)
Finally, you should ask yourself if a viral trend will help you meet your social media marketing objectives. Are you looking to increase brand awareness or boost conversion? Participating in a viral trend, even if it’s just creating your own version of a popular meme, can be a great way to get your name out there and create a memorable impression.
When to Avoid:
While some viral trends could be beneficial for your business, you should stay far away from others. Avoid anything that feels forced or doesn’t relate to your brand. Your customers will know if you’re trying too hard to be trendy, and they won’t respond well to it. If you’re unsure about a viral challenge, trust your gut and sit that one out.
You should also do your research before participating in any viral trends and challenges. Sometimes controversy can arise in the wake of social media challenges, and you want to avoid controversy at all costs. And, obviously, avoid anything dangerous. Nobody wants to see your employees injured in the name of a viral video! (looking at you, KIKI Challenge and Cinnamon Challenge)
Finally, remember that viral trends have a VERY short shelf life. In fact, you may have already forgotten about some of the recent trends mentioned here! If you’re going to participate in a trend, make sure you do it before it’s past its prime. Nothing looks more desperate than trying to squeeze the last bit of life out of a tired trend!
Discover how a social media manager can keep you ahead of the trends and on track to meet your social media marketing goals.