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3 Pillars to Enhance Your Social Media Trend Participation

Society sways back and forth through trends on social media.

Whether you watch trends in fashion, technology, or politics; whether the trend is bullish or bearish (looking at you stock market watchers); the trends will inevitably change in a very short time.

Do you recall the #NoMakeup Selfie Challenge? The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Or even our very own Pinckney Balloon Challenge, which was created to promote lung cancer awareness and bring in donations for lung cancer research?

These are all examples of social media trends that take on a life of their own, thanks to the vibrant nature of social media.

Now, you may think of these trends as being “viral”, but there’s a distinct difference.

Viral refers to just one specific piece of information that has spread throughout the internet, while a trend has a common theme that multiple people take part in. IF a viral piece causes internet users to do a challenge or something related to the theme – it then becomes a social media trend.

Ok, so we know what social media trends are. Now, how can businesses use them?

Brands and businesses have HUGE opportunity to leverage trends to their benefit, but it all depends on the strategic execution. Riding trends can harvest expanded exposure and engagement for your business and brand. What brand or business wouldn’t want that?

Properly utilizing social media trends to catapult your business or brand towards the right audience and for the right type of engagement is where you can separate yourself from competitors.

Through reading and experience, I have discovered three important pillars to abide by in order for your social media trend to take off.

Pillar #1: When choosing to take on the social media trend, take into account the topic of the social media trend and all that it entails.

Hopping on to every trend just because it’s a trend can actually diminish the perceived value of your brand. The last thing you want to be seen as is scheming and unfeeling.

For example, a cigarette company would get a TON of backlash is they tried to ride the wave of PMI’s Lung Cancer Balloon Challenge. That’s like having a café sell free coffee for $1. You start to wonder, what’s really going on here.

Utilizing social media trends to a company’s advantage takes strategy. The social media trend must align with your brand’s values in a natural and organic fashion, not forced.

Pillar #2: Ensure maximum engagement means that timing must be impeccable.

Trends don’t just happen–there’s a process.

Before they’re a “trend” they go through a phase of gathering traction and momentum. That’s where people are becoming aware of the nature of the potential trend and it slowly takes a life of its own.

On the other end of this spectrum, that’s where the trend is “dying” or has “died” out. Enough people have participated in the trend, in their own capacity, and it is slowly phasing out and losing its relevancy or “hype”.

Now, going back to ensuring maximum engagement, that’s where your brand has to align itself with the trend during the “sweet spot”.  You want to hit the trend and your audience when the awareness and trend engagement is at its peak

Just like with a golf club, the “sweet spot” allows for the Smash Factor (engagement) to be improved and maximized, which will inherently increase distance (AKA – reach).

Now, just like with a golf swing, you’re not going to hit the sweet spot every single time. The goal is to get as close to that sweet spot as you can while keeping in mind that the further you are away (whether it be in front or behind the sweet spot), the less the distance (reach) will be.

Pillar #3: Build reliance and rapport.

Just like Pillar #1, every social media trend isn’t the trend for your business.

Hopping, or “trend-hopping” can be viewed as hard-selling and can actually turn your target market away from you.

Strategically picking which trends to align with and for how long, will do wonders for your business if executed at the right time. And just like with many things in life

So, all in all, social media trends can be great assets to any brand, if utilized properly. Proper utilization means to take into account these 3 pillars:

#1 Pillar:  Take into deliberation the topic of the social media trend and all that it entails.

#2 Pillar: Ensure maximum engagement means that timing must be impeccable.

#3 Pillar: Build reliance and rapport.

Speaking of Social Media, download our free Social Media Handbook and learn how to use Social Media to find new leads!