How marketers can maximise the potential of trending topics
In the effervescent realm of the internet, where information is no sooner shared than it is rendered obsolete by a fresh wave, trends have a unique capacity to draw and hold the attention of millions for extended periods. Fuelled by hashtags, re-tweets, and likes, they explode across social media sites in a matter of minutes and remain there for days — an eternity in internet terms.
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Such trending topics afford marketers an irresistible opportunity to be heard by hundreds and thousands of people without spending the large amount of time and effort that's needed while taking the conventional route. But that's not to say that trend marketing is an inherently easy thing to do. For all its advantages, it does have a few dangerous roadblocks and pitfalls. Marketers need to learn to avoid these if they are to make the most of trending topics, and here are three tips that can help you create a successful trend marketing campaign:
Recognise and research
Identifying trending topics is naturally the first step in trend marketing. Since trends have the tendency to blow up on the internet in an extremely short time, you are presented with only a small window where you can capitalise on a topic's popularity. Using tools like Google Trends and the trending sections on Facebook and Twitter is the best way to monitor trending topics. Once you've identified a trending topic, the next thing you need to do is research. You need to find out the what, why, who, where, when, and how of the trending topic to better understand it. Don't do that and you run the risk of posting something that can cause irreparable harm to your brand in the unforgiving world of social media. This one tweet from DiGiorno Pizza is a good example of what happens when you don't properly research a trending topic.
Be unique and stay relevant
One very important thing to remember about trend marketing is that it isn't always possible, or advisable, to associate every trending topic with your brand. If you can't establish a clear connection between your brand and a trending topic, it's best to let it go. Forcing a connection for the sake of it will surely be seen as a transparent gimmick to increase brand visibility and will hurt your brand's reputation. If you can establish a clear connection, however, remember to craft a unique message that's relevant to the topic at hand. Also, keep the message as clear and concise as you can. Avoid using too many hashtags or a lengthy copy that's time-consuming to read. You can expect several other brands to jump on the trending bandwagon and you need your content to stand out in the deluge. Humour, when it is suitable, is one of the best ways to do this.
Back it up with advertising
If you've managed to establish a clear connection between a trending topic and your brand, it can be beneficial to supplement your marketing efforts with advertising. Unless the trend is a fleeting one, launching an advertising campaign around the topic can help bolster brand awareness, drive traffic, and increase conversions. You can use social media ads to promote the content that you've already created around the trending topic. You can also create a special offer based on the topic and then promote that on social media sites. However, be sure that you don't go overboard with trend advertising. Your customers should receive exactly what your ads promised them. Fail to do that and your brand's reputation and credibility will take a dire hit.
Time is of the essence when it comes to trend marketing. There's no guarantee that a topic that's popular today will be popular tomorrow (or even in a few hours). So, if you are ever planning to launch a marketing campaign around a trend, remember this quote by George S. Patton: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”