Let’s start with the big question: Are trends worth following? Or are they a waste of time?
Trends are trends for a reason. For something to be a trend it must hit on 3 things:
- Entertainment: laughing, crying, etc.
- Relatability: most people can see themselves or someone they know in the content.
- Shareability: they inspire people to share it in some way because of the 2 above factors.
Here’s the thing with trends – they are short-lived. But their short lifespan isn’t a reason to count them out of your marketing strategy. Experimenting with and jumping on trends is a fast and easy way to get followers on social media. BUT… please DO NOT chase trends JUST for the sake of followers.
If you’re going to play the trend game to create content to promote your business… on social media, here’s what you need in place FIRST…
FIRST: You need a plan for how to use the trend for your niche and for your audience.
In other words, how to make it entertaining, relatable, and shareable for YOUR target audience. This may mean tweaking it a little by putting your own spin on it. If you still use the thing that made it trendy (a sound, a hashtag, a dance move, etc) you’ll be fine. Note that dance moves are not required!
Pro-Tip: Use hashtags on your trendy content that relate to the trend but also relate to your target audience psychographically.
According to Hot Jar: Psychographics is the qualitative methodology of studying consumers based on psychological characteristics and traits such as values, desires, goals, interests, and lifestyle choices. Psychographics in marketing focus on understanding the consumer’s emotions and values, so you can market more accurately.
An example of a psychographic hashtag would be something that relates to their state of being, mindset, emotional perception of the world right now, etc. You’ve got to be SOLID on your target audience + their desire to understand what these hashtags could be. This blog from SproutSocial will give you tips for using hashtags in your social strategy.
SECOND: You need a plan for the caption that tells the new people what to do next.
Make it simple and direct them to FOLLOW you (not click the link in your bio). Because of the third thing…
THIRD: Have follow-up content planned.
Not everyone who meets you through the trend will follow you. That’s 100% to be expected. But a lot of them will and you can’t leave them hanging. Note these are extremely “cold” followers because they found you from a trend. They have no clue who you are because they are in the unaware phase. They just know you’re entertaining, relatable and shareable. That’s it.
The goal of your marketing after the trendy post is to educate and inspire. Because the whole point of social media is to cultivate relationships. (notice I keep mentioning this)
Spoiler Alert: The # of followers is irrelevant if you never engage with them.
This means you can’t solely rely on trends for your content strategy. Because what trends do is get you exposure… but it’s up to you to do something with that exposure and move them from unaware to the solution aware phase.
You can do this by sharing things that educate your audience (about what it is what you do and what it’s valuable and most importantly – how it solves THEIR problem) as well as inspire them to take action.
FOURTH: Repeat. See a trend. Use it when it makes sense.
Make sure you are maximizing your content creation time by using trends in a strategic way in your business for exposure and follows. Attempting to be trendy for the sake of being trending will make you feel like you’re trapped on a content hamster wheel which is exhausting. Remember – the long-term goal is to build relationships so you can make offers to those who recognize you are the expert to help them solve their problem.
Trends can be subtle or overt. The point is: they’re trends because they strike that somewhat universal chord (entertaining, relatable and shareable). Seeing how you can fit into that conversation in subtle and overt ways with your niche and target audience is how you can capitalize on trends.
Now it’s time to implement what you’ve learned and be trendy in the most strategic way possible.
On a bonus note. Have you seen Pinterest’s trends report?
It’s a good read to help you better understand Pinterest as a visual search engine.
Their trend report helps us as business owners understand why people are searching for when it comes to their personal and professional lives. This is incredibly insightful information you can take and use as you create your own content (and design your offers).
Understanding what people search for on Pinterest can give you insight into what people expect to receive from their experiences on social media. For example: loungewear is a predicted trend. Does this mean you should TALK about loungewear and why you are going to buy some? Not necessarily. But it DOES mean you could share a story (post or live) of yourself in loungewear starting your business day and make a joke about how comfy casual is the new biz casual. Who knows – you could start a trend.
Check out the report here. (This is a PDF.)