It can be tough for small businesses to get enough attention to grow, especially when it comes to social media marketing. While social media allows anyone to have a voice, larger brands often dominate the conversation. Drawing all the eyes and stealing away your target audience before you have the opportunity to show them your value.
However, you can circumvent this process by capitalizing on the latest social media trends. Indeed, social media trends can act as a spotlight for your small business. Allowing you to enjoy extra attention and connect with your target audience before someone else.
Today, let’s break down how you can leverage social media trends effectively, as well as some tactics you can use for your broader social media marketing strategy.
Build and Grow Stronger Relationships with Social Media Marketing
At its core, social media platforms are communication channels you can leverage to grow your small business. And help you engage with your target audience. In fact, social media is a new type of communication channel unlike anything else before.
It blends traditional advertising with a more personal type of engagement that modern audiences respond very well to. Through strategic social media communications, you can build and grow stronger relationships with your customers. You can get visitors to check out your website or store. And convert those visitors into long-time brand followers… all by making real, human connections with them.
This stands in stark contrast to traditional advertising, which relies on introducing a problem and then advertising your solution to that problem, and media relations, which emphasizes controlling your message and communicating only through predetermined, planned events.
If you want your small business to truly succeed in the competitive business environment. You’ll need to use social media trends to amplify your small business’s brand and value, plus connect with your audience. Social media may play a key role in your crisis communication plan.
Fortunately, even if you’re a small business without much social media weight right now, you can leverage trends to jumpstart your social media presence.
What Are Social Media Trends?
Social media trends come in two types:
• Broader industry or technological trends. For example, live streaming is a recent social media trend that doesn’t look like it’s going away
• Smaller subject-based trends, like posting on social about memes or recent newsworthy events
You can and should leverage both social media trends to join broader cultural conversations and make your brand relevant to your target consumers.
How to Find a Smart Trend
Of course, not all trends are worth your time and effort. You need to know how to identify smart trends to leverage for your social media posting and engagement.
To find a smart trend, ask yourself these questions when considering a new trend on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform:
• Does the trend’s content or theme match with your brand identity? For example, if you want to jump on a trending meme to make a post on Facebook, is the meme family-friendly like your brand or a little more risqué?
• If it’s a technology trend, can you afford to jump on the bandwagon and purchase the equipment necessary to join the conversation? Live streaming is a good example
• Will joining the trend and posting about it engage with your target audience? If there’s a trend but it’s primarily popular with teenagers in your target audience is middle-aged married people, it may not be worthwhile to focus on that particular trend
By answering these questions, you’ll be able to identify the best trends to prioritize as you work on your social media engagement.
Know Your Audience and Know Your Hashtags
It’s also crucial that you know your audience and how hashtags work in social media marketing.
The latter was popularized on Twitter; the platform uses #words to connect trending conversations and posts. In keeping with the above concept, you should know what your target audience prioritizes. And how they spend their time online before jumping onto different trends and posting about them.
Say that your brand makes high-quality shoes for sports enthusiasts. In that case, hashtags like #fit, #summersweat, and #runwithme are all great examples of hashtag trends that you might leverage to get conversations rolling about your brand.
Don’t simply follow trending hashtags that pop up on social media newsfeeds. Doing so can actually alienate you from your core audience and make them try out other brands.
Should My Business Engage with This Social Media Trend?
By the same token, always ask yourself whether you should engage with a given topic before posting social media content about trending ideas.
For instance, if you sell family-friendly accessories or devices, you probably don’t want to engage with topics or trends that are more adult-oriented or that may use certain types of humor. If you make a bad judgment call, you could irritate your core audience and make them trust your brand less.
But considering whether your business should engage with a given topic can be positive as well. By thinking carefully about your brand’s theme and identity. As well as the interests of your core audience, you’ll be able to identify the best trends that are most likely to drive engagement across your social media profiles.
How Do I Find Out What’s Trending on Social Media?
With all that being said, you need to know how to find trending topics on social media to take advantage of them in the first place.
Naturally, you can simply spend time on social media platforms and practice “social listening”. However, you may wish to hire a social media manager to do more targeted trend research. There are a variety of tools and platforms you can use to locate trends and jump on them before they saturate the Internet. Some of these tools and methods include:
Google Trends, a tool used by many brands to leverage search data to monitor trending topics
TweetDeck, a great tool you can use to monitor Twitter and keep an eye on various hashtags or personalities
Hootsuite, which offers a collection of tools to search across different social platforms
Tumblr, arguably the first website to start the trending process
Reddit, another social media site where lots of memes and other trending topics originate
Social Mention, a software tool that lets you track trends across different social media platforms simultaneously
Top Hashtags, which monitors hashtags trending on Instagram And more
As you work on integrating trending topics into your social media marketing. You’ll become better at knowing how and where to research new topics for your marketing efforts. As a bonus, many of these tools can be used as part of your issue management strategy to discover what people are saying about your brand.
What Are Examples of Social Trends?
Trends come in all kinds of forms… which is great for you since it means your brand definitely has some trends it can capitalize on no matter the industry.
For example, if your brand provides hair products, you can jump on trends such as celebrities trying out new hairstyles or using hair products. Follow various celebrities that often style their hair in wild and unpredictable ways and whenever they do something interesting. Plug your product and connect with people talking about the new hairstyle.
Or maybe you offer tech gadgets to IT professionals. In that case, trending events like recent cybersecurity announcements or similar developments are great sparks for conversations you can jump into to offer your team’s two cents, plus show your tech gadgets to the people most likely to buy from your shop in the first place.
In total, social trends can encompass:
- Memes, like shared jokes
- News developments
- Celebrity gossip or actions
- TV shows and episodes
- World events
- Food crazes And more
Local Targeting Will Service You best
While there are tons of different trending topics running at any one time, your small business will be best served. If you target trending events or hashtags that relate to your local audience. This is doubly true if you are a local business that gets most or all of its customers from a relatively small geographic area.
Fortunately, you can use local targeting on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms to learn what your target audience prioritizes in their products and lifestyle. Then you can simply pay attention to news or development in your local area. And be among the first to talk about trending topics as they crop up.
We All Love Stories
Regardless, the power of social media trends is derived from the fact that all humans love stories. From our earliest days, we told stories around our campfires and gradually developed the storytelling framework to include writing, music, dancing, and eventually film.
While social media trends aren’t exactly stories, they are evolving things that often have beginnings, middles, and ends. Be sure to jump on trends quickly – if a trend is already looking like it is fizzling out, don’t spend your time talking about it since your social media marketing effort can be better used elsewhere.
If You Are Not Authentic, It Will Show
Additionally, always be sure to post social media content authentically. Many companies are rightly mocked for being inauthentic when they jump on trending topics or ideas and are clearly just doing so for clicks or exposure.
Instead, your small business should only jump on trends that you and your team authentically care about. Then, when you make content about those trending topics, your viewers or readers will connect more deeply to your brand.
Video Content is Quick and Engaging
Speaking of viewers, consider making video content on social media whenever possible. Video content, unlike static image-based or text content, is very quick and engaging and has a very high conversion rate when crafted well.
With social media marketing, you don’t even have to make expensive ads. Simply posting video content from your brand in general, or from your office or warehouse. Can do wonders for boosting your target audience’s engagement with your business. Of course, make sure you or your employees are dressed for the camera – making video content that’s too candid can make your brand seem amateurish.
What is Trend Hijacking?
At all costs, avoid trend hijacking, which occurs when a business starts using a trend just to add to their marketing efforts. This can theoretically work out well by increasing traffic and attention to your business. But it can also backfire spectacularly. In most cases, companies that engage in trend hijacking just end up seeming inauthentic.
What is a Brand Hijack?
On the flip side, you may eventually experience brand hijacking as you become better with social media marketing. This is a good thing.
In a nutshell, brand hijacking means your consumers are taking ownership of the brand and may even start to advertise for you.
Brand hijacking can be a way to increase consumer engagement with your brand and improve the loyalty of your audience. It’s also a kind of consumer advocacy, which can be of great benefit in a crisis.
Are You Ready to Enter the Conversation?
As you can see, social media trends are accessible to everyone and you can and should use them to improve your small business’s presence online.
For the best results, you’ll want to contact Murnahan Public Relations. Our knowledgeable team can help you hire the best social media management and staff for your small business. To provide important media training, assist with crisis communication and management, and help you strategize your social media engagement practices for maximum success.
Contact us today and see how our consulting firm can help you!