4 Things to Keep in Mind Before You Hop on The Next Viral Social Media Trend

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Hopping on a trend can be a hoot, but you gotta be smart. Here are 4 things to keep in mind before you jump on the next social media trend.

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We’ve all seen those viral trends and memes that circulate the internet in an instant.

Whether it’s a hashtag challenge or an eye-catching meme, when something goes viral, it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon – and marketers especially feel this pressure to seize whatever advantage they can get for their brand.

Take the Barbie trend that swooped the internet in a genius marketing campaign (You can create your own asset here) as a great example. See below Planoly’s take and my personal take.

But before you go blindly galloping into Internet pandemonium, there are four main points to consider first.

In this blog post, I delve into why these considerations matter so much when determining whether or not to join a viral social media trend using the CARS acronym (because I am a marketer and I love a good old acronym).

How your community is responding to the trend

So, has your community joined the trend yet? If not, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe they just haven’t caught wind of it yet. But if you’re not seeing any love from your followers, then it might be time to reassess.

On the flip side, have you seen your competitors getting in on the action? Now, let’s be 100% clear. It’s not about you copying their take, use it as a compass to identify whether this trend is worth taking on.

Always start with alignment first: take some time to reflect, strategize, and who knows? You might just come up with your own spin on the social media trend.

Alignment and why you need to make a trend yours

When it comes to alignment, you don’t want to be a trend-chasing sheep who hops from one bandwagon to the next.

Your brand’s values and message should be at the forefront of any decision you make. Sure, adding a little humour can make your content more engaging, but if it doesn’t fit with your tone of voice or brand personality, it may be better left unsaid.

So before you jump on that latest viral craze, take a step back and ask yourself: is this aligned with my brand, or is it just an empty gesture?

For example, if you’re a fitness brand, you could take a viral dance challenge and turn it into a workout routine. By doing so, you’re making the trend more relevant to your audience and showing them how they can incorporate it into their lifestyle.

Relevance and how the social media trend fits in your strategy

Let’s get serious for a minute. Before you go spinning your wheels on the latest social media trend, stop and ask yourself, “Does anyone even care?”

Don’t waste your time and resources on something that your audience won’t give a hoot about.

When in doubt, add some value. Make it relevant to their pain points or sprinkle in some education. Heck, even show a little about yourself.

Another way to make a trend relevant to your niche is to show how it relates to your industry or product.

For example, if you’re a software company, you could use a popular meme to explain a technical concept in a fun and relatable way. By doing so, you’re helping your audience understand your product better and showing them that you’re in touch with what’s trending.

Social media trends saturation

Saturation. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except instead of porridge it’s trends. Is it too hot? Too cold? Or just right?

When it comes to trends, the question is:

  • has it reached its peak?
  • Or have just enough people hopped on board to make it worth your while?

It’s a fine line to walk when trying to stay on top of the latest craze without looking like you’re trying too hard. But hey, if you’re still rocking those skinny jeans from 10 years ago, then maybe you’re the real trendsetter. Or just really comfortable.

Either way, keep doing you.

Where to find out the next viral trend

  1. Social media platforms themselves – This might seem obvious, but social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook can be great sources for discovering the latest trends (we love our friends at Planoly for serious inspiration). So, get scrolling and keep your eyes peeled for what’s trending. Just be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole of bunny videos (just me? Okay then) and fail compilations.
  2. Influencers and content creators – You know those influencers and content creators who always seem to be one step ahead of the game? Yeah, follow them. Influencers and content creators often stay on top of the latest trends and pop culture references to create engaging content for their audiences. 
  3. News and entertainment websites – Finally, news and entertainment websites can be a great source of information on the latest trends and pop culture references. Websites like BuzzFeed, and Mashable, often cover trending topics in real-time, so keep an eye on their feeds for the latest updates!

How to hop on a trend when looking for post approvals

In our piece with Planable, we discussed in depth about how to hop on a trend when time is of the essence. For example, a great idea is to have specific guidelines in your social media playbook about trends and these sort of scenarios.

Let’s say your weekly content calendar goes through four levels of approval. You want your team manager, line manager and the client to approve the content. However, if it’s a real-time reaction, and it’s 10 pm on a Friday, then you need to have a clause in your social media playbook

miruna dragomir, planable

To trend, or not to trend? That is the question

To sum it up, jumping on trends and memes is no easy feat. Approach with caution, be mindful of your resources, and consider the CARS elements:

  • Connection
  • Alignment
  • Relevance
  • Saturation

If done right though, you can be sure to have a blast along with a little renown!

Just remember this one rule — when going after that trend or meme train make sure it fits like Goldilocks’ porridge – Not too cold or not too hot; just the right amount of flavour for your brand.

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