If you are a content creator or marketing expert, trying to stay ahead of current social media trends can feel overwhelming to keep up. What is popular today might be gone tomorrow and another trend will take its place. To connect with audiences in authentic and meaningful ways, brands need to hone in on their social monitoring strategies. Additionally, brands should learn how to harness the power of prediction and quick reactions.
Monitor Current Social Media Trends
Let’s start with the basics. While scrolling through Twitter and Instagram might feel like enough, it’s important that content marketers leverage a social listening and analytics tool. This helps to gain a broader perspective on what’s trending.
You can’t rely on your own personal feed; algorithms are too personalized and targeted to give you realistic data. Instead of showing you what your audience is looking at, your individual social feeds display content targeted to you directly. (For example, when you Google a potential purchase and suddenly get targeted ads about it on every platform — not helpful for your business’s social media strategy).
Without a digital platform to broaden your perspective, you’ll only see a narrow picture of your audience’s needs, preferences and behaviors.
In addition to providing alerts for trending topics, these tools can sift through social content to see where your audience engages with your brand. You’ll also gain insights on the topics that appeal to followers and overall brand perception.
Two Questions You Need to Ask
When you’re building a social listening and engagement strategy, it’s essential to ask yourself two key questions:
- What matters to our brand?
- What matters to our audience?
The first question focuses on you: what does your brand stand for, and what kind of space do you want to be in? For a lawn care company, this might mean that you focus primarily on landscape renovations, outdoor gardening and lawn restoration.
In contrast, the second question focuses on where your audience lives and their interests. In this example, the audience might search for tips on how to improve their lawn’s appearance or inspiration images for their next big outdoor project.
When you’ve defined the answers to each of these questions, use them as a guide to help you quickly determine what trends you want to monitor. If a newly trending topic relates to your business (see question 1) and is relevant to your audience (see question 2)—that’s the sweet spot!
In addition to defining what spaces matter to both your organization and community, ensure that your company goals are clearly defined, so it’s easy to marry any future social action to an intended outcome. Find a shared opportunity: is there a way for your brand to engage with and build a trend while effectively accomplishing a company goal?
For example, if you find a trend that relates to your business and you have a goal of increasing awareness by 20 percent, creating content around that topic will improve your social standing.
Know When To Say No
Once you’re successfully monitoring current social media trends and have a strategy in place, it’s easy to feel like you need to be a part of every conversation. But that’s not always the most effective way to build a strong presence.
“I’ve found that the key to social monitoring is finding a balance between responding and observing,” shared Adrian Falk in a recent Forbes interview. “Some believe that responding to every single mention of their product is a good idea, but you can easily get lost in the weeds and not really see the big picture. Take the opportunity to step back and see the broader trends of reactions, and then use the perspective you gain to create your marketing and PR strategies.”
In fact, according to social monitoring data, the top two reasons a consumer will unfollow a brand are poor quality of product (49 percent) and irrelevant content (45 percent).
What does this mean for your organization? Just because you can participate in a trend doesn’t mean you should. Relevancy is key. Use a strategic framework to gauge whether or not the content you share helps or hurts your standing with social followers.
The Need for Speed
Social media trends come and go quickly. As such, you need to hone in on your brand’s position and goals so that you can make informed decisions in 30 minutes or less. If you have doubts about engaging, don’t. A new conversation will surface soon! If you put time into monitoring trends, reading social forecasts and building a social brand foundation, you won’t have to hesitate when the right spike in engagement hits your dashboard.
Capitalizing on Current Social Media Trends
Social trends can be an excellent gauge for audience discussion or help your team generate future content. Keep an “always-on” mentality when it comes to your social listening. If you need extra help, reach out to our team of experts at 10X digital to craft a strategy that connects you with clients, increases brand awareness and drives the conversions you need to succeed.