In this instalment of Inbound Marketing Discussions, we're going to look at trends and talk about if you can use them in your digital marketing campaigns.
As a business, your job is to solve people’s problems. In order to be successful, you need to make sure that people want or need what you're selling. Whether it's something crucial like a medicine that is needed by doctors or something recreational like a table top game that solves the issue of boredom, your product has to solve an issue and has to be desirable if your business is to succeed.
When something begins trending that means a lot of people are going to talking about and thinking about that topic. This can range from unexpected and completely random heavy snow at the beginning of March, to the latest social media challenge that is compelling young teenagers to munch on Tide Pods like they're some kind of fruit. Whether the trend is a positive story about raising awareness for the less fortunate among us or a negative event that brings to light important issues, as a business you have the choice of whether or not to use these as marketing opportunities.
Let's begin with the basics a look at what qualifies as a trend...
What Is A Trend?
|(of a topic) be the subject of many posts on a
social media website or application within a
short period of time.
|"I've just taken a quick look at what's trending
on Twitter right now"
The definition of the word trend (in the context we're talking about) is when a topic is the subject of many posts on a social media website within a short period of time. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook all use the term 'trending' as a big part of their platforms, either to display the most talked about topics or (in the case of YouTube) to promote various content creators they think deserves more awareness.
A trend can refer to anything that people are talking about which means it's hard to pinpoint whether trends are positive or negative. Some common subjects that may start trending include:
- A news story (Either political, tragic, informative or a positive story)
- A popular new product (I'm sure we all remember the fidget spinner craze)
- An unexpected natural event (Snow, storms, floods, natural disasters)
- Worldwide events (Like the Olympics, super-bowl and world-cup)
- A social media challenge (These range from attempts to raise awareness like the ice bucket challenge, to more dangerous challenges which should not be encouraged such as Kylie Jenner lip challenge)
- And of course Memes
As a business, we can look at these trending topics and determine whether they are opportunities to market a product or service in an exclusive and engaging way. When deciding whether this is a good opportunity or not, you should ask yourself a few questions:
Is This Trend Relevant To My Business?
Remember at the very beginning of this article when I mentioned that your business should solve a person’s issue? Well, this is where you really need to start thinking about it. Does your product or service solve an issue that the trend is focused around? If there's a powerful snowstorm coming that's going to leave a foot of snow on the ground, and you sell snow tires, then great! Your product is relevant to the trending topic and you can help solve the issue of travelling in the snow. However, if you sell hair shampoo, you aren't going to be solving anyone's temporary, snow-induced issues.
What Is The Lifespan Of The Trend Likely To Be?
Some trends can last weeks and some last barely a day. When considering whether it's worth acting on the latest trends, you need to first consider if you can produce content fast enough for it to still be relevant. If you predict that a trend may be a temporary discussion topic, you may only have time to put out a social post about it. However, if you foresee the trend lasting a long time you might be able to create more dramatic and engaging content such as videos or infographics.
Does The Trend Sit Within The Ethics Of The Brand?
Some trends are positive and some are negative. As a business, it's your job to decide whether a trend aligns with your business goals or whether it is controversial and against what your business stands for. It's important to seriously think about your buyer personas when marketing around a trend. Does your buyer persona feel the same way you do? It would be terrible too put out some content that goes against the ideals of your buyer personas and loses you the trust you spent weeks building. This is especially important when using political or family trends.
Now that we've looked into trends and how they can be used, I'd love to hear your thoughts on using trends in your marketing campaigns. Do you make use of trends? Do you carefully consider the implications of using a trend? If you do, what are the results you see from using trends?
Discuss these topics in the comments to see how your fellow business owners treat this topic.
Here at the JDR Group, we make use of trends when we want to show our support or celebrate a holiday. The results are always good and it's a great chance to raise engagement over a mutual topic.