Pop culture trends and going viral.

Here’s how to do it well

It’s not uncommon to feel some reluctance around jumping on a viral trend. They’re unplanned, unpredictable and to get in on the action, your brand has to find a way to “fit” into a narrative that you didn’t create. That might sound like a good argument to write off memes and the like altogether, but let’s make the case for what it looks like to get left behind —

Imagine seeing a surgeon who hasn’t learned about the latest medical technology and procedures. Would you be comfortable staying in that doctor’s care? The same sentiment applies to social media marketing. Users who see a social media page using old techniques and ignoring pop culture will eventually get turned off by that brand entirely. It’s a recipe for becoming irrelevant to younger, up-and-coming audiences.

So we’ve piqued your interest — now, how do you “go viral”?

First and foremost, you’ve got to do your research. Before you hop on a trend, dig into the source and the context. You also have to consider how a piece of content may be interpreted by different audiences. It’s always wise to run a trend-driven post by your peers and wait for their input — it might just be your saving grace. Once you have a process in place for risk management, it’s time to dive into what’s got people talking.

You’ve heard the saying “good things never last” — well consider that the law of land where marketing and memes intersect. To authentically qualify as part of “the trend,” your team will need to collect and execute posting the content in 24 to 48 hours. After that, a trend can start to become oversaturated and, frankly, tired. If you want to keep audiences engaged and connected, you must maintain your social media accounts with proactivity. Here’s some do’s and don’ts to jumping on trends:

Do crackdown on fake news.

Now you might say, “Obviously?” But posting fake news in a facetious way has become a popular form of content marketing. You don’t need to be serious 24/7, just make sure your audience knows when you are joking.

Do keep things neutral.

While politics might be an easy target for memes, it’s best to stay out of those conversations. Overly politically charged trends can result in a PR mess for your brand.

Don’t focus only on sales.

Consumers want to feel a connection to your brand, and if they don’t feel that, you are not relevant to them. This is a way for you to include them in more of your brand story without pushing another ad to their feed.

Do stay relevant.

Those are the keys to keeping up with trends. Don’t be afraid to take risks, just take the time to discern a good risk from a bad risk.

In summary, keeping tabs on social media trends in your day-to-day marketing strategy can help your brand appear relevant and informed, while giving you access to digital conversations you otherwise might have been excluded from. Be certain, however, that your timing and involvement is appropriate for your brands image.