What to Consider Before Tapping into Trending Topics

A great way to stay caught up on industry developments is by monitoring trends and setting up social media alerts. Trending topics can become a source of inspiration and may guide you to your next Facebook post, news release, tweet or pitch angles.

A quick skim of Twitter today, reveals that the following topics are trending:

This summer saw the fleeting #PokemonGO phenomenon take over cities around the world and a number of brands were quick to use this trending topic to engage users across social media.

 

While these brands saw increased engagement as a result of tapping into a trending topic, before jumping on the bandwagon, be sure to keep these points in mind.

 

Know the origin of the hashtag in question

Simply put, it’s foolish to join a trending conversation without knowing the origin of the hashtag. At best, it can cause embarrassment and at worst, it can cause offence, even serious harm to your brand.

When a frozen food brand joined the trending #WhyIStayed conversation, it was clear the hashtag was not researched before tweeting. The hashtag is actually used by domestic violence survivors to recount the stories of their abuse, bringing awareness to this extremely sensitive and important issue. The brand sincerely apologized, indicating they were unaware of what the hashtag was pertaining to before they tweeted.  It’s quite easy to look up the meaning of a hashtag, so excuses and apologies (however sincere) may not cut it: the social media world can be unforgiving.

 

Is the topic relevant to your audience?

Although it may seem like a great idea to join in with the #PokemonGo sensation, is it really relevant when your goal is to reach women over 60? Joining a trending topic can be fun and timely but you need to catch the attention of your target audience rather than #CatchEmAll.

To dig deep and uncover the topics and subjects that resonate most with your target audience, you need to do more than check Twitter Topics. While Twitter Topics is a great source to find out what people are talking about, it doesn’t report what your targetaudience is talking about or even interested in. With Cision’s Social Listening software, you can not only uncover what interests your target audience, you can uncover insights about potential new audiences, competitors and your industry as a whole.

 

Is this trend worthwhile?

Before you craft an entire strategy around a trending topic, think about the timeliness of this subject. Have people just started talking about it or is the trend coming to the end of its 15 minutes of fame? You don’t see many posts referring to #PokemonGo today because nobody is talking about it anymore. It’s important not to dwindle resources creating content that will not be usable next week. Striking the balance between when to join a trending conversation and when to walk away is a fine art marketers need to master.

 

Find a new angle in a trending topic

Hootsuite recommends that although you should always know the context of the trending topic you are going to discuss, sometimes reframing the angle to discuss a topic relevant to your brand can be an extremely effective tactic. Our advice? While there have been a number of success stories using this tactic, it is tricky to successfully implement and brands should proceed with caution.

A brand who got it right? In the midst of 2015’s #TheDress debate, (it was white and gold!) The South African Headquarters of the Salvation Army saw a prime opportunity to generate some engagement around a more serious topic.

The tweet garnered attention from fashion magazine Cosmopolitan, New York’s Adweek and youth-orientated UK news site BBC Newsbeat. TV and radio stations around the world also ran items about the campaign.

CNW’s white paper, How to Leverage Social Media Alerts and Trends, examines the power of social media alerts and trends and how they should be used.

To request a demo and see exactly what Cision Social Intelligence software can do for your company, click here. 



Copyright © 2017 Cision Canada Inc.
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