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The power of trends on social

Unpack the potential of social media to ensure your brand’s voice is heard above the clamor.

It’s amazing how far social media has transformed the way brands can interact with their customers. It’s become an essential tool to connect, build brand love, generate advocacy, and interact with customers. 

However, with over four billion active social media users worldwide, how can brands stand out amongst the noise? According to a 2023 HubSpot Global Social Media Trends Report, 127 percent of marketers deemed their social strategies effective when they identified and engaged with emerging social trends.  

What are social media trends? 

Trends are temporary. They change based on what’s happening in the world, and they do it in an instant; which is why jumping on trends at the very moment they’re happening is so important. Understanding them is like discovering a secret language. They are valuable for brands as they can provide insights into different audiences and their behaviours, which in turn, allows businesses to better understand their target demographic and adapt their social strategy and content accordingly. 

Trends live in posts, comments, stitches, duets, and retweets. They can be songs, dances, phrases, memes, or even movie scenes. They can come in a range of different forms, depending on the social platform you’re using. Something that works on TikTok may seem foreign to those using Facebook, but they all have the same end goal in mind – connection. 

What makes them all unique, and common, is that they all rely on a collective community engagement
that generates virality. An inside joke, a resonant socio-political moment, a local truth tied to the real world, whatever that thing is, it is deeply personal.

Tips for taking advantage of trends for the better (by platform)

Twitter: Twitter’s use of trending hashtags and topics make it really easy for brands to identify what’s trending and relevant on the platform. Here you can also get specific to search for particular keywords, and also identify conversations and threads to be apart of. 

TikTok: TikTok is a hub of trending sounds, songs, dances, memes, and phrases. You can keep track of trends by looking at the ‘Trending; page for inspiration and popular topics of the day or utilise TikTok’s Trend Discovery Tool where you can view trending songs, topics, hashtags, videos, and creators. 

Instagram: Utilise Instagram’s explore page to keep track of trends and find trending hashtags to use. To find them, type a keyword of phrase related to your niche or post and hit the search icon. Click on the ‘tags’ tab at the top of the screen to see all the relevant hashtags, and then scroll through the list of hashtags to see which ones are most-used. 

Instagram also makes it easy to see what songs are trending by displaying a tiny arrow next to the audio’s name. Save to your audio library and it’s that easy!  

Meta: Meta regularly shares reports such as its ‘Culture Rising’ report which looks at the latest key, emerging trends based on analysis of conversations across both Facebook and Instagram, along with insights from their global survey. Similar with other platforms you can utilise the search functions (just stay away from hashtags) and make use of Facebook Watch to keep track of trending Reels and Live content. 

There are many benefits in responding to trends including; 

Boost reach and awareness: Giving your brand the opportunity to reach new and engaged audiences. 

Improve engagement:Trend-based content contributes to higher video views, likes, followers, and comments. It’s a win, win! 

Showcase your personality and brand authority:Putting a unique spin on a trending topic or utilising a sound or challenge can help demonstrate your brand’s personality and cement yourself as an industry thought-leader. 

Drive sales and purchase: The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has been used 26.9 billion times. It’s now the first platform GenZ visit before searching for a brand or product. Engaging with trends is the best way to reach these audiences, which will in turn drive purchase. 

Just like any piece of content on social media, I suggest always pulling together a ‘trend strategy’ tied to your business objectives, to determine what you’re looking to achieve, e.g. expand your audience, or build positive two-way conversations. Listen to your audience, use social listening, and trust the experts, before jumping on a trend. This will help you consider what trends align with your strategy and your overall purpose. 

This article was originally published in the June/July 2023 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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About Hayley Burrows

Hayley Burrows is Head of Social at Dentsu Creative Aotearoa.

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