Any social media marketer knows that trends are a big part of staying up to date within the social scene. Even if you don’t retweet the latest memes or use the lingo of the week, all of these things sort of seep into us Internet-savvy folk by osmosis. Even those of us who stay on the technical side of things aren’t immune to Internet trends.
There’s nothing wrong with partaking in Internet trends on your personal accounts, whether you follow them religiously or just occasionally repost the occasional picture you find that’s amusing. However, whether or not business social accounts should break the mold and stay trendy is a much debated topic in the world of social media marketing. Essentially, should business accounts keep up with trends and use them, or is it inappropriate for businesses to reach this level of personal humor in what should be a serious space?
Being Trendy: Risks and Rewards
The first risk is that no one wants their business to be an out-of-touch grandpa on the Internet. This applies both to trying to be trendy and instead just being cringey, but they also fear that not following these trends can make their business seem dated.
First, understand that the businesses that do keep up with trends almost always fall into a purpose that is in line with being trendy to begin with. Why do fashion brands and millennial-focused companies do so well with trends? Well, it’s their job to be trendy in the first place. A B2B email program service or a security system dealer talking about the latest Twitter viral content? It’s not as attractive by nature.
Viral vs. Trendy
However, it’s time to examine what exactly a trend is on social media — the immediate instinct is to think of something more funny or viral, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes a trend can be as simple as a new emerging best practice or a hashtag that isn’t as much a joke as it is a way to group topics together.
Remember: viral content is usually on trend online, but online trends aren’t always viral.
Hashtags are perhaps the best way to look at trends that can be accurately used by businesses, and these are indeed trends worth keeping up with. You may not need to know all of the latest Internet in-jokes, but you do need to know your hashtag mapping stats. Sites like Hashtags.org can tell you all you need to know about what hashtags are currently in use.
Trends aren’t always global, either. For instance, what’s trending in the B2B Facebook marketing world probably won’t be trending in B2C retail Twitter circles. A lot of different factors go into where, when and who should use these trends. It’s always vital to examine your business and ask yourself some key questions:
- Does my business potentially benefit from following trends/a specific trend?
- Is it worth the effort to keep up with trends based on my ROI that can stem from them?
- What are the specific factors that separate my business from others and what trends apply based on those specifics?
The Meat of the Question
You’ve probably asked yourself when we’re going to flat-out answer the question we’ve posed, and the answer is finally here. When it comes to keeping up with trends, it can be worth it if you feel like your business can truly benefit from it.
In reality, keeping up with business trends and best practices isn’t as hard as you might think. HubSpot recently put out a great article on a myriad of ways you can easily keep up with business trends, like creating influencer lists and staying on top of hashtag analytics. Viral trends on the other hand are a bit more wild and unpredictable. It’s also important to note that while most businesses can easily incorporate business and best practice trends into their social schema, viral content is a lot harder to integrate in a natural way. The businesses that do well with viral trends are few and far between, and those that use them sparingly are likely the ones that succeed more than others.
Above all else, sometimes being trendy isn’t about reading HubSpot articles or finding a way to integrate the newest hashtag meme into your business content. Sometimes it’s just about breaking the mold and doing your own thing — isn’t that how trends start in the first place?
Looking for more ways to improve your marketing strategy? Hashtags are a large part of figuring out what’s “trendy” but it’s also important to know how to use them. Check out these strategies to learn more.