Trend: Hopping or Brand-Building? Making Smart Choices in Social Media

Social media is a rapidly evolving landscape, with new trends constantly emerging to captivate millions. For brands, these trends offer opportunities to boost visibility and engagement. However, they also present risks. While participating in trends can showcase a brand’s personality and connect with audiences, not all trends are suitable. Some may be inappropriate or misaligned with a brand’s identity, potentially damaging reputation and trust.

But when brands that use trending hashtags see a 50% increase in engagement, jumping on board creates an appealing picture. The key question for brands is: How do you determine which trends are worth joining? Understanding when and how to engage with trends isn’t just a marketing tactic—it’s a crucial component of modern brand strategy that can catapult your business to new heights or risk its hard-earned reputation. 

We’re breaking down all of the insights that will revolutionize your approach to digital engagement and sharpen your competitive edge in an ever-evolving marketplace. Ultimately, your decision to engage with a trend should be guided by a singular, crucial factor: the authentic dialogue you aim to cultivate with your audience. This strategic alignment between trend participation and your brand’s voice is the compass that will steer you toward meaningful engagement and lasting connections in the digital sphere. 

Social Media Trends: A Double-Edged Sword for Brands

Trends can be powerful tools for brand growth, but they also come with potential pitfalls. Before jumping on the latest bandwagon, weighing the advantages and disadvantages carefully is crucial.

The upside of trend participation

Engaging with social media trends can offer significant benefits for brands looking to expand their reach and connect with audiences. After all, posts with trending topics get 1.5x more engagement than regular posts. When executed skillfully, trend participation can be a springboard to viral success and rapid audience growth. Here are some key advantages of aligning your brand with current digital crazes:

Increasing your brand awareness

Leveraging popular trends can amplify your brand’s reach and visibility. By creating relevant, trend-aligned content, you attract more attention to your brand. However, it’s crucial to maintain focus on your target audience rather than pursuing broad appeal at the expense of brand alignment.

Showcasing your brand personality

Hopping on a fun trend helps you showcase the human side of your brand. By being creative, funny, or relatable, you’re demonstrating that your brand is not just a faceless corporation but a living and breathing entity with a sense of humor or heart. However, remember that while a unique personality is valuable, some brands may need to maintain a more serious online presence.

Building customer loyalty

Engaging with relevant trends helps attract new customers while strengthening loyalty among existing ones. By aligning with your audience’s interests, you demonstrate attentiveness to their preferences. This interaction fosters stronger customer-brand relationships, differentiating you from competitors.

Gaining valuable insights

Experimenting with digital trends provides valuable performance data, regardless of outcome. By measuring engagement with trend-based content, you gain insights into what resonates with your audience and learn key demographic information about your followers. This data-driven approach can help refine your digital strategy. 

Promoting your social responsibility

Engaging with trending social causes allows you to showcase your brand’s values and commitment to positive change. This demonstrates that your company prioritizes more than just profit, aligning with the growing consumer preference for authentic, socially conscious brands (so much so that 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands to support, according to a recent study). 

The Hidden Dangers of Trend Following for Your Brand

While trend participation can boost brand visibility, it’s always going to carry risks:

Damaging your brand reputation

Poorly chosen content may offend your audience, potentially triggering backlash or boycotts. This misstep can erode your brand’s credibility, trustworthiness, and authority, tarnishing your image with customers and stakeholders alike. Preserving brand integrity should always be a priority when considering trend participation.

Alienating your audience

Content that doesn’t resonate with your audience’s values or interests can breed dislike for your brand. Moreover, inconsistent trend participation may confuse customers and appear inauthentic. Consumers are adept at spotting brands desperately chasing virality. Always ensure trend engagement aligns with your core brand identity to maintain customer trust and loyalty.

Wasting resources

Constantly chasing trends without a solid content strategy wastes time and money, leading to poor results. Staying relevant is important, but a strong content strategy that converts is essential. Trends should complement your strategy, not dictate it. 

Diminishing your brand identity

Does a brand that chases every trend have an identity? Without conscious differentiation, you’ll blend in, especially in oversaturated trends. Make sure your content actually helps you stand out in your niche, rather than being like everyone else and following the crowd for the sake of trendiness.

Should You Hop on a Trend? It’s All About Your Audience

Following digital marketing trends will always have advantages and disadvantages for your brand. The key lies in discerning which trends will foster meaningful conversations with your audience and which might lead you astray. To navigate this landscape effectively, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate each trend and its potential impact on your brand-audience relationship. Before diving in, consider these key questions that will help you align trend participation with your audience engagement goals:

Does this trend align with our brand identity?

Evaluate whether the trend supports your brand’s essence, including your name, logo, slogan, colors, tone of voice, values, mission, and personality. Your digital content should consistently reinforce your brand image. For instance, a playful brand might embrace humorous trends, while a more serious, professional brand should avoid juvenile memes or sarcastic content.

Do we have a place in this conversation?

Assess whether you can contribute something valuable, relevant, and meaningful to the trend. If there’s a trending conversation about a product or service in your industry, your expertise might be welcomed. However, avoid joining discussions about political or social issues unrelated to your niche, as this could make you appear insensitive or opportunistic.

Is this trend relevant to our audience?

Focus on trends that resonate with your target audience rather than chasing broad reach. Your content should align with your audience’s interests, needs, and values. While many trends can be adapted to fit your niche, be cautious about stretching a trend too far to make it relevant. Your audience can detect inauthentic attempts to capitalize on viral content.

Could this damage our brand reputation?

Carefully consider whether participating in a trend could harm your brand’s reputation. Avoid inappropriate or controversial trends that don’t align with your brand values. Be especially cautious with trends related to sensitive social or political issues unless your brand has a genuine stake in the matter.

Are our competitors participating?

Be aware of your competitors’ actions, but don’t simply follow the crowd. If a trend is standard in your industry and yielding positive results, consider joining but with a unique spin. If a trend is oversaturated in your niche, find ways to stand out, such as creating your own variation or using distinctive visuals.

Are we late to the trend?

Timing is crucial in the fast-paced digital world. Being early to a trend can position you as an industry leader, while consistently lagging behind may make your brand appear out of touch or grasping for relevance. If a trend is already fading, it’s likely best to skip it.

Partner with Myosin: Masters of Marketing in the Digital Age

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of social media trends can be a game-changer for your brand, but it’s a complex challenge that demands expertise, strategic planning, and flawless execution. This is where Myosin steps in as your ultimate marketing ally.

With Myosin, you’re not just hiring a service; you’re gaining a partner committed to your brand’s success. Our full-stack marketing solutions cover everything from initial strategy development to final execution, providing seamless support at every stage of your growth journey.

Whether you’re looking to ride the wave of the latest trend or carve out your own unique space in the digital realm, Myosin has the tools, talent, and tenacity to make it happen. We don’t just help your brand adapt to the digital age—we help it thrive. To learn more about how Myosin can help your company flourish, contact us today.

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