Is This Social Media Trend Right For Me?

You’re scrolling through Instagram before bed and you come across a cute post, some doctors dancing to a Meghan Trainor song. You smile a little and keep scrolling. And that song and dance comes up again, and again, and again in your feed. You’re immediately seized with one of two feelings. “Oh my gosh, yes! I can’t wait to do this with the team.” Or, “Oh my god, I don’t have the time for this. I’m going to have to get out the ring light. I can’t dance! I don’t want to do this!” 

Jumping on trending content is something that a lot of marketers push because, “It’s easy engagement! You want to be relevant!” But the truth is, not every trend is right for every individual or brand.

 If you’re in that “seized with dread group” you probably feel some guilt around NOT jumping on the latest trends, – like you’re doing a disservice to your business. But the reality is that hopping on every trend is NOT the determining factor for your social media marketing success. In fact, hopping on every trend could actually be weakening your brand instead of strengthening your reach. 

So, how do you know whether this trend is something you should put the effort into or if you would be better off staying on the platform- rather than hopping on the trend train? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to get the answer to that question, “Is this trend right for me?”

  1. Does it fit my brand?

This is probably the most important determining factor in deciding whether to hop on a trend or not. If the trending content doesn’t fit with your brand DO NOT DO IT. You have built your audience on your unique voice and authenticity. If, after posting months and months of heartfelt content you, all of a sudden, post a crazy TikTok style dance, your audience is going to be left confused. Or worse, think it’s opportunistic and inappropriate and leave. 

Your brand voice and style are going to be your hallmarks on social media. You have worked tirelessly to develop an identity that is all your own, and putting out trending content that isn’t in alignment with your brand can destroy that in an afternoon. Additionally, the audience who does come to your page because of that trend, is unlikely to convert into loyal customers because they were attracted to something that isn’t really you! They will take one look at your other content and think “Oh, that’s what they’re about? No thanks.” 

So now, you haven’t built a new audience and you’re losing the audience you had. Not worth it for a couple more likes right? BUT, if the answer is “Yes, this is in alignment with my brand,” then this could be the perfect time for you to utilize the trend! You’ll keep nurturing your current audience with content that speaks to them, while bringing in new audience members who would love to know what you have to share. 

  1.  Can I put my own creative spin on it?

What keeps people interested in the trending content is seeing how everyone puts their own creative spin on it. We can’t talk about this without referencing the recent “Hi Barbie” Instagram trend. This was something that almost every industry tried to capitalize on (with mixed results). But the creativity involved was fantastic to see! Hair salons used it to introduce their stylists, bars used it to show off their creative cocktails, and animal shelters used it to showcase their adoptable animals. 

The creativity across industries kept the posts interesting and engaging. For those that just copied what was already done, they saw less success and contributed to the trend fatigue that eventually extinguished the trend. If you’re taking a look at a trend and you can’t see how your brand could put their own unique spin on it, you’re better off sitting this one out, but if you can (and the answers to all the questions in this post are “yes”), then absolutely go for it! Your audience will applaud your ingenuity and you can attract some new people into your circle who appreciate what your brand stands for. 

  1.  Is the trend timely and are people still interested?

Sometimes when we catch sight of a trend on our feed it’s already been active for weeks or months. When that’s the case, chances are that trend is on its way out (or has already left but your feed is still sending you some of the content). When you’re at the tail end of a trend you’re almost always better off letting that one go. Chances are, you’re not going to reach very many new people, and the time and effort you put into the post could be better spent creating content that is evergreen and will continue to resonate with your audience beyond the end of the week. 

Trust me, it’s never a good look to post a trend that’s way past its prime. You can tell if trending content is still fresh by checking three measures on Instagram. One, does the audio have an arrow next to it? That indicates that the audio is still trending and Instagram will be pushing it out to people’s feeds. Two, how long ago was the original post published? The original post will always be at the top when you click that trending audio. If it’s been more than 3 weeks since the original’s posted, it’s best to skip it. And three, how many reels have been posted utilizing it? If you’re seeing around 30K or under that trend is still fresh and the content will feel new and fun for your audience. Anything over 100K has already seen too many eyeballs and typically isn’t worth utilizing. There are always exceptions, but these guidelines generally stand.  

  1. Are you passionate about it and does it speak to you?

The energy you put into what you create comes out in your content. I know it feels hokey, but it’s true. When you put love and positive energy into the content you create your audience can feel that and it’s going to resonate with them. If you create content with reluctance, resentment, or apathy, your audience can also feel that and your content is not going to land. If you’re only creating the content because you feel like you HAVE to, then don’t. What you create should resonate with you and infuse you with joy. When it does, that translates to your audience and keeps them coming back again and again. So if the trend doesn’t really resonate with you, if you feel like it’s silly or uncomfortable, or don’t really understand why it’s trending in the first place, skip it! It’s the best thing to do for your brand.

  1. Do you have the time and bandwidth to participate?

Once you see a post trending on instagram you typically want to post your take within about 48 hours of seeing that post. For some individuals that’s a super reasonable ask. They have an entire creative team that can plan, shoot, and edit that post and get it up. For others it’s just you, and you might have a million pressing things to do for your business that needed to be completed like, yesterday. 

If you fall into that latter group don’t pressure yourself to create something you truly don’t have the bandwidth for. Not posting at all is far better than posting something slapped together last minute. Your audience can tell and, more importantly, you can tell. Your social media page is a representation of you and you want to make sure you’re showing off your very best. That being said, there are many ways to modify a trend. So if all of the above were “yes’s” but time is just not on your side, get out that imaginative brain of yours and see how you can modify it to still be your creative best, but not generate more stress in your life. 

So there you have it! 5 questions to ask yourself to know if participating in a trend is right for you. Ultimately you want to create content that builds your brand, creates joy, and ignites enthusiasm and that starts with you! If trending content just isn’t your thing you can absolutely be successful creating evergreen content that resonates with your audience. Utilizing trends is just one tool, and hopefully this blog helps you utilize this tool strategically and wisely. 

-Nicolette Shutty-

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