Five ways to use social media and tap into trends

July 21, 2014 10:06 am The UK Domain

Many brands are already using the power of social media to be reactive, making the most of social trends in real-time. We see it happen with major sporting events and breaking news all the time. For example, Specsavers is renowned for responding quickly to news, with their slogan ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’ lending itself as a tongue-in-cheek response to many public mishaps. More controversially, some food brands couldn’t resist taking advantage when Uruguayan footballer Luis Suárez bit another player’s shoulder during the World Cup. Almost immediately after the incident the Twitter account of McDonald’s Uruguay recommended Suárez should bite into a Big Mac if he was still hungry!

Whilst reactive marketing is becoming more important in the social sphere, there is still an element of planning needed. A well thought out plan will help you to apply the most effective tactics and choose where to invest your time and money. Identify what your goals are when it comes to social media so that you can plan with them in mind and stay focused. You should also take note of any key dates that may affect your business so that you can prepare from them in your strategy.

One of the best ways to keep an eye on social trends is to make checking the news and your social channels part of your daily routine: even if it’s just a quick five minutes in the morning to check on your Twitter feed. With this in mind, here are our five ways you can use social media to be proactive and reactive to the latest trends.

1. Use Twitter to follow what’s trending

Twitter is the ideal platform for staying up-to-date with the latest trends. When a big news story breaks, you can read about it immediately on Twitter. By nature it is fast moving which means it’s important to keep an eye on the list of trending topics as well as set up and save your own business-specific searches on your account. For example, if you are a British wedding cake business you could save searches such as #weddingcake, #cake and even #MadeinBritain. This way you can quickly check for conversations around these topics as part of your daily routine. Another handy tool available on Twitter is the ability to make lists. Follow those who are influential to your business and add them to a list. This way you can easily sift through the noise on Twitter and keep an eye on what really matters to your business.

2. Keep up with the competition on Facebook

Facebook is not just a great way to share your online content with fans but it also offers a way to keep an eye on what your competitors are posting. Check in on your competitors’ pages from time to time to see how they are using the platform to tap into trends and interact with fans. Have they recently linked their content to major events like the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Tour de France? If so, make a note of how they have done this, if it has worked for them and how you could also tap into events like these.

 

3. Tap into the power of Google+

Google+ is a channel that is growing in popularity, particularly with experts and influencers. It hasn’t quite reached the number of users on Twitter or Facebook but this actually makes it a lot easier to find the content that matters to you. Create circles relevant to your business and add influencers to them. This way you can keep up with news and big trends in your industry. An added bonus is that the next time you search for a certain topic on Google you are more likely to see posts from those influencers appear in your results rather than lots of random articles. Google+ Hangouts are a growing trend worth keeping an eye on too. These will help you to network with new people and stay informed of conversations and trends specific to your business. Even Prince William and Prince Harry have tuned in to this trend when they recently made history with the first royal Google Hangout.

4. Be inspired with YouTube

Many big brands use YouTube as a channel for their reactive campaigns. Whilst your budget may not stretch to creating video content you can use these campaigns to get inspired and understand how brands are tapping into trends with their reactive ads. You can then subscribe to brand channels that inspire you the most. YouTube is also good for catching up with content that has gained traction and gone viral, keeping you informed of new crazes sweeping the nation. This can give you an insight into what sort of content communicates well with different audiences. You can also see a roundup of viral videos on many online news sites like the Guardianor the Huffington Post.

5. Create networks on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been an important part of the social sphere for many years but it’s not just a regular social media platform. LinkedIn is designed with business in mind, making it ideal as an online networking tool and helping you to build useful contacts and even create your own groups. Once you have connected with influencers and experts in your field you can use this platform to access specialist advice and join in conversations so that you can stay up-to-date with industry specific news and trends.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to social media, and these are just a few examples of how different channels can be used to help you and your business tap into trends. Social media is constantly evolving so remember to continue to do your research so that you can choose the platforms that work best for your business and keep your marketing strategy fresh and up to date.