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Trendjacking: Jumping In on Internet Culture & 3 Brands Doing it Right

luke chesser 2Bdyxgz3OM0 unsplash

Brands have been jumping in on relevant events for years, but it’s easier now more than ever for them to jump in on other trends that may not be completely relevant to their organization’s offering. Although it seems like an easy marketing ploy, you’ll want to make sure that your brand is fully aware of what trendjacking is and how it can help (or even potentially hurt) your brand in the current state of social media.

Jumping in on the Trendjacking Train

Trendjacking is a strategy used by brands in almost every industry and companies ranging from small, local business to large, international corporations. Trendjacking is the practice of jumping in on trending topics, hashtags, events, or memes. Brands and companies can use trendjacking as a means to bring a conversation to their brand or connect with their audience or target audience in a new way.

In order to make sure you’re set up for success, learn what benefits it may bring, and some best tips on how to do it right. 

What are the Benefits of Trendjacking?

Trendjacking, when done right, can help you improve brand image and help your marketing team improve on other goal areas as well. 

You have the potential to drive more eyes to your social accounts by jumping in on the conversation. If your trendjacking is done right, you can amplify the conversation around your brand and bring new followers to your accounts. However, you’ll need to ensure that you have opportunities to convert these social viewers into website traffic or even leads. Make sure that your posts and accounts have relevant links in other posts and account information that can drive traffic to specific landing pages. 

Using trendjacking often provides simple and easy content for your brand to publish. It allows you to join in on an existing conversation rather than creating a new conversation on your own. You won’t have to entice others to join your new conversation and can instead communicate with others already chatting.

Is Trendjacking Right for us?

Deciding whether or not trendjacking is the right decision for your brand isn’t always the easiest decision. If done right, it can help your brand stay visible in a world full of different brands. On the other hand, if trendjacking is done wrong, you can end up having to apologize for a poor post and risk isolating a portion of your current audience. You’ll want to make sure that the efforts you put into trendjacking drives value back to your brand whether that’s in the form of traffic or sales. 

When deciding whether or not to jump in on this strategy, you’ll need to identify if the trend is relevant to your audience. Trendjacking tends to be harder for B2B companies than it is for B2C companies who thrive off of personal and often casual relationships built with their clientele. Your marketing team will need to figure out if posting time-sensitive, trending content can fit in with your overall brand strategy, or if you should stick to more traditional campaigns.

How to Make Trendjacking Work for your Brand

Stay up-to-Date on Internet Culture

Internet culture moves at lightning speed, so if you want trendjacking to work for your brand, you’ll need to make sure that your brand is capable of producing and publishing the trending content quickly. An outdated trend post is isolating to your audience. For example, if a brand came out today with a “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme post, many followers would be confused by the post due to its irrelevance.  It’s best to only jump in on this strategy if your team is up to date on internet trends and can quickly create a campaign with the help of a social media management tool

Make Sure You Understand the Meme’s Full Context

In order to avoid posting a potentially controversial post, make sure that you understand the full context of the meme and trend. Choosing to jump in on a trend that has political implications or has a racist background can cause a PR nightmare for your organization. Before deciding to post relevant content, do a little research on the trend’s origin.

Choose a Trend that’s Relevant to Your Brand

Unsurprisingly, not every internet trend is going to be right for your brand. You’ll need to make sure that you only jump in on the ones that relate to your brand image. Jumping in on a trend shouldn’t seem like a long stretch. Your audience should see somewhat of a natural link between your brand and the trend’s conversation.

Give it Your Original Touch

If your brand is jumping in on a trend, you’re likely to not be the only company in the conversation. Therefore, make sure that your trendjacking is unique and is not just a copy of what other brands or what your competitors are doing. Put your brand’s spin on it and make sure it’s tailored to your audience that you have and the audience that you’re trying to target. Perhaps try using UGC or customer content to help engage your audience even better!

Three Brands Trendjacking Right

The best way to get inspiration for trendjacking is to find brands seeing success with this strategy and use them as a guideline for what you want your brand to do. Here are three brands that took trendjacking to the next level.

Budlight

Budlight area 51 campaign image

Image courtesy of Budlight

Like a few other brands, Bud Light quickly hopped in on the Facebook event that suggested storming Area 51. Bud Light’s marketing team created a mock-up of cans that commemorated the event and even featured an alien silhouette upfront. Although these cans never went into production, the tweet received tens of thousands of retweets and amplified the conversation around the trend. 

Netflix

netflib campaign tweet

Image courtesy of Netflix’s twitter

If you were on Twitter, or even the internet, in 2018, it’s likely you remember the great debacle of iHop temporarily changing its name to iHob. This marketing ploy gave an avenue for other brands to jump in on the conversation. Netflix joined in and tweeted out jokingly that they were changing their name from Netflix to Netflib. Although Netflix has nothing to do with the food industry, it didn’t seem like a large jump for their brand to join the conversation. 

Oreo

oreo tweet from superbowl

Image courtesy of Oreo’s Twitter

Oreo cookie’s social media team is one that keeps a fun, casual tone on their Twitter presence. They often post relevant memes and customize them to their brand from labeling the zodiac signs as different types of Oreos to creating Game of Thrones-themed prints for the final season. Perhaps the most memorable post of there’s was a timely tweet during the SuperBowl in 2013. The power went out in the stadium, and Oreo jumped in and posted a graphic that referenced the power outage, saying that people can still dunk Oreos in the dark. This quick tweet was well-received during an event that’s already overloaded by advertisements.

Anastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @anastasia_mm0. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through Chicago’s different neighborhoods, planning her next trip, and binging a new show on Netflix. 

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