The moments that have caused a huge splash in our culture in this decade include the COVID-19 lockdown, the retiring of sports greats, the summer and winter Olympics and the rise of BeReal and TikTok. These instances have led to the practice of trend-jacking, when your brand, led by savvy marketing and PR teams, rapidly creates content connecting to current news and trends.
Whether by creating your own spin on a popular meme (see: “Little Miss __” trend), providing commentary on a viral story (the West Elm Caleb debacle) or posting a silly TikTok to showcase your company’s fun side (Duolingo is a great example), trend-jacking is also a creative tool to stay relevant on social media and reach new audiences. It shows your audience that you have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening inside and outside the industry.
In the fintech world, hopping on a fad is tempting because it’s a way to creatively engage your audience and add some personality to your B2B content. However, with media cycles changing rapidly, it is important to know when (and why) you should post.
When evaluating whether to jump on a trend, keep these three questions in mind:
Does the event or trend apply to my values or industry?
The first thing to evaluate when trend-jacking is how the moment relates to your industry and values. Reacting to tech news or key influencer opinions, providing your take on a new buzzword in the industry or incorporating global news in your social feed can be a solid strategy when creating trendy content. However, a lot of world news or viral moments have nothing to do with FinTech. You don’t have to post just because it’s the cool thing to do.
Will my audience react positively to the trend?
Sure, making a TikTok video or tweeting a silly joke would be fun, but you must assess how your current customers, prospects and new visitors would evaluate the post. Before posting, ask: how would fintech and banking execs perceive this post?
Taking a gut check of your content team to hear all potential reactions to the post can help evaluate an idea’s reaction. Consider generational, cultural and other socioeconomic differences that could impact how your idea would be received. As PR and marketing professionals, audience analysis is a tool we can provide.
Will this post fit with my message in a month? A year?
Because media cycles move quickly, your communications team will have to quickly evaluate the shelf life of the post before it has been posted. However, when the foundation of your messaging is evergreen, it doesn’t matter if the trend was this week or a year ago.
Tip: another strategy for quickly hopping on a trend is to repurpose older content.
It may be worth pausing the ambitious post if it’s a stretch to answer yes to the above three questions.
By the time your content has made it through the review process and is ready to publish, you may be late to (or miss) the moment. On the other hand, if you act rashly without taking the time to understand your audience’s values, you could involve yourself in the center of a controversy. This can be the case with especially sensitive topics or breaking news; you may not have the time to study the backlash or completely understand how the events will unfold.
Not every pop culture moment will relate to your company’s message or be worth the effort to produce, but with the expertise of your PR and marketing teams, your company can capitalize on the moment.