Are marketing trends a golden ticket to instant visibility or just a temporary wave that can drown out your brand's authentic voice?

Let’s unravel the love for jumping on the trend bandwagon, the pros and cons, and how to do it mindfully.

We'll explore everything from the changing landscape of trends in the digital age to practical tips for integrating them into your marketing strategy without losing your brand's essence. Plus, I share insights on how trends can foster community, increase visibility, and offer real-time insights into what resonates with your audience.

Whether you're a trendsetter or a trend skeptic, this episode is packed with valuable insights to help you navigate social media trends in a way that aligns with your brand and business goals.

In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:

  • The double-edged sword of trendy content
  • The impact of Reesa Teesa’s 50-part TikTok
  • What to focus on instead of trend-chasing
  • Using trends for community building
  • The difference between an audience and a community
  • Participating in advertisements for fun
  • Leveraging trends for community research

This Episode Was Made Possible By:

Riverside All-in-One Podcast & Video Platform
Visit Riverside and use the code DREA to get 15% off any Riverside individual plan. We use it to record all our podcast interviews!

Trend Savvy
Keeping up with Trends feels like its own Olympic sport sometimes. And we want to help you keep up! Trend Savvy is designed to give you the trends while they're hot so that you don't have to scroll forever before finding what you need.

Watch the Episode Below:


Andréa Jones (00:00):
To trend or not to trend. That is the question that I'm starting today in this super cheesy intro to the podcast. Got to throw in some Shakespeare. But honestly, trends are a hot topic for a lot of business owners. Should we post a trend? What are the pros and cons of trends? How do we even approach this as a business owner and do they actually make an impact on your business? Hopefully this episode will answer all of those questions and more. Let's dive in before we get into it.

This episode is sponsored by Riverside, which is the all-in-one podcasting tool we now use for our show. And y'all, they feel super luxurious. Riverside is the all-in-one podcasting and video recording tool that gives you studio quality recordings and lightning fast editing right inside your browser. And y'all, it's super intuitive and easy to use. Once you're recording is done, you'll be able to automatically download separate audio and video tracks and edit it all within a few clicks. It's really very easy. So head over to Riverside and you'll get 15% off. That's one 5% off using my code Drea, DREA at checkout. But y'all, it's free to get started. So click the link in the show notes and get started today.

Hi. Hello. If you're new here, my name name's Andréa Jones. I'm a social media strategist dedicated to helping you make connection and build community and make your difference in the world using the power of social media. This is the latest episode of the Savvy Social Podcast, and we're talking about trends, and I get it. Trends are kinda smexy, you know. Does people say smexy anymore? This was a trend. Smexy was a trend in the early two thousands. I remember my friends and I saying smexy all the time, and now as I'm saying it, I'm like, do people even say this anymore? But trends do have an appeal to them, right?

We as social media consumers, we see a lot of the trends. They have this allure. We find ourselves watching more trends. We find ourselves recognizing trends as well. And I think this is part of the internet. And a lot of this came from TikTok, and I say this a lot on this podcast, but TikTok really changed the game when it came to trends. Pre TikTok, we definitely had trends, right? We had memes, specifically you think about the Spider-Man meme where everyone's pointing, the spidermans are all pointing to each other. Or we think about the Leonardo DiCaprio meme where we're like, cheers raising a glass. Those sorts of memes have been around since memes have been around. Even going back to late nineties, people were email chaining memes to each other. I remember my dad was really big into this back then, email chains of memes, little jokes that you'd send around to everyone, and it was kind of like the insider language to it all.

But TikTok really changed the landscape of trending content specifically because it echoed what we saw in Vine. So Vine was the app, the precursor to TikTok, and there was a lot of little bits, almost comedic bits that people would do, and then they would copy it in their own way. And so when TikTok exploded during our quarantine moments in 2020, we saw that echoed on a mass scale. And now it's not just TikTok. It's everywhere online. And in my opinion, trends can be anything from a trending sound all the way to a trending topic of conversation. So think like a pop culture topic of conversation. What are we all collectively talking about in our own little communities? For example, during quarantine, I remember we were all baking bread. Do y'all remember this? And then posting our bread recipes online, some of us use bread machines.

That's me. We were in this moment, collectively, that's the trend that was happening in that particular community, which were people on TikTok who create bread videos. And I was a consumer of that trend. I loved it. So there's this appeal to trends as well. Now, when we flip this and think about it from a business perspective, one of the biggest reasons why trends are so smexy is because the algorithms love trends, and it gives us a instant visibility boost. So it's part of our human nature, like I said, to want to consume trends, right? So the algorithms, Mr. Al, that little guy behind the scene is going, I notice a lot of people are paying attention to this style of content. I'm going to keep showing this style of content more and more and more. And this is why sometimes it feels like once you see a trend, you see it everywhere.

Part of this is the effect of when you start noticing white cars and you see white cars everywhere, that is part of it, but it almost always is a huge piece of what the algorithm is trying to do, serve more content to people that will keep them on the app for longer. So as a business owner, when you participate in the trend, you potentially are increasing your visibility as well, which is very appealing and alluring as a business. And then the last pro that I want to cover with trends before we dive into some cons of trends is that trends tend to foster community. So trends tend to foster community. And y'all know I'm a huge fan of community. When we think about communities, there's an inside knowledge, there's an inside language, there's a communal contribution versus audiences. So audiences on social media tend to be very much of a one person shouting out into the void and everyone just soaking it up and enjoying it.

And so audiences, yes, do trends as well. But in order to participate in the trend, as soon as you participate in the trend or comment on a trend, now you're part of the community. There's dialogue, there's conversation, there's contributions. If people are just watching trends, it will die out because there's no contributions being made. And it's more of an audience approach. So think for example of a musician creating music. Yes, you can go to that musician's concert and enjoy their musical contributions to the world, but you are just an audience member enjoying their music. Where I see the biggest opportunities for musicians is when they build communities with their audience. So the audience isn't just sitting there going, oh, this is lovely, and play golf clapping. The audience is singing the lyrics along with them. So that's kind of the vibe that we want with trends.

We want to be all singing the same lyrics. And when we do that, we foster a sense of community. We feel connected to each other. We feel like the person next to us gets us, the person in front of us gets us behind us. We don't have to explain ourselves. And that is a really strong bond when it comes to social media content. When we can create something that fosters that feeling in people where they go, oh, this person totally understands where I'm coming from. And then all the people in the comments also understand, and then we feel inspired to create more content based on this shared understanding. So some examples of this in recent history, the Super Bowl is a great example where a lot of memes and things came from the Super Bowl, A lot of them around Taylor Swift, like Taylor Swift, going to the Super Bowl was a huge deal this year. We saw a lot of memes come from that. But even things like memes from the halftime show, things that where people go, oh, I watched this, I experienced this. I relate to this meme in this way, but it also could be topical things too. So one of the recent examples for me personally is I just watched a 50 part TikTok series.

Teesa Reesa, if you haven't heard of it, is this drama filled story of this woman who basically married a con artist, if I can call him that. And then she's sharing her whole story. This topic of conversation has created dialogue within my community, and I feel like I'm part of a community when I not only consume that information, but I add my own commentary, I contribute to other people's commentaries. So this fosters this sense of collective community. Alright, there are some cons to trends though. As much as I love trends, here are some of the cons. It can feel contrived, right? When a brand, especially when it's super offbrand, they jump onto a trend and you're like, okay, this feels like you're trying too hard. It feels like you're trying too hard. And so there is a nuance to understanding trends, and we'll talk about how to do this later in this podcast episode to avoid this feeling.

But you'll know it when you see it when you're scrolling through your feed and you see a brand and they're hopping on a trend and you're like, this isn't it, right? They didn't either understand the trend or it feels like they're trying too hard or it feels like it's just way too late. Okay? So they're hopping on a trend that was trending months ago. If we were posting Super Bowl memes in April, it's too late, friend. Let's move on. This leads into the second reason why I feel like trends are very challenging for business owners is that they're so short lived. Trends are very short-lived. And if you don't spot the trend and jump on it early enough, especially if you have a team working behind the scenes on your social, it can feel delayed. And that feeds into that contrived feeling, right? When you see a trend and then you feel like you can post about it, but it takes too long to create that content, or you've already got all your content planned, and so you maybe push it to the next month, it can be challenging as a business owner.

That short-lived style content is also very challenging to repurpose. If you create a trend, let's say you jump on a trend and you want to use that same post next year, it may not land the same in future months to years because it's very challenging to repurpose trending content. And you'll know I love repurposing. If I'm going to create something, I want to also see how many times I can then turn it into other things. Trends also take so much time for how short-lived. They are sometimes some of these trends, if you look at my social, you will see some trends. But there are trends where I go, oh, that's nice, that's cool. In a fantasy world, yes, I would totally hop on that trend, but we're living in reality and reality. Andréa does not have time to create the trend. And so sometimes I just don't want to create it.

I don't have the capacity, the time, the energy to film a trending style video because I know it's going to be short-lived, and it's a little bit of a gamble if it will increase my visibility. And so I tend to go after the trends that are easy to make versus the ones that are challenging to make for that reason. And then the last con is that trends, too many trends can be tiring. There is a balance to trends, and if you post all trends all the time, especially as a business, it comes across as a little bit tiring. Now, there are some exceptions to this rule. There are exceptions. There are always exceptions to the rule. However, most brands, most business owners, most of us, y'all listening to this podcast, we want to actually promote our offers and our services and speak to our community in a way that's not just joking and laughing all the time.

So in my opinion, I think there's a balance of posting trends that really can help you avoid this tired feeling. And the exceptions usually come with brands that are targeting a younger demographic. So think about our Gen Alphas who are just now coming into purchasing power, or even Gen Z, sorry, not alphas, gen Alpha. I said gen alpha. And then as soon as I said, I was like, that's not right, our Gen Z. Gen Zs are just now coming into purchasing power and we're starting to see advertisements geared towards this younger generation because big companies invest a lot of money into indoctrination. Can I say that? They're indoctrinating the next generation to use their products and sometimes to speak their language. We use a little bit more of that trending content, but again, it can be feel tired, it can feel contrived if not done. So, we'll take a quick break when we come back, I'm going to talk about how to approach trends in a mindful way and the real impact of trends in your business.

[Podcast Ad break] Want to know the easiest way to keep up with all of the social media trends? Well, I got y'all back, boo. All you have to do is access my product trend savvy, where you will get a weekly, weekly email trend report that covers all of the latest and greatest social media trends and updates. I'm talking TikTok sounds and Instagram sounds. I'm talking pop culture references. I'm talking memes and cap cut video trends. There's a lot in our trend reports, and you can get it all for one price. It's not a monthly subscription, just one price. Check it out by going to savvy and get started today. [Podcast Ad break]

Trends can be done in a mindful way in your business. Let's talk about how to do this. And I want to set the stage for this with a little bit of my perspective. I'm going to be talking a lot more about this coming up on the podcast, but I am a huge, huge believer that we're all here creating social media strategies, marketing strategies, and campaigns that work for us in our business. And yeah, it can feel like there's a lot of things we should do because of, so-and-So guru out there said, you got to post this many times a day, or you have to hop on this trend or that trend, or you have to create this type of content or that type of content. And I'm really moving away from that because when I see the most success is, especially for those of you who are doing it yourself, you're finding a way where you can do it in a way that works for you in your style.

And a lot of that has to do with your preferences. Do you prefer video? Do you prefer written content? Do you prefer audio? Do you prefer carousel posts? Right? So understanding your preferences is super key before approaching any social media strategy. The second thing I'll say is that a lot of trends tend to be tactics. And when I think about tactics on social media, they are short-lived. So my opinion on trends will absolutely evolve because it's a tactic. Another example of a tactic, for instance, is if you're on a platform like LinkedIn, putting the link in the first comment versus putting the link in the post itself, okay, that's an example of a tactic.

Yeah, sure, it could work, but it doesn't have anything to do with the overall strategy, and your overall strategy typically has to come first. Okay? So that's a mindful way of approaching this trending topic. So if you have built out your social media strategy and in your strategy you have in there, I want to have relatable content that taps into current conversations, then absolutely trends are for you, friend. But if your overall strategy has no space for this and it doesn't really fit with what you do, skip it. Yay. We have permission to do that. You're welcome. So trends can be done in a very mindful way. If you're like, yes, I'm on board. Here's what we want to think about. The first thing is to make sure that this is aligned with your brand and your values, and you got to be clear on your brand values.

Where I see things feel a little bit contrived or feel like they're unaligned is when trends do not align with the brand's values. So what I mean by that is we see a lot of this with trending topics, especially trending topics that are more serious. So I think back to the Black Lives Matter movement, where there was a trend, a tactic at the time where a lot of people were posting these black squares on Instagram, A lot of people were doing it, and then because some people were doing it more, other people were doing it without even questioning if it was aligned with their brand and their values. So when they got pushback, they couldn't even respond in a way that was natural to them because they hadn't even considered how this affects their business, their brand, their values. And so then we saw a lot of people trying to pull back.

And then the echo effects of that is all of these initiatives that were started during that time. I keep reading articles about people removing these initiatives, especially diversity, equity inclusion initiatives in their companies, because it's not trending. This is not the time to jump on a trending topic just because it's trending. If this is something you're already doing in your business as a brand value, then we can contribute to the conversation. But if it's not, skip it. We see a lot of big brands and in trouble with things like Pride Month too. In 2023, target did this whole pride campaign that was just completely out of touch. Who approved the things that they were sharing about pride? For a lot of people in the LGBTQ plus community, it's not about big box stores making money off of pride flags, right? That's not the point. And so for them to just create this whole line of products that was completely out of touch and got a lot of backlash from all sides, that to me says they were trying to follow money instead of following brand values.

If it's aligned with your brand values, go for it. If it's not, skip it. It's okay. There will be another trend. I guarantee you. I also think trends work really well when they're in tandem with your marketing efforts. So for example, if you're launching something new and then you see a trend, if you can find a way to tie in the conversation to your new product or your current launch, then that trend will actually be more impactful to your business than something that's a little bit left field. So for a lot of you who have multiple products, I think this will be very helpful. So for example, in my business, I talk about a lot of things. I have all the social media and I'm platform agnostic. So I've signed myself up to talk about every single platform. So not only do I cover that, but I also have a segment of my audience and my community who are social media managers, agency owners.

And so I cycle through some of the topics in my content based on what I'm talking about in my business. So if I see a trend then come up, I'm going to tie that trend into what I'm currently talking about instead of something that I haven't even mentioned yet. And so that could be very helpful. An example that I love is Ms. Rachel, if y'all have toddlers, Ms. Rachel, right? Ms. Rachel is a godsend. Bless her lifesaver. I feel like she should have a buy me a coffee button. I need to send her some money for helping me learn how to teach my kid how to talk, which is amazing. But Ms. Rachel is on social media, and she jumped on a trend recently, and I was like, good for you, Ms. Rachel. It was that trend that was saying, for example, if you're a social media manager, I'm a social media manager.

Of course, I scroll on my phone and call it research. So that sort of trend, Ms. Rachel did one that's like I miss. So of course I talk in a singsong voice. I don't remember what she said, but that video felt so aligned with who Miss Rachel was. It felt aligned with her brand values. She was hopping on a trend, and I was applauding in the background like, good for you, miss Rachel. That felt good to watch that trend. There are some trendy posts where I'm like, I don't know about that one, but that one, the, of course, that trend did really well for her. So when we're thinking about trends and we want to hop on them in a mindful way, my biggest warning to business owners is do not try to be a trend hunter. Trend hunter is a 24 7 job. My team and I spend a lot of time hunting for trends, and it's really hard to recognize a trend when it's happening versus a trend that is on its way out.

It's actually really easy to recognize a trend when it's on its way out. I think about the Barbie movie in 2023. I think that was a trend that was actually orchestrated by the producers of that movie. They did a great job. Lots of people talking about the movie, lots of people using Barbie in their social media. However, when it first started, you may not have recognized that it was a trend. You may have just been like, that's weird. I just saw three Barbie posts in a row and then kept moving on with your day. And so it can be very hard to spot a trend if you're not chronically online like I am or my T. And so it could feel like a 24 7 job to try to keep up with the trends. And honestly, you have a business to run. You have a life to live.

You have so many other things. So if you feel like you're missing out on a lot of trends, one of the most mindful ways I can think to approach this is to skip it until you see a trend that really resonates with you and jump on to that trend. And this leads me to my last point about trends in a mindful way, is the balance of it all. Don't try to do every single trend. There's no way to do this without a team, literally. And the businesses that I recommend regularly do trends usually have support. They have a social media assistant. They have our weekly trend report that we send. They have a team, like an agency, they have people supporting them with curating trends for them, or they work in social media. The accounts that I see that really post trends a lot tend to work in social media because we just see it a lot, the rest of us, the rest of the world, those of you who live lives outside of online marketing and maybe challenging to jump on the trend.

So typically I recommend 95% of your content in a year is not trending at all. 95% of your content can be preplanned, it can repurposed, it can be thought leadership style content. It's the type of content where it's evergreen. It can be posted at any day, any time, and it's not reliant on the whims of what's popular today. That being said, I do think there's a value in that. 5% of the time, try and find a way, an angle to hop in on a trending piece of content. And there are some real world impacts to trends to business owners. The first thing is that it can increase visibility. We talked about this early on as a pro, and increased visibility means new people. New people who have never seen you before, they don't know who you are, they never heard of your name before. They're suddenly like, huh, who's this?

And that is super impactful for a business or a brand. And a lot of people don't really focus on this. They always focus on, I want engagement and engagement's. Great. We'll talk about that in a minute. But usually before the engagement problem, before you solve that problem, you need to solve the new people problem. And I see this happens so often with businesses and brands, is that they start at the end. They were like, I want more conversions. And then they're like, I want more engaged community. Both of those things typically require new people discovering you very consistently. And one of the ways to do that is through trends. Because when new people find you, they say they spotted you. Someone shared your trending video, or the algorithm picked it up, they go, huh, never seen this before. Or, huh, I really relate to this person and their perspective, or, huh, this company is doing really cool things now.

They're getting curious. They're playing into human curiosity. They're diving into your business and your brand, where potentially there was not a way to connect with that person before. And so usually the increased visibility is the first challenge we tackle with clients in our agency, because we need more eyeballs, new eyeballs on your content to even offer the invitation of becoming a community member if they don't even know your exists. We can't even be like, Hey, want to join our community, want to be a member, want to follow us? Like comment. They can't even do any of that if they, they've never seen your post before. So trends do attract that opportunity and helps bring new people into your world. This is why people love and romanticize viral videos. Not talking about viral here, for example, one of our clients did a trending style piece of content, reach about 30,000 people.

She has about 2000 Instagram followers. To me, that's success, not viral, okay? Viral is a million plus videos, but it's massive increase in visibility that she didn't have before. The second impact of trends and how they can positively affect your business is an engaged community. So when we share content that is relatable and trends falls into that category, relatable content, people get the warm and fuzzies about our business. They feel like we know them, they feel seen, they feel heard. They feel like we're in touch with them and their reality, and it doesn't feel like we're constantly selling to them. It can instead feel like more of a two-way conversation where you're opening the door to something that they're like, oh, this is totally a human interaction. It's not just a brand trying to sell me something. And when we build up those warm and fuzzy feelings with our people in our community, it makes it easier for them to say yes to other things in the future.

And this is part of creating community to me, and this is the difference between audience and the community that I spoke about earlier, is that the community doesn't just sit and watch, they participate. They're talking to the person next to them. They go home and they call their sister and they go, that was an amazing experience. That amazing experience comes from all these little micro touchpoints. And one of those micro touch points is trends. Trending content also helps you stand out. The brands that post trends are more easily shareable than the brands that don't. And in this particular example, I'm thinking more of positive ways to stand out, though it can be negative as well if you post controversial topics. I'm not a huge fan of that, but that could also work. I mostly think about the positive side. That's just my nature. So there's this doctor I follow on TikTok who posted a ton of trends, a cosmetic surgeon, and they're all so funny.

And it's so interesting because people are excited to sign up for some cosmetic surgery and be in a video, which is just wild to be like, this is the world we live in now, where people will actively participate in basically advertisements because it's fun, right? It's fun. I always use the example too, of Savannah Bananas, which is a baseball team in Savannah, Georgia. Already, they have a brand. The brand values, I bet Fun is on that list. They do a lot of things at the games that are very entertaining. Well, they start posting trends on TikTok, and they literally film the trends at the games and then post them to TikTok. So now more people are excited to literally travel to go see Savannah Bananas. It's not just the baseball game. It's that fact that they're getting a whole entertainment experience, and then potentially they can see a TikTok trend being filmed live.

The last impact that trends can have on businesses is that trends provide real-time insights. When your community is talking amongst themselves, they're not just talking to you, but they're talking amongst themselves. You get so much insight onto what really matters to them, especially if they're contributing to a trend. So I love this trend that happened earlier this year in 2024, and I guess it really started late last year, 2023, which is like, I'm a insert your category here. Of course, I, and then fill in the blank with something that you do typically that fill in the blank is something that's a little bit funny or on the nose, right? So I'm a teacher, of course. I say 1, 2, 3, eyes on me. So when we think about the trend now, the teachers all feel like they're part of the conversation. So if you, as a business owner sell educational products to teachers, you now have insights into that community that you didn't have before because they're excitedly participating in the trend.

Now. You can go do audience research, you can participate in the trend, you can analyze how teachers are engaging with that trend and bring that back to your business. There's so many ways that you can participate in trends when your community members are also contributing to that trend, and it gives you insights that you may not have had before. When we're just kind of in our own bubbles and we're talking the same people over and over again, it'd be very challenging to get that sort of feedback.

But when there's a trending piece of content, a trending topic, we have now a wider spectrum of people in our community participating. So not only can they discover you, now, you can discover them, Ooh, I like what I did there. You can discover them, go out, find them, find the people who are your soulmate magic clients customers, because they're also participating in the community as well. So that's that on trends to trend or not to trend still is the question. But hopefully this episode gave you a lot of insight on how to do that. Next week I'm talking to Sarah Burt. Such a fun conversation around copywriting and artificial intelligence. I'll see you then. Bye for now.