Are you hoping to level up your digital advertising campaign? Trendjacking can be a great way to engage new visitors and generate leads.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to this fast-paced social marketing approach. Then, we’ll share a few crucial tips on how you can use trendjacking to expand your reach. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Trendjacking
Before you can use trendjacking to grow your online business, it’s important to understand the basics. Trendjacking quite literally means hijacking a trend in some way. It’s also sometimes referred to as newsjacking.
Simply put, trendjacking is a form of social marketing that allows people or businesses to take advantage of the attention from a pre-existing, viral trend. This marketing approach can involve pop culture events, celebrities, hashtags, memes, etc.
Trendjacking is mostly seen on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. However, it can appear in the form of commercials or videos on YouTube as well.
The Oreo Twitter account is well-known for small-scale but successful trendjacking:
In the above example, Oreo took advantage of the popular Wordle fad. By suggesting that the popular New York Times word puzzle use “OREOS” for its next word, the brand gained over 1,000 likes and nearly 90 retweets.
Typically, trendjacking is meant to be funny or clever. Its overall goal is to encourage audience engagement around a trend.
Furthermore, thanks to social media algorithms that reward popular posts and tweets, trendjacking can also translate to increased brand visibility.
Even better, if a business does trendjacking well, its post, tweet, or video might even go viral. In this scenario, the marketing approach can significantly boost brand awareness, generate new leads or increase conversions.
How to Use Trendjacking to Expand Your Reach (4 Tips)
Now that you know a bit more about the fundamentals of trendjacking, let’s cover four tips for how to use it!
1. Stay Relevant and Respectful
Catching a viral trend before it loses steam is vital for trendjacking. However, there is some risk involved with a rapid news cycle. Therefore, it’s best to properly research the history and relevancy of any trend you’re considering jumping on.
You’ll want to make sure that the trend, or your proposed manner of engaging with it, is aligned with your brand. If you try to force an irrelevant trend into your marketing strategy, it might feel confusing or exploitative.
Additionally, it’s probably best to steer clear of tragedies or holidays connected to important historical movements or events. Many brands have experienced backlash after failed trendjacking attempts of this nature.
For instance, in 2013, SpaghettiOs posted a tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, the circular noodle holding an American flag offended many veterans. The company had to backtrack with a public apology:
A good rule of thumb is to consider if your promotional materials will disrespect anyone affected by a trend. Furthermore, even if your product has relevance in the wake of a tragic event, you might want to reconsider the ethics of trying to capitalize on it.
The news cycle is fast, and people tend to move on quickly. Still, keep in mind that poorly executed trendjacking can permanently damage your online reputation.
2. Be Bold and Embrace Humor
Tragedies are not good candidates for newsjacking, but a trend with a comic angle has lots of potential. In fact, bold humor is a core element of almost all successful trendjacking.
If you can make your audience laugh, they will more likely remember you. While other traditional marketing materials may be limited to certain rules or limitations, you can get creative with trendjacking.
In fact, while newsjacking isn’t necessarily meme-marketing, the two can go hand in hand. On Instagram or Twitter, taking advantage of a viral meme can be an effective way to expand your reach:
The #distractedboyfriendmeme is already past its heyday, but Tinder was able to create a clever version of it. The new meme was relevant, concise and clever.
Fortunately, memes tend to last a little longer in the content cycle. TikTok trends may be trickier to catch, but this youthful platform also welcomes comedy.
3. Keep Your Target Audience in Mind
When it comes to digital advertising, relatability is essential. This means you’ll want to keep your target audience in mind. Essentially, if you try to benefit from a trend that your audience won’t understand, it will likely fall flat.
The recent AT&T Superbowl commercial is an excellent example of sophisticated trendjacking that appealed to the right audience:
Here, the phone company capitalized on a celebrity romance to advertise its new services. It was a hit for a few reasons.
Firstly, the two actresses were the right age for the demographic that purchases AT&T services. So, viewers were likely familiar with them.
Additionally, Mila Kunis’ romance with Ashton Kutcher was relevant in celebrity news again after they started a family, making the commercial timely. The icing on the cake is that the actresses consented to the joke by participating in this lighthearted short clip.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Inside Jokes
Expanding your reach is essential to growing your business. Trendjacking works exceptionally well when you engage with loyal customers who have previously interacted with your brand online. This is because online communities are becoming more niche, and inside jokes can be a great way to transform a viral piece of news.
For instance, the ‘tell me without telling me’ trend was huge on TikTok and Twitter. This viral movement asked users to share something personal without saying it explicitly, requiring people to read between the lines and figure it out.
Millennials shared references that only they would understand, such as ‘cootie catchers’ and learning how to draw the Superman S. For its part, Starbucks ingeniously jumped on this trend by asking people to share their favorite Starbucks drink:
This trend was ideal for stimulating engagement since it was an explicit call to action. Furthermore, it allowed users to get creative and even use previous inside jokes from the Starbucks community.
Essentially, when trendjacking, it’s wise to consider your current audience. That way, you can channel your interactions with existing followers to boost your visibility in social media feeds.
If you’re looking to grow your audience, trendjacking is a great way to do it. However, you should consider being sensitive to delicate news topics and keeping things light and humorous. You’ll likely have the biggest impact if you get creative while always remembering your target audience.
Do you have any questions about how to use trendjacking to reach more people? Let us know in the comments section below!
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