When a trending topic hits, the initial impulse seems to be to run to the nearest computer, analyze what’s being said, and write about how that topic is related to your company.
However, sometimes that’s not the case. From your brand to your audience and even within your industry, knowing your brand identity in the digital space is crucial to attracting and converting the right people. Because taking the time to write a blog post using a trending keyword, which in the short term boosts your SEO, it may hit you later in the long run.
In fact, let’s take a look at social media listening and how it will help crush the bandwagon effect in your marketing strategy.
How does the bandwagon effect work?
The bandwagon effect can be defined as when something becomes popular or trendy that gathers mass groups of people to follow that trend even sometimes in negligence to their own beliefs. A great example of this bandwagon effect is the ALS ice bucket challenge, which you may have seen or heard about throughout 2014 and even 2015.
The goal of this challenge was not only to raise awareness about the ALS disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but also raise money for drug development and further research.
But you may be asking yourself, “Isn’t this a positive example of bandwagoning?”
Yes, it is. And seeing tech thought leaders like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg participate in this challenge, it shows how this challenge crossed both generational as well as industry lines to spread awareness about this disease.
And had it not been for social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook, where Ice Bucket Challenge videos were viewed more than 10 billion times and reached more than 440 million people, the reach of this challenge would not have impacted so many people and companies the way that this infographic portrays its successful outcome:
However, not all trending topics can accomplish this especially in the way the ALS ice bucket challenge was able to do. It is up to you and your team to determine when a trending topic and keyword matters for your company—not only to meet your company goals but also to benefit your audience and industry as well as make sure that it aligns with your company’s identity and culture.
So how do I prevent my company from falling into bandwagoner tendencies?
To prevent bandwagoner tendencies in your company, this is where social media listening or social listening is really effective. Social listening is meeting your audience where they are online either on Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms and listening to their wants, needs, interests, and behaviors. With social listening, you put yourself into the conversation by listening and analyzing your social presence in order to create personalized messages for your audience. Yet in order to keep it personal and stay true to your brand, the following are key tips to keep your message aligned and to crush the bandwagon effect:
- Know Your Brand: Knowing your brand identity is HUGE before you even decide to talk with your audience. By establishing your brand identity first and foremost, your company won’t fall into the trap of having inconsistent brand messaging that confuses your audience and your staff. Because if your marketing team is creating wide net messaging due to poor knowledge around your brand identity, your sales team is going to have a rough time finding and converting leads from this form of loose marketing. To be targeted and purposeful, you have to be knowledgeable and knowing your brand is a great step in cementing your voice in the digital world.
- Know Your Audience: After acknowledging what your brand identity is, it is time to identify your audience in relation to that identity. Knowing your audience is a key step to unlocking the type of content you should be creating. For example, with bandwagoner content, your audience may not see the value in that trending topic as you do even when you try to target your content in relation to them—causing a rift between your audience and your company. Review your buyer personas and align your brand with the thoughts, needs, and habits of your audience. If you need a refresher about buyer personas, watch this brief video detailing what a buyer persona is all about:
- Know Your Industry: Start by monitoring those in your industry and familiarize yourself with industry talk, topics, and trends. Then keep your eye on the individuals who are leading an innovative or thought-leading discussion regarding your industry—aggregating insight and methods of communication you may not be too savvy in at this point. By taking the time to learn this knowledge, you are aligning yourself with other thought leaders, i.e., people who are focused on nurturing their audience and their industry and not just focused on nurturing their own company’s goals. When you align yourself with thought leaders, you understand true leadership which is making sure that you are building trust and adding value in everything that you do.
Look for opportunities to give rather than to get. Whoever makes the first kind gesture, as studies show, tends to gain the most.—Jeanette McMurtry
For more on social listening and how to incorporate it in your marketing strategy, gather more insight from these following articles:
- Thought Leadership Monday Mashup: The Power of Social Listening
- FAQ Friday: Developing Social Listening Strategy
- Improve Your Social Listening Strategy With These Tips and Tricks
- Create Your Best Social Media Campaigns with Social Media Listening
What is a good example of not jumping on the bandwagon?
In relation to Pokemon Go, we wanted to jump on the bandwagon like so many other companies were doing in relation to this new trend. And with over 20 million daily active users in the US alone, it’s no wonder how this new trend has taken the world by storm.
But we didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon and lose audience engagement for the sake of this trend. And even though Pokemon Go does align with who we are as a startup and virtual reality (VR) focused brand, we also found that it was within our best interest to tackle this idea in a new perspective. Thus, the creation of this article.
The same can be done for you. Rather than forcing a trending keyword and topic to work for your company, take on a new perspective. Marry your buyer personas, your industry and even brand identity in order to provide new insight for your audience as well as align yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.—Robert Baden-Powell
Social listening will effectively help you establish a clear view of your digital marketing landscape, the sentiment your customers carry for your company, and ways to improve their customer experience through care you take in knowing who they are and addressing their needs. Align yourself with your brand, audience and industry and reach the digital success that you’ve been looking for—not through being a bandwagoner but being true to you.
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