With news and cultural events unfolding each minute on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, it can be tempting—and even lucrative—to get involved in reactive social, especially on a ‘slow’ day in your own marketing calendar.
But it’s important you can identify when to have a point of view on a trending topic, or when to stay firmly out.
Here are five things to consider when you’re planning your next reactive social posts to topical events.
1. Take time to research your chosen hashtag or topic. Properly.
See a hashtag trending? Make sure you research it before chiming in. The last thing you should do is wade into a topic without considering what the context is. This clanger from Kenneth Cole illustrates it perfectly:
#Cairo was, in fact, trending due to the serious political situation in Egypt. Let that be a shining reminder to all of us to do our due diligence.
SmarterQueue makes it easy to see the whole story.
With the Find Content feature, you can search hashtags or keywords and find Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts related to the keyword. Sort them by engagement or time posted to discover a full picture of what’s going on.
2. Make it relevant to your audience.
If you don’t have a firm idea of who your audience is and what they’re into, you’ll likely find it hard to determine whether or not a topic is going to be relevant to them. Take the time to figure out what makes them tick.
IBM gets involved with conversations around popular events like Wimbledon, creating timely, engaging content that is aligned with their audience’s interests: tech, AI, and innovation.
IBM has huge teams in place to manage its social channels, sponsor events and analyse their audiences, but that doesn’t mean smaller brands can’t be inspired by them. To gain a better idea of what your audience responds to best, use SmarterQueue’s Analytics feature.
You can check any of your past posts: their likes, comments, shares, retweets, clicks, and many other performance metrics. You can sort your past posts by best (or worst) in comments, likes, shares, and more. You can even break this down by category to assess which types of content your audience likes best. Then – create more of it!
3. Ensure you live and breathe the values you’re aligning yourself with.
Millennial audiences in particular are looking for brands to have integrity. Consider how your brand stacks up if you’re going to position yourself in support of a particular cause.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Reebok’s award-winning Nevertheless, She Persisted campaign took a trending story about a female US senator being silenced and made it into a best-selling T-shirt in under 24 hours; all proceeds going to the Women’s March organisation.
“We are inspired and empowered by the senator’s recent statements and these T-shirts are our way of showing our support for all women who continue to persist and break down barriers. As a women’s first brand, we stand behind the Women’s March and believe we have the resources and platform to contribute in a meaningful way.” – Reebok’s Senior Director of Brand Management and Women’s March attendee, Inga Stenta.
Why it worked:
It was aligned with Reebok’s own values
It was quick off the mark
It donated proceeds to a relevant charity
4. Expect the unexpected, but be prepared to be flexible.
Use a marketing calendar to plot out significant events, and think in advance about what sort of creative concepts might work for your brand. You can’t plan for everything, but you can equip yourself with workflows or tools that’ll help you spring into action.
IKEA’s Meme Manuals took trending pop culture moments and turned them into playful opportunities for engagement. They created a content format that could be adapted quickly as news unfolded; or created in advance for certain events.
Each moment – such as Back to the Future Day, Harry Potter’s birthday, and even a news story about a man who got a rather personal part of his body stuck in an IKEA stool – was turned into an ironic IKEA diagram. This clever campaign perfectly encapsulates several of IKEA’s brand attributes: being playful, friendly and witty.
5. Know your brand inside-out.
Something all the good examples in this post have in common is having a clear idea of their own brand personality. As well as knowing your audience, you need to know who you are in order to make confident decisions about what to post. News moves fast, so you need to, too.
Specsavers is a brand with a strong message and consistent message. This meant they could move fast to come up with this gem during the great Oscars debacle of 2017:
Next time you’re planning to create some timely content around a current event or trending topic, make sure you:
- Research the topic, and think about it from multiple viewpoints.
- Make your take on the topic relevant for your audience.
- Ensure your business or brand practices what it preaches.
- Plan ahead, but be agile.
- Know your brand’s personality, so you can make quick, confident decisions.
Finally? Know when it’s time to remain silent
Occasionally, as current events unfold, you might need to temporarily adjust your strategy. For example, a PR crisis or major national tragedy could mean that your pre-scheduled posts won’t be appropriate given the situation. SmarterQueue allows you to react quickly and pause your queue. To find out more, read three times you should pause your social updates on the SmarterQueue blog.