The dress. The drama. The drawn-out question, "Should brands say something?"
When the most recent social media trending topic hit, it was late at night. #TheDress approvals were slow because someone on the team was sleeping. And by morning, when the post went up, the brand's commentary looked dated.
So how does a brand jump on the bandwagon quickly enough? Frankly, brands need to do what Nissan did with the royal baby announcement. Predict relevant events and opportunities, and prepare for various outcomes.
Each year an athlete retires, and people buzz about it the moment the announcement goes live. The advantage with this news is there is speculation beforehand. Listen for who is considering retirement based on their age and past interviews.
Brands typically avoid politics. However, there are choice moments you can and should utilize (e.g. when Congress classified pizza as a vegetable). The Supreme Court is especially predictable, hearing cases months before they release decisions. That's enough time for you to come up with a couple of designs and get them approved.
Foreign Independence Days
Why reference something to your entire audience and hope that some of them get it? Facebook has targeting options, so use them.
Your brand probably says something on the 4th of July. But does your brand target Mexican-Americans on Diez y Seis (Mexican Independence Day)? It might be worth considering, since Mexican-Americans make up 10% of the U.S. population. India's Independence Day, Bastille Day, and Puerto Rican Day are also great opportunities to reach out to the communities your brand values.
This is the trickiest, but worth the challenge. Think about new technologies on the horizon, like when you know a new iPhone is coming out. Then prepare a joke about what people will do with their old iPhone cases.
Blizzards, heat waves, and the first warm days of the year. These are all things will happen every year, and people will talk about nonstop when they happen. Use Facebook’s targeting capabilities, and join the conversation.
You don’t know who will win the Super Bowl, the Oscar, or the World Cup. But you do know a finite number of possibilities.
Industry Achievements and Events
Industry-specific brands can comment on certain nuances. Legal brands can congratulate law grads for passing the bar exam each time results are released. Health brands can plan something for July 1, the day that all first-time doctors start their residencies nation-wide.
Celebrity Weddings and Baby Births
This one is one of the easiest, yet surprisingly underused. Just make sure your plan can be pushed up weeks before the date. Sometimes couples elope or babies come early!
Last Year’s Mistakes
In 2014 there was probably something that made you say, “I had no idea this would be so popular.” Great. Now plan for it this time around. A great example is National Sibling Day, which received a lot of attention last April.
It's important to remember that all of these topics must be relevant to your product or service. A brand will never be the same as a personal account, so know when you're welcome to talk about a trending topic. Be the cool mom from Gilmore Girls not the cool mom from Mean Girls.
Thanks for reading. Now go back to your friends. We'll be here to chat when it's relevant again.