Trendjacking, is the opportunity to capitalize and exploit a current topic or trend.
It breaks the information or hashtags to strengthen one’s brand association with its core target audience, attract sales leads and generate profitable business outcomes.
The intent is to make your brand more visible in the digital space by taking advantage of news-worthy events to propel your digital reach. This can be presented in the form of stackable and short-form digital content such as a tweet, a visual post, or a video. The key is to get your content quickly distributed across your digital channels as this news and trends have a very short life span.
Trendjacking allows your brand to quickly amplify your brand voice and align your brand values, if done correctly, it will draw positive earned media, add organic reach and credibility to your brand.
Trendjacking allows your brand to be seen as authentic and more relatable by identifying with causes that matter to your audience. It crystallizes your brand personality and adds dimension to conversations beyond products and solutions.
Trendjacking drives short-term and “spikey” traffic to your digital campaign and social media channels. This traffic helps generate upper-funnel awareness, which drives the propensity to collate leads, thereby increasing sales conversion and acquiring new customers.
Here are The Good and The Ugly examples of Trendjacking
Let’s look at how some brands have reached out to their audience. Many companies shrink their marketing budget during a national crisis or pandemic while others choose not to shy away from positioning themselves.
The popular “Who dey breathe and “E choke” slang Coined by popular musician Davido took the internet by the neck literally when most brands used the phrase as a slower line in their Easter posts
Famous Davido slang
Trendjacking By Brand
Also, Nigeria’s social media was alight with the hashtag #keepthechangebae which came after a date went awry. A young woman returned the money a guy spent during a date, and asked the man to keep the change. The man involved presumed that taking the woman on a date was an automatic ticket to a relationship. The disgruntled man called out the lady on Twitter in a crude tweet, and her response set social media on fire. Nigerian companies and brands were quick to capitalize on the trending story.
Before the man came out to apologize, banking institutions, and other companies used the opportunity for free publicity. The two banks through which the transactions were made, immediately latched the publicity. The man’s bank, Wema Bank agreed to keep the change, saying every kobo (cent) matters. While the woman’s bank, Firstbank, refunded her Naira 5,000 for being an empowered woman.
Also one of the biggest trendjacking event happened in 2019 with the #10yearschallenge triggered by Facebook asking its users to post a photo of themselves from 10 years ago and one from today with the caption “how did aging affect you?”
5.2 million responses and numerous brands jumped onto the trend in Jan and Feb of 2019. UN Women pulled off a masterstroke by leveraging on the trend, and with Oscar nomination season around the corner, motivated a discussion about women’s rights and equality. Lego did a tongue in cheek of the #10yearschallenge to showcase the consistency and never-changing nature of its playful bricks system just to mention a few.
There are other brands where the use of trendjacking went awfully wrong. As a general rule of thumb, avoid death, tragedies, or mishaps for trendjacking (unless your brand purpose and values are aligned and it’s consistent with the underlying social cause). This is often known as “black hat trend jacking”. It spells bad taste to your audience.
Getting Started in Trendjacking
With the “always-on” mentality of most people and the constant connection to social media, brands have increasingly more opportunities for marketers to embrace trendjacking. The million-dollar question is where or how does one get started in trendjacking?
The A to F of Trendjacking
The following A to F steps will provide content marketers with a simple how-to methodology to get started on your trendjacking journey:
Know your audience. Content is Queen and our audience is King! Knowing your audience’s pain points and what sort of content matters to them. Ask yourself what is their tolerance and capacity in consuming the content. Validate content relevancy against your customer persona profile and be ready to jump onto the bandwagon when an opportunity arises for trendjacking. When done correctly, you will get an increase in traffic, followers, and engagement rate.
Get prior clearance and autonomy from your superiors and organization for the flexibility to publish a trend-jacked content. An early in-principal approval budget will allow you to turn around your campaign promptly to seize the moment.
Your content should be on-brand. Make sure you choose something of relevance to your brand personality, voice and values. When selecting a trending global event, a current topic, a piece of breaking news to trendjack, view it against these brand values to ensure that they are aligned and consistent. Otherwise, it may be counter-effective by alienating your core audience.
Research into the origins and messaging background of your content. Check if there are any backstories and also any legal implications when choosing trending news for your brand. You do not want to be caught off-guard violating any law.
Be sensitive to how your customers would feel. Build engagement with your audience and understand what emotions will be evoked upon browsing your content. These feelings have to be aligned with your current marketing campaigns. Before your trendjacking execution, do a quick sense check on the potential public sentiments. Have a litmus test and ask questions like: ‘Will I show this to my mum or spouse? And how will they respond?’. You want positive feelings or alignment with your brand values to evoke your target audience whilst consuming the content.
Flight & Frequency
The age-old axiom “the early bird catches the worm” couldn’t be truer for trendjacking. Timing is everything. Create your content within hours of the newsbreak or event. Get in before the story peaks and not after it has peaked. also, check your frequency of publishing. How often has the brand carried out trendjacking in the past year? Doing it often fatigues your marketing team and lacks freshness to your audience. You hit the spot when your customers receive your message positively or get converted.
Resources for Trendjacking Ideas
There are many platforms available for trendjacking ideas. The list below is non-exhaustive. One can pick and choose any of the following which is best-suited for its corresponding content:
- Google Trends and news generates trending stories
- Google Alerts for keywords monitoring
- Facebook or other social media feeds
- Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds platform like Feedly distributes and curate’s headlines/news at one place
- social influencers or leading brands for domain-specific subject matter
- Platforms to monitor and analyze hashtags like hashtagify and Twitter moments
- Social listening platforms like Buzzsumo or Mention
Skills for Trendjacking
Is trendjacking your cup of tea? A marketer who trendjacks has to be a news curator, devouring any updated relevant content on newsfeed and newsroom. Not averse to hard work, you need to be ready and respond rapidly when the news breaks.
Also, you must be quick-witted, work on a tight timeline, and be ready to generate on the campaign piece. You need to be a go-getter to move your team members to action so as to rightly time the release of the campaign. It is good to be able to also think out of the box; be creative in determining the direction and be skillful in writing. That will allow you to dive deeper into the trendjacking space.
Go or No Go – That is the Question
Trendjacking as a technique and approach is gaining popularity and is here to stay. Before you hop onto it, do consider the pros and cons. Once you have jumped onto the bandwagon, before implementing your ready-to-go newsworthy content, stop and check. How do you feel about the content? Run through your content marketing team to source out any potential positive feelings before pushing the go-ahead launch. However, if you are unsure, don’t pass the “Go” sign or proceed. Ready or not, that piece of trending news is just around the corner waiting for you to strike the iron when it is hot.