What Are Social Media Trends?

What are social media trends?

Social media trends represent what’s popular on different social media channels at a certain point in time. Social media trends refer to the constantly changing behaviors and topics that are popular on social media.

In other words, trends are ephemeral content types that capture the attention of a wide audience and can quickly spread across all major social media platforms. They come in many forms, including discussion topics, memes, short-form videos, and challenges.

As trends are constantly changing and evolving, it’s important to stay up-to-date with what’s popular so you can create content that resonates with your target audience.

Why participating in social media trends is important

Understanding social media trends can help businesses keep up with what’s happening in the industry, and learn what content they should create to keep their followers engaged.

Plus, social media feeds are constantly evolving to accommodate the top social media trends. Algorithms are designed to boost content that is popular and engaging. So naturally, trends get more attention and generate higher levels of interaction than any other type of content.

This creates a snowball effect. The more people get exposed to a trend, the more popular it gets until eventually, it becomes a viral sensation. Participating in important social media trends can help you leverage this effect and boost your reach and engagement with the right target audience.

Here are the main benefits of participating in social media trends as a business:

  1. Increase brand visibility: Joining in on popular social media trends can be a great way to draw attention to your brand and lead more social media users towards your content.
  2. Connect with your audience: Social media trends give you the opportunity to engage and bond with your followers over a shared interest.
  3. Boost engagement: Participating in trends will provide you with an extra boost of engagement due to the overwhelming interest it generates among social media users.

Social media trends examples

Social media trends go viral when they are easy to replicate, have an emotional or humorous element, and have influential people contributing to the spread of the phenomenon.

By understanding these factors, you can start taking steps to enhance your social media presence and gain attention from a sizeable audience.

Let’s go through some trend examples that have been popular on social media over the years:

  • The Mannequin Challenge: This was a trend that spread quickly around the world in 2016, where people would freeze suddenly in mid-action while music played until the camera traveled around the entire group.
  • The Bottle Cap Challenge: This challenge was popularized in 2019, where participants would try to unscrew a bottle cap using an untraditional physical technique such as a spin kick without touching the bottle.
  • Dance Challenges: These challenges involve learning a short choreography to a song and then creating your own rendition of it. Popular dance challenge songs include “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown and “Renegade” by K Camp.
  • Voiceover Dubs: Lip-syncing to an audio clip taken from popular videos, movies, TV shows, and even songs has become a popular TikTok trend that spread all over social media. By taking short fragments of a song or a couple of lines from a scene, online users manage to get creative and provide a different meaning than the one intended for the original piece of content. 
  • Reenactment Trends: These are trends that involve the recreations of iconic scenes from movies or TV shows.
  • Prank Videos: These videos involve users playing harmless pranks on friends or family, usually for comedic purposes.

How to spot a social media trend

Social media trends change, evolve, and disappear quickly, so it’s important for businesses to work around their lifespan in order to stay competitive and relevant.

One way to stay on top of the biggest social media trends is by monitoring the activity and conversations happening around specific topics or hashtags. You can use this data to identify trends, analyze how people partake in them, and ultimately figure out how you can capitalize on their momentum.

Social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok are the two main channels you need in order to spot the latest social media trends from the start of their conception.

Another approach to recognizing trends is paying close attention to what influencers in your industry are posting. Keeping an eye on the content they produce can provide you with a better understanding of which topics are resonating with your target audience.

Finally, you can use tools like Google Trends to gain a better understanding of what topics are trending over time. This can help you anticipate certain trends and plan accordingly in order to create and post content right at the peak of their virality.

It’s essential to remember that trends don’t always last, so you have to monitor them on a regular basis to stay up-to-date.

PRO TIP: Timing is what many companies get wrong when trying to participate in trends. Because their social media marketing strategy has to be overseen by multiple people from the team, posting a video can take a significant amount of time, and by then, the trend they were aiming to participate in is dead and gone.

Tips to participate in social media trends as a brand

When participating in social media trends, businesses should be mindful of the message they are sending and ensure that it aligns with their brand identity.

Here are the best practices you should follow when joining in the latest social media trends:

  • Understand the trend: Brands should always understand the trend before creating their own rendition of it and assess whether it makes sense for their company to join in.
  • Keep your timing right: Make sure your timing is right and strike the iron while it’s hot. If a trend is already waning, it’s probably not worth following as it will only make your company seem out of touch.
  • Leverage influencer marketing: Influencers and micro-influencers are great to have on board when participating in a trend, as they can help you reach more social media communities in a short time span.
  • Monitor responses: Track your comments and see how your followers respond to your brand participating in the latest trends. Use their reaction as feedback and adjust your social media strategy accordingly. 
  • Create your own variation: If you find the trend is already over-saturated, try creating your own unique variation that stands out from the crowd.
  • Encourage user-generated content: Invite your followers to participate in the trend by encouraging them to post their own content using a customized hashtag or creative prompt.
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