Leave The Bandwagon Alone

We live in a time where digital conversations and messages and content and noise are part of our daily lives, from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed. For consumers and users, this can be super overwhelming, for content and community managers, this can be quite challenging. For the purpose of this post, I am going to focus on the impact of messaging on brands and their agencies and the common mistake that is often made: Jumping on the bandwagon. Often, we notice brands taking over twitter trends and making a noise in one or another category, and some brands and agencies see this as an opportunity to pounce on the conversation, get in on the action and wooah! Pick up the pieces of a really bad decision.

What to ask yourself before you jump onto the bandwagon

Sometimes hopping onto a conversation or trend can absolutely work. Sometimes, it just evaporates like ether and other times it can bite you right where it hurts. Make sure you are 100% certain it’ll work by asking yourself a few questions:
  1. Is this in line with my brand’s style?

    If your brand is cheeky and notorious for stealing other people’s thunder or jumping onto their tags then by all means look into it. But if it is very much out of brand character and may make your brand look cheap or weak, stay away.
  2. Is it in line with my brand’s strategy?

    If it includes interception, disruption or starting a conversation with like-minded or even competitor brands, then chances are you have planned for it. Meaning, you have a backup plan, escalation plan and of course a PR disaster plan. If your brand isn’t going to get leads, convert sales or get the brand recognition you want, stay away.
  3. Do I know everything I need to know about this trending topic or brand?

    Don’t assume that just because the campaign or conversation sort of fits into your content plan or even your brand/product offering, you should jump on board. If somebody has paid for a trend, for example, the chances are there is a bigger campaign behind it. Always do your research; it could save you from sending your competitors business. Unless you are 100% sure that your brand won’t get burned, stay away.
  4. Do I have anything worth saying?

    So, you have found a hot topic, you have zoned in on the conversation and you’re ready to make a move. DO you have anything worth saying that is going to distract users from what your competitor has to say? Will you even be noticed? Unless you have a killer comeback or a huge budget with which to make waves, stay away.
  5. What will people think?

    Yes, as much as we like to say we don’t care what other people think, we should. Consider what your loyal fans, patrons and consumers will say. Will your competitors have a field day, sniggering at your cute attempt to derail their campaign, and what will the peers in your industry say? Unless you are getting a round of applause from all angles and you really aren’t benefitting from this, stay away.
My last bit of advice: If you want to make your brand trend, come up with some trend-worthy content of your own.