Most companies today have digital marketing or social marketing departments. But with the viral and somewhat uncontrollable nature of social media, the key messages or even the brand image could be damaged by negative assertions or feedback. In short, this has meant bad publicity that companies could barely comprehend and control. We’ve spoken to Matikas Santos, Newslab Innovations Editorial Lead of inquirer.net, who has come up with an intriguing take on how to influence trends before they become viral.
He calls it “Game of Trends.”
We asked him how this can be relevant to businesses and here are his replies:
What do you mean by “trends” and how could it influence my brand or business?
Trends are key events that happen in the digital landscape when there is a surge of interest in a particular topic. Sometimes the term “viral” is used, but this refers to just one specific piece of information that has spread throughout the internet and possibly caused something to trend.
Trends are like the waves of the ocean that surfers catch and ride. Experienced surfers know the right timing and the right techniques to ride the wave as it makes its way back to shore. Brands and businesses can also ride trends on social media to get exposure and engagement.
If we try to start a trend, how can we ensure that we are seen as engaging our customers and not manipulating them?
Starting or influencing a trend all depends on the execution from the business. If the audience sees an execution as too hard-selling, the customers will not engage. The topic of the trend is also a factor because the timing has to be correct, to ensure maximum engagement. If done too early or too late, the audience might not be as interested in the topic.
It is also important to keep in mind that engagement is a two-way street. When the audience reaches out to a brand or business, there should also be a reply to keep the conversation going. If the brand does not converse with the audience, they are more likely to feel manipulated.
What are other benefits to companies or brands who attempt this method of engagement?
Brands who are able to ride trends effectively and consistently get a long-term increase in their exposure and audience. You can imagine trends as like the steps of stairs. Every trend will help a business go up as long as they are able to maximize it. (The author is Executive Director of Inquirer Academy.)
Matikas Santos will be conducting a module under the “Digital Media Management Series” entitled “Social Media Landscape: Game of Trends (Create, Interact and Influence Trends,” which will be held on Oct. 3-4, 2016.
Topics include understanding digital media, riding the social wave, creating fast graphics, handling trolls, using tools for engagement and more.
The workshop is ideal for professionals in marketing, communications, journalistic, or content management functions, as well as bloggers and online personalities.
Other remaining module of the series is Principles of Creative Video Production: How to produce interesting, compelling and viral videos.