From the very beginning, online marketing and social media have been a marriage made in heaven. Internet users have always been more likely to visit a site when they know their friends and followers are also on the site. This is called ‘viral reach’ and, while not always a direct correlation, the better a site’s viral reach, the more chance it has at being successful online.
Viral reach can be greatly increased by using a tool called social media listening, or SM listening for short. Most social media apps allow users to listen to and understand the conversations that are taking place around their content (whether they’re posts, videos, or GIFs). By listening, you can determine the “biggest trends” in your industry, and decide which ones you want to incorporate into your marketing plan. You can use social listening to discover the popularity of specific terms and phrases, identify hot-button issues, and track the conversations that are taking place online.
Why Is Social Listening Important?
Every marketer should be using social media listening, because it can help you determine the ‘biggest trends’ in your industry, and identify the type of content that your audience wants to see from you. Listening is also an excellent tool for customer support and ensuring that your content is engaging and of value to your audience. Let’s examine each of these things in more detail.
Determining the ‘Biggest Trends’ in Your Industry
One of the first things you should do when entering the world of viral marketing is determine which trends will be most beneficial to you as an entrepreneur, and which ones you should avoid at all costs. It is not always best to be following the popular trends, as you may find that the demand for your product or service does not match the demand for the overall trend.
Let’s look at a few examples. Recently, the TikTok trend has been going viral, and most people are using the app to share short comedic videos. A few years ago, TikTok wasn’t a household name, and now, with over 500 million monthly active users, it might be one of the most popular apps on the planet. However, while TikTok might be the biggest name in social media right now, it is also one of the most controversial titles. Many people have criticized the platform for encouraging people to behave badly, especially towards women and people of various minorities. In light of these controversies, it might be a smart move for you as an entrepreneur to avoid marketing on TikTok, at least for the time being.
Why Should You Avoid Marketing On Vine?
Just like with the other two examples above, many people have criticized the short-video platform, Vine, for encouraging bad behavior. This is mainly due to the fact that most Vine users are young people, and many of them live in a completely different country than you (or they are simply closeted rich kids, who wouldn’t hurt for more Instagram followers).
While it is great that you can find many success stories on the platform, it can also be difficult to find content that doesn’t promote some sort of bad habit or behavior. If you’re looking to grow your business, it might not be the best idea to put all of your eggs in one basket, and focus your entire marketing campaign on a single app. That is what most entrepreneurs do, and that is what causes most of their troubles.
What is the Alternative?
Instead of going all-in with one platform, which can leave you vulnerable to that platform’s failures, it is best to spread your efforts out across many different platforms. That is also what most people in the industry do anyway – they use multiple platforms to create content, and to get that content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. It is also what allows them to serve different groups of people with their content, and to test different approaches to gaining the most traction for their campaigns. If you want to know what is the alternative, it is best to ask someone who works in digital marketing, or online marketing.
Make Sure Your Content is Engaging
One of the first things that an app or platform’s programmers, designers, and marketers are supposed to do is ensure that the content on their platform is engaging. This usually means incorporating interesting, eye-catching, and well-designed features into the app or website. It also means that the content on the site or app must be useful and relevant to encourage people to come back for more.
These are all important aspects of effective viral marketing, and something that you should take into consideration when creating content for your business. If you don’t want to put in the effort to understand why people are and aren’t engaging with your content, then perhaps it is time to find another form of marketing.
Tracking Conversations & Identifying Issues
Once you have determined the ‘Biggest Trends’ in your industry, you can move on to the next step – identifying the key issues that this trend has caused. This part is important, because we live in a world of change, and you should try and stay current with what is happening in your industry. Without actively searching for this information, you could find yourself in the dark once the novelty of a certain trend wears off.
For example, let’s look at the case of TikTok and its infamous ‘boomerang challenge’. The challenge, which was created as a joke but caught on like wildfire, was all about ‘forcing’ users to watch an endless amount of videos in a row. While this might have been funny to begin with, the combination of endless videos, combined with the algorithmic timeline, which orders the content to be cycled through, has turned the joke into a legitimate tactic used by many users.
This is why it is important to look into the issues that this trend has caused, because you have to understand the thought processes of your audience. With the right information, you can tailor your approach to engaging with this large group of people and gain their trust – something that would be very beneficial to your business. Let’s also remember that while these tactics might be effective now, they could become ineffective in the near future if this content strategy ceases to be popular. So, make sure you identify the key issues while they’re still relevant.
Understand the Motives Behind the Trends
Why do people use specific apps or websites? What compels them to behave in certain ways? It is important to understand the minds of your audience, and why they are where they are – whether that is on a social media platform or in a YouTube channel. This way, you can determine the best approach to take to reach them, and understand what will make them more receptive to your message.
For example, if you know that people love to brag about the big cities that they have been to, and get excited about the next city that they are going to visit, then you can use that knowledge to your advantage. Create content that inspires these same feelings in your audience, and you’re able to position yourself as the expert on your chosen topic.
Whether you are determined to become the best or the biggest in your industry or just want to find the simplest way to grow your business, viral marketing is vital for your success. With the right mix of creativity and technology, you are able to get your message out to the largest audience possible, and encourage them to buy from you.