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    July 28, 2017 by Joy Thompson

    Social media is like a time machine. One minute you’re scheduling a post on your Facebook Page, the next minute you’re staring at your screen trying to think of a creative way to write ‘happy birthday’ on someone’s wall. 20 minutes later, you’re trying to figure out how the hell you ended up on your ex-girlfriend’s profile, and you’re really hoping you didn’t accidentally ‘like’ her photo from 2011.

    If you’re logging onto social media without a purpose, prepare to time travel.

    If you don’t like wasting your valuable time, you need a social media strategy. In fact, you need 2 strategies:

    1. An evergreen social media marketing strategy
    2. A fluid social media marketing strategy

    The evergreen social media strategy shouldn’t change much from month-to-month. Something you post in July could also be posted in December. This strategy does not account for emerging trends or seasonality.

    On the other hand, a fluid social media marketing strategy does incorporate trends and seasonality. This strategy allows you to be part of important real-time and annual conversations.

    We’ll discuss an evergreen strategy in a future post, but for now, let’s talk about that fluid strategy.

    How do I know what’s trending?

    There’s no shortage of tools to find out what’s trending. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram (just to name a few) all have a “trending” section that you can’t miss. These trending sections are really good for finding out what people are talking about right now.

    Here’s what Twitter’s looks like at the time of writing this…

    BTW, when did World Emoji Day become a thing?

    The social media giants aren’t the only ones with good tools for tracking emerging trends though. Here’s a few more that we’re obsessed with.

    Buzzsumo

    This tool allows you to find the most shared content about a topic in a given time frame. So let’s say your business is located in South Miami and you want to see what everyone is sharing regarding your neighborhood since yesterday.

    A search for “south miami” on Buzzsumo unveils a major news story about a solar panel mandate that got almost 2,000 shares on Facebook (!).

    If the topic of “solar panels” or “going green” is relevant to your business, feel free to share that article. Take it a step further, and create your piece of content about the solar panel mandate.

    Google Trends

    Don’t freak, but we know what you’re searching on Google.

    We said don’t freak!

    Sorry, we probably should’ve said that another way. We can only see the searches, not the users, and we also can only see the searches if there’s enough of them. You can see this data too via Google Trends.

    Here are the most popular searches on Google the other day.

    Can I see seasonal trends?

    You betcha. Google Trends allows us to see seasonal search data from as far back as 2004. Here’s a few examples:

    “Pokemon Go” (the mobile game) searches for the last 12 months…

    The augmented reality game peaked early and then plateaued approximately 4 months later. People have moved on.

    Hamburgers (the sandwich) searches for the last 12 months…

    People consistently love hamburgers. That’s not shocking.

    Bass (fish) searches for the last 5 years…

    You don’t need a fishing charter captain to tell you that bass fishing season starts in May and ends by the beginning of September. The 5-year search data is clear and consistent.

    Very cool… but what do I do with this data?

    Sticking with fish, let’s pretend you sell a wide array of outdoor products. That includes fishing products. Based on search data, searches for fishing-related topics peak in the summer. The data is pretty consistent over a 5-year period.

    This chart implies that your budget to promote fishing products should not be equal throughout the year. The summer months should have bigger budgets than the winter, fall, and spring months.

    But before you totally nix your fishing product marketing budget for the winter months, take a look at fishing-related searches in Florida.

    The seasonality in Florida still exists, but it isn’t as drastic and you see a sharp spike around Christmas every year for the past 5 years. This data implies that maybe you should focus all / most of your fishing product winter budget in the state of Florida.

    When should you start a seasonal campaign?

    Every summer, businesses run Back to School sales, but when are parents starting to really think about their kids going back to class. Google Trends allows us to pinpoint the week that parents begin searching.

    Believe it or not, parents start searching for “back to school” around the first week of June. By Labor Day, the searches end. If you were planning a Back to School campaign, you might be able to get a head start on your competition by starting to promote your sales in early June.

    Utilizing emerging trends via content

    You can’t plan as far in advance for emerging trends. The best way to utilize temporary (but relevant) trends are to create content around the topic and distribute it to your target audience.

    Content doesn’t have to be blog posts like this one. It can be custom images on Instagram, clever tweets, or a Facebook Live video that discusses the trend.

    Use this content to stand out among all the other social media users trying to capitalize on the trend.

    Utilizing trends via #Hashtags

    Every trend on social media has a hashtag. You’re probably already using hashtags related to popular trends, but are you searching that hashtag and engaging with users though? Probably not. You see, most businesses think you can just use a hashtag and collect retweets. You might if you’re lucky, but the only way to get the most out of a hashtag is to pro-actively engage with users that are also posting the hashtag.

    Utilizing trends via social listening / Tweetdeck

    Not everyone is using hashtags. Some people just post their thoughts on social media without hashtags. How do you find these conversations?

    Tweekdeck is my favorite tool for social listening on Twitter. Create feeds that isolate key phrases, and easily jump into conversations– at least ‘heart’ the best tweets and let them know you’re listening. Here’s what Tweetdeck looks like…

    Wrapping up

    I’ve only scratched the surface. There’s so much you can / should be doing to take advantage of seasonality and trends. Feel free to give us a call and talk to one of our social media experts about your fluid social media marketing strategy.

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