It’s getting harder and harder for brands to be noticed on social media because of the sheer density of marketing that takes place on the various platforms. We get that. But while there is the need to develop new ways of flourishing on social media, there are some poor marketing practices taking place that really don’t do anyone any good. A key one of these is trendjacking.

Defining trendjacking

Trendjacking is the practice of jumping on the bandwagon of a trend to help promote your own brand or agenda. In social media, this often entails including a currently popular hashtag in your own post so that more people will come across it when searching for content with that hashtag.

On occasion trendjacking can be appropriate or clever, but all too often it’s misused by brands drawing on tenuous connections that diminish a trend’s potency and cheapens the brand in the eyes of the public.

Good trendjacking…

The fun that’s been had by the Nando’s advertising team with regard to Eskom and load shedding is an example of clever trendjacking. Eskom and its load shedding have received so much attention of late, and so hitching your wagon to that is sure to garner you attention.

While electricity and fast food have no obvious connection, the brand has hopped onto the trend effectively, helping to maintain its reputation as a humorous, edgy brand. But be warned – Nando’s got away with this because such jabs are in keeping with its established advertising model. If you’re a serious brand that never trendjacks and suddenly you come out with a dig at Eskom, it could well come across as mean or random.

nandos

Another good example of trendjacking Eskom and its load shedding is this Oreo post:

Oreos

And here’s an effective trendjack by Mini following the horse meat scandal:

Mini

Bad trendjacking…

To be nice, we won’t highlight any particular brand’s bad use of trendjacking. But we’re sure you can all think of instances where a brand has latched onto a trend in an annoyingly tangential or lame fashion – in a way that made you roll your eyes and say: Really? Puh-leeze. Get off of my feed.

Is that the sort of attention you want for your brand? No. So never force it.

If an opportunity arises where you can capitalise on a trend legitimately by dint of your industry or locality or some other factor, go for it. But first ask yourself: would I, as a social media user, be interested or amused by my interjection in this topic, or would it irritate me? By answering that question you’ll know whether or not to proceed.

Trendjacking for the win

All that said, we do encourage brands to engage in good trendjacking. It’s a way of expanding your reach to new audiences, and it can also show other sides to your brand, such as your affiliations, causes, concerns and interests.

Trendjacking furthermore shows that you’re in touch with what’s going on, are active and interested in the online social community. So keep your finger on the pulse of social media trends, and act promptly when appropriate to insert your voice into the conversation. Because when you do trendjacking well, it’s one of the best things you can do for your brand!