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How Social Media Saved Us & Brands in 2020

Despite a difficult year, we made it through 2020 with the help of playful distractions like memes, dance crazes, and viral challenges. Oftentimes, brands want to tap into these cultural phenomenons in order to humanize their voice on social media. Marketers frequently question, 'How does a trend become a viral success?' and, 'Who creates these trends?'. Let's take a look at the various key players that come together to create these trends and learn how your brand can capitalize on them and join the conversation.

The Innovator

If we think of social media challenges holistically, the template is always the same: innovators create the idea, influencers make it popular, and the rest of the social community joins the trend. By definition, an innovator is a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products In every viral equation, there needs to be an innovator to help spark an idea/challenge. 

The innovator is often a forgotten piece of the puzzle when it comes to viral trends. For example, Renegade creator Jalaiah Hermon had the most prominent dance on the internet in 2020, but most users didn't even know who she was. Unfortunately, content creators are often not given credit for their original ideas and are seemingly left in the dust. However, that isn't always the case; skateboarder Nathan Apodaca quickly rose to fame when his Ocean Spray video went viral, and others recreated the video with their own flare. 

 

The Influencer Spark

Influencers help set the standard of "cool" within the digital world and help push the innovators' ideas in front of fans. TikTok influencer Charli D'Amelio was named C.E.O. of the different dances similar to the dance craze Renegade, which she popularized. 

If the concept is unique and interesting, other influencers and celebs will begin to jump onto the new craze. Once a trend becomes popular, users recreate the template with small differences while always keeping the overall idea the same. During the pandemic, the Don't Rush Challenge' became very popular amongst all different audiences - make-up artists, celebrities, students, and more. Less than a month later, the Wipe it Down Challenge went viral; both of these concepts had the exact same template with small variations. 

Brands and Trends

Being authentic on social media will encourage consumers to follow, engage, and ultimately purchase products, assuming that's the end goal. Consumers align their personal values to those of brands. Once brand values are established, a fundamental building block for brands is to showcase their personality through their content – tapping into cultural trends is a great way to humanize themselves.

From a brand perspective, capitalizing on viral trends shouldn't be a hard selling point but instead, a chance to connect with your audience and showcase your brand's personality. In the summer of 2020, Twitter began to flag misleading messages about COVID-19 and the 2020 Election with 'This claim is disputed' warnings. After the Election, the disputed claim Tweet type evolved into a popular trend on the platform. Brands like Oreo, Burger King, and Maruchan saw an opportunity to participate in the pop culture conversation and added humor to the political trend.

Viral memes are also a great way to highlight the brands' wit and humor. Just For Men participated in the How it Started vs. How it's Going, and it showcased the brand's growth, wittiness, and personality.

A brand can even use pop culture to sell a product when it feels native to the platform. For example, Invisalign used a soundbite from a popular viral video to help promote its product. 

All things considered, this doesn't mean that every viral trend is an opportunity for a brand to enter the conversation. Sometimes jumping into a conversation that isn't authentic to your brand will feel forced by consumers; for example, in 2014, DiGiorno accidentally used the hashtag ‘#WhyIStayed,’ which was about domestic violence.

Prior to your brand joining a viral trend, consider the following questions:

1) Will this feel authentic to the brand's audience?

2) Can this help support the brand's values and develop the brand's personality?

3) What value will this content add to the social media space for your brand?

4) Is this the appropriate social channel for the brand?

5) Is this something you should test into first before diving in?

And lastly, remember to have fun and tag the innovator to give them credit for their work!

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Predicting the 2020 Console War Winner With Google Trends

Console wars were back in late 2020 with the release of the next gen systems. Although one console was the clear winner, both Xbox Series X and PS5 saw record numbers for units sold. We looked to Google search trends to see which console would come out on top. As we continuously look at search trends throughout the year, we noticed that one console stood out over the other. We wanted to see if we could use this data to predict which console would sell more units. Major Date Announcements On September 9th, Microsoft announced that the Xbox Series X would release November 10th. Microsoft also announced the price of both editions, $499 for the Xbox Series X and $299 for the all-digital Xbox Series S. Pre-orders were announced to go live September 22nd. Sony did not release their pre-order or release date info for another week. During the PlayStation Showcase on September 16th, Sony announced the PS5 would release November 12th and would cost $499 ($399 for the all-digital). Sony then ended the event with a surprise announcement that pre orders would go live the following day, September 17th. Pre Orders Google searches for both Xbox Series X and PS5 skyrocketed after the announcements. The search queries with the highest increase in volume were queries related pre orders, price, release date, and retailer availability. Comparing exact match queries, PS5 had almost 4 times as many searches as Xbox Series X for pre orders, price, and release date. According to search trends, the most popular retailer to pre-order an Xbox from was Amazon, and for PS5 was Walmart. Xbox searches September 2020: Xbox series x pre order – 1,800,000+ queries    Xbox series x price – 550,000+ queries    Xbox series x release date – 370,000+ queries Xbox series x pre order amazon – 110,000+ queries PS5 searches September 2020: PS5 pre order – 7,500,000+ queries PS5 price – 1,800,000+ queries PS5 release date – 1,500,000+ queries PS5 pre order Walmart – 300,000+ queries Post Launch According to Google trends, search interest for the PS5 pre orders was double that of Xbox Series X pre orders. The sales numbers confirmed these trends. Through the first 4 weeks of sales, the PS5 sold 1.5 times more units than the Xbox, both globally and in the US. Consoles sold globally through first 4 weeks: PS5 Global sales – 3,368,098 units Xbox Series X global sales – 1,817,303 units Consoles sold domestically through first 4 weeks: PS5 US sales: 1,389,963 units Xbox Series X US sales: 988,641 units After launch, we saw “restock” queries skyrocket as retailers everywhere were completely sold out. We saw similar trends here as we did with pre order queries, with PS5 restock queries outnumbering Xbox Series X queries almost 4 to 1. “Restock” searches November 2020: PS5 restock – 2,200,000+ queries Xbox series x restock – 500,000+ queries “Restock” searches December 2020: PS5 restock – 5,000,000+ queries Xbox series x restock – 800,000+ queries Overwhelming Demand Crashes Retailer Websites Both consoles saw an unprecedented demand online due to COVID-19 restrictions at physical retail locations. This caused retail websites to struggle to keep up with the demand. In some cases, the demand was too much, and the websites went down temporarily. When these sites were down, consumers turned to Google search for answers. During the month of September, the Best Buy website went down multiple times. The queries “is best buy website down” and “best buy site down” had the most volume during that time. “is best buy website down – 5,400+ queries “best buy site down – 2,400+ queries During November, the Walmart website went down on multiple occasions. The queries “Walmart website down” and “Walmart site crash” had the most volume during that time. “Walmart website down” – 6,600+ queries “Walmart site crash” - 5,400+ queries As we continued to track search interest daily, we found there was more buzz for the PS5 over the Xbox Series X. When we compared the most popular keywords for each, PS5 queries had over twice as much volume as Xbox queries. We were able to accurately predict that PS5 would outsell the Xbox Series X, as the search trend data directly correlated to sales. All brands should be paying attention to search trends in order to have a better understanding of the marketplace, their own brand health, and the search interest in their competition. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of March 1, 2021

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social media platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. TWITTER RE-LAUNCHES TEST OF WARNINGS ON POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TWEET REPLIES Twitter is now re-launching the alerts, with a new format, and further explanation as to why each reply has been flagged. Read more CLUBHOUSE FACES NEW SECURITY QUESTIONS AFTER SIGNIFICANT DATA BREACH The latest comes as a result of hackers gaining access to Clubhouse audio, and re-recording that data into third-party streams. Read more 15 TIKTOK TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR BRANDED CONTENT EFFORTS This overview of tips from the team at Socialtyze covers everything from choosing topics to user demographics to hashtags on the platform. Read more That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

AMP Agency Wins 4 Hatch Awards

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