One day it’s there and the next day it’s gone.
Trends, on the Web, can happen in a day and fizzle by the end of the night.
Memes rise and fall before they’re even noticed. It’s one big flash in the pan.
Sometimes things stick around but generally only for a few weeks (or a month/two at tops) because Web users feed on new content and trends.
They are always digging around for something new, exciting, nostalgic, controversial, or simply something they can get behind.
Let’s face it
Unless you’re some dedicated social user for a site that tracks Web trends then you’re not going to be in the loop because by the time you see it – it’s already on its way out.
It happens all too often and you may never know the true source of it.
It may start like this:
Original content on blog -> Submitted and goes popular on Reddit -> Picked up and reworked into a list on BuzzFeed -> Propagated by a humor FB fan page -> Eventually showing on the “funny” side of the nightly news.
You’re not there to be one of those social addicts… you have a business to run.
Tracking viral trends
Like I said: you have a business to run.
Fun it may be you need to keep your focus on the day-to-day operations. You need to keep working on building your brand, increasing traffic, pushing sales, handling customer service, and more.
Let others do the work for you because they already have.
If you really want to keep up with all that’s going on with the web in terms of viral content, memes, and whatnot then I’d say start with these:
- Reddit – Calls itself the front page of the Internet and rightly so. A lot of sites pull a great deal of content from Reddit because it’s so active and (contrary to its users) does pump out a lot of unique content and stories.
- Google Trends – It’s been around for quite some time so you should know of its existence by now. It’s changed a lot over these years so give it a second chance.
- Amazon Bestsellers – Watch what’s selling and you can see where things are shifting. A book suddenly spikes? You know something is up. Goes on and on for any number of products so use those lists to your advantage and then dig a little deeper behind the content and people that are really make it popular.
Don’t, however, just take it at face value. Dig into the comments to find juicier details. Make sure you’re visiting the sites and profiles of those that are creating or sharing this content because there’s always more than what is on the front page.
So what’s the point of all this?
Trends can bring around nice bumps in business.
In a nutshell: you’re latching on.
Hum and haw all you want but every business does this and they have always done this. The difference is the speed (due to online communication) and that means your effort needs to be rapid and you must understand it won’t last.
Some of the ways to hop on the viral train include:
- Having a great piece of content to share on your FB wall that, if it gains likes and shares, can boost your EdRank making your next message reach a broader audience.
- You can create parodies of popular trends that can get a laugh from people which introduces your brand to people that may have never known you exist.
- Products or services could be developed around the trend (though they won’t last long).
- Make content around these trends and see if you can integrate your business alongside it.
You get the idea.
Once the trend train is rolling you may as well hop on board. I would say this, though, and that you shouldn’t beat it like a dead horse. No one likes a brand trying to latch itself to a trend that has no real fit in it. That’s your decision though.
Are you going to become a trend hunter? Going to put it to work for your business?