Ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that gets discussed on social media every day? It can make life hard for a social media manager looking for trends on Instagram. Use these tips to be in the loop!
On the outside, managing a brand’s social media seems super fun and glamorous. This is undeniably true, but what people don’t talk about as much is the sheer stress of the job. ‘Regular’ jobs may start at 9 and end at 5, but a social media manager needs to live and breathe their brand, 24×7.
As a social media manager (or a content manager in general), you can’t miss out on any fad, trend, or current event that would even remotely be related to your brand. If you don’t make the most of an opportunity, you’ll simply be left behind, dusted by your competition.
In that sense, managing a social media handle is not unlike a ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario.
With so much social media content being posted every single day, it can be overwhelming to keep track of the latest news or trending topics. For that reason, I’ve put together this little list to make your job a wee bit easier 🙂
First, let’s talk a bit about moment marketing.
What is moment marketing?
You may have heard of this term before, or may even be completely unaware of it, but if you’ve ever managed a social media account, you’ve definitely utilised this concept before.
Moment marketing is essentially when you take advantage of ongoing events and current trends and integrate them into your marketing efforts.
For example, remember the black and blue (white and gold?) dress that divided the Internet, way back when in 2015? Marketers around the world tried to make jokes and memes, tying the dress to their products.
Here is one of my favourite examples of this:
It was a perfect opportunity, as Oreo had offerings in both the combinations of shades. Oreo Cookie’s marketing team absolutely didn’t miss out. If you’re following this handle on Twitter, you would also notice that the 1294 retweets this particular post generated are miles above the 30-50 average retweets on Oreo’s rest of the posts.
So, numbers seem to support the fact moment marketing increases engagement.
This is seen across regions and product categories, and it makes sense. As a marketer, you have to add on to or complement what’s on people’s minds already, so they are willing to interact, rather than scrolling past.
It’s a given that, no matter who your target audience is, they will likely already be part of the full news cycle and be well-informed (sometimes, more so than you!). The supply of information, particularly that related to trending topics and events, are available in just a few taps, across social media platforms.
The dress trend was over 6 years ago though, and trends today have more to do with short-format videos. Sometimes, marketers can have success simply by using Reels with popular audio tracks.
All throughout 2020, Instagram users were posting Reels with the ‘oh no no no no nooo’ track (sorry for getting that stuck in your head again!), and influencers/brands gladly hopped on to this trend as well. Of course, before it started getting annoying. As of mid-2021, Justin Bieber’s STAY seems to be the go-to track amongst creators.
It really pays off to identify trends on Instagram and other social media platforms, at the right time.
Other great examples of how brands leveraged moment marketing
1. Domino’s India encouraging its followers to get vaccinated:
In May-June 2021, India’s vaccination drive was just gaining traction, but a lot of Indians were still sceptical (or lazy) about taking the vaccine. Considering this, Domino’s made a bunch of posts over the next couple of months, cheekily encouraging people to take the vaccine. Here’s one of them.
This post compares their recently released ‘potato shots’ to a vaccine shot. In a fun way, it asks people to prioritise the vaccine over anything else, including their own foods. At a time when there was so much buzz about the new vaccination drive along with scepticism about its safety, positive reinforcements by famous brands doesn’t hurt at all!
2. Amul consistently tapping into trends on Instagram and ongoing conversations
Amul India has been using moment marketing extensively for many years. It’s almost at the forefront of their Instagram marketing strategy today. Here is one of their recent Instagram posts.
A few months ago, during India’s cricket tour of England, captain Virat Kohli was in poor form, and cricket enthusiasts were actively discussing this online. Amul conveniently decided to join in the conversation, showing how much they want the captain to be in form again.
Along with posting about the trending topics, the brand also writes a catchy, witty one-liner that relates to Amul Butter, or the Amul girl. In this case, ‘lick it’ refers to licking butter, and ‘snick it’ refers to Kohli snicking the ball to the wicketkeeper and losing his wicket.
Posts like this generally get retweeted and shared a LOT.
3. Zomato taking a poke at Apple
Apple’s yearly events, usually held in September, are a big deal. They get talked about a lot over the next few days since their products are so influential in the tech industry. Often, they also spark meme trends on Instagram and Facebook. Zomato, an Indian food delivery app of all brands, decided to add some humour to this discussion as well.
Apple was mocked this year for making very few changes to the iPhone, the main one being changing the position of the rear camera. Zomato has hilariously depicted this exact change using burgers and ketchup (fast foods make up a huge portion of their orders).
Again, this post received over 1000 retweets, against an average of 30-60 on their other posts!
Hope you’ve got the gist of how effective moment marketing can be! Here’s how you can effortlessly track trends on Instagram and other platforms.
1. Google Trends to track trends on Instagram and other online events
Google Trends is a brilliant data exploration tool that, as a marketer, you should welcome with wide-open arms. While it’s used most often as a search engine optimization tool, it serves another function that is surprisingly not used by a lot of content managers. Navigate to the Google Trends homepage, and you’ll see a distant section for Trending Searches.
Click on this, and you’ll see a list of trending topics in an incredibly simple, intuitive interface. You can organize them by country, and I’ve done below for India.
Of course, if there’s a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka, you’d probably know about it as an Indian resident. But the results get more interesting as you scroll down.
For example, I wouldn’t have known it was Daniel Radcliffe’s birthday on the day I’m writing this blog, or that people are actually talking about this. For Instagram handles in the entertainment industry, this specific topic could be a source of valuable content.
2. Feedly is your best friend when tracking trends on Instagram
DISCLAIMER: Feedly is a paid tool; the only one featured in this blog. Nevertheless, starting at $6 a month, it’s an investment that’s well worth its while for content ideas.
In a nutshell, Feedly lets you create distinct ‘feeds’ with topics of your own choices and interests, and aggregates information from sites across the Web to finally present it in one space. In the following example, I’ve used #cryptocurrency as a topic of interest.
After searching for a topic, you’ll see a few ‘Source Bundles’ curated by Feedly; these are likely the most relevant and trusted sources for your chosen topic. If you wouldn’t care for these and want to pick your own specific sources, continue scrolling.
You’ll now see specific websites for your topic, and helpful statistics on their followers, articles per week, and relevance. You can now add these to make a feed, by clicking on ‘Follow’. I added Coinbase and Coindesk to a new feed called cryptocurrency, and here’s what the feed looked like.
It’s that simple. While this two-source feed still looks pretty spartan, a more comprehensive feed will be extremely convenient for social listening, in your race against time to put out the newest, freshest content for your target audience with trending topics.
3. Discussion forums for different interpretations on trending topics
Upon hearing the term ‘discussion forum,’ Reddit may well be the first word to pop up in your head. To say that Reddit has a lot of discussion groups (called subreddits) is a massive understatement. There are subreddits for everything. To put things into perspective, there is a subreddit called WeirdEggs, where people only post images of oddly shaped eggs. It has over 37,000 members by the way.
But the fact that there are many subreddits only works to your advantage if you are a social media manager. You can follow dozens of these related to your industry, and go through your feed for constant updates (Redditors are very proactive and quick to inform). Alternatively, you can also follow subreddits of your competitors to explore their goings-on.
If you just want a quick glance at the trending topics of the day, there is a dedicated section called ‘Popular’ (marked by a button with an arrow pointing North-East) which can be accessed from Reddit’s homepage.
While Reddit is great for tracking trending topics and social listening in general, don’t forget to check out other great platforms like Quora. Quora’s format is a little different; it is purely a question-answer format. Discussions on Quoras are generally slower due to its format and strict moderation. But the advantage is, you get answers from experienced individuals (their credentials are visible to you). These answers can then be critiqued by folks in the comments section. Quora answers are also amazing detailed (some worthy of being blog posts within themselves).
4. Create a Twitter stream
There are many ways to do Twitter streams, but for the purpose of finding trending topics and news, you should start by creating a stream by hashtags. Ensure that these hashtags are relevant to your brand and products only, as inputting very generic hashtags like #food will lead to potentially thousands of irrelevant tweets in your stream.
Add relevant tweets, however, and you’ll start receiving updates literally seconds after a particular event (concerning your interest/hashtags). Twitterati are by far the most reactive users on the Internet, and this is an insane advantage to marketers. The topics that trend on Twitter usually also become trends on Instagram and other platforms, so this is a great way to gauge what’s hot.
5. Browse the socials daily
If you rolled your eyes at this point, I get it. It’s very obvious. But you can never understate how important it is to ACTIVELY browse the socials all day. Passively scrolling Instagram and chuckling at memes is not enough. Spend time looking at your industry socials every single day. Take notes and refer to them as you consider opportunities to put out content or engage with other brands.
For example, in Argentina, McDonald’s announced a McHappy day, in which all of their countrywide revenues from Big Macs will be donated to a charitable foundation. Burger King noticed this and responded with a heartwarming gesture.
The move garnered worldwide critical acclaim. This would not have been possible, had the company not been aware of its competitor’s actions.
Keep in mind, that browsing the socials also means going through ALL relevant platforms, and not just your favourite one. This, of course, is to ensure you miss out on nothing. The thirty-forty minutes a day you spend doing this could be insanely fruitful!
How do you stay up to date in the crazy social media spaces? If you have any additional tips, we’d love to hear them!
Also, if you’re a social media manager stuck in writer’s block, don’t forget to check out Predis.ai‘s all-new AI-generated Content Calendar! Just add your industry and a one-liner about your business, and Predis will generate a personalized content calendar for your handle with fresh ideas and captions!
New to social media management or Instagram?
Finding trends on Instagram to make content around will only be scratching the surface of what a social media manager does. These blogs listed below will get you started, and provide helpful insights on best practices to follow (and those to avoid) on social media:
- How to get more Instagram followers
- How to get your Instagram hashtags to perform
- Tricks to generate engagement on Instagram
- Choosing the right Instagram profile picture for your handle
- Generating inspiration for Instagram content ideas
- Finding out the best time to post on Instagram
- How to choose the right Instagram hashtags for likes and engagement
- Things to avoid doing with your Instagram business account
- Why you need a content calendar if you’re a social media manager