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To trend or not to trend…that is the question

25 Jan 2019
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High Street baker Greggs has become an unlikely hero in the Twittersphere thanks to its sharp social media team and eye for a tart tweet that will sell like hot cakes.

Its latest campaign roll-out for its vegan sausage roll is giving other brands food for thought on how to make trending hashtags, other than the standard #MotivationMonday and #TBT, work for them in a crowded marketplace.

Never missing an opportunity for a rant or the spotlight, TV presenter Piers Morgan had tweeted in response: “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.”

The nation’s favourite purveyor of reasonably priced baked goods, already on a roll with sarcastic replies and pertinent gifs for every comment – positive or negative – about their vegan offering shot back a searing: “Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you”. Burn! 20,000 precious retweets and 144,000 likes duly followed.

And it works even if you didn’t cook up the original piece of genius.

Pizza Hut served a piping hot slice of sass when it jumped on the trending story, adding dimension of a pile-on by asking its followers to tag Morgan in a post showcasing its own vegan pizza. A whopping 21,000 people liked Pizza Hut’s post and its social media team assiduously replied to every comment, keeping its own Twitter moment going.

Watching a trend spontaneously catch fire on twitter is a beautiful thing. And organisations can use these hot topics to increase reach, picking up retweets and followers.

Joining an already occurring conversation with humour (and on point gif work, of course) shows your brand’s personality and is FUN for your marketing team and audience. It is also an organic ingredient to spice up stale scheduled content.

Just adding a trending hashtag will not help a post’s visibility. For a start, Twitter got smart to hashtag abuse a long time ago and have algorithms to deal with it. Secondly, users will spot an irrelevant hashtag and think your brand is unprofessional, inauthentic and, worse, may call out the spam publicly.

Ensure you tailor the tweet to reflect your brand values, relevant to your product or service that will speak to your core audience. If it chimes with a trending topic, add the hashtag and you are good to go.

Don’t just rely on Twitter’s trending sidebar for ideas without further investigation. In the desperation to go viral, it can be easy to make tasteless error misunderstanding to what a hashtag is referring. can give context to the topic which will keep your tweets on the right track.

Unlike piggybacking Piers, it is most unlikely that any publicity is good publicity for your brand. Picking fights for ratings or getting controversial on a trending topic is like wrestling with a pig: you might win, but you will still stink.

Instead, get in touch with our social media experts who are always on trend and can help you come up smelling of roses on Twitter, or at the least very delicious sausage rolls – vegan, of course.

ATTAIN Digital
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