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  • Writer's pictureJames Cullen

January 2018 Twitter Trends

A long, long time ago January 2018 started - especially given how long people feel January has lasted! Although I say that with a wink and nudge, because January hasn't been any longer this year than in previous years, it only feels that way because someone turned it into a Twitter trend. Twitter content marketing is largely a reactive game. While lining up Twitter ads and more generic tweets can be done throughout the year, there needs to be a social media guru with their finger on the pulse and ear to the underground to be prepared to capitalise on any growing trends.

Like loom bands or scoobies or pogs, these trends don't last long, but when they're at their height, can be a very natural way for a brand to connect with their audience. Going viral by adding to the noise of a trend can be a good way of increasing brand awareness or solidifying brand recall and recognition. Showing a brand is on trend with the Twitter populace also helps shed a corporate image, and if done well can transmit the baseline of the brand identity. Ultimately, the goal will be to convert vanity metrics on Twitter to sales, word-of-mouth recommendations, or to amplify the brand to a greater audience. Best of all, joining in on a trend can be done for free. So, what has January 2018 given us so far:

1. January is the Longest Month

As mentioned, the tail end of January filled the Twitter timeline with many tweets that referred to the perceived length of the month. Some went simple with it (as larger brands/celebrities can do):

And some brought in other aspects of meme culture:

I did have a good scour of Twitter for brand examples of newsjacking the trend and my findings were disappointing. I also found that a lot of top brands use Twitter as a megaphone to just shout about their services and products - ending up lost in the noise of 5 likes and 2 retweets. My experience in a social media management role of a lesser known brand was to really listen to the audience and I found the perfect way to engage with them, using the culture they had developed as a fandom and as a group of people with a shared interest. It's disappointing to see that more brands aren't newsjacking, which at it's very least shows that there is somebody there, not just an agency using Hootsuite in October to plan the month.

2. Showing the Pros How It's Done

Another trend that kicked off in 2018 was the joke of having those known as prolific for a certain ability to attend a class on that, and for the teacher at the end to be revealed as someone who has not achieved traditional prolific status, but is a trier and that's all that matters. 'They Said in Unison' or 'Bad Teacher' meme marketing has been used across the board, for all manner of disciplines. My favourite branded example is this one from Angkas, the Filipino motorbike carrier service.

The basis of using memes in marketing is to create a brand message e.g. Angkas isn't affected by a lot of the congestion the other services are because of the motorbikes used, and package it in a way that makes people want to share it for the surface joke. Many will have shared this thinking 'ha ha, this brand is saying it's faster than these other brands', not realising that they are acting as am amplification device for the key selling point that differentiates Angkas from the competitors. It's clever and it's transparent and it's human and it's a very good way of doing modern marketing.

Newsjacking and Meme Marketing

Newsjacking and Meme Marketing are key trends that brands are adopting more and more as their consumer base becomes more 'woke' and traditional marketing methods are seeing a decline in ROI. By joining the conversation, brands can show their relevancy, say something that people are amused by hearing, and be clever to allow their brand's message to be the enduring factor. There's nothing better as a brand than hearing someone talking about an internet trend and using your brand's take on it as a key example. As we move into a future of greater consumer awareness, being able to add humour to a brand's message will play a key part in getting a marketing message across. Gone are the days where a well placed digital campaign is enough - humour and inter-connectivity with the wider online community are key to ensuring a brand maintains their standing.

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